James 2-3 with Comparisons in Matthew

Fred R. Coulter—July 13, 2002

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I discovered that there were 55 references direct or indirect in the Epistle of James, which you can tie into the book of Matthew. This is grounds to show that Matthew was written very early. Let's understand something that God always does.

  • He gives the verbal message
  • He always writes it down

We have that in every instance!

When the children of Israel came to Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, God spoke to them first. Then He had Moses write down the statues and judgments in the Book of the Law.

Then after that was done, Moses came down and read in the ears of all what God had commanded them to do, which were the words of the covenant with Israel. Then it was sealed with the blood of animals, and all the people said, 'Yes, we will do it.'

We find exactly the same procedure here in the New Testament. First, they went out preaching and then they had to have it written down because they were coming across people…

When they were first preaching a lot of those had heard Christ already, and later when thousands and thousands started coming into the Church, you had a situation where they didn't know what Jesus had said. So, they had to begin writing as we saw very early on.

The whole point of the similarity between James and Matthew is that James was written in about 40-42A.D. All the reasons that I give in the commentary is that:

  • There were no Gentiles in the Church. especially concerning the situation with James that the Church was still within the synagogue.

The letter was sent to all 12 tribes of Israel scattered in the Diaspora.

  • James was not a believer that Jesus was the Messiah until after Jesus had appeared to him, after Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

But we find James with the first group of disciples there in Acts 1, when the 120 were gathered there; Mary was there and all the brothers, etc.

In doing the commentary for when the book of Matthew was written, we have to come back to James and go through that, because the evidence of Matthew in James is really overwhelming.

It shows that it had been in use for  considerable period of time, because of the way that it's put together.

We finished off part two of this series in James 2 about judgment. We'll talk about a faith here and we'll see that in the book of Matthew.

James 2:14: "My brethren, what good does it do, if anyone says that he has faith, and does not have works? Is faith able to save him?"

This is a very important part of what we have here, because this ties in with everything that James is talking about. This also ties back in with James 1:22. the whole point of faith with James is that you must have righteous works that demonstrate your belief. If you truly believe something, you will do it.

James 1:22: "Then be doers of the Word, and not only hearers, deceiving your own selves, because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, this one is like a man considering his natural face in a mirror. Who, after looking at himself, went away and immediately forgot what he was like" (vs 22-24).

Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to Me 'Lord, Lord'… [believing in His name only] …shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the one who is doing the will of My Father, Who is in heaven."

Sidebar(transcriber paraphrased): Hollister made national news with a motorcycle club event. It was not a rowdy gang type of thing. These are all well-behaved and what you would call upper middle class having enough money to afford the cost today.

There was a book "Bikers for Jesus" and the son of one of our members went up and said, 'That's interesting, what is it that you believe? Do you believe in the Sabbath?' Oh, no! You can keep any day you want to, everyday is our sabbath!

All you have to do to belong to Bikers for Jesus is believe that Jesus is the Savior! That's all you have to believe.

This is a perfect fulfillment of Matt. 7:21! To say nothing of the 'religionists' who are anti-Law! Not only are you to believe, but you are to do, as it says here! That means practicing the will My Father Who is in heaven!

What did Christ come to do? To reveal the Father, and to reveal His Word! Now we know what the will of the Father is, because it's recorded here in the New Testament.

Verse 22: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy through Your name? And did we not cast out demons through Your name? And did we not perform many works of power through Your name?' And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work lawlessness'" (vs 22-23).

  • How do we know that we know Christ?
  • How do we know that Christ knows us?

Christ knows those who are His!

1-John 2:3: "And by this standard we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I know Him' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him" (vs 3-4).

You're going to be hard pressed to find any religious person to stand up and say, 'I am a liar.' That's why Jesus said that you have to know them by their fruits.

James 2:15: "Now then, if there be a brother or sister who is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; be warmed and be filled'…" (vs 15-16).

This is the good, warm, fuzzy emotional feeling that you say something that is good, but there is no substance to back it up, because you don't give them the things that they need.

