Victory Steps
29 December 2019 PM – James 4:1-10 – Scott Childs

Introduction: A wise soldier will keep his weapons clean and serviced so that they are ready for use at a moment’s notice. As Christians, we are soldiers in God’s army. Our enemies are our flesh and the devil. As we prepare for a new year, it is wise for us to service our spiritual weapons by reviewing God’s prescription for victory over temptation. This evening I want us to take a fresh look at James 4:1-10 and ask God to help us equip ourselves for the battle ahead.

Transition: As we examine this passage, we will find that God breaks it down into three sections that ought to help us equip ourselves.

1.        Our Problem (v.1-5)

a.         We have a serious problem (v.1-4)
1)         Our flesh struggles with sins of discord (not getting along with others), lust (desiring more than God has given), killing (Jesus said that anger precedes murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-22) that is likely what James had in mind), war (battling for what we want), envy (discontent, jealous), fighting (quarrelling or arguing), and praying selfishly.
2)         When we do these sins, verse 4 says that God calls us adulterers and adulteresses. That is harsh. Why would he say that?
a)         He tells us that partaking in such sins is friendship with the world. When we sin, we love the world’s way of living. When we love the world, we become enemies of God.
b)         We belong to God. If we love what God hates, we are being unfaithful to God as spiritual adulterers and adulteresses.
b.         God summarises our problem as envy (v.5)
1)         Envy is discontent or jealousy.
2)         When we long for things that God forbids, we are being discontent. It is the peak of selfishness.
2.        God’s Promise (v.6)
a.         God giveth more grace
1)         This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible.
a)         The fleshly spirit indwelling us lusts to envy. We have a struggle with temptation.
b)         The sins James just listed and many more appeal to our sinful flesh.
2)         But God gives MORE grace – more than enough to overcome the flesh! Grace is the supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit to do God’s will.
a)         In our flesh, we are weak.
b)         God gives MORE grace to enable us to do right.
b.         God gives grace to the humble.
1)         Here James says God resists the proud. Solomon clearly told us that God hates a proud look (Pr 6:16-17) and that pride leads to destruction (Pr 16:18).
2)         God’s grace is available to only one group of Christians, the humble.
3)         David Guzik is right in saying, “It isn’t as if our humility earns the grace of God. Humility merely puts us in a position to receive the gift He freely gives.”
4)         It is not until we humbly admit that we are unable to resist the devil ourselves that God can give us His grace.
5)         Pride will keep God’s grace out of your reach.
3.        God’s Prescription (v.7-10)
a.         Submit yourself to God (v.7)
1)         To submit to God is to yield to the Holy Spirit. Submissively ask Him to take control and help you.
2)         To submit is to arrange yourself under God’s authority. It is a wholehearted willingness to obey. (Ps 86:11) “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”
3)         The moment temptation attacks submissively cry out for God’s help (Romans 6:13, 16, 19; Gal 5:16-17).
b.         Resist the devil (v.7)
1)         When yielded to God, we can then resist the devil.
a)         It is then, with the Lord’s arm around us, that we can say NO to the devil and he will flee.
b)         When yielded to God, we can quote His word against the devil.
2)         Quoting a Bible verse or telling the devil to leave you alone will lack power if we do not first submit to God. The devil fears God’s authority but not our own authority.
3)         With God’s help, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2Tim 2:22)
c.          Draw nigh to God (v.8)
1)         If you are not near to God, God has not moved. You have. Seek to renew your closeness to God.
2)         Put on God’s Armour (Ephesians 6:10-18).
a)         Be strengthened in the Lord (Eph 6:10)
b)         Put on God’s WHOLE armour (Eph 6:11, 13)
c)         Wear God’s belt of truth (Eph 6:14). Believe God not Satan’s lies.
d)         Put on God’s breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14). (Romans 8:33) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
e)         Do not worry. Claim God’s peace (Eph 6:15). (Philippians 4:6-7) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
f)          Hold tightly your faith in God (Eph 6:16). Do not doubt God. Trust Him!
g)         Wear securely salvation’s helmet (Eph 6:17). If you are a true Christian God will never leave you (Heb 13:5).
h)         Grip firmly God’s sword the Bible (Eph 6:17). Memorise it. Meditate on it.
i)           Pray always (Eph 6:18). (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “Pray without ceasing.”
j)           Watch carefully with perseverance (Eph 6:18). (1 Peter 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
d.         Cleanse your hands and heart (v.8)
1)         Your hands represent things you DO. (Outside)
2)         Your heart represents things you THINK. (Inside)
3)         Praise God for 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
4)         Get on your knees, confess your sin and let God restore any lost fellowship.
e.         Be afflicted … (v.9)
1)         This verse contains four imperatives. Each of them is commanding us to grieve over our sin.
a)         Be afflicted (to feel miserable about your sin)
b)         Mourn (be truly saddened by your sin)
c)         Weep (cry over your sin)
d)         Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaveiness (confession is not a time for joy).
2)         True confession has no desire to repeat the sin.
f.           Humble yourself (v.10)
1)         What is humility? It is freedom from pride and arrogance. It is having a modest estimate of one’s own worth. It is recognising your need for God. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity.
2)         Humility before God is the key to victory over temptation.
3)         When we humble ourselves before God, He will give us grace to resist temptation.
4)         If we have already sinned, humbling ourselves before God will secure His uplifting forgiveness.
Conclusion: We are in a battle. Every day we are walking through the devil’s lion-infested jungle where his waiting to attack us. We must be prepared.

If you have not yet memorised James 4:7-10, I urge you to do it. God’s Victory Steps found in these verses are vital to our survival against our flesh and the devil.

Song: Victory in Jesus – 496