James 5:7-11 – Patience of the Poor

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Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

The husbandman or farmer

The farmer plants the seed and prepares the soil but doesn’t reap a crop immediately. God sends the rain to water the soil and then comes the harvest. The farmers of those days were dependent on two ‘rains’. The ‘early’ rain came at planting time in October. The ‘latter’ rain came at harvest time in April or May. Without those rains, the farmer had no hope of raising a good crop.

But the farmer couldn’t force it to rain. All he could do was wait for the rains to come. He had to depend on the God who had ordained those rains to send them at the proper time.

Just as the farmer was to be patient, James instructs his audience to be patient. We too must trust God in times where we have no control. We can’t make it rain. But, we can trust God who created rain…to send the rain when the time is right. Until then we must be patient, knowing that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

The judge

Their trials had made some of the Christians critical, and complainers emerged in the church. James reminds them that they are not to judge. Christ, the Judge, is at the door! He hears what is said. He will come quickly and make things right. Murmuring and complaining is a serious sin. If we would remember that Christ is coming, we wouldn’t complain and criticize.

The prophets

James refers these Christians to the OT believers, who suffered yet left their trials with God and won the victory. The prophets suffered when they had done no wrong. They were harshly treated for declaring the word of God.

Think about how these men suffered!  For over forty years, Moses had to endure complaining and grumbling people. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, was thrown into the mud of an empty cistern. Daniel was cast into a lions’ den. Zechariah, sealed his testimony with his blood, as he was put to death in the temple (2 Chr. 24:20–22).

James writes of the prophets to urge his readers to be patient when they themselves were suffering for doing good.

In verse 11, Job is his primary example. Job, was very devoted to the Lord, and very prosperous. The devil came along and suggested that Job was faithful only because he was blessed. If his blessings were removed, his devotion would vanish! The Lord allowed Satan to test Job. So he did! Job lost his family, his health and his possessions. In the end, Job still had his faith, proving the devil wrong.

Writing of Job and ‘seeing the end of the Lord’, James gives a wonderful testament for patience. In Job, ‘the end’ was to show ‘that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy’. By reminding his readers of Job, James was calling them to trust God. They were to have a good purpose even in the midst of circumstances that they didn’t understand.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

2 Peter 1:1-2, Grace and Peace Multiplied

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How can grace and peace be multiplied in life? Peter places emphasis on the knowledge of God. The word know or knowledge is used at least thirteen times in just 3 chapters. Knowledge is more than an intellectual understanding of truths.

2 Peter 1:1-2, Grace and Peace Multiplied

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James 5:4-6 – Misused Wealth

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Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

Depriving workers of their rightful wages

The Old Testament condemns the mistreatment of workers:

Leviticus 19:13 “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.”

Deuteronomy 24:14–15 “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.”

Proverbs 3:27–28 “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, When it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; When thou hast it by thee.”

This would have been taught in their churches, and also to them as children. But some were ignoring those commands.

The rich would not have been hurt by paying the wages. This was not a mandated rate, the rich set their own pay rate and were still not paying. This could have been viewed differently had their government mandated a minimum wage they could not afford. I have been on minimum wage and hoped for more. I have paid out minimum wage and struggled to. They had plenty from which to pay! And wouldn’t.

The workers, who lived from day to day and from hand to mouth, were hurt tremendously by not getting paid. James depicts the seriousness of the matter in terms of two cries going up to God:

  • The first is the cry of the unpaid wages. James pictures the money sitting there in the bank and crying out to because it has not been sent to the workers. That seems silly, money crying. Perhaps James is trying to show how silly they’re holding back the pay is.
  • The second is the cry of the workers themselves. It is the cry of anguish, as they sit down with their families to eat a crust of bread or nothing at all when they could have been eating a decent meal. Nothing plays on the emotions better than a family, with children, going without food.

James then reminds them that these cries do not go unnoticed. They are heard by ‘the Lord of Sabaoth’. The Bible uses many names for God. He is such a glorious being that no one name can do justice to him. The name James uses here means ‘Lord of hosts’. It tells us that God is surrounded by hosts of angelic beings and that he is greater than all of them. He is their Lord.

The God who is greater than all the hosts of heaven is certainly great enough to mete out justice to the cruel wealthy who inflict such pain and misery on their workers!

