Sins That Hinder Revival

Bible Book: James  4 : 1-17
Subject: Revival; Renewal; Evil Generation; Commitment; Dedication

James 4:1-17

Revival is needed in our church and country. I believe America is experiencing the judgment of God. Millions of people are praying for revival, yet revival has not come to America. The reason may lie in the motive or desire for revival. It may be that we want the blessings from God rather than turning from our sin. If this is the case we are asking amiss.  James chapter four deals with three sins common to us all: pleasure, pride and presumption. These sins are barriers to revival. As individual Christians and as a church family we must repent.

I. Sins Revealed

A. Sin of Pleasure.

All pleasure is not sin. The Bible states, “Delight  thyself also in the LORD, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Ps. 37:4)  We will have pleasure in heaven. “In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11)

1. Root of pleasure seeking

The Greek term for lust is the source of our word “hedonism.”

Dictionary: Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure. Hedonism teaches that the chief good of man lies in pursuit of pleasure. Man’s innate desire is to live in pleasure for self.

2. Result of pleasure seeking

a. Results in conflicts.

1. Conflicts among church members. “wars and fightings among you”

2. Conflicts in the life of the believer. “war in your members”

3. Conflicts with God. “friendship of the world is enmity with God”

b. Results in prayerlessness.  v. 2 “ye have not, because ye ask not” 

c. Results in unanswered prayer. v. 3 “because ye ask amiss”

Pleasure-seeking destroys our love for spiritual things. Paul tells Timothy that in the last days “men shall be lovers of their own selves, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:2, 4)

“God refuses to listen to men who eagerly pursue selfish pleasures. Greed is idolatry and that is an abomination in the sight of God. God does not listen to prayer that comes from a heart filled with selfish motives. Covetousness and selfishness are insults to God.”

“And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” Luke 8:14

B. Sin of Pride
1. Hated by God

v. 6 “God resisteth the proud”

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” Prov. 16:5 

C. S. Lewis: “It is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.”

2. Hurtful to people

v. 11 “Speak not evil one of another, brethren”

“Speak not evil” literally means “talk another down” or “talk against another.”

Pride causes a person to want to build themselves up even if it means tearing another person down. We can find pleasure in the sinful act of belittling a brother or sister. Pride is hurtful and hateful. Satan fell because of pride. His pride caused him to slander God and deceive Eve. The rest is history. When we slander a brother or sister, we are speaking evil words from an evil heart.  We do not have to tell lies in order to defame.  But the fact that it is true gives us no right to say it. True or false, it is our effort to make ourselves superior to the other person. A humble person will never slander a brother or sister for he knows his own sins and weaknesses.  James says the tongue is “a world of iniquity,” “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

James Draper: “The thing that is here condemned is not forming an opinion that say someone is wrong, but the love of fault finding. We delight in finding something bad about someone else, particularly if we do not like them.”

“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife.” Proverbs. 28:25

David: “The proud have hidden a snare for me.” Ps. 140:5

David: “O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul.” Ps. 86:14

“The proud have forged a lie against me.” Ps. 119:69

“The proud have digged pits for me.” Ps. 119:85

“It isn’t necessary to blow out the other person’s light to let your own shine.” Proverb

“Never tell evil of a man if you do not know it for a certainty, and if you know it for a certainty, then ask yourself, ‘Why should I tell it?’”

C. Sin of Presumption v. 13-15

Sin of presumption follows the sin of pride. A proud person is independent and arrogant. They believe they are in control of their own destiny. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Ps.10:4

1. Presumption leads to boasting

v. 16 “all such rejoicing is evil”

2. Presumption leads to rebellion. v. 17

James Draper: “The worst sins of any congregation in America are those things we refuse to do. In our self-righteousness, we arrogantly lift ourselves up against what we know to be the will of God in our lives. One of the great tragedies of our day has been that we have come to treat lightly sins of omission. We have come to think that it is not nearly as bad if we don’t do something as it is if we do something. The essence of rebellion is to say, ‘No, God, I won’t do it.’”

II. Sins’ Remedy

A. Resource for the Believer

v. 6 “giveth grace to the humble.”

God has made the “riches of His grace” available to His children. Grace flows from the heart of a loving and kind God. Every spiritual blessing is provided to the believer who humbly trusts in God. Salvation, forgiveness, spiritual strength, and eternal glory are only some of the gifts we receive by His abundant grace.  

B. Responsibility of the Believer.
1. Submit to God. v. 7a 
2. Resist the devil.  v. 7b
3. Draw near to God.
4. Repent of sins. v. 8-9
C. Result for the Believer

v. 10 “He shall lift you up”

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Lessons for Life

1. Our sins hinder us from experiencing the blessings and revival from God.

2. We need to understand the grave consequences if we do not experience revival.

3. The sins of pleasure, pride and presumption are sins practiced by Christians. Seeking worldly pleasure results in God being our enemy. Pride is resisted by God. Being presumptuous is evil. Slandering or defaming a brother or sister is evil. Refusing to do the will of God is rebellion. Are you guilty of any or all of these sins?

4. Are you being convicted by the Holy Spirit at this moment? If you are, are you willing to confess and turn from sin?