A seven-point sermon

The scripture [James 4:7-12, NLT] set for reading and meditation contains important advice which all Christians must act upon. Selwyn does a great job in listing the relevant points for us. (Four points in today’s study, and tomorrow, he looks at the remaining three.)

First off, the verses: “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge (in regard to their spiritual relationship with God) each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? [Again, James is referring to judgments concerning a person’s salvation – we must make judgments about actions but we should never make judgments about the spiritual status of a person – there is a huge difference!] 

These are the first four points which Selwyn deals with: “The first one is this: submit yourself (100%) to God. This means placing your life completely under God’s control – letting Jesus be your Saviour and Lord. [It’s a full 24 x 7 relationship – not something we reserve for a Sunday.] The second command is: resist the devil. [We can’t resist the devil by using our own power – the only way is to call on Jesus for His help; and, the Holy Spirit will provide the appropriate Word(s).]

The third is: draw near to God. This means spending time with Him in personal prayer, praise, worship and meditation on His Word.

The fourth is: cleanse and purify yourself. This involves confession of any known sin, putting right any wrongs, and making sure that every violation of Scripture has been corrected, It means also taking a definite decision ” to purposefully keep our lives free from sin –  that must be our aim, even if we fail from time to time.

The fourth point above, is one, where many Christians appear to lose their way. Jesus loves us too much to leave us as He found us – a slave to sin. He wants us to be free from the destructive forces of our sinful nature – to be transformed fully into His image, as we follow Him. Do you agree?