This leads us to the third misuse of wealth: hoarding, holding back wages, and…

Living in luxury and self-indulgence

Now there is nothing wrong with living in luxury when done honestly. Not too many years ago “indoor plumbing” was a great luxury! Perhaps a better way to put James’ tone here is not so much “living in luxury” as “wallowing in luxury”.

I think of the Rich Man in Luke. Here fared sumptuously every day. While poor Lazarus laid at his gate full of sores wanting just the crumbs from his table. He could have easily fed Lazarus a meal.

Here James is talking about people who use their wealth to pamper themselves while needs are on every hand. Needs that could be easily alleviated by some generosity.  But these people are oblivious to their needs.  Thinking only of themselves and their comfort, they go on buying and buying.

James has a devastating picture for them. “Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.” They are fattening themselves for God’s judgment. A calf eats and eats without realizing that it is fattening itself for the day of slaughter. These wealthy are misusing their wealth and gorging themselves without realizing that there is ‘a day of slaughter’ coming.

They’ve hoarded, withheld pay from the poor, self-indulged instead of helping the poor, and finally…

Murdering the innocent

James tells them they have condemned and killed the just! We shouldn’t picture any of James’s readers going out with swords to murder. James has something far more subtle in mind but just as deadly!

James is referring to judicial “murder”. Taking away the means of making a living. The landowners controlled the courts. The poor without land could not oppose them. They had no way to use the system. So they were helpless. “…and he doth not resist you.” James says by taking away their ability to earn a living you are murdering these just people.

James’s words about murdering the just who are not able to resist make me think about Jesus. Although He was just in every way, He was murdered. And although He had the power to resist, He opened not His mouth. He willingly submitted to unjust treatment so He could provide eternal salvation for sinners.

If we ever conduct business in a “shark”-like way, we will be doing just what James is warning against here. If the only way to the top is to step over someone else, I don’t want to be at the top. If the only way you can do business is by mistreating others, go out of business.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

1 Peter 5:8-14, God will make you perfect

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Resist the Devil’s temptations and trust God for fulfillment.

1 Peter 5:8-14, God will make you perfect

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James 5:1-3 – HOARDERS!

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Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Listen Up

James introduces this chapter with a bit of a warning. He is writing to those with more than they need to live. James doesn’t condemn them for being wealthy. He condemns them for misusing their resources.

Unlike the believing rich in other congregations, these are the wicked wealthy. They profess the Christian faith. They have associated themselves with the church. But their real god is money. Furthermore, their love of money has led them to wrong the poor for more gain.

James writes in what seems like rage. He tells them to “weep and howl” at what is coming. James tells them to go ahead begin repenting as if the judgment has already arrived. Go ahead and repent now instead of waiting. He says that misery would come upon them. He writes to them as “ye rich men” not as “brothers”.

This “misuse” of wealth left James doubting their conversion. Whatever appearance these people had that suggested Christian faith, their actions were so worldly and destructive that the truth about them couldn’t be so. James here is willing to speak to believers as if they were not believers, their actions toward their brothers contradicted their own professed faith.

What does James’ warning mean if these people are still regarded as believers? Were they in danger of missing salvation? No. But they would learn that real believers do not act in the ways he lists ahead. James says, “Listen up…you claim to be saved, but your actions look otherwise.” “Judgment is coming for your actions.  If you are saved you should go ahead and repent and begin to get this right.” 

Your wealth is corrupted

This group was getting “ill-gotten gain” and hoarding it. We will discuss their methods, but just know it wasn’t through hard work it was fraudulent.  Showing their lack of trust in God and further their complete trust in self, riches, things they hoarded. They hoarded: money, clothes, precious pieces. These things are all fine to have. The issue here is twofold:

  • How they got it.
  • What their intentions were: “Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”

James writes to them to say that their “gain” is already beginning to waste away. Riches are corrupted. Garments are moth-eaten. Gold & Silver is cankered.

James was angry: First, due to their trusting riches before God while claiming to be people of faith. Second, especially those in the church, due to their stepping on and over the poor, to continue their gain.

He writes here to say this gain is fading. Right then wealth and possessions were going. It could be that literally, the very things they were working so hard to get were just decaying away. Also, by saying their “wealth is corrupt” James is letting them know that he knows how they obtained it. This type of gain is never permanent.

More likely he was looking ahead. You all are building up great wealth that will do very little for you in eternity. “You have heaped treasure together for the last days.” In fact, due to the corrupt manner in which you’ve gained this wealth, it probably will do very little for you much monger in this life.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility (Part 3)

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God is all-sufficient, cast all upon Him. God cares for you. Cast all your care upon God. Whatever your need today — God is enough.

