by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 26 March 4, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Determine to make God's goal for you Your goal for you on the basis of His love and wisdom.
Introduction:What would your life be like at this point if 1) God had consistently restrained His love for you to the exact degree of your un-self-focused love for Him?, and 2) God had consistently restrained His service to you to the exact degree of your real-love-service to others? Interestingly, though He does not do either of those restrainings, He DOES permit your experience of life to be completely dominated by this principle: the level of joy in your life is in direct proportion to your faith in His love and your service to others. And not only does He permit this dominion now, He is going to fix it forever at the Judgment Seat of Christ. So, the question is this: are you satisfied at this point with the level of joy in your life and are you ready for this particular level to be fixed as your portion forever? If your answer is "Yes", there may be no hope for you in the massive level of self-deception in which you are functioning. If your answer is "No", James' words in 1:16 are addressed to you.
I. James' Words.
A. Stop being led off the path.
B. My brothers who are extraordinarily valued.
II. The Significance of James' Words.
A. In respect to his command...
1. He assumes a digression [negative prohibition in present tense].
a. The only way to make this kind of assumption is if it is pretty much a universal failing of all believers in every time and place.
b. The assumption of digression means that we need to be aware that we are continuously liable to this fault.
2. He assumes that we know where the path is and where we are supposed to be going.
a. The path is wherever He has just crushed the grass down ahead of us.
1) His fundamental call to us is "Follow Me".
2) A corollary fundamental is that we must follow close enough that the grass can not spring up behind Him before we see where He has gone.
b. The goal of the path is to make us just like Him in pure love and true wisdom, being undergirded by omnipotence.
3. He assumes that we know how to regain the path from our digression.
a. Repentence unto confession.
b. Faith unto pursuit.
B. In respect to his characterization.
1. He is most likely identifying the particular problem area.
a. The problem area is that area which, being weak, permitted us to digress from the path.
1) We are not tempted in areas in which we are invincible.
2) We are only tempted in areas in which there are cracks in the defenses.
b. James assumes no one is off the path who believes in the purity and wisdom of God's love for him.
2. The problem area [our confidence in God's pure and powerful love for us] is susceptible from two directions.
a. The first direction has to do with divine motives: the purity of God's love. ASK HOW MANY BELIEVE THAT GOD WOULD SACRIFICE HIMSELF FOR THE DEVIL IF THERE WERE ONLY THE TWO OF THEM.
1) The issue here is whether God has our absolute best in mind without compromise on the altar of His best for Himself.
2) The main area of challenge here is the continuing demand from us that we lay down EVERY love we have except that which we have for HIM.
b. The second direction has to do with divine wisdom: the issue of whether His methods will work.
1) The issue here is whether God really has an effective grasp of all of the details of our situation.
2) The main area of challenge is the continuing demand that we lay down every PLAN we have except those that come from Him.
a) God's wisdom is characteristically 180 degrees out of joint with ours.
b) Man's wisdom has the strength of past success behind it (we have characteristicly developed our plans out of our experiences).