"…and does not give to them the things necessary for the body, what good is it? In the same way also, faith, if it does not have works, is dead, by itself" (vs 16-17).

Matthew 21:20: "And after seeing it, the disciples were amazed, saying, 'How quickly the fig tree has dried up!' Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only shall you do the miracle of the fig tree, but even if you shall say to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea," it shall come to pass. And everything that you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive'" (vs 20-22). There's the kind of faith that we need!

James 2:18: "But someone is going to say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' My answer is: You prove your faith to me through your works, and I will prove my faith to you through my works."

The King James is a little different: "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

In the proper translation it is a play on words. If you don't have works, you have works. What do I mean by that? Your works are no works!

For example: In talking to a man one time, he said, 'I know that Saturday is the Sabbath, but I go to church every Sunday.'

Or another may say, like the bikers, 'Everyday is the Sabbath,' and they do nothing.

So, their lack of works really is works, showing and producing nothing!

Verse 19: "Do you believe that God is one? You do well to believe this. Even the demons believe and tremble in fear. But are you willing to understand, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (vs 19-20). We will look at the supposed works without faith!

Matthew 23:15—Jesus says: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel the sea and the land to make one proselyte, and when he has become one, you make him twofold more a son of Gehenna than yourselves."

In verse 3 Jesus says of them: "Therefore, every judgment that they tell you to observe… [according to the laws of Moses] …observe and do. But do not do according to their works; for they say and do not." That's the kind of works that James is talking about when he says:

James 2:18 "…You prove your faith to me through your works, and I will prove my faith to you through my works." Their works were "for they say and do not" (Matt. 23:3)

Matthew 23:4: "For they bind heavy burdens and hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men; but they will not move them with one of their own fingers."

Now let's look at the kind of faith that the demons have; that is they believe that God is one, but they won't obey!

Matthew 8:28: "And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two who were possessed by demons coming out of the tombs, so violent that no one was able to pass by that way. And they cried out at once, saying… [here are the demons who believe] …'What do You have to do with us, Jesus, the Son of God?…. [they knew Who He was and what He was doing] …Have You come here to torment us before the time?'" They fear and tremble!

Verse 30: "Now, there was far off from them a herd of many swine feeding; and the demons pleaded with Him, saying, 'If You cast us out, allow us to go into the herd of swine.'" At least they would have an unclean body to be in!

As it turned out this reduced the supply of port for the Roman soldiers, because that's what they were raising them for. When I first read that I thought: What were they doing having pigs in the Holy Land? This is on the other side of the Jordan and they would raise them for the Roman soldiers!

Verse 32: "And He said to them, 'Go!' And after coming out, they went into the herd of swine; and the entire herd of swinesuddenly rushed down the steep slope into the sea and died in the waters." There's a good example of the demons who believe, but won't obey!

Most of the rest of James 2 is not connected with anything in the book of Matthew, but this is more connected with the things concerning with what the Apostle Paul wrote in Rom. 4.

James 2:21: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac, his own son, upon the altar? Do you not see that faith was working together with his works, and by works his faith was perfected? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Now, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness'; and he was called a friend of God" (vs 21-23).

We won't go back through all the things in the book of Genesis to cover this, I've done that before. However, it's sufficient to say that when God first made the covenant with Abraham, He said, 'Leave your country.' So, Abraham had to leave; there was something he was to do. In faith he left!

Then in Gen. 15 God said to Abraham to 'look at the stars of heaven and count them if you can, so shall your seed be.' There was no work to do! God didn't say to count them and go on up there, Abraham. So, there are things that God tells us that we are to believe, and it requires no work! Then in Gen. 22, when God said to Abraham, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac whom you love and go offer him for a sacrifice.' There was a work to do!

If you believe God and there is something to do, you believe and you work. If there is something that God has said, which requires no work but belief, you are to believe that. That's the difference between Rom. 4 and James 2.