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

James 4:17 – God’s Will for your Life

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Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Disobeying God’s Will

When we don’t do the good we know to, we sin. We sin when we disobey God’s will. James is saying that those he is writing to know the will of God and are disobeying it. Disobeying God’s will shows even more pride than avoiding it. This says to God, “I know what You want me to do, but I prefer not to do it. I really know more about this than You do!”

Peter wrote of this mentality: “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter 2:21).

If we know God’s will, why would we disobey it? Pride. Man likes to boast that he is the “master of his fate, the captain of his soul.” Man has accomplished so much that he thinks he can do anything. Ignorance of the nature of God’s will. Man acts as though the will of God is something he can accept or reject.

The will of God is not an option; it’s an obligation. We cannot “take it or leave it.” We don’t get to “have it our way.” I know this isn’t popular, but it is the truth. He is Creator, I am the creation. We must obey Him. We will either willingly or unwillingly. He is the Saviour and Lord, we are His children and servants, so we must obey Him.

To disobey the will of God is to invite the chastening of God in our lives.  Many people have the idea that the will of God is a formula for misery. Just the opposite is true! Disobeying the Lord’s will leads to misery.

What happens to Christians who deliberately disobey the known will of God? They are chastened by their loving Father until they submit. God’s chastening is evidence of His love. There is also the danger of losing heavenly rewards.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24–27, Paul compared the believer to a runner in the Greek races. In order to qualify for a crown, he had to obey the rules of the game. If any contestant was found to have disobeyed the rules, he was disqualified and humiliated. The word “castaway” in 1 Corinthians 9:27 does not refer to the loss of salvation, but the loss of reward, “disqualified”. Disobeying God’s will today may not seem a serious thing, but it will appear very serious when the Lord returns and examines our works (Col. 3:22–25).

Obeying God’s Will 

We shouldn’t avoid or disobey God’s will. James says exactly what we should do. We should operate under the pretense, “If the Lord will…” It shouldn’t be “If the Lord will” as just a statement on our lips. It should be “If the Lord will” as the constant attitude of the heart.

What is God’s will?

  • It is God’s will that we yield ourselves to Him (2 Cor 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.)
  • It is God’s will that we avoid immorality (1 Thes 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:)
  • It is God’s will for all Christians to rejoice, pray, and thank God (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.)

Every commandment in the Bible addressed to believers is part of the will of God, and must be obeyed. Of course, God does not call everyone to the same work in life. God does not give us the same gifts and ministry. The will of God is “tailor-made” for each of us!

We must work to have the right attitude toward the will of God. Some people think God’s will is a cold, impersonal machine. God starts it going and it is up to us to keep it functioning smoothly. If we disobey Him in some way, the machine grinds to a halt, and we are out of God’s will for the rest of our lives. God’s will is not a cold, impersonal machine. You do not determine God’s will in some mechanical way, like getting a soda out of a machine.

The will of God is a living relationship between God and the believer. This relationship is not destroyed when the believer disobeys, the Father still deals with His child, even if He must chasten. Rather than looking at the will of God as a cold, impersonal machine, see it as a warm, growing, living body. If something goes wrong with my body, I don’t die: the other parts of the body compensate for it until I get that organ working properly again.

There is pain and weakness; but there isn’t always death. When you and I get out of God’s will, it is not the end. Think about Abraham, Moses, David, or Jonah. You may be thinking, to obey it don’t I have to know God’s will? With an obedient motive, God will reveal His will. In fact, in our obedience God works His will in our life. Asking, “How do I determine God’s will for my life?” may be announcing that you have never really tried to do God’s will.

Start with the things you know to do. Then God will open the way for the next step. You prove by experience what the will of God is. We learn both from successes and failures. We must obey God’s will from the heart.

Have your heart in obeying God’s will. Begin each day with excitement of what may be revealed to you today. Read each passage of scripture joyfully knowing that God is going to speak to you through it. Pray with an expectation of results.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility (Part 2)

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God is mighty to exalt the humble. How can we humble ourselves? Realize your own inefficiency, serve for God’s Glory alone, and trust God.

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Call to Worship for July 21st, 2019

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For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Psalms 61:3

 

Click here to see what is planned for this Sunday including message text, songs for each service, special music, and scriptures associated with our songs!

