Murder and Adultery in the Church?

Text: James 4:1-6
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: August 7, 2011

During the LA riots in the early 90s, Rodney King was quoted saying, “Can we all get along?”

In this week’s passage James asks a similar question: “Why are there quarrels and conflicts among you?”

This is a great question! Human interaction is characterized by conflict – among nations, among political parties, within families, among friends and neighbors, and even within churches (which is the primary context to which James speaks).

James, however, answers the question that Mr. King could not. He says that the conflicts among us are because we are controlled by strong desires. We fight because we want something.

When we don’t get what we want we “murder” those who were in the way. James, like Jesus, identifies our anger and harsh words as murderous.

James also says that we can even be guilty of trying to manipulate God, through our prayers, to help us achieve our selfish agenda.

James says that the root cause of our conflicts is spiritual adultery. James speaks metaphorically (like the Old Testament prophets) of our unfaithfulness to God which causes us to seek satisfaction from the world rather than from the Lord. Such adultery invites judgment, but God offers grace to those who humble themselves.

Posted on August 7th, 2011 | Permalink