The Double Minded Man

The Double Minded Man

The Double Minded Man sermon teaches us that either we are bringing people to the Lord or pushing them away. We cannot do both. We should have a singular focus.

Key verses:
James 1:1-8
James 4:7-8
Matthew 6:19-24
Matthew 12:22-30

In The Double Minded Man sermon we learn that if we try to follow Jesus and go the world’s way simultaneously, we will find ourselves completely out of balance. James explains double-mindedness and the cure for it.

James 1:1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”

James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

James 1:3: “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

James 1:4: “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

James 1:6: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

James 1:7: “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

James 1:8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

This message is focusing in on “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” In verse one we read “James.” Who was James? There are a number of people named James in the Bible. “James” is a common name then as it is now. “James” is the English version of the name.

There were James and John, who were brothers, the sons of Zebedee. They were among the first apostles called. John who wrote the Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, and Revelation, and that James, is not this James. That James was a leader in the church in Jerusalem. All apostles first had a leadership role in the church in Jerusalem.

This James is listed as being James, Judas, Simon, and Joses, the brothers of Jesus. This James is the son of Joseph and Mary, one of the sons born after the virgin birth of Jesus. Jesus also had at least two sisters, but we do not know their names. Jesus, of course, is unique. But James is referred to as “James the Just,” and is mentioned by Paul along with Cephas and John, as pillars of the church in Galatians 2:9. This James wrote the first epistle, the first book of the New Testament that was written. The books of the Bible are not put in chronological order for the most part. There is some chronology of course, but they are put in the Bible according to the subject matter and that is why the epistle of James follows Hebrews.

The First Book of the New Testament

What clue do you have that James is the first book written? The answer is in the first verse. James is a humble man. James had said, “God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.” He knew what he was talking about. Because he does not come on the scene and boast that he is the little brother to Jesus, and everyone must listen to him. That is not his attitude at all, he is not like that. What does he call himself? James, a servant of God. That is how he sees himself. And as a servant of Jesus Christ. James is not taking on any glory for himself.

A good clue that this was the first book of the New Testament is to notice who this book addresses. Some books of the New Testament are written to individuals such as I and II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Most of the New Testament books were written to churches or groups of churches such as Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians, and others. The Revelation is addressed to seven churches.

But to whom is the book of James addressed? “To the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad.” James is writing to the twelve tribes of Israel; he is writing to Israel. This is important because these are the early days following the Lord’s ministry here. James is writing to Israel, not to a church. He likely writes this during the time of the first church and there was only one church at the beginning, the church in Jerusalem.

So why is he writing to the church in Jerusalem? He is there, he is there to preach with the others to preach to them. No, he writes it to the people of Israel scattered abroad, throughout the world on nearly every continent. Even in Moslem countries, there are Jewish people. So, James is writing this epistle to the people of Israel and he writes as one Israeli to another. It is important to understand that.

Notice in verse two, “my brethren.” James is not only writing to Jewish people but to Jewish believers. He is going to lay down some doctrine and expand somewhat on the teaching of Jesus and that is understandable when you think of who he is and who his target audience is.

Perfect Patience

James 1:2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.”

He tells us not “if” but “when” we are going to fall into temptations, we ARE going to have them. Temptation mentioned here could mean temptation to do evil, but it also means trials, those hard trials that you are going through that will try your faith and try your strength and even try your health. He likens it as going through a fire. Why?

James 1:3: “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

If you have ever had a problem with being impatient, try to work on it, try to be patient. If you really want more patience, here is how, “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Going through hard times will bring you patience.

James 1:4: “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Let the trials you go through bring you patience and let your patience work in you to a perfect end. What is that perfect end? “That ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Gaining Wisdom

James tells us what to do if we lack wisdom:

James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

If we experience a lack of wisdom, pray about it. We all need wisdom, and we need more of it because we make decisions all the time. We should want to make the right decisions and that requires wisdom.

There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is retaining a great deal of information. You can have knowledge without having wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply that knowledge in a fruitful way, a way that is going to turn out well. We all make decisions, we all make choices, but it is making the right decisions, the right choices, that is most important.

James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” It is wonderful that we can ask God for wisdom. The Bible tells us, “we have not because we ask not.” If you need wisdom, ask for wisdom, pray for wisdom. James says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,” which means God gives it freely. You do not have to beg God. You ask Him and He will give it to you. In fact, the verse says, “it shall be given him.” It is a guaranteed answer to prayer. Pray for wisdom with an open heart and God will give it to you. There is one provision:

James 1:6: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

James taught us that we must ask and pray in faith. Jesus said, “All things you ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” If we had enough faith to move mountains, spiritual mountains, and difficulties that we come into, then we could ask God in prayer, believing, and they could be overcome. We have seen that kind of mountain moved.