 

Our special song this week is All Your Anxiety.

 

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.  Psalms 111:1

 Call to Worship is a weekly post to help prepare our hearts for corporate worship in our Sunday morning service. 

 

James 4:13-16, Avoiding God’s Will

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Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

Avoiding God’s Will

James addresses those here who are in business and might discuss their business plans around the church. Based off of James’ writing there is no evidence that they sought the will of God or prayed about these decisions. They measured success in life by worldly gain and successful plans. James wasn’t condemning their business planning, he was concerned because they left God out of it. They may or may not have been in the Will of God, but it is evident that this was not their concern. They were more concerned with life’s affairs than with God’s.

Instead of obeying God’s will or just flat out disobeying it, these folks were just avoiding it. James shows clearly why it is unwise to avoid God’s will:

Life is complex

Think of all that is involved in life: today, tomorrow, buying, selling, getting gain, losing, going here, going there. Life is full of people and places, activities, and goals, days and years. We all make critical decisions every day.  Apart from the will of God, life is a mystery. With Jesus life starts to make sense. The world around you takes on new meaning. You are no longer living in a mysterious, threatening universe. Life is too complex to avoid God’s will.

Life is Uncertain

Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

See how confident they were:

  • “We will go.”
  • “We will continue there a year.”
  • “We will buy and sell and get gain.”

It’s great to make plans, but remember life is uncertain especially outside the will of God. Remember the farmer in the gospels?  He had a great crop one year. He built bigger barns confident in his increase. God said, “Thou fool…tonight thy life will be required of thee.”

Life is not uncertain to God, but it is uncertain to us. Only in His will should we be confident of tomorrow, only there do we know that He is leading us. Life is too uncertain to avoid God’s will.

Life is Brief

Life seems long, but in comparison to eternity, it is just a vapor. Since life is so brief, we cannot afford merely to “spend our lives”. We certainly don’t want to “waste our lives.” We should invest our lives in things eternal.

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Refrain:
Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling.

Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures,
They will never pass away.

Life is too brief to avoid God’s will.

James gives one other warning in this area.

“ye rejoice in your boastings…all such rejoicing is evil…”

James says to those avoiding the will of God:

    • Life is too short to avoid God’s will.
    • Life is too uncertain to avoid God’s will.
    • Life is too complex to avoid God’s will.

Then he concludes this with the warning that if you are still going to avoid God’s will, at least don’t brag about it!

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility (Part 1)

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God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Casting all your care upon Him!

1 Peter 5:5-7, Pride vs. Humility

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Call to Worship for July 14th, 2019

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Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Matthew 6:30

Click here to see what is planned for this Sunday including message text, songs for each service, special music, and scriptures associated with our songs!

 

Our special song this week is He Will Hold Me Fast.

 

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.  Psalms 111:1

 Call to Worship is a weekly post to help prepare our hearts for corporate worship in our Sunday morning service. 

 

Jonah — The Secret

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Summer Bible Conference — Don Savell | Sermon #5 | 7:00 pm | Tuesday July 9, 2019

In this fifth sermon through the book of Jonah, Don Savell speaks of the secret to the revival in Ninevah. Listen to sermon 5 in the series, The revival in Ninevah, titled: The Secret.

Jonah – The Secret

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Jonah — The Schedule

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Summer Bible Conference — Don Savell | Sermon #4 | 7:00 pm | Monday July 8, 2019

In this fourth sermon through the book of Jonah, Don Savell speaks of the schedule attached to the revival in Ninevah. Listen to sermon 4 in the series, The revival in Ninevah, titled: The Schedule.

Jonah – The Schedule

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

James 4:1-12, WAR

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From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

At War with Each Other

What causes fights among Christians?

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).

We should live together in love and harmony. But, sometimes we don’t.

  • Lot caused a quarrel with Abraham (Gen. 13).
  • Absalom created a war for his father David (2 Sam. 13–18).
  • The disciples created problems for Jesus when they argued over who was the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9).

The early churches had their share of disagreements.

  • The members of the Corinthian church were competing with each other in the public meetings, and even suing each other in court (1 Cor. 6:1–8; 14:23–40).
  • The Galatian believers were “biting and devouring” one another (Gal. 5:15).
  • Paul told the Ephesians to have unity (Eph. 4:1–16);
  • The church at Philippi had two women who couldn’t get along with each other (Phil. 4:1–3).

James gives different kinds of disagreements within the church.

