The Crisis of Sovereignty
James 4: 13-17
We saw earlier in chapter 4 of James the truths relating to quarreling and fighting among Believers. James’ conclusion to this was we fight because we have misguided passions that are constantly at war. Our own selfishness is the sole cause of fights and arguments among God’s people. When this happens we have traded the eternal for the temporal or we could say we are walking by sight and not by faith. To use the words of Christ, we are not laying up treasures in heaven but have settled for rotting decaying treasure. We’ve set our sights too low.
James takes us a step further and shows us what happens to our thinking the more we live with misguided and twisted affections. Read More
Cheating on a Jealous God
James 4:1-10 (ESV)
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
I walked in to the waiting room at a hospital one day, and out of about 50 chairs there were two free. Everyone else was smarter than I was because the two seats were placed right under the TV. I don’t know if it was The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital. In about 1 minute Read More
James 3:13-18 (ESV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Last week we saw the importance of controlling our tongues. We saw the power it has to control our whole being. We saw the danger of our tongues. Then we saw the inconsistency of our tongues, we praise God and also curse men. Read More
As you might expect from a church on the move…we’re moving. God has so graciously answered our prayers to move into Chillicothe. We trusted the Lord to supply our need for a building to meet in inside Chillicothe and He wonderfully met that need. We will begin on Sunday Evening June 8th joining together for worship at 43 South Paint Street, Chillicothe, Ohio. We are right next door to Renick’s Family Restaurant. What we plan to do is on June 1st during our cookout in the park is to gather everyone together and drive to the new location for a time of corporate prayer asking God to bring folks into the Kingdom through Grace Reformed Fellowship. May He receive glory in all things. Pray that Jesus Christ would be lifted up and that He will draw all people to Himself (John 12;31).
The Character of Faith Pt. 2
James 2:14-26 (ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
This genuine saving faith that is centered in and has laid hold of Christ, as we learned last week, is a faith that will show itself in obedience to Christ.
Many have claimed that these verses in James’ letter contradict what Paul taught in his writings. Even the great reformer, Martin Luther struggled with this epistle. So, before we begin it’s vital to the understanding of these verses to realize a couple of things. Read More
The Character of Faith Pt. 1
James 2:1-13 (ESV)
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,  and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”  have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?  Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
We lived in Southern Kentucky while attending Bible College. For the first Read More
Putting on Righteousness
Matthew 5:20 (ESV)
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
What did Jesus have in mind when He spoke these words? What was He getting at?
The Pharisees had a very elaborate system developed. It was a system of works. They thought that if they did all the right stuff God would somehow be obligated to show them His goodness and ultimately take them to heaven.
Jesus was not at all impressed. Jesus was ready to forgive sinners. Jesus had no forgiveness for those who were unrepentant and self righteous. Read More
The Gift of the Word
Last week we saw the truth spoken by James. God is never responsible for evil. Because of God’s very nature it is impossible for Him to have anything to do with sin…except punish it.
James shift gears and begins to contrast the statements that people were making. Instead of blaming God for evil, James shows us what God is responsible for. Read More
The Fatal Attraction of Sin
So far in my messages from the Book of James we have been speaking of trials. According to what James has said up to this point we are to count them as joy based on the fact that God has in mind our growth. When we respond to them in a God honoring way we grow and mature in Christ-likeness. Read More
There is a misconception in our consumer driven culture. The misconception is, money = security or money = happiness. It’s interesting that of all the trials James could mention specifically, he begins speaking of the haves and the have-nots.
Here is an interesting statistic: Compared with Americans in 1957, today we own twice as many cars per person, eat out twice as often and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then–big-screen TVs, microwave ovens, SUVs and handheld wireless devices, to name a few. But are we any happier? Are our lives filled with ease and contentment? The answer is that we are not happier. We are not more content, in fact, we are the most unhappy and medicated culture ever to exist. We spend our lives acquiring goods only to find they don’t satisfy. They didn’t provide security, or make our lives easier. They didn’t deliver what they said they would. As a result, we are left with debt, bills, and depression. Keeping up with the Jones’ is a race that leads nowhere but destruction. Read More