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Sermon #23 — James Series
Title: “He Giveth More Grace”
Text: James 4:5-6
Subject: The Bountiful Grace of God
Date: Tuesday Evening — September 29, 2015
Readings: Mark Henson and Mark Daniel
This I know, by much painful experience — I am a weak, helpless, and ignorant sinner in need of constant, unfailing, all-sufficient grace. More than 48 years ago God saved me by his marvelous free grace in Christ. I know that…
· The blood of Christ has cleansed me from all my sin. — God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven my sin.
· I am perfectly righteous in the sight of God, being made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus in complete justification and perfect sanctification.
· God has given me a new nature, a new heart, a new will, a new spirit, by the regenerating power and grace of the Holy Spirit. — I am not what I want to be, ought to be, or hope to be, but, thank God, I am not what I once was!
I do, by the grace of God, trust the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, bow to him as my Lord, and seek his will and his glory in all things. I do love the Lord Jesus Christ, because he first loved me. I can, with a measure of confidence, sing…
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, I’m washed in His blood!
But I know this too — In the past 48 years my old, Adamic, sinful nature of flesh has not improved even slightly. I have the righteousness of Christ imputed to me in justification. And I have the righteousness of Christ imparted to me in regeneration. But I have no personal righteousness of my own, or personal holiness of my own, with which to commend myself to God. I hear men talk about personal holiness and personal righteousness. I hear them talk about becoming more holy and more righteous. But that is contrary to my daily experience.
In fact, with me, it is just the opposite! The longer I live, the more I experience, the more I am compelled to confess “that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing!” But, I thank God, my hope is not in me, but in Christ. My hope is not in me, but in his grace. I am a sinner in need of grace. Therefore my heart rejoices to read in the 4th chapter of James that “He giveth more grace!” And that is my subject tonight. — “He Giveth More Grace” (James 4:1-8).
“He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision.
Does He not bid us cast on Him all our care?
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
I pollute myself every day, but Christ cleanses! I defile myself every hour; but Christ washes! I sin every moment; but Christ pardons! I fall; but grace raises me up! I have come again today under the rebuke of justice by reason of my sin; but grace again has pardoned my sin and taken away the curse from me by the precious blood of Christ. This is the way it has been for nearly 49 years. And this is the way it shall be all along the way, until at last I have dropped this mortal flesh and grace has brought me home to heaven. How my soul rejoices to read these words in God’s Book — “He giveth more grace!” The more we need grace, the more our God gives grace!
Proposition: The grace of God is an inexhaustible well of living water, springing up and overflowing with everlasting life. — Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds!
Divisions: We fail everywhere, always, and in all things. But God’s grace never fails! Tonight, I want to show you something of the infinite bounty of God’s grace. He is ever giving grace, ever ready to give grace, and ever ready to give more grace. In our text (vv. 1-8) James tells us four things, which I trust the Spirit of God will enable me to convey to your hearts.
1. “The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.”
2. “But he giveth more grace.”
3. “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud.”
4. “But giveth grace to the humble.”
1. “THE SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH
IN US LUSTETH TO ENVY.”
James is not quoting a verse of Scripture here. When he says, “Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” James is saying, “This is the universal testimony of the Scriptures.” Throughout the Bible, we are told that man by nature is a depraved, fallen creature, filled with envy and lust. Sin is what we are and sin is what we do. This is what James has been saying in verses 1-4.
(James 4:1-4) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (2) 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. (3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (4) 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.”
James is not talking about political wars, national wars, or wars of any kind between man and man. He is talking about the relentless warfare of flesh and spirit, the warfare waged in our souls day and night, the warfare to which there shall be no end until we drop this robe of flesh in death. He is talking about our lusts that war in our members. — “Your lusts that war in your members!” — My lusts that war in my members! — From the moment of regeneration until the moment of the death of this body, God’s people are a people relentlessly engaged in a violent war.
· “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.” — How violent are our lusts for gain! — Possessions! — Power! — Praise!
· “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” — Even in prayer, we cannot cease from our carnal cravings!
· “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.” — God and mammon cannot both be served (Matthew 6:24). — Love for this world (Its Ways — Its Things — Its People — Its Religion) is a declaration of war against God!
