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 Morning Meditation - 9/19/08

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PostSubject: Morning Meditation - 9/19/08   Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:29 am

THE EXPERIENCE OF DRAWING NIGH TO GOD
James 4:8

Verse 8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING EXPERIENCES

Being right with God and being near Him is one of the most satisfying experiences that a believer can have. James is talking about this. He is speaking to saved people. They were not acting like it. But sad to say, many Christians do not act like they are saved. James is challenging them to do what the Holy Spirit was no doubt convicting them to do.

IT IS A CHOICE ONE MUST MAKE

The words “draw nigh” translate “eggizo” and means, “to bring near, to join one thing to another.” It is an aorist active imperative verb. The aorist tense refers to a once for all act at a point of time. The active voice represents the subject acting, i.e., IT IS A CHOICE THAT ONE MUST MAKE. The imperative mood is a command that expresses urgency. It is urgent that this be done. If there is to be growth in the Christian life, we must make the right choices. It is urgent for our sakes and others that we do. If we do not, lost souls will stumble over our inconsistent Christian lives into hell. And we will remain babes. I have seen this happen over the years. The carnal christian sits in church, many times more regular in church attendance than others, but there is no growth. The new convert grows to maturity right past him. Being in a church pew does not guarantee spiritual growth. It is a faith response to the Word, and the use of the Word, that brings one to maturity (Heb. 5:14). James is challenging Christians whom he calls “sinners” to draw nigh to God. Hebrews 5:11-14, "Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
James says, “draw nigh to God.” Why does James not say, “draw nigh to Jesus?” He is the brother of Jesus. Why does he say, “draw nigh to God?” This is probably one of the most difficult situations with which James had to deal. He had the same mother as Jesus but not the same father. John 7:5 says, “For neither did his brethren believe in him.” If you will turn to John
7 and begin reading in the first verse you will discover that a difference is made between “his brethren” (His family) and “His disciples; (His converted followers). His family finally came to believe in Him as the true Messiah and that their mother, Mary, was a virgin when He was born. Jesus is God. There are those who say that Jesus never made that claim. John 8:58 says, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus did not set aside His deity when He came into the world. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He didn’t say, “I was.” It is “Abraham was,” but “I Am.” Jesus uses the same words here that God used in the burning bush to Moses. Jesus WAS at the time He spoke this in John 7:58 BEFORE ABRAHAM. You say, “That’s impossible.” Not with God. If you believe Jesus is God, then you believe what He says period. And that settles it.

GOD RESPONDS TO OUR DRAWING NIGH TO HIM

James then says, “And He will draw nigh to you.” The words “draw nigh” translate the same word as above. Here it is a future active indicative verb. This is a promise that is conditioned on our drawing nigh to Him.
How does this take place? He says, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners . . .” The word “Cleanse” translates “katharizo” and means, “to make clean, cleanse.” It is an aorist active imperative verb. The aorist tense refers to a definite act at a point of time. The imperative mood means it is a command that expresses urgency. It is imperative to the Christians testimony that this take place. How does a Christian cleanse his hands? 1 John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Christian knows that there is no self cleansing except through the truth in this verse. But we can at a point of time face up to our sins and come to Christ for cleansing. The word “sinners” is used of Christians out of fellowship with God because of sin. He is certainly not talking to unsaved people.
Then he says, “purify your hearts, ye double minded . . .” The word “purify” translates “hagnizo” and means, “to make pure.” The word “hearts” translates “kardia” and refers, “the center and seat of the spiritual life.” The word “double minded” translates “dipsuchos” and refers to someone, “divided in interest.” These Christians were distracted by the world and sin. They professed to be saved but were involved with the world at the same time. They had wrong attitudes that had to be corrected if they were to walk in fellowship with God. He had dealt with their double mindedness in chapter 1 and verse 8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Here he lets us know that he was addressing a real problem. Double mindedness causes instability and doubting. A doubting person will not get answers to prayer and a Christian without answers to prayer, appears to be no different than those who worship idols.

SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS THAT WE NEED TO CONSIDER:

Now that we have looked at the meaning of this verse, let me give you a few seed thoughts that come out it.

1. Reconciliation makes drawing near possible. Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Colossians 1:21 says, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Paul says we were reconciled by the death of Jesus. The word “reconcile” translates “katallasso” and means, “return to favor with.” We have been returned to favor with God by the death of Jesus. Therefore it is safe to draw nigh to God.

2. It is Jesus through whom we have ACCESS that we might draw nigh to God. Rom. 5:2: “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The word “access” translates “prosagoge” and means, “that relationship with God whereby we are acceptable to him and have assurance that he is favorably disposed towards him.” It refers to an open door anytime into His presence.

3. We have assurance that the blood of Christ makes us right to draw nigh to Him. Heb. 10:19 says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

4. We have the promise of Joy if we draw nigh to Him. Psa.
16:11: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

We need to take the admonition of James and draw nigh to God. To do it we must be cleansed of known sin, we must dispel our doubts and trust in Him completely, and come to Him by means to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16).

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.
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