  • Respect of persons (James 2)
  • Employment wars (James 5)
  • Church fights over leadership positions(Chap 1 & 3).
  • Personal wars (4:11–12).

The saints were speaking evil of one another and judging one another. Here, again, we see the wrong use of the tongue. Christians are to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15); We are not to speak evil in a spirit of criticism.

It is a sad thing when the saints are at war with each other. Leader against leader, church against church, fellowship against fellowship. The world watches these religious wars. They see the church fight and use this to withstand Christ. Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (Jn 17:21).

But, why were they at war with one another? They belonged to the same family; They trust the same Savior; They were indwelt by the same Holy Spirit—and yet fought one another. Why? James answers this question by explaining the second war that is going on.

At War with Ourselves

What causes fights among Christians? Don’t they come from your lusts that war within you? The war in the heart causes the wars in the church!

One of the bases of sin is selfishness.

  • Eve disobeyed God because she wanted to eat of the tree and become wise like God.
  • Abraham lied about his wife because he selfishly wanted to save his own life (Gen. 12:10–20).
  • Achan caused defeat to Israel because he selfishly took some forbidden loot from the ruins of Jericho (Josh. 7).
  • “We have turned every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).

Religious quarrels are hidden with the disguise of “spirituality.”

  • Miriam and Aaron complained about Moses’ wife but really were envious of Moses’ authority (Num. 12).
  • James and John asked for special thrones in the kingdom, when really they wanted recognition then (Mark 10:35–45).

Selfish desires are dangerous things.

  • They lead to wrong actions (“ye kill, fight and war,”v.2)
  • They lead to wrong praying (“ask and receive not” v.3).

“When our praying is wrong, our whole life is wrong.” The purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth. “Thou shalt not covet” is the last of the 10 Commandments. Its violation can make us break all of the other nine! Covetousness can make a person murder, tell lies, dishonor parents, commit adultery, and in one way or another violate all of God’s moral law.

Selfish living and selfish praying always lead to war. If there is a war on the inside, there will be a war on the outside. People who are at war with themselves because of selfish desires are always unhappy people. They never enjoy life. Instead of being thankful for the blessings they do have, they complain about the blessings they do not have. They cannot get along with other people because they are always envying others for what they have and do. They are always looking for that “magic something” that will change their lives when the real problem is within their own hearts. Many wars would be solved if we would only look into our own hearts and see the battles raging there.

At War with God

The root cause of every war, internal/external, is rebellion against God. At the beginning of Creation there is perfect harmony; but sin came into the world, which led to conflict. Sin is lawlessness and lawlessness is rebellion against God. A believer declares war against God by being friendly with God’s enemies. James names three enemies that we must not friend if we want to be at peace with God.

The world

Abraham was the friend of God (James 2:23); Lot was the friend of the world. Lot ended up in a war, Abraham had to rescue him. We get involved with the world gradually.

  • First, there is “the friendship of the world” (Js 4:4).
  • This leads to being “spotted” by the world (Js 1:27).

Now areas of our lives meet the approval of the world.

  • Friendship leads to loving the world (1 John 2:15–17).
  • This makes it easy to conform to the world (Rm 12:2).
  • The end is being condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32), our souls saved “yet as by fire”. The world is the enemy of God, and a friend of the world cannot be the friend of God. Neither can we befriend flesh, the next enemy in James.

The flesh 

The flesh refers to our old nature. When a sinner yields to Christ, he receives a new nature within, but the old nature is neither removed nor reformed. This leaves a battle within.

James says “your lusts that war in your members.” Living for the flesh means grieving the Holy Spirit of God who lives in us. Just as the world is the enemy of God the Father, so the flesh is the enemy of God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit within jealously guards our relationship to God, and the Spirit is grieved when we sin against God’s love.

Living to please the old nature is declaring war on God. To allow the flesh to control the mind is to lose the blessing of fellowship with God.

  • Abraham had a spiritual mind; he walked with God and enjoyed peace.
  • Lot had a carnal mind; he disobeyed God and experienced war.

The devil 

The world is in conflict with the Father; the flesh fights against the Holy Spirit; the devil opposes the Son of God. Pride is Satan’s great sin, and it is one of his chief weapons in his warfare. God wants us to be humble; Satan wants us to be proud. “Ye shall be as God,” Satan promised Eve, and she believed him. God wants us to depend on His grace (“But He giveth more grace”). The devil wants us to depend on ourselves.

