638 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 54 - James Prepares His Flock - Part 2

638: James Prepares His Flock – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 54

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 54

James Prepares His Flock – Part 2

James 3:7 – 5:20

Okay, let’s go back where we left off in the last lesson in James chapter 4. And, remember, James is written to the Twelve tribes scattered. (Acts 8:1) So it is primarily Jewish. Andthere’s no Church language in here. James doesn’t make one single reference to the blood of Christ, how that it was shed for the sins of mankind – or to Christ’s glorious resurrection, all of which we must believe for our salvation here in the Church Age. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)

Again, James is probably the earliest New Testament book written. Maybe Matthew preceded it but all of these little Jewish books, I think, were written early on before they had an understanding of the doctrines revealed later to Paul. So, we’re going to be comparing, as we finish the little book of James and go on into I Peter, how it is so completely different (not contradictory) from what Paul writes to us as Gentiles; compared to what James and Peter and John wrote to those Jewish believers coming out of Christ’s earthly ministry. So always keep that in mind. All right, so James chapter 4, remembering now that he’s writing to Jewish believers probably scattered in the area of what we call Turkey. And he says in verse 4:

James 4:4

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses,.…” My, does that sound familiar? You know I said, when we began the study of James and Peter and John, that you’re going to find a lot of likenesses with the Four Gospels and Jesus addressing the Jews in His earthly ministry. Well, here’s one of them. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus referred to with the Jews in their wickedness.

James 4:4b

“…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is (what?) the enemy of God.”

Now let’s see how, again, Paul puts it. We’re going to be comparing back and forth because I think that’s the best way to see the vast differences in what we call the doctrines of Paul for us as Gentiles believers – as over against what the writers in the little Jewish epistles are saying. Come back with me to Romans chapter 8 and we might as well start at verse 5.

Romans 8:5-7

“For they that are after the flesh (the Old Adam) do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit (in other words, they’ve become a believer and the Holy Spirit has now indwelt them, they mind) the things of the Spirit. (now here it comes) 6. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The carnally or fleshly minded, just like James says, is enmity against God. The two will not coexist. You cannot have the enemy’s attitude of the world as part and parcel of God. He’ll have nothing of it. You know I think way back when I taught the Book of Romans, probably in chapter 8, I gave a little illustration. If you’re living in a neighborhood of middle class people who have a half-way decent income and your neighbors are all in the same income level as you are and one of your neighbor’s kids comes and he approaches you and says, “Hey, I’d like to have a new bike. Would you buy one for me?” Well, what are you going to say? “Well, you’re not my kid! I don’t have to buy you a bicycle. Go ask your parents. You’re their responsibility, not mine.” Would that be out of the way? Of course not.

Well, you see, it’s the same way with God. The unbelieving world thinks that they can come and treat God like some Santa Claus and beg for whatever they need and expect Him to answer. But no He won’t! In fact, I think I’m on safe ground that God doesn’t hear the requesting prayers of the unbeliever. His ears are totally deaf to that. Now, for salvation, of course, He’s ready and willing to save to the uttermost.

But see, the unbelieving world has got the idea that they can just sort of tweak God’s nose like a Santa Claus and He’ll jump to their rescue. No He won’t. And never forget that. It isn’t until we become a child of God that God beseeches us to come into the throne room with our needs as well as our praise. All right, so reading on now in Romans, chapter 8:

Romans 8:8

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” If they’ve never experienced God’s saving Grace and the indwelling Holy Spirit, they can’t please God. It’s impossible. They might as well quit trying. Of course, the world would get worse than it is, wouldn’t it? And it’s bad enough as it is. But, the unsaved world cannot please God. Now in verse 9, Paul is writing to the believers, and so there he says:

Romans 8:9

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (if not then he is God’s enemy). You’re not under the control of the Old Adam, but rather you’re in the Spirit, and of course here’s the delineating mark – does the Spirit of God dwell in you? Well, I think that makes it plain enough and, to a degree, James and Paul would agree in that area – that the unbelieving heart, following the desires of the flesh are nothing but enemies of God. Now back to James chapter 4 verse 5.

