God is much more for us than we realize; He wants us in the Spirit. There is a red danger zone of pride. We can stay out of this in humility and in submission to Him. We can more than survive for the Lord has made us His friends by grace and knowledge. (James 4:1-12; 2 Peter 3:18)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12441
11:00 AM on 1/15/2023

P. Schaller –

Just for an opening word this morning. Would you turn in your Bibles to 2 Peter 3:18. I’ve got English
Standard Version I’m reading from. We had a great weekend. We had a pastor’s seminar
yesterday. I’m sorry, a men’s seminar. And we gathered from different places and had great time
yesterday in fellowship. I advised, counsel and encouragement to be a man. A man of God, a
man of faith. Instruction, inspiration, words of edification. It was a great day yesterday.
Also, Erhan is back from Turkey. Erhan, from Europe. Good to have you here. Back from
Turkey. Wow. Last week, we were in Finland together and just enjoy how God is using him,
raising him up, and speaking to his heart and guiding him. P. Pete Westera was in Uzbekistan
and Kazakhstan last week. He will be sharing tonight a little bit about that.

Bible school starts tomorrow night. Monday night. It’s free for newcomers. If you are a
newcomer and you’d like to come to class all week, you are welcome. I’m excited about it
because whenever the Spirit is speaking to us, we benefit from that.
This verse is 2 Peter 3:18. Would you like to read that verse to your neighbor, the person sitting
next to you? Read it outloud please. You can’t speak at the same time, but do it. But, grow. Go,
ahead. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Now,
explain it to your neighbor for a moment.

Alright. This is what I’d like to say about it. How did you get saved? But by believing. And what
happened? Grace. God gave you grace. He saved you by how? By your works? Or he saved
you by his grace. By the blood of the Lamb. By the blood of Jesus Christ we are made just,
justified, made righteous, Rom. 3. We are saved by grace.

Here it says grow in grace. The Spirit of grace. The mind of grace. The Spirit of God. The grace
of God. What does grace mean but gift. It’s a gift. It’s yours. It’s given to you. In the ancient
world, there was a king on his birthday he gave his soldiers a day off. They would say, why did
we get the day off? It’s the king’s birthday. And so they were given a gift – that was the grace of
the king. Well, our God is the God of all grace, and he gives to you and I things we don’t
deserve. He forgives us. He fills us with the Spirit. He forgives us of things. He loves us.

He sees our potential and it says in James 4 – let’s look at that verse for a moment. We’ll look at it
later this morning. James 4 is what we’re going to look at. Read vs. 5 and we’ll finish with this.
Now, notice something about our meeting here this morning. You and I have come to church to
learn who is God, who is Christ from the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, his mind. This book will
never pass away. I mean, this particular one will, but the words of God – heaven and earth will
pass away but not even one jot or tittle. One stroke of the pen. One part of the Hebrew
alphabet. One dot, one punctuation mark, one letter, one part of a letter, the crossing of a “t” we
would say in English, the dot of an “i,” not even the dot of an “i” will pass away. Heaven and
earth will but not my Word.

So, we are in church to read what does the Scripture say? He yearns jealously over the Spirit
that he has made to dwell in us. God loves you. Yearns for your well-being. Desires your benefit.
Wants to dwell in us. He does dwell in us. Wants the best for us. He is the God of grace. He
gives to us when we do not deserve it. Even when we rebel against him. But we are
understanding his nature and character that he’s the God of all grace. When you get the grace
and you live in faith and you see the grace of God in your life, then you want to grow in it.
I like to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to grow in that. Some
people grow in judging, self-righteousness. They grow in their bitterness. They grow in their
anger, their frustration. They grow in their limited life. They grow in their bad habits and their sin
nature. We can grow in our flesh.

But don’t do it. Say it to your neighbor. Turn to them. Use your finger. Don’t do it! Don’t grow in
the flesh! Come on! Come on! Pick up your game. Learn about it. The grace of God. The
knowledge of God. Come on! Don’t do it. Don’t grow in bitterness. Grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Welcome P. Steve (announcements/song).
Now, did – Rosanne, did you write that? She wrote that song. Wow! What’s that? That was fun,
wasn’t it? I mean the only problem with it is that in my generation we don’t know what hashtag
means! Okay. Would you stand for a moment and just stand and turn around and just say,
you’re looking good today. God bless you. I’m #blessed! Okay. You may be seated.

