Saturday, November 09, 2013

James 4:1 – 10
The failure of desire

“Carving” – Greek word for (unrestrained) gratification.  Natural or sinful. (Hedonism – philosophy that the pursuit of pleasure or happiness is the highest good.)

Problem: Christian hedonism.  We do things to feel good, pleasure, happiness… unaccepting of pain.  Mistake emotion and energy for truth.

I.             The symptoms of this crisis of desire.
                A.            Fighting:
                                1.            [v 1] Internal battle.
                                                a.            Romans 7:15:  I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t                                                                   do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate.
                                                b.            Romans 7:19: I don’t do the good that I want to do, but I do                                                                    the evil that I don’t want to do.
                                                c.             Romans 7:24:  I’m a miserable human being. Who will                                                                              deliver me from this dead corpse?
                                                d.            Psychologist call this “cognitive dissonance” (the                                                                                            difference/tension between what we believe and how we                                                                              live our life)  “Action changes belief.”
                                2.            [v 2] External battle.
                                                a.            Insist on our own way/will – opposed to someone else.
                                                b.            Become angry – anger is considered “sincere” in American                                                                            society – it means we get what we want.
                                3.            RESULTS:
                                                a.            We can become bitter – deep, nagging, unconscious anger.
                                                b.            Prayer is replaced by effort.
                B.            Selfishness [v 3]:
                                1.            Wrong motives (NIV)…
                                                a.            Literally “evil intentions” (in character, influence, effect)              
                                                b.            1 John 2:15 – 16: Don’t love the world or the things in the                                                                        world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is                                                                        not in them. 16 Everything that is in the world—the craving                                                                    for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the                                                                       eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is                                                                          not of the Father but is of the world.
                                2.            Pleasures (lust/desire/craving)
                                3.            RESULT:
                                                a.            Prayer is rejected
                                                b.            God does not grant the request
                C.            World likeness (“worldly”)
                                1.            [v 4] A friendship with the world:
                                                a.            James calls this an adulterous relationship: “unfaithful”
                                                b.            It makes us an “enemy” of God.  [Back to our condition                                                                               before we were saved, see Romans 5]
                                2.            [v 6] Pride is the root.
                                                a.            Opposed to God?
                                                b.            Opposed by God.

II.            Strategies to curb desire.
                A.            Know what the real battle is… spiritual warfare [v 7]
                                1.            Submit to God
                                                a.            Acknowledge (confess and repent) sin.
                                                b.            Accept the gift of Jesus shed blood on the cross.
                                                c.             Actually obey, don’t pretend.
                                2.            Resist the devil
                                                a.            Military term – “to arrange in battle against”
                                                b.            To take up battle position against the devil.
                                                                1.)           Recognize where the battle is:
REALITY: we spend too much time distracted and too much energy wasted on each other.
Ephesians 6:12: We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.
                B.            Clean up your act. [v 8]
                                1.            Come near to God… TO DO
                                                a.            Our responsibility is to cooperate with God.
                                                b.            Basic things to do:
                                                                1.)           Read/study the Bible
                                                                2.)           Pray
                                                                3.)           Attend church
                                2.            Wash/purify: TO GET RID OF
                                                a.            Our responsibility is to cooperate with God.
                                                b.            Basic things we can do:
                                                                1.)           Consider your environment (distractions and temptations)
                                                                2.)           Is there something you cannot do without? (it’s called an                                                                                             “addiction” and most of them are not healthy.)
                C.            Humble yourself [vv 9 – 10]
                                1.            The idea of humble = to agree with God.
                                                a.            We agree that God is God and we are not.
                                                b.            We understand our place…
                                                c.             We consider others.
                                2.            The idea of grieve = genuine sorrow and need.
                                                a.            Literally James is asking us to “be distressed.”
                                                b.            This happens when we put things into perspective.
REALITY: When we are not grateful we think we deserve more.  (We put Thanksgiving before Christmas so we can acknowledge the source of the gifts we receive.)

III.           The rewards of conquering desire.
                A.            We feel peace.
                                1.            We stop fighting with ourselves and each other and do real battle with the                                                          enemy.
                                2.            We endure fewer self-inflicted, strife induced problems.
                                3.            We enjoy more victories.
                B.            We feel “clean.”
                                1.            Doing God’s will/work brings satisfaction.
                                2.            Avoid weakening ourselves with conflict’s style:
(ill) Think of monkeys as cares/anxieties/desires.  Monkeys need to be fed or they die and rot and stink.  Monkeys that are fed become big ugly gorillas.  Gorillas have their way… we feel dirty, ugly, guilty, empty, without energy.

                C.            God will lift you up
                                1.            Freeing to know God will take care of business.  (The monkeys)
                                2.            Relieves stress to let God do what God does.

                                3.            Glorious seeing prayer answered.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Genesis 3 Toxic sin and the detoxification from sin.

Genesis 3  
Toxic sin and the detoxification from sin.

Wesley’s progression of thought on the events of “the Fall:” 1.) Unbelief begot pride 2.) Pride begot self-will 3.) Self-will begot foolish desires.