Verse 25: "Now, in the same manner also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works when, after receiving the messengers, she sent them out a different way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, in the same way also, faith without works is dead" (vs 25-26).

James 3:1: "My brethren, do not many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive more severe judgment; because we frequently offend, every one of us. If anyone does not offend in what he says, this one is a perfect man and is able also to hold in check the whole body" (vs 1-2).

Let's talk about offenses! Jesus made it clear that offenses are going to come.

Matthew 18:1: "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?'"

They were trying to figure how they would fit into their reward when they made it into the Kingdom of Heaven, how far up the ladder they would be, which kind of tells you that they understood that their work was going to be very important.

Verse 2: "And after calling a little child to Him, Jesus set him in their midst, and said, 'Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, there is no way that you shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven'" (vs 2-3). This means little children toward God!

  • loving
  • willing
  • teachable
  • obedient

Toward God! Toward men who are contrary to us, it may be different story. Matt. 10 tells us what we need to do:

Matthew 10:16: "Behold, I am sending you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall also be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a witness to them and to the Gentiles" (vs 16-18).

That is different from being a little child! Now you are to be a grown up spiritual mature person, to let the Spirit of God work in you so that you can bring a testimony to them!

Verse 19: "Now, when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you should speak; for in that hour it shall be given to you what you shall speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you" (vs 19-20).

  • our relationship to men we find in Matt. 10
  • our relationship to God we find in Matt. 18

This is how we are to be to God!

We are not to be little children in this world toward the world, lest they perform child abuse against us! (analogy)

Matthew 18:5: "And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name receives Me. But whoever shall cause one of these little ones who believe in Me…" (vs 5-6).

This is how serious offenses are; this is why he's talking about teachers and how that many of those teachers offend. Why? Because they don't teach the Truth! People are offended at the Truth because it is convicting sin within them, and that's a different story. These are offenses that need not be, but are simply based in vanity and based in the fact that people want their own way. 

"…to offend, it would be better for him that a millstone be hung around his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For it is necessary that offenses come, yet, woe to that man by whom the offense comes!" (vs 6-7).

Of course then, the rest of Matt. 18 shows how to solve the problems between one another. It's so important that Jesus says, and this ties in with James:

Verse 8: "And if your hand or your foot causes you to offend, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire."

Obviously, if you offend you can cut off one hand, two hands, one foot, two feet, take out one eye, take out the other eye, but if you never learn to control the tongue you haven't accomplished anything!

As a matter of fact, when you think about this, the carnal mind is such that you could have all your limbs cut off and just the stump of your body lying in a bed and you are blind as a bat and can't see anything, but you can still lust and curse in your mind. You could even have your tongue cut out so you couldn't speak, and obviously lying there in that condition you couldn't offend anybody.

But you could still have offenses in your mind, and accusations, sins and things like that! So it's the conversion of the mind that is more important than the severing of the limb! It is harder to change the mind than to cut off the limb!

Years ago there was a woman in the Church who offended with her hand and went out and took a hatchet and cut off her hand. That didn't stop her anger! Unfortunately, she learned the lesson minus one hand. The whole point is that we learn to love God!

Verse 10: "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually look upon the face of My Father, Who is in heaven." We need to be very, very careful about those who are teaching and offending!

James 3:3: "Remember, we put bits into horses' mouths in order that they may obey us, and we direct their entire bodies."

Since most people don't have horses today, we can say that you put the key in your car and start it so you can drive it. You have the steering wheel there and with it you can make the car go wherever you want.

Verse 4: "Consider also that ships, being so large, and being driven by strong winds, are turned about by a very small rudder, wherever the will of the one who is steering may decide." That is absolutely true!

Between a faulty compass and rudder, you can be way off course when you set across the ocean. I don't know what it would be if you were to be one-half degree off and you went 10,000 miles across the Pacific. How far would you miss the mark?

We have the same thing here concerning the tongue. The tongue is the most dangerous and evil thing that there is, and the hardest to control.