Desmin, would you raise your hand for a moment. Okay. I got it right. Thank you, Desmin.
Thank you for being here. Wow. Desmin has a great story. During covid, we shut down and then
we opened up by preaching on the rooftop here and we went through different things. But then
we stayed open. We actually continued the best we could. And Desmin was reading Braille in
Baltimore city as a blessed brother and as he read the Braille of the Baltimore Sun that we were
open, he said I want to go to a church like that. So, he got in a taxi, drove from West Baltimore
over here and here he is faithfully. We love you, Desmin. We love you. You’re a blessing. You’re
a blessing.

Today, our text is from James 4, and we will stay in the text and look for interesting things to talk
about and to teach. I want to preface the reading by saying that the main theme of our message
today is I want you to survive. I want you to survive. Do you have that same attitude? How about
to you neighbor? How about to the person sitting next to you? Do you want to have a good
attitude? Turn to your neighbor and say, I want you to survive. Yeah. We, of course, have God
as our Father and Christ as our Savior and the…[no sound]…Alright. So, we want you to more
than survive but to abound.

Have you noticed how many survival shows there are on TV. Maybe you don’t watch TV. But
there are a lot of shows. My secretary counted 45 of them. Surviving in the jungle. Surviving in
the ocean. Surviving in the desert. Survival. And we watch them. Maybe you do. Maybe. But
watching them saying, how do they make it? How do they get water? How do they get food?
How do they know when a plant is poisonous? Or an animal is dangerous? Or there’s some
bacteria somewhere. How did they get the rain water? How do they survive?

And as we watch, we…[no sound]. Okay. You think about more than our bodies. We want to
think today about our soul. Can I survive in this world without living in some danger zone where
I could be taken out? And so, this text here, James 4:1-12 will give us some instruction. I think
I’ll just read the whole text for you.

vs. 1-2. Is this to Christians? Is James 4 written to Christians? It is. It’s written to the church. It’s
written to us. vs. 2. “You covet and cannot obtain” so you play the lottery! No. vs. 3-4. In the Old
Testament, if we studied that word “adultery” for the nation of Israel which is how it’s often used.
Most of the time it is used that way. God has a nation and she’s married to the nation. This is my
wife he says in Hosea. This is my wife. Israel is my wife. I brought her out of Egypt. He also
says I brought my son out of Egypt. I am married to Israel. I have a covenant with Israel. I have
a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the people of Israel. I have a covenant with
them. He says in Isaiah, where is the bill of your divorcement? Where is the document regarding
our divorce? We are not divorced. You are my wife. But you have play the adulterous. You have
played the part of an adulterer.

Loving the world, vs. 4-12. So, in our lesson this morning, I’d like to draw your attention to some
of these verses and speak to you about a principle in life that I want to kind of capture by a
simple picture of a meter that you could have in your car. Maybe RPM’s. Maybe some of you
have one of these in your automobile. It’s like a meter for how many revolutions your engine
makes in a minute. And there’s what’s called here at the further part of it, the red zone, or
dangerous, so the needle has to stay somewhere in a lower or higher position but do not go
over into the red zone.

I know in football when you get down into the red zone, you’re in striking distance of a
touchdown. Amen? Amen! Oh, yeah! Okay. Now, I want you to think of it in a different way. Not
the red zone in football but on your gas tank. You’re below empty or you’re at empty. You got to
do something about it. Or your RPM’s too high. You got to do something about it. You have to
survive in life. You have to go somewhere in understanding and growing and knowing what it is
to be a friend of God.

We say, we could put at the top here, you are a friend of God. God is your Father. You are his
child. You have the Holy Spirit of God in you and he yearns for your benefit. He wants your
blessing. He wants you to benefit. He wants you to grow. He wants you to have joy. He wants
your life to be filled with his love. He wants you to be humble. He wants you to learn of him and
know who he is as God. He’s not like people who are often, kind of you could say, maybe they’re
great people but then that day comes when they aren’t that great anymore. They could kill you,
cheat you, steal from you, lie to you. And you go, wow. Man. Wow. Love that guy but he’s a
human being. He’s a human being and we actually want human beings to be more like God but
we don’t have that way of talking about people that way so much, but actually when Jesus came
into the world, he told us we are to be like God in Matthew 5:48.