James 4:5

“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” Now he’s not talking about the Holy Spirit – this is a small ‘s’ – and the human makeup is referred to as the human spirit. And so that’s what James is talking about – that the spirit that dwelleth in us, the human nature that we’re born with, “the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.”

Well, of course it does. Now let’s go back again to Romans chapter 7. I didn’t intend to do all this and I guess that’s why I trust the Lord to just give me the verses as we go along because I can work, and work, and work at home and it doesn’t fall together. But when I get up here, here it comes, and we see it all dovetail together.

Romans 7:7

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? (or sinful? Of course not.) God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: (the Mosaic Law) for I had not known lust, (he didn’t really understand that Old Adamic nature’s desire for lustful things. I had not known lust or that it was sinful) except the law (the Mosaic Law, one of the Ten Commandments) had said, (what?) Thou shalt not covet.’”

You cannot break one of the Ten Commandments with out coveting first. That’s always the triggering mechanism for breaking the Commandments is an attitude of coveting. And that’s why it is so preeminent in the life of the unbeliever as you’re seeing in these verses. What causes envying? Coveting. What causes adultery? Coveting. What causes stealing? Coveting. What causes gossip, false witness? Coveting. See, you can just go right down the line. All right, back to James chapter 4. Verse 5 again.

James 4:5-6

“Do ye think the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us (in other words, the Old Adam) lusteth to envy? 6. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Well that’s all well and good, but that’s still not what Paul teaches for us. Now verse 7.

James 4:7

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Well, that’s appropriate up to a point. But you can’t do it in the flesh. The only way we can resist Satan is through the power of the Spirit that dwells within us. Do you see that? And James doesn’t mention that. See, this is all in the energy of the flesh. Now verse 8:

James 4:8a

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you….” Let’s stop there a minute. How many of you know John’s Gospel chapter 3? What did Jesus say about the unbelieving individual? He never seeks God. But, let’s look at what Malachi says in the Old Testament. Go back to Malachi chapter 3 verse 7, and you’ll see this fits perfectly with what James is saying.

Malachi 3:7a

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them….” See, the Jews have always had these kinds of problems, as well as the rest of mankind. We’re not putting the finger on the Jews alone as being guilty but, as God’s covenant people, you would expect more from them. But they were just as guilty as the rest of the world.

Malachi 3:7b

“…Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts….” Well, you see the unto me was left on the backs of the Jewish people, that they were to make the first move and return to God. And if they would make a move to return to God, He, in turn, would (I guess you would say), meet them halfway. But now stop at John’s gospel a moment, chapter 3 starting at verse 19. Now here, I think, the Lord Himself, in His earthly ministry, is telling it like it really is.

John 3:19a

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,.…” And of course, He was speaking of Himself. He was that light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world as we see in John 1:9. Now continuing the verse here.

John 3:19b-21

“…and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

So the point I want to make is that the unsaved person will never seek God. It’s just beyond him. God has to draw a person to Him, but James doesn’t express that. He tells them, “You put forth the effort, you draw nigh to God.”

James 4:8

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Okay, come back to Romans chapter 3 and again look at the vast difference in Paul’s language compared to what we have seen in James. Again, this not contradictory but rather a whole different scenario. Paul is speaking to the Body of Christ, and James is speaking to the believing element of the Nation of Israel. And the Nation of Israel and the Body of Christ are completely different – that’s the way God has separated them. For example, the believing element of the Nation of Israel had believed for their salvation that Jesus was the Son of God, (their Messiah); they had repented of their sins and had been baptized in water. (Matthew 16:16 and Acts 2:38) Whereas, Paul’s Gospel tells the Body of Christ that, for salvation, we must believe in our heart that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead. (I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10)

Romans chapter 3 verse 23, which I always call the first step on the road to salvation. We have to realize, first and foremost, that we’re sinners, and that we are undone, and that we have no reason for God to let us into His Heaven. None.