Verse 5: "In the same way also, the tongue is a little member, but it boasts great things. See how large a forest is set ablaze by a little fire; and the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…." (vs 5-6).

Example: I was sitting in a restaurant and waiting for my food to come and in comes this man who had an accident on a job. I don't know if he hit it with a sledge hammer or something, but his thumb so messed up that all he could do is just sit there with his thumb hanging in pain after going to a doctor a couple days before.

I asked him what happened, and he told me and I said, 'How long is going to be that way?' He said, 'Well, about two weeks' and he began explaining about the pain and everything.

Right away he started taking Christ's name in vain! Just what they consider natural conversation. Of course, I didn't say that I was a preacher and 'you ought to not do that.' After all they're in the world.

But nevertheless, it shows that the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…."

"…So has the tongue been set among our members, the one member that defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of life, and is set on fire by Gehenna. Now then, every species of animals and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But the tongue no human being is able to tame…" (vs 6-8).

That's the hardest, hardest thing, which means that the mind is even harder to tame! Because out of the abundance of the heart, they mouth speaks!

"…it is an unrestrainable evil, full of death-dealing poison. With it we bless God the Father, and with it we ourselves curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes out blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so! Does a fountain pour out of the same opening sweet water and bitter water?…. [No!] …My brethren, can a fig tree produce olives, or a vine produce figs? In the same way, no fountain can produce salt water and fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him demonstrate his works through good conduct in the meekness of wisdom" (vs 8-13).

Now let's focus on the tongue and plug in Matthew to these various verses. Another thing that is very interesting about the human mind is that—and this is why you need the Spirit of God and you need God to cleanse your mind and heart—everything you see makes an impression upon your mind. Everything that you hear makes an impression upon your mind. That's why they have been able in certain experiments to stimulate certain sections of the brain and people will remember something in the past, even to the point of visualizing and seeing people who were involved in whatever part of this memory recorded it. And even to the point of the sensations of the smell.

That's why it's so important that we guard the door of our mind. But also it tells us that we need the Spirit of God to cleanse our mind from the things of sin that we have done in the past. Only God can cleanse our mind from that so we can forget them! God says that He will forgive our sins and not remember them anymore. We also ought to do the same thing by having the Spirit of God cleanse us.

That's why it talks about the washing of the water by the Word, which means that the Word of God coming into your mind—since everything makes an impression upon our mind—cleanses us from those things, washes us from those things and replaces it through the Spirit of God with the things that are right. That is all the process of coming to have the mind of Christ!

Matthew 12:33: "Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for a tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers, how are you able to speak good things, being evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (vs 33-34).

It also says in the Proverbs, as a man thinks in his heart so he is! This is why the ultimate judgment is going to be based on that, not on the exterior, because people can put on a very good exterior. Most notably our con men who want to bilk you out of your money.

I think in the 1990s they resided in the stockbroker's houses! And in the accounting houses to sell stock. They all sounded good, but it was all evil!

Verse 35: "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out good things; and the wicked man out of the wicked treasure brings out wicked things. But I say to you, for every idle word that men may speak, they shall be held accountable in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned" (vs 35-37).

This tells us an awful lot! This means that at the resurrection we're going to be judged by our words. Let's also ask, how are we being judged now? Let's carry this thing through a little bit further on judgment and our words.

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Let's talk about judgment for the Church now. Not only will we be judged for every idol word that we speak. This is why we need to, everyday, repent! Most of the things that we need to repent about is because we said something we shouldn't have said. Even at this stage today. Why do we do that? Because the tongue is untamable evil, a world of fire!

I think James put it well, 'setting on fire the course of the world!' Jesus said that we're going to be judged by every idol word. For us that judgment is now! We are being judged now, and that's why later James says, 'Be swift to hear and slow to speak.' So, it might behoove us all, as we're going through this, to examine how we can control our tongues a little bit more.

Sometimes we say things that are right, but we say them with a tongue that is like a sword; it hacks, cuts and kills.

