CHAPTER FOUR (4:1-5:12)

"The Six Tests of Faith"
based on an outline by D. Edmond Hiebert, found in "The Unifying Theme of the Epistle of James," Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 135, #539

J. Deering,

TEST NUMBER FIVE: James 4:1-5:12

4:1  What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2  You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. 

The source of your unhappiness and disappointment with life comes from your own distorted expectations (the World) and desires (The Flesh). Certainly not from God. 

You do not have because you do not ask. 3  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 

Better, "You spend your pleasures seeking things you do not ask for." (i.e., you would not ask God for that person or thing you should not have, the things you have the wrong motives for having, but you pleasure in seeking them). 

4  You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 


5  Or do you think that (Imperative: You, don't think that ... ) the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? 

The Trinity JEALOUSLY desires each other. James reminds of that the Father so loves the Holy Spirit that the Father will act jealously when you embarrass, harm, or hurt the Holy Spirit (or His reputation) as He indwells YOU. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul says: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 

Paul, writing later than James, states the same thing. You no longer belong to you, you belong to Him. The Holy Spirit dwells in the Temple which is now YOU: therefore GLORIFY GOD. 

6       But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." 

You now have a special relationship to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit You Belong to God. Because of this relationship God gives GRACE to you that is different from the grace he gives to the world in general. Ought you to SCORN the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, now that you no longer belong to them and begin to ACT as those bought-out from them? 

Proverbs 3:34 "Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly." 

Matthew 23:12 "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." 

7       Submit (Imperative: You, be subject ... ) therefore to God. Resist (Imperative: You, oppose ... ) the devil and he will flee from you. 8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 


If I had written 7b and 8 I would have reversed the order. "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you, and as you resist the devil he will flee from you." BECAUSE GOD HAS DRAWN NEAR TO YOU not because you have some special power over the Devil he would destroy you if it were not for God drawing near. 

Cleanse (Imperative: You, clean ...) your hands, you sinners; and purify (Imperative: You, purify ... ) your hearts, you double-minded. 9  Be miserable (Imperative: You, be distressed ... ) and mourn (Imperative: You, Mourn ... ) and weep (Imperative: You, weep ... ) ; let (Imperative: You, do not hinder ... ) your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. 

Still speaking to believers here. We are sinners, but if you are a believer and you are caught up in sin Cleans your hands. If you are a believer and you are double minded: God/Flesh, God/World, God/Devil KNOW IT, and be miserable and mourn and weep UNTIL YOU ARE RIGHT WITH HIM, May all your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom UNTIL YOU ARE RIGHT WITH HIM. 

10  Humble (Imperative: You, humble ... ) yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Not when you go into His presence, the believer is always in His presence therefore always be humble and allow Him to exalt you. 

11  Do not speak against one another, (IMPERATIVE: YOU, DO NOT SPEAK AGAINST ONE ANOTHER!) brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it. 12  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? 


Dealing With The Critical Spirit

 Who has the Right to Judge? 

1.     Genesis 18:25
        Shall not THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH deal justly?
2.     Job 9:24
        HE covered the faces of the judges.
3.     Psalm 50:6
4.     Psalm 75:7
        GOD IS JUDGE, He puts down one and exalts another.
5.     Psalm 9:8
        HE SHALL JUDGE the World in Righteousness.
6.     Psalm 96:10
        HE SHALL JUDGE with Equity.
7.     Psalm 135:14
        HE SHALL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE and have compassion.
8.     Isaiah 33:22
9.     John 12:47
        I came NOT to Judge the world (Jesus earthly ministry).
10.    Acts 10:42
        APPOINTED AS THE JUDGE of the quick and the dead.
11.    1 Corinthians 4:4
        But he that Judges me is THE LORD.
12.    2 Timothy 4:8
13.    Hebrews 12:23

Shall I Be Judged?

1.     1 Samuel 2:25
        If one man sin, the judge shall MEDIATE for him.
2.     Psalm 26:1
        JUDGE ME
3.     Psalm 35:24
        JUDGE ME
4.     Lamentations 3:59
        THOU has seen my unrighteousness.
5.     1 Corinthians 11:31
        "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."
6.     James 2:12
        Judged by the LAW OF LIBERTY.

What does the New Testament have to say about Judging Others?

1.     Matthew 7:1-5
        JUDGE NOT
2.     Luke 6:37
        JUDGE NOT
3.     John 7:24
        JUDGE NOT by appearance
4.     Acts 7:27
5.     Acts 7:35
6.     1 Corinthians 2:15
        He that is SPIRITUAL judges all things.
7.     1 Corinthians 11:31
8.     Colossians 2:16
9.     James 4:11-12
        He who Judges his brother, JUDGES THE LAW!
10.    James 5:9
        DON'T JUDGE, The Judge standeth at the door.
11.    2 Chronicles 19:6
        Ye JUDGE NOT for men but for the Lord.
12.    Romans 2:1
        Of man WHO JUDGES?
13.    Romans 14:4
14.    Romans 14:10
15.    Romans 14:13


13  Come (Imperative: You, come [bring your attention to] ... ) now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15  Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that." 16  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17  Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. 

Declaring what we will do or have tomorrow is in direct defiance of God's authority. James calls this "BOASTING IN YOUR ARROGANCE," and it is EVIL. 

5:1  Come (Imperative: You, come [bring your attention to] ... ) now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2  Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3  Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4  Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5  You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6  You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. 

In the middle of James' teaching he takes the opportunity to address unsaved Jews specifically. During the introduction of the Book of James we noted that this letter was written specifically to the new Jewish Church of Jesus Christ. A church that had a large number of unsaved Jews still in its congregation. Some were seeking Christ, some were intruders, some were just carried away with this new movement. His message is to the saved, and the unsaved in hope of getting the saved to grow and the unsaved saved. While it is not Hell-fire and brimstone, it is harsh and lays at their feet the death of Christ, His condemnation by the Jewish Nation, and the fact that He fulfills the Old Testament prophecies concerning "He opens not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)

The Results of This Test: 7-12
7  Be patient (Imperative: You, be Longsuffering ... ), therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8  You too be patient; strengthen (Imperative: You, establish ... ) your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

As James still addresses this Test of Faith concerning the World and the Flesh, he calls believers to be patient. As Jesus said, "The fields are white unto harvest." So James encourages this new church to be patient, continue to Grow Up in the Lord, continue to "till the soil, sew the seed, water and care for the field" amongst the Jews, for the harvest will come, and He will come with it! 

9  Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 

Loose Your Critical Spirit! DON'T JUDGE, DON'T JUDGE, DON'T JUDGE! 

10  As an example (Imperative: You, take this example), brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11  Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. 

The Lord is full of Compassions and is merciful. What a wonderful message to a church that is struggling to make the transition from Judaism to Christianity. Yes the days are long and hard. Yes there is persecution and tribulations but those who endure, are counted as blessed. Yes, you can give up and still be saved but He calls us to ENDURANCE, for His Name's Sake.  

12  But above all, my brethren, do not swear (Imperative: You, don't swear), either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let (Imperative: You, do not hinder your yes ... ) your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment. 

One final note in this section You can promise NOTHING in your own strength. No matter how humanly powerful you may be ONLY THAT WHICH THE LORD WILLS WILL HAPPEN. Don't fall into the trap of making promises and swearing upon it. If that promise is not according to the Will of God it won't be fulfilled, and then you will be judged as someone who makes promises and breaks them. "God Willing!"