Romans 3:23-24

“For all have sinned, (every one of us. None of us have escaped the fall precipitated by Adam.) and come short of the glory of God; (now here it starts) Being justified freely (without any effort on our part) by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” See, you aren’t seeing James say anything like this.

Romans 3:25

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith (and faith is not works. Faith is simply trusting what God has said) in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Now verse 26. My, the more I think about this verse, the more I love it.

Romans 3:26a

“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: (not mine, not yours, but rather His righteousness, and what does His righteousness bring about?) that he (God) might be (what?)just,…” What does that mean? Fair. Not cutting any corners. Not asking for bribes; only what is strictly fair and just.

Romans 3:26b

“…and the justifier of him which believeth.…” And in that justness he can justify the person that “tries to do better?” as James says? No. What person? The one who believes!!!

I was just sharing an analogy this morning with our guests from Colorado. Imagine you’re getting on a huge airliner (and Iris and I have been there). You finally find your seat and you sit down and buckle your seat belt. After about two minutes you unbuckle that seat belt, and you barrel all the way up front, find the pilot, and say, “Is this the plane that’s going to such and such a place?”

The pilot says, “Yes, you’re on the right plane, just go sit down and relax.” So you go back to your seat and buckle your seat belt and within five or ten minutes all of a sudden the sweat starts and you go back up to the front and ask again, “Are you sure I’m on the right plane? Is this really going where I want to go?” And again the pilot says, “Yes, just go and sit down and relax.”

Well, you see, that’s what people are constantly doing in the spiritual realm. They’re just trying to establish, am I on the right track? Am I really going to get into God’s Heaven? But you see, Paul makes it so concrete in I Corinthians 15:1-4, that when we trust what is called his Gospel, the Gospel that was given to him for us by the risen Lord, we can sit down and relax! And we don’t have to fret and fume.

Now that doesn’t mean we sit down and not work. Now don’t misunderstand me. We’re not saved to just sit and do nothing, but I’m talking about the assurance of salvation. Once we have trusted that finished work of the Cross, hey – that’s it! There’s nothing more you can do except believe it in your heart! Now that’s simple! But most of Christendom has taken the simple things and complicated it. Unfortunate, but true. You don’t try to do this, and try to do that. You rest in it. And then the Spirit as we saw in the first half-hour, will create in us that nature to do good works.

Back to James again – so the implication here in verse 8 to “Draw nigh to God” is just like He told Israel back in the Old Testament – “draw nigh to Me and then I’ll draw nigh to you.” But under Grace that’s not the situation. God has already extended salvation freely and all we have to do is believe it.

James 4:8b

“…Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; (it’s something that they had to do) and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Now we’re purified by faith in this age of Grace!

James 4:9-10

“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

Don’t lose sight of the fact that these men – James, Pete, and John – are writing to Jewish believers who had not believed for salvation Paul’s Gospel of Grace. Remember all these believers had only believed that Jesus was the Christ – their Messiah they had been waiting for. Now you go way back to Peter’s confession in Matthew 16. You remember what it was, when Peter declared, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” Period. You remember at the death of Lazarus, in John chapter 11, Jesus asked Martha, “Martha do you believe this?” And He had just made reference, of course, to His resurrection. And Martha’s answer was identical to Peter’s. And what’d she say? “Yes, Lord, I believe thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Period. Not a word about death, burial and resurrection. Not a word about the shed blood. They just simply believed that He was the Christ!

Well, take the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts chapter 8 – the same identical words. He says, “Yes, I believe that Jesus was the Christ.” And even old Saul of Tarsus said that right up front, before he had even heard the Gospel of Grace (because it hadn’t been yet been revealed even to him). After he comes out of that Damascus road experience there in Acts chapter 9, he’s got his sight back, he’s been fed, he’s been baptized, all according to the Jewish program. And now he goes to the Synagogue of the Jew and what does he proclaim? “That Jesus was the Christ!” That’s all. But you see, then, God moved him out of Damascus to the backside of the desert and revealed these doctrines of Grace that you and I enjoy today.