1-Peter 4:17: "For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God…"

That's why we have to pray every day, repent every day, and ask God to help us. When we repent, and put those sins under the blood of Christ, what does God do? He removes them as far as the East is from the West!

So therefore, at the resurrection the judgment is going to be that we receive eternal life, because being judged during living now up to the time of the resurrection, we have been letting God judge us, forgive us, and we have been repenting and living God's way. Therefore, when it comes time for the resurrection, we'll be in the first resurrection. That's important.

"…and if it first begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the Gospel of God? And if the righteous are saved with much difficulty…" (vs 17-18).

That's why living a Christian life is not easy. It is difficult! That's why it's called 'the narrow way, the straight way' and so forth. If that be so:

"...what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (v 18). So, we have that judgment!

When it comes time for the second resurrection—which we cover on the Last Great Day—let's understand that God has allowed Satan the devil to blind the mind of those people in the world. But He's also given them over to their hard-heartedness and unbelief. He's closed their minds to understanding. They don't have an opportunity for salvation in this life, hence we have the second resurrection for an opportunity for salvation in a second physical life.

However, God has to make a judgment as to who is going to be in the second resurrection unto physical life, to receive an opportunity for salvation, and who is going to be in the second resurrection to be cast into the Lake of Fire because they've committed the unpardonable sin. Here's how God does it in Rom. 2; judgment is still on the world, although with a different criteria:

Romans 2:14: "For when the Gentiles, which do not have the Law, practice by nature the things contained in the Law, these who do not have the Law are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the Law written in their own hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also as they accuse or defend one another);" (vs 14-15).

This is what we see in the world! They talk about the 'rule of law' and they accuse or excuse. They have some understanding of the Laws of God, and if they didn't they couldn't have a society that would function.

In this society you have a good deal of people out there, though they are carnal and wicked at heart, are still living reasonably decent lives. They're not murderers, adulterers, thieves and all that sort of thing. They're trying to live decent, moral lives. Those people, not having been called, will be resurrected in the second resurrection for an opportunity for salvation. We find that in Rev. 20, but also here:

Verse 16: "In a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel." This ties in with Matt. 12 about 'every idol word.'

  • since God has cut them off
  • since God has not given them an opportunity for salvation

He judges them that they will be worthy of the second resurrection! Then you also have those who have committed the sin unto death, the unpardonable sin. They'll be resurrected to the Lake of Fire. This is how we are judged: by our tongue, by all those things and so forth.

Matt. 7 ties in with the judging and doing; ties in with the tree, the fruit and the tongue. Remember how James talked about the fig tree, the olive tree, here Jesus talked much the same way:

Matthew 7:15: "But beware of false prophets… [the ones bringing the wrong words] …who come to you in sheep's clothing, for within they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits…." (vs 15-16).

I've often thought about "…ravening wolves…." as sanctimonious and such 'do-gooders' that they don't know that they're "…ravening wolves…." themselves.

  • How can you tell that they're ravening wolves when they appear so nice?
  • What violence do they do to the Word and the Laws of God?
    • they may appear good
    • they may be very sanctimonious
    • they may even appear to be very kind

Such as some of the unholy fathers in the unholy Catholic Church who are really homosexuals and pedophiles. They appear good, but their works are evil!

So you have the same thing if a false prophet comes and says that you don't have to obey God, he's a ravening wolf because he is doing violence to the Word of God! Though looking at him and listening to him, he might have a kind disposition, he might speak in a gentle voice and so forth.

They're obviously not like the cartoon of Little Red Riding Hood. She comes to her grandmother's house and the wolf has eaten her up and the grandmother's clothing now are adorning the wolf, and he tries to be as smiling and as nice as he can. Little Red Riding Hood says, 'Grandma, what sharp teeth you have…' See how everything affects you? I don't know when the last time I ever saw that was, but…

They don't appear that way. They appear righteous and sanctimonious and have ceremonies and dress and the robes and things are set to dazzle the mind. They speak such kind words. You watch the biography of John Paul II and you will see how Satan is able to take a cloak of righteousness and how such a man appears so good, wonderful and righteous. Yet, he sits in an office that is 'God on earth' and does violence to the Word of God! He is a ravening wolf! But men can't discern it.