Here, James gives three enemies that want to turn us away from God: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ has delivered us from them, but they still attack us. We can overcome them, James gives us instructions to follow if we would enjoy peace instead of war:

Submit to God

This is a military term for “get in your proper rank.” When a private acts like the general, there is trouble! Surrender is the only way to complete victory. If there is any area of life kept back from God, there will always be battles.

Resist the Devil

He flees like a bully.

Draw nigh to God

We do this by confessing our sins. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” God draws near to us when we deal with the sin in our lives that keep Him at a distance. He will not share us with anyone else; Abraham “drew near” and talked to God about Sodom, Lot moved into Sodom and lost the blessing of God.

Humble yourselves before God

It is possible to submit outwardly and yet not be humbled inwardly. We have a tendency to treat sin too lightly, even to laugh about it. “Sin is serious, a one mark of humility is facing sin and dealing with our disobedience.”

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

Jonah — The Sin of Ninevah

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Summer Bible Conference — Don Savell | Sermon #3 | 6:00 pm | Sunday July 7, 2019

In this third sermon through the book of Jonah, Don Savell speaks of the wickedness of Ninevah coming before God. This is helpful in understanding our own sin and God’s dealing with it. Listen to sermon 3 in the series, The revival in Ninevah, titled: The Sin of Ninevah.

Jonah – The Sin of Ninevah

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Jonah — The Significance of Ninevah

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Summer Bible Conference — Don Savell | Sermon #2 | 11:00 am | Sunday July 7, 2019

In this second sermon through the book of Jonah, Don Savell speaks of how Ninevah was a great city, gentile city, and godless city. Listen to sermon 2 in the series, The revival in Ninevah, titled: The Significance of Ninevah.

Jonah –The Significance of Ninevah

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Jonah — Behold Your God

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Summer Bible Conference — Don Savell | Sermon #1 | 8:30 am | Sunday July 7, 2019

In this first sermon through the book of Jonah, Don Savell brings the focus away from the great fish and Jonah, to properly place it upon God. Listen to sermon 1 in the series, The revival in Ninevah, titled: Behold your God.

Jonah – Behold your God

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org

 

Call to Worship for July 7th, 2019

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Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Psalms 148:1

Click here to see what is planned for this Sunday including message text, songs for each service, special music, and scriptures associated with our songs!

 

Our special song this week is Speak, O Lord.

 

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.  Psalms 111:1

 Call to Worship is a weekly post to help prepare our hearts for corporate worship in our Sunday morning service. 

 

James 3:17-18, Heavenly Wisdom

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But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Heavenly Wisdom

The Origin

True or Heavenly wisdom comes from above. Heavenly or not “man-made” wisdom comes from God. Heavenly Wisdom is the only wisdom that brings lasting success.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

This wisdom from above is in sharp contrast to that which is earthly, sensual, and devilish. What is the Christian’s wisdom? Jesus Christ is our wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:24, 30).

Colossians 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The first step toward true wisdom is the receiving of Jesus Christ as Saviour. The Word of God is also our wisdom. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments… Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations” (Deut. 4:5–6).

The Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15). We find wisdom through believing prayer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” The Holy Spirit of God is “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17) and He directs us in the wisest paths as we trust the Word and pray. This is the origin of Heavenly Wisdom. The origin of true wisdom is God. There is no need to get the wisdom of the world, the wisdom that caters to the flesh and accomplishes the work of the devil. Get wisdom from God!

The Operation

Heavenly wisdom, operates in a different way from the wisdom that is “earthly, sensual, devilish.” They originate from radically different sources. They operate in opposite ways.

Meekness

Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. The meek person does not selfishly assert himself. The Greek word was used for a horse that had been broken so that his power was under control. The meek person seeks only the glory of God and does not cater to the praises of men. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23); it cannot be manufactured by man. Meekness is the right use of power. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.

Pure 

“First pure” indicates the importance of holiness. God is holy; therefore the wisdom from above is pure. The idea behind this word is “chaste, free from defilement.” Heavenly wisdom leads to purity of life.

Peaceable

Earthly wisdom leads to competition, rivalry, and war. Heavenly wisdom leads to peace. It is a peace based on holiness, not on compromise. If the church is pure, devoted to God, then there will be peace. Earthly wisdom says, “Cover up sin! Keep things together!” Heavenly wisdom says, “Confess sin and My peace will keep things together!”

