James 4:7 - 5:6
19th Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
September 28, 1997
(Who are you? Danish-American, Native-American, African-American, German-American?)
(This is a letter sent to believers addressing sanctification.)
I. REMEMBER WHO WE ARE AS SINNERS.
A. We are sinners by birth.
1. We cannot begin to appreciate the grace of God and the salvation of Christ
unless we see again our starting point with Him...a sinner.
a. Is it possible that we can see sin as God sees it...a horrible offense...
b. ILLUS: John J. McGraw - New York Giants...grabbed belt of runners
passing third base...left with belt in hand. (#1263)
2. We dare not soften sin or mislabel it in any way.
a. ILLUS: Preacher and the box of rat poison...the milder we make the
label, the more dangerous the poison. (#1256)
b. Sin is a reality and like any other reality it will not help to pretend it
B. We still struggle with sin as Christians.
1. It is a clear and present danger to us at all times.
a. Sin slowly leads us far away from Christ.
b. Sin destroys the blessings that God intended us to enjoy through living
a godly life.
2. Sin leads to quarrels and even fights in the church. (James 4:1)
a. How many of you have endured sin's wreckage in the church.
b. How many have made the bad decision to leave the church because
of the way in which Christians behaved toward one another?
c. Perhaps you are a conflict "refugee".
II. REMEMBER WHO WE ARE AS PEOPLE SAVED BY CHRIST.
A. God's grace is far stronger than our sin. (v. 5)
1. God is not the author of our sin.
a. Basic distinction: God gives good things, sin brings bad things.
b. God indeed tempts no one to sin. (James 1:13-15)
2. The power of the cross and the victory of the empty tomb have destroyed
sin's ability to have its wage. (Romans 8:31-35)
B. We can never just look at our sin without -- at the same time -- viewing the cross.
1. It is our condemnation under sin that gives us an appreciation of the
beauty of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
2. It is the comparison of our sin against the power of Christ which gives us
absolute assurance that we are God's people now and forever!
III. REMEMBER WHO WE ARE: PEOPLE OF CHRIST SUBMITTING TO CHRIST.
A. We have a new ruler -- our old landlord has been replaced completely.
1. We are no longer required to give Satan or the temptations he brings the
time of day. (v. 7)
a. Satan cannot win against the Holy Spirit's power.
b. If we fall into sin, we have failed to seek the intervention of the Spirit.
2. It's not a question of whether we will submit, but to whom.
a. To who's power will we surrender? God or Satan?
b. There is no neutral ground before them.
B. To submit means, "To be of a different order than...." To acknowledge that God's
order is incredibly superior to our own:
1. That His wisdom is beyond our ability to challenge.
2. That His morality is beyond our ability to improve.
3. That His power over sin is beyond sin's ability to destroy us.
C. Remember who's in control:
1. The One who knows
2. The One who sees
3. The One who loves you more than life itself.
4. The One who has saved us and made us whole.
D. Therefore, live not in accord with the will of men, but live in the will of God.
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