Verse 16: "You shall know them by their fruits. They do not gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, do they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that is not producing good fruit is cut down and is cast into the fire. Therefore, you shall assuredly know them by their fruits" (vs 16-20).

In today's world of genetic engineering they can make plants do almost anything. I don't know if they've tried to combine grapes and thorns, or figs and thistles, yet. But they have combined into potatoes a gene from a moth that makes them so that they will not spoil as quickly. They also are working on a gene that comes from a plant that survives in the desert with little rain, and they're putting it into plants that normally will not survive in the desert so that these plants can survive in dry conditions.

It will be a thing to behold, indeed, to see a tomato plant growing in desert sand and producing tomatoes.

I bring this up as good example, because this shows you—by this physical example of what they're doing with genetics in plants—what also has happened in religion. It is so crazy and it is so mixed up, and is so hybrid that many different brands of many different churches and religions are producing many different kinds of goofy fruit!

The churches in the world are one story, but all you have to do is get a listing of the Churches of God of which there are probably 500 or more—from the Bible Sabbath Association—and their beliefs are so hybrid that it's almost crazy.

Likewise today, it is much harder to tell the tree by it's fruit, because of spiritual genetic engineering to produce something that looks more like the Truth.

James 3:13: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him demonstrate his works through good conduct in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the Truth. This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual and demonic" (vs 13-15).

  • What does this mean?
  • How many things are we told that are wise, good and will have a good outcome and effect? Many things!

Only to find out that that is not so! Likewise, a lot of movements!

Matthew 16:21: "From that time Jesus began to explain to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day."

Verse 22 shows the kind of demonic do-goodism that comes from Satan, which on the surface appears good.

Verse 22: "But after taking Him aside, Peter personally began to rebuke Him, saying, 'God will be favorable to you, Lord. In no way shall this happen to You.'" In other words, we're not going to let it happen to you! We're going to fight for You! We'll fight against the priests and the soldiers!

Who was the one who took the sword to hack off the head of the servant of the high priest and missed and only got his ear? Peter! You know that he wasn't aiming for the ear! Likewise here, 'Hey, Lord, this isn't going to happen. You're are champion and hero, but You count on us, we'll save You.'

How many times have people been led down the garden path to go right for a cause that was really not a fight that they should have been fighting for? It sounded good and looked good, but it didn't work out, because it didn't come from God.

I'll bet that Peter felt really sincere in his heart when he said this, but notice Jesus' answer. I'll bet that when Peter rose up, in the moment, 'Look at this, Lord, we're not going to let this happen.' Inside I don't know what he was thinking, but generally things like this are a chance to show 'how much I care for the Lord; I'm not going to let this happen to Him.'

But if Jesus didn't die the way that He was supposed to, then who would have won? Satan the devil!

Verse 23: "Then He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan….'" That was demonic; that was not coming from God! Later in this chapter Jesus said, 'Who do men say that I am?'

Verse 15: "He [Jesus] said to them, 'But you, whom do you declare Me to be?' Then Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father, Who is in heaven'" (vs 15-17).

So, this was a Godly statement! Then just a little ways up the road, here comes a demonic, satanic idea, coming from Satan, so Jesus had to say: "…Get behind Me, Satan…." That's why we need to understand that:

  • all thoughts are not good thoughts
  • all thoughts are not inspired thoughts
  • all good thoughts may not come from God if they lead to a carnal end

Verse 23: "…You are an offense to Me, because your thoughts are not in accord with the things of God, but the things of men."

  • it's human wisdom
  • it's human thoughts
    • Who inspires those?
    • How many good causes do we have in the world today?
    • What does it do? It gets people into do-goodism!

