Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8, 2010

"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." James 4:11-17

Week Seven – “Faith Works Out In Humility” James 4:11-17

Last week we ended up with the verse, “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10b

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way,I can't wait to look in the mirror cause I get better looking each dayTo know me is to love me I must be a real swell man.Oh Lord it's hard to be humble but I'm doing the best that I can.

It’s obvious that this guy doesn’t understand humility, but how can it be measured? How is it defined? What can you do to get it and keep it?

James gives clear instruction on that this morning!


Driving to the office this morning, I noticed a woman driving 65 mph with her face up next to her rear view mirror, putting on her eyeliner! I looked away and next thing you know she was halfway in my lane, still putting on her makeup.

As a man, I don't scare easily. But she scared me so much, I dropped my electric shaver, which knocked the donut out of my other hand. In all the confusion of trying to straighten out the car using my knees against the steering wheel, it knocked my cell phone away from my ear which fell into the coffee between my legs, ruined the phone, soaked my trousers, and disconnected an important call. All because of that crazy woman driver!

How many would say that fellow might be acting a little judgmental?

This whole issue of judging is widely misunderstood within the faith, so I think it is worth spending some time clarifying this.


Judging does not mean you cannot form an opinion about someone. There is no way you can avoid that. You have intelligence and you have your value system and those just naturally kick in when you meet someone. We all prejudge others – it is human nature. But it becomes wrong when you refuse to make an effort to get to know that person and choose to keep that person bound by your PRE-judging.

In his little book Illustrations of Bible Truth, H.A. Ironside pointed out the folly of judging others. He related an incident in the life of a man called Bishop Potter. "He was sailing for Europe on one of the great transatlantic ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser’s desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship’s safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, ’It’s all right, bishop, I’ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!’"

PRE-judging gets worse when you impose your opinions and judgments of a person to another who has not been given the opportunity to form his own opinion about that person. You impugn one person’s character and you rob another person of an opportunity to form his own opinion toward them. In so doing you are spreading your prejudice. That is wrong!

You want the opportunity to let others get to know you before they form their opinion of what you are or what sort of person you may be. Since you want that chance for yourself, you are oath-bound to extend the same grace to others.

There are at least three types of judging:

1) Correct evaluations from a heart of love

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." John 7:24

“Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" John 7:51

2) Correct evaluations but with a negative attitude (Vindictive/Grudge)

3) Incorrect evaluations of other people (Prejudice

“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” James 4:11
The key Greek word, “KATALALEO”, here is translated "speak against." It has the idea of "evil speaking" or someone being slanderous. This deals with intentionally and maliciously attempting to destroy the reputation of another person and prejudice others to believe your characterization of them. You do this to make yourself look better or you do this seeking revenge on them or you might do this trying to be divisive.

People who do this are not operating out of humility. They are showing pride and prejudice. They are disruptive and destructive to the unity of a church fellowship.

Morris, the loudmouth mechanic, was removing the cylinder heads from the motor of a car when he spotted a famous heart surgeon who was standing off to the side, waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his Mercedes.
Morris shouted across the garage, "Hey Doc! Is dat you? Come on ova’ here a minute."

The famous surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where Morris the mechanic was working on the car. Morris straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag, and asked argumentatively, "So, Mr. Fancy Doctor, look at dis here work.

I ALSO open hearts, take valves out, grind ’em, put in new parts, and when I finish dis it will purr like a kitten. So how come you get da big bucks, when you an’ me is doing basically da same work?"
The surgeon leaned over and whispered to Morris the loudmouth mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."



During the US civil war Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast. Lincoln was a man of deep, if at times unorthodox, faith. At one point one of the ministers said, "Mr. President, let us pray that God is on our side". Lincoln’s response showed far greater insight, "No, gentlemen, let us pray that we are on God’s side." If we want to know what God wants us to do, then we must first strive to live a life of conformity to Him.

It is easy to presume upon God because He is so patient and gracious. But humble people understand WHO HE IS and WHO THEY ARE and keep each in their proper place.

Last week’s message ended at verse 10 taking about humility. These verses show several illustrations of humility.

Let's start with the big picture. It makes a difference when you look at life from an eternal perspective. Don't you agree that it influences your thinking and decision-making when you understand you are going to live somewhere forever? It absolutely does!

First, it changes how you look at yourself and your spiritual condition. If your eternal destiny is at stake and dependent upon what you believe and how you behave that will impact your decisions and your actions. And it should!
Second, it impacts how you look at others. If they are eternal and you are eternal and how you treat them has eternal consequences it ups the ante, doesn't it? When you understand that your slander or accusations about another person could possibly influence what happens to him eternally, that causes you to be more careful!

Third, it should determine how you relate to time. Since how you spend your time determines how you spend your eternity, be very wise about how you spend your time! You will understand that people of faith don't spend time - they invest in it! Planning is paramount! But planning must be done with the humble recognition that God is in charge of time and He must be vitally involved in how you think about planning.

So, properly relating to time and eternity will necessarily result in an attitude of humility. Humility looks like someone who lives, loves and plans backwards - from eternity to today. If you were to live today from an eternal perspective, what would you do differently?

There was an officer in the navy who had always dreamed of commanding a battleship. He finally achieved that dream and was given commission of the newest and proudest ship in the fleet. One stormy night, as the ship plowed through the seas, the captain was on duty on the bridge when off to the port he spotted a strange light rapidly closing with his own vessel. Immediately he ordered the signalman to flash the message to the unidentified craft, ’Alter your course ten degrees to the south.’ Only a moment had passed before the reply came: ’Alter your course ten degrees to the north.’ Determined that his ship would take a backseat to no other, the captain snapped out the order to be sent: ’Alter course ten degrees--I am the CAPTAIN!’ The response beamed back, ’Alter your course ten degrees--I am Seaman Third Class Jones.’ Now infuriated, the captain grabbed the signal light with his own hands and fired off: ’Alter course, I am a battleship.’ The reply came back. ’Alter your course, I am a lighthouse.’

No matter how big or important any of us think we are, God’s Word stands forth as an unchanging beacon. All other courses must be altered to His.


Humility results from knowing your purpose.

Humility results from knowing your place.

Humility results from knowing your perspective.

How do you measure up?

How can you humble yourself?