Bible Studies

James Chapter 4

James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

James Chapter Three speaks of envying one another, as the great cause of strife and contentions; (that is conflict, debate and squabbling) and this chapter speaks of a lust after worldly things, and of setting too great of value upon worldly pleasures and friendships

From where does fighting and disagreements come from among you? Don’t they come from hence (both sides) because you lust in the flesh after things that the Holy Spirit indwelling within you wars (fights) against)?

1 Pet 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Many of the saved Jews to which this letter was written fell in with the Jewish factor or group that was fighting the Roman Empire. Many Jews were content to live under Roman Rule, as there was peace in the country, while others wanted home rule back again. There were differences among the Jewish Nation just as there is among the Democrats and Republicans here in America, and I believe these saved Jews were entering political arguments.

What was claimed as a zeal for God and the new Christian religion really came from their pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, and revenge. You can see this today. Former religious leaders are striving to be social leaders in politics.

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

These Christian Jews like to think their "causes" are good and right, but they deceive themselves. There is a diversity of factions or political parties among these saved Jews, and they argue (strife & contention) and fight among themselves and the others. (unsaved Jews) Their ambition (lust) is great and yet they have not gained. They even resort to killing, either Romans or the Jewish faction in disagreement with them. They lust and desire to have their way, they kill, fight, and war, but they forgot ONE thing. They have not consulted (asked) God.

They cannot obtain happiness, because the things they seek after are not spiritual things. These are worldly and fleshly lusts they are after, and they are after these things in the Name of God.

Matt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Many times our lusts spoil our prayers, and make them an abomination to God, rather than a sweet savor. , These Jews ask, and receive not, because they ask wrongly, that they may consume it upon their lusts.(their own priorities)

We should learn that in the management of all our worldly affairs, and in our prayers to God for success in these affairs, to see that our purposes are right. When we follow our worldly business, (nurses, stock clerks or whatever) and ask of God to prosper us in our jobs, but do not receive what we ask for, it is because we ask with wrong goals and intentions. Many times we ask God to give us success in our callings or undertakings, not that we may glorify our heavenly Father and do good with what we have, but that we may consume it upon our lusts. That we may be able to eat better, and drink better drink, and wear better clothes, and so indulge our pride, self-esteem, and luxury. If we seek the things of this world, it is justice in God to deny them. But, if we seek any thing that we may serve God with it, we may expect he will either give us what we seek or enable our hearts to be content without it, and give us opportunities of serving and glorifying him some other way.

It is to our advantage and God’s pleasure to use a portion of what God has given us (finances, health, intelligence, education, time, ect) to His glory. If he gives much, return in like measure, and this means much more than just money.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

You WHAT? James is speaking to Christian Jews here? Remember he calls them "brethren" in Chapter one verse two, chapter two, verse one and chapter three, verse one..

Adulterers and adulteresses (men & women-Bride of Christ) are those who have put the Groom (Jesus Christ) on the back burner. They are unfaithful to him. They are serving the "world" rather than "him".

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Do we think that the scripture says this for "nothing". Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

We still have the spirit of Adam dwelling in out flesh (bodies) as well as the Spirit of God dwelling in our spirit. It is my understanding is that we are full of spirits. The sin prone spirit of Adam, the Holy Spirit of God and "our own" spirit. The Spirit of God influences OUR spirit to war against the Adamic spirit in our flesh, which will one day be destroyed along with our mortal corruptible bodies.

The spirit that naturally dwells in man is always producing one evil imagination or another. This is the spirit of the world. The spirit of the world teaches men to be despicable and immoral. The Spirit of God teaches us to be fruitful. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up for ourselves THINGS of the world according to our own preference. The Spirit of God teaches us to be willing to give to the necessities and to the comfort of others, and to do good to all about us, according to our ability. The grace of God is opposite to the spirit of the world, and therefore the friendship of the world is to be avoided. If we are truly children of God, the grace of God, through the Holy Spirit of God will correct and cure the spirit that naturally dwells in us. Where God gives grace, He also gives another spirit than that of the world.

Christian living is HARD. More so for some than for others. God gives us HIS Spirit, and He regenerates OUR spirit, but He also leaves the OLD spirit in us. OUR spirit is BORN AGAIN and made a NEW CERATURE, but we STILL have the OLD sinful spirit of our earthly father Adam.

You get two people living together with nothing AT ALL in common and there’s gonna be bickering and fighting. You get two spirits living together that HATE each other and there’s gonna be WAR. Ever wonder why you get "tired of it all" sometimes? Now you know why.