Gentle

Gentle (gentleness) carries the meaning of moderation without compromise, gentleness without weakness. The gentle person does not deliberately cause fights, but neither does he compromise the truth in order to keep peace. Carl Sandburg described Abraham Lincoln as a man of “velvet steel.” That is a good description of gentleness.

Easy to be intreated

Compliant – heavenly wisdom makes the believer agreeable and easy to live with and work with.  Earthly wisdom makes a person hard and stubborn. The compliant person is willing to hear all sides of a question, but he does not compromise his own stance.  He can disagree without being disagreeable. “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”(1:19).

Stubbornness is not conviction. In fact, one who is so stubborn as to not hear all sides is usually not set in their own stance. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is a willingness to listen, think, pray, and obey whatever God reveals.

Full of Mercy

To be “full” of something is to be “controlled by.” The person who follows God’s wisdom is controlled by mercy. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy, He does not give us what we do deserve. Our Lord’s Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates the meaning of mercy (Luke 10:25–37). For a Samaritan to care for a Jewish stranger was an act of mercy. He could gain nothing from it, except the blessing that comes from doing the will of God; and the victim could not pay him back. That is mercy.

Good fruits 

People who are faithful are fruitful. Heavenly wisdom does not make a life empty; it makes it full. The Spirit produces fruit to the glory of God. The lawyer in Luke 10 was willing to discuss the subject of neighborliness, but he was unwilling to be a neighbor and help someone else. God’s wisdom is practical; it changes the life and produces good works to the glory of God.

Without partiality

With earthly wisdom, you are pressured from one side and then another to change your mind or take a new viewpoint. With heavenly wisdom, you need not waver; you can be decisive and not be afraid. Wisdom from above brings strength from above.

Without hypocrisy 

The Greek word translated hypocrite in our New Testament means “one who wears a mask, an actor.” When man’s wisdom is at work, there may be insincerity and pretense. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is openness and honesty, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Wherever you find God’s people pretending and hiding, you can be sure the wisdom of this world is governing their ministry. “Politics in Religion” is an abomination to God. “Faith is living without scheming.” This is the operation of heavenly wisdom, much the opposite of earthly.

The Outcome

James returned to the word, fruit. There is a vast difference between man-made results and God-given fruit. Fruit is the product of life, and fruit has in it the seeds for more fruit. Usually, it is the seed that is sown, but here it is the fruit that is sown. As we share the fruit of God with others, they are fed and satisfied, and they in turn bear fruit. The Christian life is a life of sowing and reaping.

For that matter, every life is a life of sowing and reaping, and we reap just what we sow. The Christian who obeys God’s wisdom sows righteousness, not sin; he sows peace, not war. The life we live enables the Lord to bring righteousness and peace into the lives of others. The outcome of the operation in heavenly wisdom is fruit!

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

Summer Bible Conference 2019

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Summer Bible Conference schedule:

Sunday (July 7) 8:30, 11am, & 6pm / Monday-Wednesday (July 8-10) 7pm

About the Speaker: Don Savell 

The Savells reside in their home state of Mississippi, where through the years, Don Savell has served as pastor of several churches. These include Center Ridge BC of Chunky, Pleasant Ridge BC of Forest, New Zion BC of Walnut Grove, First Baptist Church of Orange Grove, and Arlington BC of Philadelphia, where he served for almost twenty years.

The time span between pastoring and evangelism has been almost equally divided, although he continued to travel and hold many revivals in the years of the pastorate.

Today, Don and Sue Savell reside in Union, Mississippi and are sent out by Salem Baptist Church in Lake, Mississippi where Bro. Larry Duncan is the pastor. Bro. Savell’s ministry of the Word of God is one of exposition, evangelism, and encouragement to those congregations where he is invited to serve. It is their mission to offer hope for the lost and help for the saved as they carry the Word of God into forty-five churches each and every year.

Call to Worship for June 30th, 2019

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O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34:3

Click here to see what is planned for this Sunday including message text, songs for each service, special music, and scriptures associated with our songs!

 

Our special song this week is The Lord Is My Salvation.

 

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.  Psalms 111:1

 Call to Worship is a weekly post to help prepare our hearts for corporate worship in our Sunday morning service. 