(Matthew 6:24) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Then James tells us in verse 5…
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
The spirit of man is a spirit of lust and envy. Let’s see if this is not the universal testimony of Holy Scripture. (Genesis 6:2, 3, 5; 8:21; Job 14:14-16; Psalms 51:5; 58:3; Proverbs 21:10; Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9-10; Matthew 15:19-20; Romans 3:10-19; 5:12; 8:7; Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 2:3)
(Genesis 6:2-5) “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (3) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years…(5) And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
(Genesis 8:21) “The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.”
(Job 14:14-16” “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. (15) Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. (16) For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?”
(Psalm 51:5) “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
(Psalm 58:3) “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
(Proverbs 21:10) “The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.”
(Jeremiah 13:23) “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
(Jeremiah 17:9-10) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
(Matthew 15:19-20) “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (20) These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
(Romans 3:10-19) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known: (18) There is no fear of God before their eyes. (19) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
(Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
(Romans 8:7) “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
(Galatians 5:17) “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
(Ephesians 2:1-3) “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
The depravity of man is evident to all who have eyes to see. The source and cause of all sickness, sorrow, pain, suffering, and death in this world is sin. And the source of all sin is the depraved heart of man. Man’s problem is not his environment, but his heart. —— Our problem is not the way we were raised, but the way we were born.
· The history of man, as recorded in the Bible, is a history of depravity.
· The history of man, as recorded by men, is a history of depravity.
· And the history of Israel, God’s covenant people in the Old Testament, is a history of depravity.
Anyone who reads the Word of God, history books, or newspapers, unless he is totally blind to all things spiritual, must conclude that man is a totally depraved creature. We all came from bad seed. And we all produce bad seed.
The recorded history of God’s saints is a history of depravity.
· Noah, in a drunken stupor, was humiliated by the corrupt perversity of his son.
· Israel was the son of Abraham’s unbelief.
· Lot went to Sodom.
· Jacob wept, and said, “All these things are against me.”
· Moses smote the Rock, Christ Jesus, in anger.
· David took the wife of his faithful servant Uriah and then had him killed.
· Peter denied his Lord.
· Paul and Barnabas fell out over John Mark.
Why are these things written in the Word of God? Why does the Holy Spirit expose the sins of God’s choice servants? These things are not written to excuse our sin! But they are written to teach us these three things…
· “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.”
· “Salvation is of the Lord!”
· “Christ is All!”
But the depravity of man is written most plainly and forcibly upon our own hearts and consciences by the pen of experience. God’s people in this world are sinners still! — Read James 4:1-5 again.
(James 4:1-5) “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (2) 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. (3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (4) 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. (5) Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
The spirit that is in us by nature is a spirit of lust and envy. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It never becomes Spirit. It is always flesh (Romans 7:14-25).
(Romans 7:14-25) “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. (17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
The believer is a person with two mutually opposing natures: the flesh and the Spirit, sin and righteousness. Therefore we cannot do the things we would.
Let us learn this and learn it well — “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy” (Isaiah 51:1; 64:6).
(Isaiah 51:1) “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”
(Isaiah 64:6) “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
“But,” be sure you learn this too…
2. “HE GIVETH MORE GRACE!”
“The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace!” — Our Lord gives more grace to us than the world can give riches to man. And the least measure of his grace is infinitely greater than all the riches of the world. And our great God gives more grace to us than we can ever ask or think.
Grace is the free gift of God to sinners who deserve his wrath. — Faith, hope and love, peace, joy, and comfort, life, forgiveness, and righteousness — These things are all the gifts of God’s grace bestowed upon us and wrought in us by the Spirit of God. But here James tells us that the grace itself is the gift of God.
· He gives all the grace that is in Christ.
· He gives all the blessings of grace that are in the covenant.
· He gives all the fruit of grace in the hearts of his people.
God alone can give grace to men.
· You cannot give grace to yourself.
· Parents cannot give grace to their children.
· Men cannot give grace to one another.
· Preachers cannot give grace to their hearers.
· Churches cannot give grace to their members.
· And grace cannot be obtained by the works of men.
“Grace is a free gift. It is given of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God to whom, and when, and in what measure he pleases.” — (John Gill)
· Grace is God’s eternal gift.
· Grace is God’s unconditional gift.
· Grace is God’s immutable gift.
Yet, as we experience it, grace is God’s ever-increasing, constantly abounding gift. Our text says, “He giveth more grace.” The more we need grace, the more our God gives grace. The more we require grace, the more he supplies grace. The more we use grace, the richer we are in grace!
So long as we live in this world we are sinners in need of grace. May God give us wisdom to know that his grace is sufficient, abundantly, infinitely sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
(2 Corinthians 12:7-9) “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (8) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. (9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Every day, every hour, every moment — “He giveth more grace…”
· To sustain us in trial!
