Fights And Quarrels How They Work – How many of us have seen fights and quarrels in church? Okay. How many of us have been involved in fights and quarrels in church? Aren’t we ashamed of ourselves? We can’t even remember what some of those ‘major issues’ having us so upset at the time were about today. I have seen too many fights and quarrels. 

The Book of James – How Life Works
By Pastor Delbert Young

Fights And Quarrels How They Work

Audio

Fights And Quarrels How They Work

Scriptures: James 4:7, James 4:2, James 4:1, James 4:3, James 4:4, James 4:5, James 4:6, 1 Corinthians 15:10, James 4:7, James 4:8, James 4:9, James 4:10, James 4:10

Today’s lesson on How Life Works is about “How Fights and Quarrels Work.” Before we begin, I want to pull a few often quoted verses from the center of this passage. I want to show us the context of those often quoted verse.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The context of this verse is fighting and quarreling in the church. I don’t guess I have ever heard the verse taught in its proper context. I have heard it taught many times in a teaching of spiritual warfare or our personal relationship with God. The context really is fights and quarrels in church. I’ll show you in a minute.

Another often quoted verse is the last part of James 4:2. Here is the part we quote.

James 4:2 . . . You do not have, because you do not ask God.

I have never heard this verse taught from the context of fights and quarrels in church, but this is the correct context. This one is usually taught when we are talking about faith and prayer. Let’s look at the entire verse and see what James is actually talking about.

James 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

Hopefully in today’s lesson, I will show us how these verses connect with fighting and quarreling.

The Problem:

James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you . . . ?

How many of us have seen fights and quarrels in church? Okay. How many of us have been involved in fights and quarrels in church? Aren’t we ashamed of ourselves? We can’t even remember what some of those “major issues” having us so upset at the time were about today. That’s really how important they were. I have been in church since 1978. Sadly, I have seen too many fights and quarrels. What’s worse is the ones I have seen and been a part are not as bad as some I have heard about.

I have heard of deacon meetings where not only words flew, but fists flew as well. Fights and quarrels split churches. In a short time, fights and quarrels can destroy what has taken years and years to establish. They cripple the witness of a church. They are a mockery to unbelievers and the unchurched.

James is not talking about disagreements. He is talking about fighting and arguing. The Greek word for fights is mache (Strong’s #3163) and means “a fight or combat, a battle.” James is talking about wars within the church when people choose sides and combat one another. From where does this stuff come?

James 4:1 . . . Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

James answered the question of “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” He goes straight to the root. They come from our desires. The King James’ Version says “lusts.” When I become combatant, it is because I am attempting to protect or gain something I personally desire. I want what I want.

James 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

James shows how fighting and quarreling work. We want something, but don’t get it. So, we covet and quarrel and fight. The word “kill” is literal. Perhaps James was referring to a literal situation. I have heard of some situations where I believed people wanted to kill. Hate was strong enough to produced a spirit of murder. I do know in fights and quarrels, we cut and slice and stab each other with our words and actions. Fighting and quarreling are clearly connected to our personal desires. We fight because we are coveting and desiring and not able to get what we want.

You do not have, because you do not ask God. James said we didn’t pray about the situation. We didn’t ask God about the problem. Had we prayed, we would not have fought.

The context is obviously fighting and quarreling. Let’s go ahead and read the following verse.

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

When the fighting and quarreling begin, we don’t pray. We are too angry to pray. We don’t think about praying. We are thinking about fighting and what we will say if we are given the opportunity.

If we do pray, we pray with wrong motives. “Kill them Lord!” “Lord, you know what I want is best.” We pray we can have our own way.

Fighting and quarreling reveals a flaw in our relationship with God. The first thing we should have done was pray. The prayer should have been for his will to be done and not my will be done.

It was extremely interesting to me how the Bible relates fighting and quarreling to adultery. That’s right! People are so quick to judge the adulterer, but also so quick to fight and quarrel. The Bible says they are the same. Oh me!

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

When we fight and quarrel in church, we have committed spiritual adultery with the world. When we fight and quarrel in church, we have become intimate with the world. We have allowed the devil to seduce us and be intimate with us. It’s a “Rosemarry’s Baby” deal. We have had intercourse with the devil.

When we fight and quarrel, we become an enemy of God. It’s a powerful statement, but is exactly what James said. We have turned our back on God. We have not discussed it with him. If we have, it has been for our own selfish lusts. We had relationships with the devil and we are now an enemy of God.

James obviously expected some resistance to this teaching. So, he said what do you think it means when it says God’s Spirit is jealous. He “envies intensely.”

James 4:5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?

James simply likens adultery with fighting and quarreling in church. We have allowed the devil to have his way with us. Fighting and quarreling about what we want is the way the world does it. We have allowed

James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

This is not a teaching on grace, but to understand James, we need to know about grace. I know most people confuse grace and mercy. They are very different. Grace is God giving us abilities and anointing us through faith by his Spirit. Paul said he was what he was by the grace of God.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

God’s grace is God giving us abilities to do what we are called to do and to do what is right. James is saying we have the ability to humble ourselves instead of fighting and quarreling. “God opposes the proud.” It’s not a good idea to have pride which means having my way. We think we are opposing a person, but if the person is a child of God, we are opposing God. Think about it!

Do you ever feel God could be opposing you? Are there issues you just can’t seem to get a breakthrough? Issues such as marriage, finances, children, jobs, health. Are you combative? Do you find yourself in fights and quarrels? Could God be opposing us? James said he will.

Solution: So, what is the solution? James spells it out.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James gives a step-by-step solution to the problem. This is what we must do when we find ourselves ready to battle.

1. Submit yourselves, then, to God.

When we find ourselves drawn into fighting and quarreling, we must see the danger that we are being seduced. We pray. We talk to the Lord about it. We submit to God. “Okay Lord, I know your way is best. I am not going to fight and quarrel. This is your church and you are big enough to take care of it. I submit myself to whatever you do.”

2. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

After I have submitted to God, I resist the devil. I reject his enticing advances. I rebuke the devil. I tell God the devil is attempting to seduce me. I will not be impregnated by the devil. I will not fight and quarrel.

3. Come near to God and he will come near to you.

The Lord loves it when we have no lovers before him. The Lord begins to “come near to you.” He wants to hold you. I love you. Can I hold you? I can now come into the arms of God because I have resisted the advances of the devil. As I come near to God, he will come near to me.

4. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

There was a temptation to fight and quarrel. The devil got too close. Maybe we even responded a little and touched him. Maybe he touched us before we realized what was happening. We need to wash our hands. We need to purify our selves. We can’t be double-minded. We can’t love God and slip off to a hotel room with the devil.

5. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.

The seriousness of fighting and quarreling is adultery in the spirit. It should cause us to grieve and mourn and wail. Laughter should turn to mourning. Joy should turn to gloom. We were unfaithful. The devil touched us. Perhaps he even deposited his seed into us. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. We must repent. We must come near God. We must resist the devil. We must cleanse ourselves.

6. James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There is reconciliation. If we can come before the Lord and humble ourselves, he will forgive and lift us up.

As we close, I want to take time and allow us to humble ourselves. The altars are open. We can all relate to this. Let’s purify our hearts. Let’s wash our hands. Let’s clean ourselves for the Lord. Let’s be a spotless bride without spot or wrinkle. Let’s ask him to forgive us and hold us.