Take the issue of the homeless. It goes clear back to when they were children growing up. It goes clear back to the thing that they have to be taught what is right.

The solution to give them money, the solution to do things just perpetuates a 'do-goodism' and creates a bureaucracy that manifests itself in our welfare state beyond the homeless today. All good causes. Those are the things of men.

God would do it a different way! That's why when the Millennium comes, there's not going to be any divorce, women's libbers or milk-toast men. There's not going to be any rebellious kids. They'll be taught the things of God rather than the things of man.

James 3:16: "Because where bitter envying and selfish ambition are, there is dissension and every evil thing."

Now we're going to see a little ambition and some bitter envying and strife, and what it created; all for a good cause.

Matthew 20:20: "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons… [mama's going to take care of her boys] …worshiping Him and asking a certain thing from Him." This is kind of a family political move!

Verse 21: "And He [Jesus] said to her, 'What do you desire?' She said to Him, 'Grant that these my two sons…'"

'They're the sons of thunder and they're going to be the greatest preachers around'; you can fill in other thoughts with it.

"'….may sit one at Your right hand and one at Your left hand in Your Kingdom'" (v 21). Is that ambitious or no? Yes, it is! You can't get any higher than that.

Verse 22: "But Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you are asking…. [this is not motivated from God] …Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' They said to Him, 'We are able.'"

They didn't even know what they were saying! James sure enough did; he was beheaded by Herod Antipas I. John lived the longest, but I suppose in a way he had to go through more agony than any because he saw the whole church come apart!

Verse 23: "And He said to them, 'You shall indeed drink of My cup, and shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit at My right hand and at My left hand is not Mine to give, but shall be given to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.' And after hearing this, the ten were indignant against the two brothers" (vs 23-24).

Did that create envy and strife? Yes, and also when they were sitting there at the Passover, they had the same discussion again! It doesn't tell us how many times they may have had the same discussion privately among themselves. So, they had their Gerald Waterhouse there, didn't they?

Did it make the Church carnal? Yes! It wasn't of God! Then Jesus had to go through and explain how their attitude was, that they would have to humble themselves and so forth in order to serve properly.

James 3:17: "But the wisdom from above is first pure… [that with the Spirit of God] …then peaceful…" –peace of mind, not the hostility and envy.

Example: There's a very gutsy Seventh Day Adventist who lives in Oregon and he and those with him have rented a billboard along Hwy 5: The Pope Is the Antichrist

The Catholics have done everything they could to try and get it down, but in this land of free speech, they want theirs but not anybody else.

So Donahue, the president of the Catholic League in New York said—because they won't take it down—'This is war!'

Good example of carnal reasoning! He said that 'You may have trouble with your income taxes and things like this. There's more than one way to fight this battle.'

Hello! What does that tell you? Who do they use? Rather than saying that's 'an outrageous statement I'm going to prove you wrong,' he says that 'this is war and we're going to destroy you.'

If this Seventh Day Adventist's home burns up or something like that, you can know that it was the work of one of the Knights of Columbus, without a doubt. That's not God's way!

"…gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and without hypocrisy. Now, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace" (vs 17-18).

All of this comes from the mind of Christ. Let's tie peace and righteousness in with Matthew and see how this comes right out of the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy" (vs 6-7).

Every time you get mad and don't want to forgive, remember that you want God to forgive you. Remember that the next time you're unwilling to forgive. You want God to forgive you, but think 'I won't forgive you, but, God, forgive me.' NO! The way that you obtain mercy is that you're merciful.

Verse 8: "Blessed are the pure in heart… [because it's the wisdom that is pure] …for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers… [peaceable] …for they shall be called the sons of God" (vs 8-9). The solution to all of this is the mind of Christ (Philip. 2:5).

James demonstrates the whole thing; brings it all together in their behavior; James 4:1: "What is the cause of quarrels and fighting among you? Is it not mainly from your own lusts that are warring within your members? You lust, and have not; you kill, and are jealous, and are not able to obtain; you fight and quarrel, but still you do not have, because you do not ask" (vs 1-2).