But, James is still on that same premise. They are still under the Law, they’re all Jews congregating and, as I pointed out in our introductory programs, they were looking for the Tribulation horrors to be coming in short order. Everything was in view, and we’ll come to that probably sometime yet before the afternoon is over in chapter 5. They were all looking for the Second Coming, but they knew that, before Christ returned, they’d have to go through the seven years of Tribulation. So all of these epistles, James and Peter and John and Jude and Revelation, really, are all preparing these Jewish believers for the pressures and the sorrows and the Tribulation that was just coming in front of them.

Then, you remember, I said that was all interrupted and I’ll show how when we get over there – that was all interrupted and now we’ve come full circle, 2,000 years later – and everything, even though it changes, is still the same. We now have the same scenario. We’re going to have Jewish believers going into and through the horrors of the Tribulation and these little epistles will be their road map. This is what’s going to give them comfort. And we’ll see especially when we get into Peter’s epistles, it’s that constant reminder to them -“you’re going to suffer – you’re going to go through pressure – but don’t despair, God is with you.”

As you read these little Jewish epistles, remember that, at that time (here in the 50’s and 60’s AD, before the Temple is destroyed in 70 AD), they thought the Tribulation was right out in front of them and then would come the 1,000-year Kingdom that is prophesied. But God intervened (interrupted), opened up the timeline for 2,000 years for us in this Age of Grace; but now here we are almost in the same place. Israel is back in the land. The Roman Empire is reappearing there in Western Europe and when my next newsletter comes out, read it, because that’s going to be my main article – how that Western Europe is so rapidly becoming the power that will usurp the world as we go into the Tribulation period of time. But, remember, the Age of Grace, the Body of Christ, will not have to go through this terrible time!

James 4:11a

“Speak not evil one of another, (he’s talking to congregations of Jewish believers who had professed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ) brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the (what?) law, and judgeth the law:…” What’s he talking about? Well, the Mosaic Law and Judaism as they were practicing it. And so they were not to speak evil of the law and judgeth the Law.

James 4:11b

“…but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” Which, of course, they were to be – doers of the Law. But, if instead of that, they’re going to be judges of the law, then they’re on what? Thin ice! Even for those Jewish believers at that time. They were still under the control of the Mosaic System.

637 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 54 - James Prepares His Flock

637: James Prepares His Flock – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 54

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 54

James Prepares His Flock

James 3:7 – 5:20

Let’s get right back into the Book of James, chapter, 3 and we ended with verse 6 the last time we were together, so let’s just go back and take a run at verse 7 by starting with verse 6.

James 3:6

“And the tongue (the physical tongue) is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; it is set on fire of hell.” The tongue is pretty much the beginning of a lot of wickedness, and James is emphasizing that. All right, in the next verse he speaks of everything in nature.

James 3:7

“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:” Now you know what that tells you? I was just thinking about that on the way up here to our taping. I suppose Iris wonders why I’m so quiet, but I’m thinking, thinking, thinking. You know, I just thought of a little cliché in light of this very verse and I think it may come out of the evolutionists – that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” And isn’t that true?

Here we think, that in our modern era, this is the first time that people have been able to tame the wild animals and do all the various things. No. They’ve done it from time immemorial. And so, even James could write that, even at that time already, men were training all of these wild animals for their various circus acts or whatever you want to call it. See, men have always needed to be entertained. That’s what the Coliseums were for, to keep people entertained. So everything is tamed. Now verse 8:

James 3:8

“But the tongue can no man tame; (no one can tame the tongue) it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Now again, I’d better stop right here and remind all of us that James is writing first and foremost, not exclusively, but first and foremost, to Jewish believers, who I feel had been scattered out of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem congregation, by virtue of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution, as we see in Acts chapter 1. I don’t think these are part and parcel of Paul’s congregations whatsoever. I think these are strictly Jews. In fact, remember the last program? It wasn’t the church where these Jewish believers were meeting, it was a Synagogue. And so there’s no Church language in the letters of James and Peter and John – not a word. I went through it all again last night to make sure I was on solid ground when I say this. You cannot find one word of Church or what we call Church – the Age of Grace – language. In other words, there’s no reference to the Body of Christ. There’s no reference to the working and the controlling of the Holy Spirit – as over against the keeping of the Law – and it’s ‘legal.’ It’s like we’re seeing here. It’s not that the Spirit is going to control us, but that they have to go by what James is telling them. So, as you read these little Jewish epistles, remember there is no Grace-Age language in here. You also won’t find the plan of salvation in these Jewish epistles.