How could I ever be like God? How could that happen? That I could live not only surviving in
this world but actually abounding in this world. Having something in my heart that is satisfying to
me. Let’s take a moment and say and acknowledge the fact that living in this world I could
become an angry, bitter man or woman. I could be a religious person that is saying prayers but
they are not answered. It says that there in James 4, doesn’t it? vs. 3. You are asking spending
it on your passions. We could make those things up I guess. How wrong I could be in my prayer.
God will answer our prayer in the name of Jesus in John. 14:14, but to be honest, sometimes my
prayers are more like in the name of Tom. My prayer is in the name – I want this. I want this.
But the teaching is actually God wants us not in the red zone but he wants us in the Spirit. He
wants us to learn about who he is and have fellowship with him in the Spirit of God. The mind of
God. The heart of God. The wisdom of God. The humility of God. So, I need to be somehow
self-correcting. That’s a good word for us.

Let’s go to the red zone for a second. Here’s the red zone here. I am, just put down this word
“self-correcting.” What is the red zone. Selfishness, bitterness, anger to the point of hurting
somebody, stealing from them. What’s the red zone? Judging people. Being frustrated and
angry. Life. This is the story of life. This is what happens to me. I have been in the red zone. Do
you hear me? I have been in the red zone. Have you? Have you? Turn to your neighbor and
say, have you ever been in the red zone? Do you live there? Do you camp out there? How many
months have you lived there? How many years and decades have you lived there? Are you
judgmental? Are you self-righteous. Are you angry with people? Do you judge people? How
about it? Alright. Let’s get light here. Let’s get happy about it. Yeah, I’m going to go over there
and tell P. Steve that I have been. While I go over there, you do that, too. Go ahead.

Alright. So, as you come to the church and you listen little by little, it falls together little by little. I
think I want to keep it real simple here. I feel cheated. My boss doesn’t like me. He’s setting me
up for a fall. My ex-wife is bitter and angry with me and I am bitter and angry with her. This is an
example. I don’t have an ex-wife by the grace of God! I might have if I keep going the way that
I’m going. Okay, so, you know, our flesh so easily is hurt in this world. Our flesh is a very real
thing. I’m saying I want you to survive in this life in such a way the meaning of it is that at the
end of the game, you are sweet, loving, humble blessed of God and you can’t even explain it to

They say how come? How come you are happy, carefree, lighthearted, blessing people? When
you walk into a room, you’re sharing your blessing. You’re ministering to everybody like you
don’t care. You’re just ministering. How come your cup is running over? You can say, believe
me, it’s not anything I can say. I can just say James 4 is a good bit of instruction on how to live.

So, let’s go to the text here. Look at vs. 4. Friendship with the world. That has to be defined.
Abraham was a friend of God but not a friend of the world. He was in the world. Jesus was in
the world but not a friend of the world. He would choose his Father over the world. The world
would say we want you to be a king. Jesus would say I’m following my Father. Whatever he
wants me. He’s leading me to the cross. And that’s his will and that’s who I follow is my Father. I
have an allegiance to him and that’s what happens to you when you have the Spirit of God in
you. You have an allegiance to God. You start to hear from God. You do. You start to hear from
God, hear from the Word of God. It grows in you. You start to relate to God more than you do
the world.

Let me illustrate it simply if I can. Adam and Eve. Eve is his wife. She’s a beautiful woman.
She’s connected with Adam. They’re husband and wife. He adores her. He’s in love with her.
Adam and Eve. They are together. And they have God. God, Adam and Eve. She eats from the
tree and then she says, eat it. And Adam is there and he hasn’t eaten it and he’s listening to her.
He has God who said do not eat it, and then he has his wife who says eat it. And what is on trial
is his heart’s allegiance. Is he attracted to his wife to that degree where he says I will obey her. I
will do what – I will eat of the fruit. Or is he drawn to God and says, no. I will not eat it cause
God is my God and I have no other gods before me. Not even my wife is my god. Yeah.
Not even the world is not my god.

The world is saying things but I’ve got my allegiance to the
Father. This is what Jesus came into the world to show us another model. The whole human
race is attracted to the world in that sense of a cosmos diabolicus it’s called. The god of the
world, the way of the world, the mind of the world, the philosophy of the world, the fashion of the
world. I am attracted to it. But to walk away from his wife and say, no. I’m not eating. That would
have been God’s will. That was what God said but he couldn’t do it cause he’s a friend to Eve.
She’s my wife. After all, God gave her to me. She’s my wife. I’m going to do what she says. I’m
going to eat it. And he did.

I am also a friend of the world. But when you are born again, you become a friend of God. God
is not a friend of the world. By the way, he made it. He holds it together but when he and the
world met, the world crucified him. When God and the world met together, they were not friends
and the world crucified him. And that’s how the world always is. He said if the world hated me, it
will hate you cause we have another spirit. We have God in our life. We have another spirit. We
have another mind. That’s that verse there.

