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Returning To God


"Submit 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 miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! Let us rejoice for another day to worship and praise Him.
We're so glad to have you here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We would  ask that you would do the same for us. We would also appreciate if you would share our website with all of your family and friends.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way. And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord."
While the world has many ways to resolve conflict, needless to say, they leave God out. God tells us that His ways are not our ways. His ways are much higher than our ways, and often run counter to our ways. If we want true and lasting peace in our relationships, then we need to resolve conflicts God’s way. The worlds way of resolving conflicts is surface, achieving a temporary outward peace. While God goes for the heart, aiming at inward peace.
Rather than following the whims of the world, consumed by lust and selfishness, the humble, Christian is to give himself completely, dedicated to the service and glory of God. Self-submission is the mark of humility and the supreme responsibility of a Christian.
In 331 B.C. Alexander the Great was marching to take over the world. He had one more enemy to conquer in order to vanquish the mightiest kingdom of the day Persia. The Persian army was led by king Darius. Darius was a ruthless leader, just like Alexander. The two men and their armies met at the battle of Gaugamela. Alexander the Greats army consisted of 7,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry. Darius and the Persian army numbered 35,000-50,000 cavalry and anywhere from 100,000 to 800,000 infantry. Alexander was greatly outnumbered. 
However, Alexander came up with a battle plan that would prove to be fatal for king Darius. Alexander allowed his right flank to peel off and pull the left flank of Darius’ army away from their main force. When that happened a small gap opened up in the Persian battle lines. This allowed Alexander and his crack cavalry to gallop through the opening and attack and crush king Darius himself. Even though Alexander was greatly outnumbered his plan for battle gave him victory over his enemy. 

God is the ultimate and only sovereign authority in the universe, and it should be obvious to everyone that it is most unwise to rebel against His authority. Since God is opposed to the proud, the only sensible thing to do, is to submit! Unbelievers are unable to submit. 
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Your Word for us today. For such a direct truth, that leaves us with no question in our mind as to Your command. May it speaks to our hearts, help us to humble ourselves, kneeling at the foot of the cross, broken over our sin. We know that before You can lift us up, we must be brought low.

Lord, we pray for those who have not yet made a commitment to Christ, we ask that You would touch their hearts, that they would walk away from the foolishness of this world, humble themselves in Your presence and turn from their sin. And take hold of Your saving grace, sanctifying grace, glorifying grace and amazing grace. For Christ's sake and for Your glory.
In Jesus' precious name we ask and pray.
Today's Message: Returning To God

In Romans 10:3-4, Paul says "For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
Because of pride, the fallen man wants to set up his own righteousness as being sufficient, but it falls far short of God’s absolute righteousness. So the essence of human rebellion against God is that we do not submit to His perfect righteousness. I do not believe that you cannot separate submitting to God from salvation. The two are inseparable.
We are in a war, a struggle within and that struggle leads to seeking worldly pleasures. However, when a believer does that they are quenching the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. 
Open your Bibles with me to the fourth chapter of the book of James. In our continuing study of this wonderful epistle, we come to verses seven through ten. I invite you to follow along with me as I read, lets prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God intends for us to understand from this text. James chapter 4 verses 7 through 10.

