From Whence Comes Quarrels?
Reading: James 4:1-12
I. You all have heard it before, two brothers have a disagreement and soon one accuses the other of being contentious.
A. At times, it may be true, but I suspect most don’t understand the charge they are making.
B. There have been times when I think it was the accuser who was contentious.
C. Contention is not disagreement
1. Paul and Barnabas disagreed, but was either of them contentious?
2. Paul and Peter disagreed, but would you say either of them were contentious?
3. Jesus often clashed with the Jews of his day. Was Jesus contentious?
4. Contention starts with a disagreement that gets out of control - Proverbs 17:14
D. The meaning of contention
1. The Greek word eris is often translated as strife, quarrels, contention, or wrangling. This is more than disagreeable, these are people who pick fights – who enjoy fights.
2. The Greek word philoneikos is only used in two places - Luke 22:24 and I Corinthians 11:16. The word refers to a person who is fond of strife or loves rivalry. It is a composition of two words that literally means love victory.
3. The Hebrew word most often translated contentious is mirah which refers to someone who is rebellious or obstinate.
II. James asked the question, “What is the source of the quarrels and conflicts among you?” He then lists some of the causes.
A. Conflicting desires within a person
1. Envy of what other people have
2. Jealousy and strife are pursuant to the flesh - I Corinthians 3:3
3. Paul feared to find among the Corinthians things that cause contentions - II Corinthians 12:20
1. Proverbs 13:10 - Pride, particularly that which refuses advice, brings nothing but strife.
2. Conceit is empty - Philippians 2:3
C. A morbid interest in controversial questions, disputes about words, and constant friction between men - I Timothy 6:3-5
1. Wrangling over useless words can ruin men - II Timothy 2:14
2. A fool stirs up strife by his words - Proverbs 18:6
D. Hatred and Anger
1. Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirs up strife
2. Proverbs 15:18 - A hot-tempered man stirs up strife
3. Proverbs 29:22 - An angry man stirs up strife
1. The evil continually stirs up war - Ps. 140:2
2. Pr. 17:19 - A person who loves sin, loves strife
III. Contention will always be a problem for Christians because the causes of contention will remain while the world remains.
A. Psalmist expresses the problem well in Psalm 120.
1. We want peace, but we cannot control those around us.
2. We want peace, but our own tongue betrays us.
a. The tongue is difficult to control - James 3:2-10
B. Rather than fanning the flames, we need to become peacemakers - Matthew 5:9
1. Sometimes quarrel are solved by random events - Proverbs 18:18
2. But more often, it requires intervention by those who care.
3. Contentions keep problems from being solved - Proverbs 18:19
a. They are like a constant drip. They are tolerable at first, but after a while the constant irritation is too much. - Proverbs 19:13
b. Because of contention, the law is ignored and justice is not served - Habakkuk 1:3-4
4. Any fool can argue, but the admirable thing is the prevention of strife - Proverbs 20:3
5. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel - II Timothy 2:24
C. Righteousness is sown by those who make peace - James 3:18
D. We pursue the things that make peace - Romans 14:18
IV. Will you not join the Lord’s peacemakers?