I remember when things were starting to go wrong down in Pasadena, and this was when the state came in and took over. There were some of the leading ministers—evangelists—who were for the takeover, because they knew the corruption that was going on. There were some who were against the takeover because they didn't want the state going over the books.

In any case, if they would have run it correctly that shouldn't have ever happened in the first place. But there were fighting and quarreling, and even brawling and hitting of each other right down in the auditorium, which was supposed to be the Temple of God.

I was there when this was occurring. I didn't see it, I was outside, but I tell you, you talk about strife, fighting, quarrelling and a complete fulfillment of this. We can also apply this to many different situations in the world. People fight and quarrel because they don't have. They want to get without working. They want to take without qualifying. They have movements and marches and parades and:

It's the same way with us; v 3: "Then you ask… [they don't ask God, and it's the same way with us] …and you do not receive, because you ask with evil motives, that you may consume it on your own lusts" (v 3). You can apply this to government and carnal people, but let's apply it to the Church!

We kept asking for money and we relied on it and consumed it on our lust. So, God took it away, the whole shebang, every bit of it! One man said that Tkach Jr. was a $2-billion disaster! Since he took over the income—if it would have continued the way that it was—has a loss of $2-billion, plus the loss of everything!

You can see God's judgment in it when you ask and ask amiss and "Then you ask, and you do not receive, because you ask with evil motives, that you may consume it on your own lusts."

Verse 4: "You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

  • Didn't that happen, also? We went out and made friends with the world!
  • What did that result in? Disaster!

That's all tied in. "…friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever desires to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

You can take those first four verses and you can apply it to the demise of the Worldwide Church of God step-by-step all the way through.

  • Were there envyings?
  • Were there quarrels?
  • Were their political things?
  • YES!

So much so that now removed this far back and looking at it, we have a clearer perspective! James tells us not to let this happen our lives!

Let's show somewhat of a parallel. This is an indirect parallel to James 4:

Matthew 6:19: "Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust spoil, and where thieves break through and steal…"

They can do that electronically now. It just makes you wonder how long it's going to go and where it's going to lead to with all of these things. Just hang on and watch, I think we're all going to be surprised.

Verse 20: "But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven… [that means right conduct of love, faith, hope and all the fruits of the Spirit] …where neither moth nor rust spoils, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (vs 20-21).

This does apply obliquely to the things physical in the way of tithes and offerings, but not mainly. It gets down to this:

  • if it is so good
  • if is worth so much
  • if it is eternal life

and there's nothing better

  • then God does expect you to give of that which the world and all people hold most dear, that is their money!

Verse 22: "The light of the body is the eye. Therefore, if your eye be sound, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. Therefore, if the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (vs 22-23).

That's what James is talking about in James 4:1-4 and Matt. 6:24 sums it up:

Verse 24: "No one is able to serve two masters…"

That's what they were doing back there and didn't James talk about being double-minded? Yes! We'll see that again.

"…for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (v 24)

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • James 2:14
  • James 1:22-24
  • Matthew 7:21-23
  • 1 John 2:3-4
  • James 2:15-17
  • Matthew 21:20-22
  • James 2:18-20
  • Matthew 23:15, 3
  • James 2:18
  • Matthew 23:4
  • Matthew 8:28-32
  • James 2:21-23, 25-26
  • James 3:1-2
  • Matthew 18:1-3
  • Matthew 10:16-21
  • Matthew 18:6-10
  • James 3:3-13
  • Matthew 12:33-37
  • 1 Peter 4:17-28
  • Romans 2:14-16
  • Matthew 7:15-20
  • James 3:13-15
  • Matthew 16:21-23, 15-17, 23
  • James 3:16
  • Matthew 20:20-24
  • James 3:17-18
  • Matthew 5:6-9
  • James 4:1-4
  • Matthew 6:19-24

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 4
  • Genesis 15, 22
  • Philippians 2:5

Transcribed: 6/2/20