· To deliver us in temptation!
· To restore us when we fall!
· To content us with his providence!
· To comfort us in trouble!
· To help us in time of need!
· To keep us from the snare of Satan!
· To strengthen us in our labor!
· To direct us in life!
· 10. To support us in death!
· 11. To bring us to glory!
Read Romans 8:28-39.
(Romans 8:28-39) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Glory be to God, who, having given grace, still goes on to give more and more grace till we enter into glory! There is no stint or limit to the Lord’s increasing gifts of grace.” — (C. H. Spurgeon)
Now, James concludes…
3. “WHEREFORE HE SAITH,
GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD.”
God scorns the scorner and rejects those that trust in themselves. He will never give grace to those who do not need grace. Those who think they are righteous and holy, full, rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing, shall have nothing of his grace.
· If you think you are strong, you don’t need Christ to be your strength.
· If you think you are righteous, you don’t need Christ to be your Righteousness.
· If you think you are holy, you don’t need Christ to be your Pardon.
· If you think you are full, you don’t need Christ to be your fullness.
Illustration: Whitefield to the girl — “Lord, show me myself.” “Lord, show me thyself!”
May God show you yourself. And, then, may he be pleased to show you himself.
4. “God GIVETH GRACE
UNTO THE HUMBLE.”
Look at this last thing. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 23:12; Luke 18:14).
(Psalm 138:6) “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”
(Proverbs 3:34) “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”
(Matthew 23:120 “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
(Luke 18:14) “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
To those who know their own vileness and corruption, who think themselves to be what they truly are — sinners in need of grace — God gives grace (vv. 7-10).
(James 4:7-10) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
· Here is encouragement for sinners (Romans 6:23).
· Here is encouragement for sinning believers (1 John 2:1-2).
· Here is encouragement for every work to which we are called and every opportunity set before us. — “My grace is sufficient.” — “Our sufficiency is of God!”
· Here is encouragement for every troubled, afflicted, fearful child of God (Isaiah 43:1-4).
(Isaiah 43:1-4) “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.”
· My spiritual poverty is my own fault, for “He giveth grace” to all who trust him for grace.
· My spiritual growth, strength, and steadfastness, my perseverance and service to God’s kingdom is to God’s glory. — “He giveth more grace!”
· What a good God we have! — “He giveth more grace!”
· Prove his goodness by faith.
· Bear witness to his goodness with zeal.
· Praise him for his goodness with joy.
Soon he who “giveth grace” will give glory too! — The warfare is bitter and it may be long; but the outcome is sure. — Prevail we shall!
(Romans 16:20) “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
(Psalm 84:1-12) “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! (2) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. (3) Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (4) Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
(5) Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. (6) Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. (7) They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
(8) O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
(9) Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. (10) For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (12) O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”
O my soul, saints of God, let us bless that gracious, sovereign, bountiful God, the Triune Jehovah, who, by his quickening Spirit and illuminating mercy, opened our eyes to the see of the awful state in which we were born in nature and the distinguishing mercy manifested to us in Christ! Though we must a while longer groan under the weight of this body of sin and corruption, bless the Lord for redemption in Christ Jesus, by which victory is ours through grace!
Amidst all the wounds we sustain in this daily warfare, bless God our omnipotent Savior, the issue of the conflict is not doubtful.
Child of God, let nothing keep you from the throne of grace. Here all our strength is found. Christ is our Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, as well as Redemption. Ever look to him for everything! In him shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory! — Look forward, O my soul, with holy joy to the morrow, the day, even the great day of God, when Christ Jesus will come to take us home to his eternal kingdom.
“Let men of the world, from the world, seek their supreme joy. Let them go from city to city, to traffic in the concerns of this world's good. Be it thy happiness to eye Jesus, even in the necessary things the body is occupied with here below. Soon thou shalt have done with all earthly employments, and the everlasting enjoyment of God in Christ will be thy portion forevermore.” — (Robert Hawker)
I cannot imagine a better way to set our hearts upon the Throne of Grace than by the picture given by God the Holy Ghost in the 3rd chapter of Zechariah, by which we are assured that he who gave us grace and “giveth more grace” will continually preserve us with relentless supplies of grace until in Glory we need no more grace.
(Zechariah 3:1-10) “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. (4) And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (5) And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. — And the angel of the LORD stood by. (6) And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, (7) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. (8) Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. (9) For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. (10) In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.