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June 19, 2016

"DRAWING NIGH TO GOD"

TEXT: James 4:  1-12
READING:
 Isaiah 55:  1-13

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SUBJ: Desiring and obtaining a nearness to God wherein there is fruitful interaction and praise unto our God is an essential of our life.

AIM: That we may discover that happiness and peace known only in closeness to God and in prompt submission and obedience.

INTR: The opening words of this chapter are very searching and accusatory and that as we consider that these words were written to believers primarily.
1. The terms used would have been well-known and the consequences understood by the Jewish Christians to whom James wrote.
2. We are to understand them as being applied in a spiritual sense in that address departures from the order and relationships defined in Christ.
3. The terminology in verse 4 is particularly harsh, but also clearly explanatory of the condition addressed – Friendship with the world sets one at odds with God

THESIS: There is no middle ground for the Christian. We are either near to God or we are cut off from fellowship with Him which is a miserable state for one with true Spiritual sensitivity.

I. The necessity in drawing nigh to God (vv. 5-7)
1. In verse 7 we find the ubiquitous therefore and would learn of it placement.
2. The statement in verse 5 presents difficulty to many in that it seems to refer to a particular reference and there is none matching it to be found.
1) It would seem rather that the thought to the “scripture saying” is a reference to that which is generally understood as to the veracity of the Word as well as its authority.
2) We would parallel it with such thoughts that connect to the ministry of the Spirit as being holiness in the believer and therefore is capable of being grieved.
3. James has in view the things preceding, but looks to the intervention of grace as connecting with a conscious action by true believers.
1) Here there is a direct quote: Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. Proverbs 3:34 (Consider the automatic door that seems difficult, but responds easily to a touch when the need is acknowledged by pushing the button)
2) We find here another couplet as to the extremes of God’s dealings with men – Resists the one while providing grace to the other.
4. Thus, comes the mandate to that gives rise to another couplet: Submit and Resist
1) Submit:
i. In obedience to the faith of God’s elect – Here we consider the whole of the work of Christ in the provision of redemption and note that if that was required, we had nothing to offer and so we submit to provision
ii. In obedience bowing to the sovereignty of God as to He will control our lives and
iii. In receiving, with joy, the life provided for us as we walk in the Spirit and make no provision for the flesh.
2) Resist the devil
i. A mandate with a guarantee of success
ii. We resist by prayer (Satan can do nothing with a saint on his knees
iii. We resist with the Word of God – the example of Christ: “man shall not live by bread alone but be every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God…”
iv. We put on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesian 6 and thus stand!

II. The commandment to draw nigh (vv. 8-9)
1. See: Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 1:3. AND Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. Lamentations 3:57
2. Lenski observed that “This is said to Christians who are to flee to God by repentance and faith, who will then always find Him drawing near to them in grace, pardon and protection.
1) We are reminded of the Prodigal Son and the reception of the Father!
2) There is manifested in the Scripture a desire in God to be near His people (That where I am there ye may be also…) and they to be near to Him – Job crying “O that I knew where I might find Him.”
3. John Gill wrote: “…they draw nigh unto Him when they come to the throne of His grace, for grace and mercy to help them; when they draw near to Him in prayer with true hears, and lift them up with their hands to God; when in the exercise of faith and hope their enter within the vail and come up even to His seat; and lay hold on Him as their covenant God and Father; and He draws nigh to them by granting them His precious presence, by communicating His love to them, by applying the blessings of His grace, by helping them in times of need and distress, and by protecting them from their enemies…”
4. We dare not come in a way of presumption being forgetful of His holiness and yet knowing that we are bidden to come:
1) As to the clean hands and pure hearts: Hands refer to outward actions and deeds and hearts address the seat of our will and affections. “Blessed are the pure in heart…”
2) Consider 3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalms 24:3-4.
3) And be reminded that: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8.
5. Verse 9 is a clarion call to repentance (also, the means of resisting the devil)
1) Which at first seems to counter the words of Paul in Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4 and James in My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:2.
2) The issue here is the source of laughter and joy as being connected to worldliness and so we are reminded of the strong words of verse 4; SIN SEPARATED, REPENTANCE RESTORES.

III. The outcome of drawing nigh (v. 10)
1. The sight of the Lord will indeed humble us and so we are bidden to act accordingly!
2. Consider: For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
3. The result is full restoration to the benefits: “Righteous and Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit
4. It is being brought realize and know the presence of the Lord, and the status of being the beneficiaries of such Love that we are called the Sons of God.
5. It is cold, threatening and hostile in the friendships of this world – Draw nigh to God and He will draw gloriously nigh to you.