When Adam sinned, “the life of God was extinguished in his soul.”  The human moral image is lost, rendering humankind no longer “capable of God” (able to know love and obey God as we were designed to do).  Thus we become dead to God.  Our refusal to return God’s love is at the heart of Wesley’s description of the fall of humanity into sin.

I.             The Temptation:

                A.            Satan questions the Word of God (“Did God really say…?”) [v 1]

1.                   Notice that Satan MISQUOTES God.

2.                   This misquote is an EXAGERATION.

3.                   This exaggeration REFRAMES God’s intention from freedom to restriction.

4.                   Casting God as someone who wishes to restrict, Satan claims God is UNREASONABLE.

*****The power of doubt is the destruction of belief. ***** [me]

B.            Satan contradicts the Word of God.

1.                   LIE: No you will not die. [v 4] (Challenge to God’s authority to do what is said.)

2.                   LIE: God is keeping something good from you. [v 5] (Challenge to God’s character as wanting the best for us.)

C.            Mistakes in dealing with temptation.

1.            Eve talked to Satan.  (Notice Adam did not… becomes a passive player in the story.)

                        2.            Eve misquotes the Word of God. (Notice Adam did not correct her.)

                        3.            They believed Satan.  (Unbelief is not believing God… believing Satan.)

II.            The desires:

                A.            [v 6] The eyes: Eve saw the tree and fruit was beautiful.)

                        1.            The eyes are a problem because what you see is not always what it is…

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” [2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV, ESV, etc.]

                        2.            This got Eve’s imagination and feelings going…

            3.            Doubt of God’s Word leads to a disregard. 

*****The power of disregarding belief is the destruction of trust. *****

(The lack of trust creates false sense independence.  This false independence is PRIDE.)

                B.            [v 6] The flesh: Eve thought the fruit would taste delicious.

1.            Once the eyes touched the imagination then the passions of the body were set in motion.

2.            Interesting that sin started with eating… God’s response was also in eating (The Lord’s Supper).

C.            [v 6] The desire: Eve’s self-will kicked into gear.

                       1.            We see this foolish desire moved her to action.

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.” [Proverbs 4:23 CEV]
·         “Thoughts”… typically translated “heart” meaning what is the kernel, the center, the substance of the person.

·         Not the physical heart… it is the ethical, moral, emotional, intellect place were decisions are made.

2.            Our desires measure the heart:  Want to know what’s in the heart?  Check the DESIRES.

***** The power of desire is the destruction of reality. ***** (me)

III.           The Consequences:
A.            Self-determination to find happiness in our hands.

                1.            Notice there is a direct correlation between becoming unholy and unhappy.
                2.            Degradation, slavery, and ruin of the soul in sin.
                3.            General discontent… (e.g. complaining)

B.            Separation from God (“spiritual death”) and from each other.

                1.            [v 7] Shame from being naked.
                2.            [v 7] Attempted to cover themselves… unsuccessfully.
                3.            [v 8] They hid from God.
                4.            [v 10] They became afraid of God.

C.            Straight- out refused responsibility by blaming someone else.

                1.            [v 12] Adam blames the woman (who was a gift of God… blaming God).
                2.            [v 13] Eve blames the woman (“tricked me”)

D.            Sin’s curse is pronounced.

                1.            To Satan: crawl and eat dust [v 14], contempt and total failure [v 15]
                2.            To Eve: painful pregnancy [v 16], ruled by men [v 16]
                3.            To Adam:  struggle to survive [v 17], physical death [v 19]

***** The power of a reality broken by sin is the destroying pain of every kind. ***** (me)

IV.          Salvation is offered.

A.            Satan would be crushed by the “seed of the woman.” [v 15] 

1.            “Proto-evangelical”
2.            Jesus, born of a virgin… crucified (heal) but resurrected and returning (head).

B.          God clothed them in leather [v 21].  

1.            The first death they had seen.
2.            This became the foundation for the “blood sacrifice” to atone [meaning “cover”] for sin.)
3.            BECAUCE the consequence of sin is death (spiritual and physical) then the redemption of sin would also be death (the blood of Jesus).

“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”  [Hebrews 9:22b ESV]

C.            God drove them out of Eden [v 24].  

1.            The irreversible loss of Eden puts in us the feeling this world is broken and unnatural.  (It’s why we ask “why?” when something bad happens.)
2.            The desire is to find or make Eden on earth… which is not possible since only God could create Eden.
3.            So we live with this uneasy discord between the unlimited potential of what we were created to be and the reality of the grip and slavery to sin.  (Death is a mercy in dealing with that life-long frustration.)
4.            This should motivate us to seek salvation from sin (consequences and power) in Jesus (who happens to be “the Word.”).
5.            It’s here we discover that our potential is fulfilled in being loved by God and loving God back (no matter how imperfect our love may be).

***** The power of God’s love, demonstrated on the cross, is the destroying of sin’s control of our daily lives, our eternal destiny, our current potential. ***** (me)