Now, just like I said about Hebrews – you can’t go through the Book of Hebrews and find the plan of salvation like you do in Romans or I Corinthians, because it’s just not in there. Because, evidently, these little epistles were written before Paul’s revelations had even become known, and I think that’s the reason for it. But, don’t forget, it’s still Spirit inspired. Of course it is! It’s the Word of God. It’s Scripture. And we can take profit from it, but you don’t come back to these little epistles to find doctrine for us today. It’s merely, like I said the last taping, a lot like Proverbs. See, Proverbs just gives us a lot of tidbits of good things, well that’s exactly what James is doing.

So, he says, “The tongue is on fire from hell.” It’s something that mankind cannot contain. Now, then, we move on into verse 9:

James 3:9a

“Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men,….” Now that doesn’t sound like Christian living to me. But here we have in one verse the tongue that is capable of blessing God; but on the other hand, cursing men. Now Paul would never teach something like that. That’s anathema to us as believers, but here was a problem that evidently was common amongst these Jewish congregations.

Remember, for their salvation, they had to believe that Jesus was the Christ, and they’re still under the Law of Moses. They know nothing of Paul’s Gospel of Grace, or of faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord for salvation. And so, consequently, there are some things in here that almost seem contradictory, but they’re not. They’re not contradictory if you realize the circumstances in which James is dealing or writing. So, he says this to these Jewish people, I think, primarily, in the area of what’s today Turkey – Asia Minor – rather small Jewish congregations, no doubt, and this is one of their problems. They weren’t controlling the tongue. On the one hand, they could bless God, but on the other hand, they could curse fellow men. He said, these men that you’re cursing are just as much created after the likeness of God as anybody else.

Well, what’s he referring to? Genesis 1:26 where God said, “Let us make man in our image.” And that’s what James is alluding to – that even these people that they were bad-mouthing – they’re God’s creatures just as well as you are. And I think this is what we have to realize in light of our global situation today; regardless of who these people are, regardless of the religion they may be practicing, they’re still God’s created beings. And you see, that’s where we, in the Christian community, have a higher regard for life because we realize that mankind is the crowning act of creation. And that’s why mankind is in a special role in God’s eyes. Whether they’re lost or saved, in that regard, makes no difference, they’re still created beings from the Creator Himself. And so this is what James is alluding to.

James 3:9b

“…which are made after the similitude of God.” Whether you curse men, remember, they are still made after the similitude of God. Now verse 10.

James 3:10

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” These people who were blessing God, but on the same hand, could proceed blessing and cursing, these things ought not to be. Granted – any of us know that much, that something’s wrong if you can curse and bless out of the same mouth. All right, read on in verse 11. Here he’s using a comparison from the physical world.

James 3:11-12

“Doth a fountain (a water fountain) send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (out of the same fountain? Impossible.) 12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” It’s impossible. So now the analogy he’s drawing is this – it’s just as ridiculous to try to bless God out of one side of your mouth and curse fellow man on the other.

James 3:13

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his (what?) works with meekness of wisdom.” Now you see, James is a legalist. And he’s going to come back to this idea of good works over and over and over. And it’s almost like a man’s attempt to please God – whereas Paul will just simply say that it’s not of works.

We’d better keep comparing. All right, let’s go back to Ephesians because that’s when you can see it most graphically. Ephesians chapter 2 and drop down to verses 8 through 10 – these are all verses I imagine most of you know from memory. And I just want you to see the comparison. Now it’s not a contradiction. It isn’t like people say, “Well the Bible is just a whole set of contradictions.” No. It’s two sets of circumstances. James is writing from a totally different perspective than Paul is. James knows nothing of the Grace Age, and so it’s not contradictory. You just have to separate it. Look what Paul says here in Ephesians.