 

James 3:13-16, Earthly Wisdom

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Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Power to Destroy: Fire and Poison

The Origin

Earthly wisdom is man-made. Man-made wisdom may seem successful for a time but is destined to fail since it doesn’t come from God. In Genesis 11 the building of the tower of Babel seemed to be a great success for man’s wisdom, but it ended in failure and confusion. In Genesis 12 it seemed wise for Abraham to go to Egypt during a famine, but the results were disastrous.

In 1 Samuel King Saul thought it wise to lend his armor to protect David against Goliath, but God had other plans. In the Gospels the Disciples’ wisdom thought it best to dismiss the crowd to allow them to find food, Jesus fed them all with just a little. In Acts, earthly wisdom saw it best to try and sail for Rome in spite of heavenly warnings which ended in shipwreck.

The problem with Earthly wisdom is its origin–Sin cursed man.

Earthly wisdom’s origin?

Ephesians 2 teaches that the Christian has 3 enemies: The World – Earthly, The Flesh – Sensual, and The Devil – Devilish. This is the origin of Earthly Wisdom. We should be careful to not confuse knowledge & wisdom. The World has much knowledge and we all benefit from it. But as for Wisdom, there is very little “Earthly”. Earthly Wisdom that man discovers, he knows little about what to do with it.

Henry David Thoreau warned that we had “improved means to unimproved ends.” It is almost as if the entire goal of acquiring Earthly wisdom is to eliminate a need for God. I am very encouraged anytime I meet someone who is discovering more and more Earthly Wisdom and/or Knowledge for the end of using it to God’s glory.

The Operation

What are the evidences of false wisdom?

  • Bitter envying

Discontented or resentful longing. Envy produces selfish ambition & zeal.  This ties in with James 3:1. The wisdom of the world says: “Promote yourself. You’re as good as the others, maybe better!” “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Sad to say, there is a great deal of selfish, carnal promotion among God’s people. Even the Apostles argued over who was the greatest.

Today’s society has disguised the sin here by adding, “for the glory of God” to the end of it. I may have selfish ambition, but in the end, it is for the glory of God. This is wrong.  This is a sin. This is the operation of Earthly Wisdom. We should be zealous in the things of God, but we must be sure that our motives are right. Do we rejoice when others succeed, or do we have secret envy and criticism? Do we feel burdened when others fail, or are we glad?

  • Strife in your hearts 

Angry or bitter disagreement. This word means “party spirit,” as in “political party.” It was used by the Greeks to describe a politician out canvassing for votes. The world’s wisdom says, “Get all the support you can!” Ask people if they are for you or against you! This creates rivalry and division in the church.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than [more important than] themselves” (Phil. 2:3).

  • Glory not 

Boasting–Pride loves to boast, and nothing is prouder than earthly wisdom. When heavenly wisdom is at work, there is a sense of humility and submission, and God gets all the glory. There is no desire to compare with any other Christian, only Christ, and compared with Him, all of us have a long way to go!

  • Lie not 

Deceit– “Lie not against the truth.” Notice a pattern? The pattern is not difficult to understand. First, there is a selfish ambition that leads to party spirit and rivalry. In order to “win the election” we must resort to boasting, and boasting usually involves lies! A man’s life is not read in his press releases; it is read by the Lord in his heart.

The Outcome

Earthly wisdom produces trouble

Envy, strife, confusion, evil work. It does not appear that God was at work in that assembly. Wrong thinking produces wrong living. One reason the world is in such a mess is because men have refused to accept the wisdom of God. The word translated “confusion” means “disorder that comes from instability.” It is related to “unstable” in James 1:8 and “unruly” in James 3:8. Jesus used this word to describe the convulsions of the world in the last days. Luke 21:9 “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.”

Conclusion:

The most important thing we can do in our local churches is to measure our ministries by the Word of God, not by the wisdom of men. The many battles among Christians, the church splits, the absence of purity and peace, all suggest that something is wrong. Perhaps that “something” is the absence of the wisdom of God.

Pastor Chance Strickland

Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN

http://www.harpethbaptist.org

1 Peter 5:1-4, Elders

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What is a biblical elder? An Elder cannot effectively lead you if the Holy Spirit is not living in you. If you are unsaved, this is your first step into the church. No matter your role in the church, we can all use the exhortation here to better our daily Christian walk. Don’t quit when times get tough.

1 Peter 5:1-4, Elders

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This podcast is a ministry of Harpeth Baptist Church in Kingston Springs, TN“Holding Forth the Word of Life.” 

Feel free to contact us:
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN
615-378-1136
http://www.harpethbaptist.org