Go to chapter 4:5. We looked at it earlier. I read that this morning. In my heart, this is what I see
it saying. God is jealously caring about your benefit, your good will, your blessing. God yearns to
make himself known to us. He wants us filled with his Spirit and he wants his blessing on our
lives. He wants not merely survival but he wants abundance in an evil world. He would be our
God. He desires. It’s like a dad and his son. The dad desires the best for his son or daughter.
Like in our families, we just want the best for our families. And for our churches and our friends,
we just want the best for them because this is the nature of why God came into the world to
show us his love for us in John 3:16.

Go to vs. 6. MIZONA CHARIN. Abundant grace. We say greater grace. That’s the name of our –
where we got the name of our church. He gives more grace, greater grace, more than we need.
He gives it again and again. He gives grace. vs. 6b-7. Here’s a short list for us here. This little
meter I’ll put it down here. We got the don’t want to go there in our flesh. In that we have #1.
submit yourselves therefore to God. Why? Because he is the God of all grace. So, be humble
and submit to him.

Next one, resist the devil. This is how we live. Resist the devil. One word on that. You can resist
him by ignoring him. You can resist a temptation by ignoring it. You can resist an offer by not
picking up the phone. You could resist it by just not having it in your field of vision like a horse
with the blinders on. It’s not looking to be distracted. It’s focused. And the blinders are helping
the horse go on straight. Same way with the devil. The devil can be very active and leading us into temptation and active in his work and so on, but we can just keep our focus and in that
sense we are resisting the devil and he will flee.

Jesus resisted him with the Scripture and he left him. He came back but then this is perhaps the
same for us, too. He leaves for a while but then comes back with another strategy. But it says
here you resist him every time, all the time and he will flee.
Draw near to God. How? It says here we have these words. Submit, resist the devil, draw near
to God by faith. My attitude of trusting. Sacrificing something. Draw near to God saying a prayer.
Listening to his words of grace and love. We draw near to God coming to the church. We’re
drawing near to listen and submit myself and be humble before God and what happens? He will
draw near to you in vs. 8. Draw near to him. Take one step toward him and he is here. This is
just a picture. You take one step. He takes two towards you, for example.

He is much more for us than we realize. Why would I kind of like ignore him? Why wouldn’t I pay attention and in my
heart give my heart to him and trust him for my life? So, this is the new normal for us.
vs. 6. I’m sorry. vs. 8. Cleanse your hands. It sounds like it’s external. Cleansing my hands, like
external. Maybe there is some meaning in there for me. How do I survive in this world?
“Cleanse my hands you sinners; purify your hearts you double-minded.” We have purify your
hearts and indistinction to being double minded. I can’t make up my mind. Purify your heart.
One heart. One heart before God, right? One heart. I don’t want to have two. I have two. I have
a sin nature heart and then I have a new heart, but I want to live in the new heart. I want to walk
in the Spirit. I find myself double minded so I take a moment. I settle down in my heart and I
decide. My allegiance is not to Eve.

I want to have a single not a double mind about it. I want to
be single minded in my heart regarding God. Do you want God or not? That’s a good word. Do
you want God or not?
There’s some things you cannot do half way. I thought of two of them. Riding a horse. Get on
the horse or get off the horse. You got to do it one or the other. You can’t do both of them. Come
on! What do you want? Do you want God or not? You cannot do it two ways.
The second one is jumping out of a helicopter. Are you going to do it or not? Are you going to
jump or not? With a parachute, of course.

How do you purify your heart? You have a pure heart. Just deny yourself the right to become
bitter. To become angry. To live in the flesh. To live in the red zone. Deny yourself that. Say I
don’t like this double mindedness. I’m going to get grounded. Rooted in the truth. The truth. I
want to kind of get gravitas. Not to sound smart or something but I like that word. It’s like Latin I
guess for gravity. Get some anchor, a ballast on a sail boat. You know, you got to get some
weight down there low so the boat doesn’t tip over. You need some ballast in your life or you will
get destroyed. You will be in the red zone and in a matter of time, you will not survive. Yeah, you
will become an angry, old, bitter man who is always complaining about God doesn’t answer my
prayers and how this isn’t working and how people are bad and life is hard and you just go on
and on.

The world is filled with that stuff but not you. You can’t do that. I say that especially over here to
that guy that says “amen” all the time! That’s Matt. He’s a good guy. Hey, you are to live in a
new normal and that is a Spirit-filled, loving, compasionnate, gracious person who is finding God
visiting you with his grace all the time. And you are a humble person submitted to God and
you’re finding that God really is carrying you. He is helping you.