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Salvation is not something you earn, it’s something you take as a free gift. Now verse 9:

Ephesians 2:9-10a

“Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we (now as believers) are his (God’s) workmanship,.…” God works a work in us that literally makes us, now, what we are to be as believers – whereas James almost leaves it in the ability of the individual. So verse 10 again:

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. That ‘created’ did not happen until we were saved and enjoyed salvation – then God works a work in us that brings us, as a result of our salvation experience, to practice the good works, “…which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” And over and over throughout Paul’s writings you have that connotation – that works are a result of our salvation and not a part of it. Okay, back to James once again. Verse 13:

James 3:13

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation (or manner of living, a lifestyle) his works with meekness of wisdom.” Now maybe I’m getting overly picky, but I don’t think so. Do you see any reference here to the work of the Holy Spirit? He doesn’t say “Let the Holy Spirit accomplish this in you.” See, now Paul would say that.

Let me show you what I mean by comparison. Turn to Galatians chapter 5 verses 16 through 18, and we’ll probably use it again before we get out of James because this is just a whole different perspective than what James was talking about. Now remember what James just said. “Let him show out of a good manner of life, his works, with meekness of wisdom.” Not a word about the Spirit. Now look what Paul says here in Galatians.

Galatians 5:16-18

“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, (Holy Spirit. It’s capital ‘S’) and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17. For the flesh (that old sin nature) lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Now, James doesn’t use language like that. See the difference? But now Paul says, “If you’re led of the Spirit, you’re not under the Law, because the work of the Spirit has taken the place of the Law.” And then he shows the vast differences between the life of the flesh and the life of the Spirit in these verses. Well, we’ll probably be coming back to it yet a little later today, so we’ll come back to James. But I just like to show these comparisons. What a vast difference in the language in James, the legalist writing to legalistic Jewish congregations, compared to Paul, writing to us in this Age of Grace!

James 3:14

“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” I think the truth he’s really referring to here is how to live a godly life under the Law. The Law gave them all the instructions they needed to avoid these pitfalls.

James 3:15

“This wisdom (that is of bitter envying and strife) descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” See? This wisdom is fleshly, it’s sensual – it feeds on the natural part of man and it’s devilish.

James 3:16

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Isn’t it amazing how sin breeds sin. Families in the world, with all of their alcoholism and their immorality – well, what is the next generation? At least that much or more. And that’s the process – sin breeds more sin. And that’s what the Scripture is saying. Envying and strife will bring confusion and every evil work. Now verse 17, and we see the flipside.

James 3:17a

“But the wisdom that is from above.…” Now James doesn’t say, “The wisdom that comes from the leading of the Spirit” – he merely is showing that God is still in His place of power and influence. But, it’s in a whole different set of circumstances than what Paul gives us in this Age of Grace and the working of the Holy Spirit.

James 3:17

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Well, that’s the two opposites. Either envying, strife, hatred and sensuality; or it can be peace, gentleness, mercy and good works.

James 3:18

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

You want to remember – back when we were earlier in the book of James, I think it was, that he spoke of “religion.” And of course, that’s what his adherents were steeped in. They were steeped in the religion of Judaism and all these things, and he hasn’t departed from that. And, therefore, you see none of the language of this Age of Grace. All right, let’s just move on into chapter 4. The language doesn’t change much.

James 4:1-2a

“From whence come wars and fighting among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2. Ye lust,.…” Doesn’t sound very nice, does it? That’s the life of the person still under the Law. He can’t have victory because he’s not controlled by the Holy Spirit. He’s still trying to do all these good things in the energy of the flesh. So it’s a warfare in the members.

Now let’s go back again to Paul’s letters – let’s go back to Romans chapter 7 and see how Paul treats this very set of circumstances. The same set of circumstances, only Paul’s going to deal with it in a totally different way. Remember, now, James says “that these things are coming from the desires of the old nature that are warring in your members,” – and then verse 2 in James he goes on to remind them that they “lust or they covet.” All right, now then, Romans chapter 7 verses 21 through 24. Paul is now writing to us Gentiles under this Age of Grace:

Romans 7:21-22

“I find then a law, (not the Ten, but a fact of life) that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” In other words, he knew that the Mosaic Law was perfect. Now verse 23.

