The Book of JAMES
James J. Barker
LEAVING GOD OUT
- James 4 deals
with the problem of worldliness (4:4), and the various ways it manifests
- It is such a
serious problem that James says in verse 4, "the friendship of the world is
enmity with God?" and "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the
enemy of God."
- Sadly, most
churches today are very worldly.
Worldliness is living life without God.
- Tonight we will
pick up at verse 11, and a careful reading of our text shows that James is still
dealing with the subject of worldliness.
- James asks in
verse 1, "From whence come wars and fightings among you?" These "wars and fightings" among
Christians are expressed through backbiting -- speaking evil words
- We saw in
verses 5 and 6 and 10, that worldliness expresses itself in pride. "God
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the
- In his very
helpful commentary on the epistle of James, Frank Gaebelein says this, "What is
pride? It is the sin that,
arrogating to self the credit belonging to God alone, cheats Him of the honor
due His name. In wicked
self-sufficiency, it by-passes the Sovereign of heaven and earth and presumes to
act in wilful independence. It is
the very spirit of secularism, the leading characteristic of this God-forgetting
age in which we live" (Faith That Lives).
- Frank Gaebelein
referred to "the spirit of secularism."
He wrote that over 50 years ago.
And that spirit is far worse now.
has been defined as the view that religion and religious considerations should
be ignored or excluded or rejected.
- And while secularists and humanists want to exclude all
religion from public life, they are particularly hostile to Biblical
Christianity. Secularism is basically anti-Christian and
- Living here in the wicked, godless city of New York, we
are very familiar with secularism.
Recently, Mayor Bloomberg has evicted 68 churches
from of the NYC public schools.
- Just this past year, Mayor Bloomberg spent millions of
dollars to make so-called "gay marriage" legal in New York
- But here in his epistle James is not referring to the
ungodly humanists and pagans and atheists. Notice he uses the term,
- James is speaking to Christians. "From whence come wars and fightings
among you?" (4:1).
- Again I will quote Frank Gaebelein, "Whenever we yield
to the desire to live our own lives in our own way, forgetting that we are not
our own but Christ's, bought with the price of His precious blood; whenever we
make decisions in our own wisdom apart from a prayerful seeking of the will of
God; whenever we glorify self and self-achievement, ignoring the fact that all
we are and have is from the Lord; then we are guilty of
- The essence of worldliness is the idea that we can live
our own lives in our own way, and forgetting all about God. Psalm 9:17 says, "The wicked shall be
turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
- Secularism means belief in God is not necessary, not
important, not relevant. It means
leaving God out, and James makes it clear that even Christians can be guilty of
this terrible sin.
LEAVING GOD OUT OF OUR
- We know that
the ungodly leave God out of their speech.
- Psalm 10:4 says
the wicked man "will not seek after God," and "God is not in all his
- God is not in his thoughts, and so the wicked man's
foolish remarks are thoughtless.
Just recently, a sportswriter named Jason
Whitlock made some vulgar and
foolish remark about the basketball player Jeremy Lin.
- We are not very surprised when wicked sinners say evil
things, but James says in verse 11, "Speak not evil
one of another, brethren."
- James has
already referred to problems with the tongue several times (cf. 1:26;
- James says, "He
that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the
law, and judgeth the law" (4:11).
- James is not
referring here to the law of Moses, but to "the law
of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
- In James 1:25
it is called "the perfect law of liberty," and in
2:8, "the royal law."
James says in 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself, ye do well."
- If we are
guilty of speaking evil of our brother, than we do not love him as ourselves,
and we "art not a doer of the law" (4:11).
- "Thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge"
(4:11b). In other words, James says
we are placing ourselves above the law, in a position of a
- But James says, "There is one lawgiver" (4:12), i.e.,
- This is the sin of leaving God out! Worldlings do this all the time, but
James is reminding us that Christians can be guilty of this
- It is better to leave this business of judging to God.
He knows all things. He knows the hearts of men. He will judge all believers at
the judgment seat.
"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why
dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment
seat of Christ... So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God"
(Romans 14:10, 12).
- Those who have never been born again will be judged at
the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15).
LEAVING GOD OUT OF OUR
- Christians can
also be guilty of leaving God out of their plans
- Proverbs 27:1
says, "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring
- "Go to now"
(4:13) is an interjection implying disapproval (cf.
- Hiebert says it
was a common expression in secular Greek but it is found only twice in the New
- The New King
James Version and the modern translations render this expression, "Come
now." We might say, "Come on
- Life is very
short – especially from God’s perspective – none of us knows what will take
place tomorrow (4:13-15).
- Our Lord warned
of the rich man who left God out of his plans (Luke
- James 4:14
reminds us of the brevity of life.
Our days are like little wisps of smoke or steam that vanish in a
moment. Our days are
uncertain and they are fleeting.
- Psalm 90:12
says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto
- The most important thing in life is knowing the will of
God, and doing the will of God.
- First John 2:17 says, "And the world
passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth
- This Scripture is on D.L Moody’s
- I knew a preacher who used to put "D.V." in his letters
– for the Latin phrase Deo Volente, "Lord willing" (cf. James
- The apostle Paul told his friends in Ephesus,
"I will return again unto you, if God
will" (Acts 18:21).
- And he wrote in First Corinthians 4:19,
"But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord
LEAVING GOD OUT OF OUR
- There are sins
of omission as well as sins of commission (4:17).
- James does not
give any specific examples, but many could be cited.
- For example,
Samuel said to the people of Israel, "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I
should sin against the
LORD in ceasing to pray for you" (I Samuel 12:23).
- So not praying
is a sin (cf. James 4:2).
means leaving God out of everything.
- In this
chapter, James gives many practical lessons on the danger of worldliness, pride,
and secularism. We need to
consider where this leads.
- Adolph Hitler
had these words inscribed over one of the gas ovens in Auschwitz: "I want to
raise a generation of young people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless
- This is
precisely what happens when people reject the Bible and embrace secularism. Hitler was able to take over
Germany because the churches turned away from the
- Now Europe has
become totally secularized. They
are bankrupt financially, spiritually, and morally. And if these trends
continue, soon their godless secularism will be replaced by militant
- This same
spirit of secularism and apostasy is sweeping over
- Pray for