"Submit 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 miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
As Christians, believers of God, followers of Christ, we need to stop thinking that we can live our lives our way. We must do all the things that God says God's way. We are not to reject His Word. We must oppose God or resist him. We must arrange our lives to be under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The first step however, is a commitment, a decision to follow God.
We can either allow sin to rule and reign in our lives by giving in to the sinful desires of our fleshly nature or we can consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We can allow sin and Satan to have authority over us or by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can nail our old sin nature to the cross and present our bodies to God as instruments for righteousness , holy and acceptable unto God, for we are not under law but under grace.
James begins verse 7 by invoking several injunctions, or commands, which I believe is really the heart of the epistle, the focal point. "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." 
James gives us his second promise which is just as valuable and encouraging. You can resist the devil and when you do, he will run from you. Resist the devil and he will leave you alone for a time. We see the example of this truth in the life of Jesus. Jesus resisted repeated temptations until finally the devil left him until a more opportune time. James says that this is true for us. It is not that we will experience one temptation and if we fight it we will not have any more temptations that day. The point is that we can win the fight. We can fight and we can win.
Throughout the Scriptures, there are many, many invitations to salvation, in which He calls to sinners to respond. Because God is saving God, because He is a Savior, God desires that all men would come to know Him, worship and adore Him.  Unfortunately, most commentators and Bible students have assumed that verses 7 to 10 refer to Christians, as a call to get their act together. And since they have approached it that way, they have therefore missed the greatness of this invitation to salvation.
As we know from our study of James epistle, he has been calling the believer to test his faith, to see if it is real. The whole idea is to convert the sinner, from the error of his way and save his soul from death. The church is always occupied by those whose faith is not real. James certainly has the heart of Christ, as sinners have always been a grave concern to Him as well. Therefore, this epistle is the heart of Christ through James, that no one would be deceived about the reality of their salvation and the result would be that believers would then live up to the things that are true of believers.
No one has a problem with God’s great, unconditional love, however, many today have a problem with His hatred of all sin and His absolute demand for justice, requiring all unrepentant sinners be punished for eternity in hell. But if God’s Word reveals that sinners will be punished eternally in hell, and if Jesus Himself taught it and, by the way, He did, then we dare not reject it, even if it is not to our liking! 
If you didn’t pass the test of trials, if you didn’t pass the test of temptation, if you didn't have the right response to the Word being a doer and not a hearer and the right attitude toward purity of life and people in need and respect of persons and good works and use of the tongue and wisdom and the matter of relationship to the world, then verse 7 is an invitation to you. It is directed to those who are not saved, who are still captive to earthly lusts, and demonic wisdom. In other words, those who are driven by their fallen nature.
Even if you are someone who is characterized by worldly wisdom, lust of the flesh, even if you are an enemy of God, God gives more grace. In other words, he is saying no matter what your life is like, God still has grace for you. Because God's favor is given to undeserving sinners. That's what grace is! All sinners who come to God and receives His grace, do not deserve it. Yet, God has made that grace available to all who will come in faith to Christ. God's patience is never exhausted. What tremendous comfort there is in this verse! All who have humbled themselves in coming to God through Christ for salvation continually receive grace.
James gives us very clear instruction in verses 7, 8 and 9, then he sums it up in verse 10. Many commentators have said James is talking to believers. And, if you only look at verses 7 to 10, its clear he is talking to unbelievers, those who have not resisted the devil, those who need to draw near to God, these are people who have not submitted to God. How could that possibly describe a Christian?  Therefore, I believe we have largely lost this invitation because  it’s been interpreted that this is directed at Christians for some reason.
Look at verse 8,  there's the word "sinners." "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." The word sinners, is hamartloi,in the original text. It's used primarily in the gospels, the New Testament to refer to the hardened sinner. However, if you look at the Old Testament, Isaiah chapter 1 "But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, And those who forsake the Lord will come to an end." Sinners are transgressors.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you," is to set your heart upon seeking the Lord, and loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Maybe at one time, some of you were closer to the Lord, more than you are now.  You've become distracted for some reason, perhaps you have become attracted to the things of this world. Before you know, you have drifted further and further away from Him and left your first love. If that is the case, then it is time for you to come home. Like the father of the prodigal son, He will welcome you back with loving arms! What a wonderful promise. It does not mean that God is waiting for sinners to make the first move toward Him, and then He will respond. In John chapter 6, Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." You cannot be close to God by the way, if you’re angry toward someone else.
"Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts." In the original text, it says "kathariz," catharsis in English, a purging. True Repentance. That's what he's talking about here. In other words, a change of mind that leads to a change of conduct.By the way, if there is not a change of mind and change of conduct, then there is no repentance. True Repentance is characterized by two attitudes. Spiritual poverty, which is when you come before God, ready to admit that you are spiritually bankrupt and in need of God's mercy and grace.
Psalm 34:18 says "he Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Then, there's godly sorrow, God is afflicted when we sin. He mourns and weeps over our sins. Genesis 6:5-6 clearly demonstrates this "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." When we are grieved by our own sins and mourn for them, that means that our feelings about them are now in perfect harmony with God's feelings.
Then he says "And purify your hearts." Here, James is adding the inward dimension, the heart. James sharply reproves those who had divided affections, on one side longing for the things of the world, while all the while trying to hold on to God! A sort of spiritual schizophrenia.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
In verse 9, "Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom." Here, James calls for decisive, obvious, and perhaps even public acts of contrition reflective of genuine repentance. Be miserable, he's speaking of the emotions that emanate from torment, whether external or internal. In the present context it describes the expression of a person's grief and sense of brokenness. James is commanding them to suffer misery, be sorrowful, be devastated, feel afflicted and miserable over their sins. Mourn, is a grief so deep and so profound that it simply cannot be contained nor concealed.
The Greek word "klaió," translated weep in English. The image here is a person who laments with sobbing. True repentance of sin must accompany tears! Because we carry the fire of sin, we must carry the water of tears to quench it.

He then says "let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom." Contrary to what some believe, James is not condemning legitimate laughter or joy. Rather, he's talking about worldly, self-centered, sensual kinds that unbelievers revel in.  How can you praise God while living in sin?  You should feel wretched, and absolutely miserable. You have to feel bad before you can feel better This is the feeling of complete and utter shame over sin. James is not denying the joy and rejoicing of the Christian life, he is simply saying it does not start that way. Joy arises out of God's grace given in the midst of our misery.

Verse 10 is the summation of everything, he pull it all in to one statement. "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." Pride is at the heart of all disobedience to God. All through the Bible you will find the conviction that it is only the humble who receive the blessings of God. The key to developing true biblical humility is in the phrase, "in the presence of the Lord."
In the original text, the word for humble is word "tapeinós," meaning to be conscious of God's presence and voluntarily make yourself low in the sight of the Lord. There are many people today, who pretend to be humble, and are what the Bible calls "puffed up." While false humility may convince many people, rest assured that God knows the difference. You can put up a facade before men, however, God sees a man's heart.
In Closing..
Pride is always the mentality of the unrighteous. Humility is despised by the world. Humility is the absence of pride. In fact, you cannot find a greater antithesis to the worldly spirit than to, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord." The attitude of self-reliance, self-assurance, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image cannot exist with genuine humility. Contrary to the worldly view, humility is not the suppression of personality. Unfortunately, most of people do not realize the incredible potential that waits for us unless we can let go of our pride and take hold of God's plan for our lives. Satan departs from us when we come under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
I encourage you no to sit passively and wait for resolution in a conflict to happen spontaneously. James has given ten active commands in rapid succession in these four verses: Submit to God! Resist the devil! Draw near to God! Cleanse your hands! Purify your heart! Be miserable! Mourn! Weep! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom! Humble yourself! God’s way to resolve conflicts is to submit to Him, resist the devil, and repent of all sin.
From time to time, we need to be reminded to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In other words, we need to be "cut down to size." Humbling yourself before God is that the Lord will exalt you. He will lift you up to share His glory.
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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