V. Instrucion on Humility. 4:1-5:6
1. Revealed the problem. James 4:1a
2. Recognized the cause. James 4:1-5
3. Recommended the solution. James 4:6-10
B. Criticism of the brethren. 4:11,12
Pride can raise our estimation of ourselves and our abilities, while we look down on others, we raise our –
C. Confidence in self. 4:13-17
We should be aware that men have the potential to accomplish great things on their own –
Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
But James warns us of this self confidence that leads to –
1. Predictions of success in our own strength. 4:13
Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
2. Presumptuous attitudes. 4:14,15
a. Man has little control over any of that which he is dependent on for success! 4:14
(health, natural elements, demand for product, public acceptance)
b. Man should rely on the leadership and blessing of God. 4:15
3. Pride. 4:16
a. The evil inclination of man-
The religious and government leaders in Israel –
Isaiah 56:10-12 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
They had no fear of God and no expectation of judgment! Even after God’s judgment fell on them and they were carried away to a strange land by the Chaldeans, many of them refused to repent –
Jeremiah 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
It is amazing how pride can lead one into the depths of depravity “I am worthy to make my own decisions and what right do you have to judge me?”
God has always rebuked man’s pride –
b. Examples from Scripture –
1). Refer to Luke 12 (this man’s greatest failure was in his success)
Luke 12:15-20 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
We have examples from two men who loved God which reminds us that any of us are capable of this sin of pride –
2). Hezekiah boasted of God’s blessings on his life and set himself up to fail –
2 Chronicles 32:24-25 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
3). Josiah boasted (by his actions) of God’s favour and paid with the loss of his life.
c. Examples from recent history. Men boast of their achievements
1). The Titanic – the ship that could not sink!
2). The British R101 dirigible disaster in 1930. Flying from England to India, made it to France and crashed with the loss of 48 lives. The R101 was a government project with the intention of impressing the world with British innovation and power.
d. Exhortations to humility.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
4. Practical application. James 4:17
a. Seek the Lord’s guidance.
b. Submit to the Lord’s guidance.
Remember the consequences that the Israelites endured in their disobedience to God’s will.
Numbers chapter 14
James’ warning of these characteristics – covetousness, criticism, confidence in self, concludes with the –
D. Condemnation of the ungodly rich. 5:1-6 (trust in riches) –
Which we will see next week. Today we need to examine ourselves and use the measure provided by James to determine whether we are trusting in God or trusting in self!