James rebukes Christians who are tangled up in the web of lust and envy: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Js. 4:4). James echoes Moses in Deuteronomy, where immediately after Moses reviews and restates the Ten Commandments, he summarizes the whole law as loving God with all that you are: all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength, with no remainder, with nothing left over. All of the law is summarized in this command, but the First Commandment points most directly to this. There are to be no other gods before the one true God. This is God’s own loyal claim of His people, His jealous love for His bride, and unfaithfulness to this claim is adultery and betrayal. Moses continues and says that this means that Israel is required to declare holy war on the pagan nations in the land that the Lord is giving them. “You shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Dt. 7:2). You shall not make friends with them, Moses insists, and James says this is still true in the New Covenant that friendship with the world is to be at war with God. To make friends with the world is to become an enemy of God. Friendship with the world is adultery, betrayal of the love that God has shown for you. Modern Christians are no more immune to this spiritual adultery than first century Christians. What do you lust for? What do you envy? Do you lust for the attention of the godless? Do you want their favor? Their respect? Do you study their magazines, their fashions, their music and movies? Do you pretend to be like them? Do you envy their looks, their style, their luxuries, their ways? And the question is before you this morning: Are you honestly here seeking the blessing of the Triune God? Are you here in need of His love, in need of His mercy, in need of His grace? If so, whether you have been a believer for many years or you are not even sure if you are a believer, you are welcome. There is rest and safety for you here no matter what your past is, no matter where you have been. But if you are here wishing you could be somewhere else, if you are here lusting for other gods, envious of the pagans down the street, here only to flaunt your rebellion, you are not welcome here. In the name of Jesus, I command you to leave.
“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (Jn. 2:15-17)