A little caveat in this. I’m not saying in 24 hours every relationship you’ve ever had is healed and
that your bank account is going to be overflowing by the end of the sermon. I’m not saying that.
I’m saying there is something deeper going on and that’s what spirit we are of. And how we
relate to people and how we build relationships and how we have new friends and care about
the people around us. How your heart gets bigger and how your words are more kind and you
learn how to love.

You are surviving. Not only surviving in a jungle where the world is destroying people’s lives.
What is it 100,000 people have dropped dead on our streets in the United States this year from
fentanyl. One hundred thousand. Check it out. I’m in the ball park somewhere. Last year 60,000.
Will you survive? Will I survive? Have we learned how to live? Are we learning how to live in a
jungle out there? That will say come to me. I will help you. I will help you. Okay. Thank you very
much. But heavenly Father, I got to get the main things the main things and you teach me how
to listen to you and walk with you. And you keep me from the path of the destroyer. You keep
me from the evil man and the weird thing that could take me out somehow and make me an
empty, bitter, angry person as a Christian. And that cannot happen.

That’s all I wanted to say. Let’s finish. Look at the verses and we’ll finish here. vs. 9. Be wretched. I want to say something about that. And mourn and weep. You know what? A lot of the people in this world should say
party is over. Party is over. Why is it over? Cause it’s a party of fools. Party of fools. You go to
Las Vegas. I’m dramatizing. You go to Las Vegas. You have a party. On the first day of the next
week you are there, your mourning. You’re wretched and you mourn and weep.

What do you do? You go back at it. You just keep at it. You just go back at it. You go from a
relationship that is broken to another relationship and another one. You go from one party to
another party. The meaning of this verse is I am broken. I am mourning and I am weeping but I
am going to do this before God. I am going to say to God, God, I’m a broken person. And you
said you’ll give grace to the humble. I’m here knocking on the door. I need you, Lord. New
game. Game changer. I need you.

Instead of a party of fools, you go to a different party. You go to God. You have another
fellowship, another way of life, another way of thinking because he gives greater grace. He
gives grace to people like us. I’ve been in those parties. I know what they are. I know where
they bring me. I have been there. And God saved my life. And he saved your life.

How many people on the streets of Baltimore and you say, you believe in God? And they say,
oh yeah. All the time. All day long I believe in God. He saved me. I got shot right here and he
saved my life. My answer is, I’m so happy God showed himself to you and he saved your life,
but the big question is did he save your soul? Are you born of God? Are you born again? Has
God revealed himself to you? Do you know who God is? Because I could get shot, go back to
the party after I come out of the hospital and it’s the same thing. Is there any change? Well,
there needs to be.

Okay. Go to the last part. vs. 10. Could we memorize that this morning before we leave? Let’s
say it two or three times. Humble yourself before the Lord. Go ahead. Humble yourself before
the Lord. He will exalt you. Again. Humble yourself before the Lord. He will exalt you. Let me
say it. Humble yourself unto the Lord. He will, he will exalt you. He will exalt you.

Ask Joseph. Ask Solomon and David. Ask John the Baptist. Ask Christ. Ask Paul and Timothy.
Ask these people. Ask Mary Magdalene. He will exalt you. What will he do? He will exalt you.
He will help you. He will protect you. He is our God and there isn’t any other. But he’s making
business with us here. He’s saying come on. We drift to the red zone and we are there just
saying and the Lord is saying if you live there, you will not survive. You’ll not be glorifying me.
You will not survive. You might be physically survive but you will not be what I have for you. Turn
to me. I will do it.

Don’t judge your brother or your sister. vs. 11. Have you been speaking evil about people lately?
Have you been speaking evil about people? Have you been saying bad things about people
lately? Have you been judging people lately? I noticed this about us. We gravitate to judging.
Christians, we gravitate to judging people. We are in a place of being a judge. We are proud and
we judge people. No, we are humble and we serve people. We love people. We forgive people.
We pray for people. We love people. We are helping people. We are not judges. We are

Jesus said I did not come to judge. I came to save. There are many critics in the world and they
never make a statue for critic. They make a statue for a hero. What’s a hero. He’s a guy that did
something. When others where critics, there’s a guy that stood up and had to do something to
save, to help. Critics are everywhere, 10,000 of them to one guy that will say, I’m not here to be
a critic. I’m here to change something. I’m here to help. I’m here to be there. I’m here to give
grace. I’m here to be a helper. I’m a Spirit filled – God sent Joseph. God sent you and I into this
world. Amen.


Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.