Living a good Christian life is VERY POSSIBLE though. If we really WANT TO God will enable us to conquer.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

We are taught to observe the difference God makes between pride and humility.

Ps 18:27 "For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks"

Afflicted-- depressed, in mind or circumstances, humble, lowly, needy, poor (in spirit)
High looks – presumptuously (arrogant) proud, haughty

Prov 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

Scorneth-scorners. Make a mockery, scoff at.
Grace- favour, kindness

God gives His Grace to the lowly and Dis-Grace to the proud. Pride is the root of all sin. When God gives grace to the humble, and the beneficiary of this grace uses it well, He will give even "more" grace. For to him that hath, and useth what he hath correctly, more shall be given. . He will especially give more grace to the humble, because they see their need for it, will pray for it and be thankful for it;

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We should submit our understandings to the truths of God, and submit our wills to the will of God. THY will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ." We are servants and we should behave as such, and not only through fear, but through love, and not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake

Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

1 Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

If we love God we will submit to His will, and submitting to the will of God will not hurt us.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

But submitting to the will of the devil will enable him to devour us and condemn us.

1 Tim 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Novice—amateur, "new" Christian, beginner in the faith, rookie. A man must develop wisdom before trying to teach.

1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

How can we resist the devil?

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Resist with TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and the GOSPEL of PEACE. Resist with the SHIELD of FAITH and the HELMET of SALVATION, and the WORD of GOD and PRAYER (Eph 6:14-18)

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

When Christians sin they are not lost and going to hell, but they break fellowship with God. We are to repent and come back close to God and He will resume fellowship with us again.

We are to purge any evil (cleanse) from our hands (our physical actions) and purify them and make them holy, as well as morally cleanse our hearts.

1 Tim 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

This goes for the double spirited (minded). We cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt 6:24)

James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Realize your own misery, (being afflicted) and mourn. We are to grieve. That is to be in sorrow in feeling, because of our actions. Some sin and think nothing of it. They laugh and are happy. James says this ain’t right. Joy should be turned to sorrow and sadness when we lose fellowship with God.

If sinners don’t do these things, GOD WILL. God can and will turn laughter into mourning and joy to sadness. He can do this "overnight, or at once. Would it be better for the unconcerned Christians to take this action themselves, or let God do it to them.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Be lowly and meek before God. Who can stand proudly in His presence? Be meek and lowly and God will exalt us and advance us and promote us and add to our stature and status. That is He will add to our position and importance and prestige.

Luke 14:10-11 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth (lifts up) himself shall be abased; (brought low) and he that humbleth (lowered) himself shall be exalted.(lifted up)

James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

The book of Proverbs speaks of many good qualities of a virtuous (moral & pure) woman. One of which is this.

Prov 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

This goes for ALL Christians. And that is to posses a tongue of kindness. Speaking evil of a brother in Christ is judging him in unrighteous judgment.

Matt 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Speaking evil of a brother in Christ is speaking evil of the law. We hold the law in contempt. There are some things in which we have Christian liberty.

Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:

Some say we must worship on Sunday or sin. They say to work on Sunday or Saturday is sin and so on and on and on. These people are judging the law. They are making the law seem evil by their speech. They are not doers of the law. Doers of the law keep the law and do not add to the law, where we have liberty in the law.

James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

There are various lawgivers. There is the National government, State government, and City government, but ONLY ONE who has power to save and to destroy. We are to obey ALL these various governments UNLESS obedience to one is to bring disobedience to God. Governments can make laws to influence the actions of man, but only God can make laws to influence the mind/hearts or the conscience of man. Lawgiver and all judgment should be committed to God. Man is required to make SOME laws, and is allowed, even REQUIRED to make SOME judgments. For instance, Christians judge righteous judgment. Ect.

James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

Come on now, James says. Can you foretell the future. What about providence? (destiny –chance) Nothing is left to certainty except the eternal salvation of the elect.

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

How do we know when God will call us home. De we ALWAYS EXPECTANTLY die?

James 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

You see. God’s will, WILL be done whether we pray for it or not.

James 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

These earthly and politically minded Christian Jews are probable saying. Boy!, Life is gonna be GOOD. God is with us. But they are not with God.

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

They can’t claim ignorance anymore. James has already told them in this letter. Omissions are sins that will come into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned.

We must be sure that our conscience be fully informed. That it is educated of what we should and shouldn’t do, and what we can do in our Christian liberty. The Holy Spirit of God works on our conscience, and we educate it by studying the Bible.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

1 Cor 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

2 Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

1 Pet 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.