12 Living As If God Matters James 4:11-16


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Living As If God Matters James 4:11-16 Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/living-as-if-god-matters-tim-bond-sermon-on-grace-49742.asp

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12 Living As If God Matters James 4:11-16

  1. 1. Living As If God Matters James 4:11-16 <br />Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon<br />http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/living-as-if-god-matters-tim-bond-sermon-on-grace-49742.asp<br />
  2. 2. The story of Nadab and Abihu is not one of the most prominent in the Bible.<br />Unlike Samson last week, it’s not one of those commonly taught in Sunday School.<br />Not in many people’s top 10 list.<br />Some are probably thinking <br />“Nadab & Abi-who?”<br />
  3. 3. The Hebrews had just been led out of Egypt. They had followed God across the Red Sea and then watched as Pharoah’s army was buried under the crumbling walls of water. The whole nation assembled at Mt. Sinai as God initiated a covenant with them, marking them as His people. As the covenant was finalized, God commanded the leaders of His people to meet with Him on the Mountain. <br />
  4. 4. Exodus 24:9 NET Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. 11 But he did not lay a hand on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw God, and they ate and they drank.<br />
  5. 5. Wow! Did you notice what a privilege these people had? Moses, God’s chosen leader, Aaron, God’s chosen High Priest, Nadab & Abihu Aaron’s two oldest sons, and 70 elders got to see God in His Heavenly glory. Less than 100 of all the billions of people that have ever walked on earth have had that privilege. Adam did prior to the fall, Elijah did, John did, and Nadab and Abihu were among that select group.<br />
  6. 6. All seems to go well. In Leviticus 8 God ordains Aaron as the first High Priest, and his sons as priests. Nadab was to be the successor to Aaron’s position. God prescribes a very detailed ritual. <br />Leviticus 8:36 NET So Aaron and his sons did all the things the LORD had commanded through Moses.<br />
  7. 7. Then we come to Leviticus 10:1 NET Then Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his fire pan and put fire in it, set incense on it, and presented strange fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them to do. 2 So fire went out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them so that they died before the LORD. <br />
  8. 8. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke: 'Among the ones close to me I will show myself holy, and in the presence of all the people I will be honored.' “So Aaron kept silent.<br />What a shock! Here are two of the Lord’s anointed, heirs to the High Priestly position who are destroyed because they didn’t meticulously follow the prescribed way for a priest to light a fire. <br />
  9. 9. Two lives that held such great promise, “BAM” snuffed out in an instant. Nobody knows for sure why they did it, but there is one thing you can guess. Evidently they took God for granted. They didn’t think it was all that important and they weren’t careful enough in the way they came before God. In an instant they became a lesson on God’s holiness for all the world to see.<br />
  10. 10. This lesson is mentioned again in Numbers 3:2 NET These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he consecrated to minister as priests. 4Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests in the presence of Aaron their father.<br />
  11. 11. Remember, in the letter of James we are learning how to live lives of everyday worship. James is telling us how to live every day facing God. As he comes to the 4th chapter he is telling us about living in an intimate relationship with God, and not being adulterous. <br />Let’s review all the issues we’ve covered in James 4:1 NET Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from?<br />
  12. 12. Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? 2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions. 4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God?<br />
  13. 13. So whoever decides to be the world's friend makes himself God's enemy. 5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, "The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning"? 6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble." (Proverbs 3:34)<br />
  14. 14. 7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.<br />
  15. 15. James warns us not to forget about God and the way he told us to live, even the way he modeled for us to live. If Christians aren’t careful we can slip into living as if God doesn’t even matter. Now in verses 11-16 James gives us 2 examples of ways that people get a little cocky about the way they live. Notice the 2 examples he gives.<br />
  16. 16. Assume authority to judge<br />11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. 12 But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge — the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor?<br />
  17. 17. Matthew 22:35 NET And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37Jesus said to him, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' (Deu. 6:5) 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'(Lev. 19:18)<br />
  18. 18. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul writes out a very detailed argument about what it means to live life within the grace of God. When he gets near the end of the letter in chapter 14 he tells us that we have no right to be judges over other people.<br />Romans 14:10 NET But you who eat vegetables only — why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything — why do you despise your brother or sister? <br />
  19. 19. For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God." (Isaiah 45:23) 12Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.<br />In other words, when you stand before the judgment seat of God, you will not have the opportunity to turn your head to look at the faults of your brother, so don’t be doing it now!<br />
  20. 20. You see what James is attacking here is the arrogance that claims to be good enough to judge the next person. When we have such a high opinion of ourselves that we think we can take God’s place as judge, we have forgotten something. There is room on the judgment seat for only one, and He fills the position quite well. James says that to attempt to judge others, or to tear them down, we are living as if God doesn’t matter.<br />