Romans 7:23a

“But (here’s the verse I came here for) I see another law in my members, (and what’s the word?) warring.…” Just exactly what it means. Conflict. And where there’s conflict, there’s no peace. So here he is in conflict, the old nature trying to keep the Mosaic Law – but on the other hand, he had this law of the Spirit that is attempting to bring him into a life of peace.

Romans 7:23b-24a

“…against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24. O wretched man that I am!….” Oh, he said, “Wretched man that I am.”All right, now we’re going to go back to those verses we just saw in Galatians, and I told you I’d be back in a minute and here we are. Back to Galatians chapter 5, and now we’ve got the same picture. And here I guess is where I picked up the term ‘war’ here in this verse in Romans. For years and years I often wondered where I got it because the word in Galatians is lusteth. But I’ve always, for some reason or other, used the term ‘war,’ and I know it’s because it’s out of Romans 7.

Galatians 5:17

“For the flesh (the Old Adam, the old sin nature) lusteth (warreth) against the Spirit, (the new nature under the control of the Spirit) and the Spirit (warreth) against the flesh: (the Old Adam.) and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” In other words, you can’t just drift. It’s warfare. And warfare takes an expending of energy. And so it’s a daily fight to maintain the directing power of the Holy Spirit as over against the Old Adam. And then again, let me read what we just read a few moments ago in verse 18.

Galatians 5:18

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Law has been crucified. It’s dead. It is no longer a controlling fact in our lives. The Spirit takes over. And then he shows in these following verses all of the things that pertain to the lusts of the flesh. And if anybody ever asks you, “How am I to judge the lifestyle of people?” Line them up with the Scripture. In fact, we again just talked about that the other night in one of my classes. When you go down the fruit and vegetable aisle in your supermarket, do you just grab the first head of lettuce that comes and say, “Well, I can’t judge?” Of course not. You go through that bin and pick out the very best, and if there were some bad ones, you’d leave them. That’s not judging, that’s just being discerning.

Well, you do the same thing with ungodly people. If they’re out there living in immorality and if they’re living in drunkenness and if they’re living in lasciviousness and all the things that are mentioned here – then you have every right in the world to discern – they’re not living godly lives. They’re living the flesh. All right, now you’ve come all the way through that horrible list of activities that is part and parcel of the ungodly person. They can’t be a believer and live like this. And then you come down to verse 22 and you see the discerning of the believer.

Now when you see a person who can practice these things and you see the fruit of it, then you have every right in the world, just by simple discernment. Now I grant you, you can’t judge who’s saved and lost. That goes beyond the human element. But, when you see a person’s lifestyle, you can pretty much line him up with the Scripture and determine what kind of a person he is. Now verse 22 of Galatians 5. And here’s the flipside again.

Galatians 5:22

“But the fruit of the Spirit (The result of the Holy Spirit coming into the life of a believer) is love, …” Look the opposite of love up in verse 21. “Envy.” Love and envy are as opposite as you can get.

Galatians 5:22b

“…joy, peace…” Well, there’s no peace in those actions in verses 19, 20 and 21. It’s anything but peace.

Galatians 5:22c-23

“…longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (trusting God and His Word). 23. Meekness. temperance: against such there is no law.” You can’t find any of that in verses 18, 19 and 20. It’s just two totally difference lifestyles. And then people say that you can’t judge? Well you’d better, or you don’t know the Word of God. And it’s up to us as believers to, if someone is living in that wicked lifestyle, show them the Book! You don’t have to say it in your own language, just show them the Word. “Hey, this is what you’re doing and this is going to be your end.” What does the last part of verse 21 say?

Galatians 5:21b

“…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

That’s what the Book says – not what Les Feldick says. So always be prepared to use the Scriptures. Let the Word of God speak for itself.

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