  21. 21. And if you want to know what God thinks of those who live as if He doesn’t matter, remember the story of Nadab and Abihu.<br />Assume the authority <br />to direct our life<br />Paul lays out a principle in 1 Corinthians that is critical for us to remember if we are to live our lives facing God. <br />1 Corinthians 6:19 NET Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? <br />
  22. 22. 20For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body. <br />He reminds us “you are not your own… For you were bought at a price.” There is a very important reminder there that our lives are not ours to live. If we accept the gift of grace that God offers through the death of His Son on the cross, we make Him Lord. That is more than just a title for Jesus, that is a relationship. <br />
  23. 23. That means we are not the master of our own destiny, God is. We don’t have the right to set the course of our life, only God does.<br />In verses 13-16 of chapter 4, James attacks the arrogant notion that we control the course of our existence. 13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town and spend a year there and do business and make a profit."<br />
  24. 24. 14 You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes. 15 You ought to say instead, "If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.<br />
  25. 25. Have you ever known anyone who when they are talking about the future will throw in the phrase “Lord willing.” Does it sometimes bother you when they say that? Do you think it is kind of snobbish. Like “look how spiritual I am that I am always thinking about if the Lord is willing or not.” You know what I mean. The next time you hear it said think about it this way.<br />
  26. 26. It’s not them who was being snobbish. You don’t know what their motive is for using that phrase (remember you’re not supposed to judge that are you?) More than likely they weren’t using that phrase for your benefit at all. I don’t think James is telling us to be saying “Lord willing, I’ll do this or that.” It seems more as a reminder to yourself. <br />
  27. 27. “Don’t get so sure of yourself that you set the agenda of your life without considering God’s will.” Make sure you include the Lord in your plans.<br />It is wonderful to live under the grace of God. James 4:6 should inspire us, where James says “But he gives greater grace…” What a promise. But there is a tendency to live within God’s grace, and to just forget about it.<br />
  28. 28. It is all too easy to get to the point as a Christian that you start living as if God doesn’t matter. Now of course we would never say that in so many words, but it is easy to do. To become so used to living with the grace of God that we take it for granted.<br />Here is what someone said about the way we tend to think about grace. There is a progression that seems to go along with living in God’s grace and it goes like this.<br />
  29. 29. 1-We Experience Grace: At first we don’t even know about it. The fact that we are able to live and breathe is an act of God’s grace. If the wages of sin is death, as Paul wrote, then every time we sin and are not struck down we experience the merciful grace of God.<br />
  30. 30. 2-We Understand Grace: Somehow we learn about God’s love for us, the nature of our sin. We come to learn that Jesus died to set us free from the consequences of our sin. Once we understand God’s wonderful grace, we can choose to accept or reject it.<br />
  31. 31. 3-We Are Embarrassed By Grace: There is a time after we come to understand how wonderful God’s grace is, that we become overwhelmed, even embarrassed by it. We know we don’t deserve it, and we can’t believe that God loves us that much.<br />4-We Become Accustomed To Grace: We get over the embarrassment after a while, and we begin to live our lives as people who are content in our salvation.<br />
  32. 32. 5-We Grow To Expect Grace: It is very easy, if we aren’t careful, to slip into a point where we think that God’s grace and mercy are expected on our behalf. We forget how fortunate we are that God is so good, and how undeserving of His grace we are.<br />
  33. 33. 6-We Think We Deserve Grace: The height of arrogance happens when we come to believe that God’s grace is our birthright. If we aren’t on our guard, we can become so complacent with our salvation by Grace in Jesus Christ that we think we deserve it. <br />There is a tendency for those of us who have been Christians for a long time to move along that progression to the point that we forget to be thankful.<br />
  34. 34. We start to live as if God doesn’t matter. We fail to be thankful for the grace filled God who offers us eternal life when the only thing that we have earned is eternal punishment. If somebody doesn’t come along and point out what we are doing, problems develop.<br />We start developing a judgmental spirit. Nobody or nothing is ever good enough.<br />
  35. 35. We forget who sets the course of our life. We take control of the reigns of our life and refuse to give them back to God.<br />The joy of our faith shrivels up and becomes the drudgery of religion. Worship becomes a ritual instead of a revival. Commitment to serve becomes something to be avoided rather than something to be sought out. The faith that God intended to power us through this life can become a burden that weighs us down, if we forget to live as if God matters.<br />
  36. 36. To reverse that progression, here are 2 things we can do.<br />1. Find someone who you would tend to judge, and make contact in order to build them up. Offer them the grace that God offers them.<br />2. In the next week, when you are planning something, big or small, drop that little phrase into your sentence. “Next week, Lord willing, I’m going to...” And really mean it!<br />
  37. 37. Remind yourself who holds you in the palm of His hand, and live your life every day facing God. <br />Don’t ever forget what it means to Live As If God Matters!<br />In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us that once we come to recognize the mercy and grace of God, everything in our life can become an act of worship.<br />
  38. 38. Romans 12:1 NET Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice — alive, holy, and pleasing to God — which is your reasonable service.<br /> If you’ve really come to understand God’s grace, you can’t help but live a life responding to Him out of love.<br />