So, we should ask in faith, believing, “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James is asking if we want to be driven by the wind and tossed or with that which is stable?

James 1:7: “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

The Lord wants us to ask and pray. He cares about us. But if you are not going to believe Him, why should He answer your prayer? You have got to pray in faith believing.

Double-Mindedness

But James is leading up to something:

James 1:8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

This is a clear statement. “Double-minded” in Greek means “two-spirited,” a man of two spirits. Who is a person with two spirits? How about this: a man born with his natural sinful spirit, but he has trusted the Lord as his Savior, and now, he also has dwelling in him, the Holy Spirit. So, it is a question of which one is he going to surrender to: to his own will and his own spirit or the will of the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

We need to come to that idea. If we do not, we will find ourselves out of balance. You must maintain balance. If you are balanced, you are fine, you are stable. If you are out of balance, you are not stable. You are not stable physically, mentally, or spiritually. You are not stable if you are out of balance. You have got to be physically, mentally, and spiritually balanced. Why physically, mentally, and spiritually? Because human beings are made up of three parts, we are physical, mental, and spiritual. We are all three.

Scofield links this verse, James 1:8, to Proverbs 3:5:

Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

That proverb was written as an either-or statement of instruction. Either you are going to trust in the Lord with all your heart or you are going to lean on your own understanding, one or the other. But you cannot do both. You are not going to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean on your own understanding. If you do, you become a double-minded person, a person with two spirits, a person who is out of balance.

The Cure

But James also gives us the cure for being double-minded, being out of balance.

James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Resist the devil by hiding God’s word in your heart and having a strong relationship with the Lord but having a strong knowledge of the Word of God. The better you know the word, the stronger you are going to be. Take it a step farther. You need to have the word in your heart, and you need to have the Holy Spirit have you.

You can know a lot factually about what the Bible says and not be able to apply it. It goes back to what we said about knowledge and wisdom. If you are going to be able to apply it fruitfully as we said about wisdom, you have got to let the Holy Spirit be in control.

Somebody is in control of your life. You have your mind, your body, and your spirit. There is a different order of control that they can be in. Your mind can be in control of everything. Or your body is in control of everything – that is the old “if it feels good, do it” philosophy which is guaranteed destined to disaster. Or your spirit can be in control of your body and your mind. So, either you have your spirit in control of your mind and your body. Or your mind is in control of your body and your spirit. Or your body is in control of your mind and your spirit.

The correct order is spirit, mind, body. Your spirit controlling your mind, your mind controlling your body – that is the correct order. But that is not enough. You also need the Holy Spirit to control your spirit. If you keep that order, the Holy Spirit can control your spirit, your spirit controls your mind, and your mind controls your body, then you are a balanced person. That is the cure for double-mindedness. But look again at verse seven:

James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

If you resist the devil, he will flee from you. Do not have devils or demons hanging around! There is nothing but trouble that comes from that. We could probably see an increase in demonic activity in the next few years. What will we do? Resist.

Drawing weapons will not help you in a spiritual battle. You have got to be strong in mind, body, and spirit. Your spirit needs to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit, “submit yourselves therefore unto God,” and your mind needs to be subject to your spirit, and your body needs to be subject to your mind. It takes effort to keep things in the proper order. It is not going to happen if you do nothing. James tells us more on what to do:

James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

What are we supposed to do? Draw nigh to God. Take that first step to draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. That is another promise. James writes to “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Psalms 119:9: “BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Psalms 119:10: “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

You need to be in the word and the word needs to be in you. You need to be in the spirit and after the spirit. Romans 8 tells us of being in the spirit and after the spirit. And the Holy Spirit needs to have you — total control of your spirit. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. “Cleanse your hands” and “purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Either Or

Jesus gave us the same idea in Matthew chapter 6, which is in the middle of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 6:19: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:”

Matthew 6:20: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Jesus is teaching us to either choose the treasures of Earth or the treasures of Heaven. He is teaching us if we primarily value the things that are temporary or the things that are eternal, that will reveal the focus of our heart.

Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

What does it mean if your “eye be single”? It means your eye is focused and is not distracted. You need to be filled with light and your eye needs to be focused so you can be filled with light. You perceive light and you see things through your eye because the light of the body is the eye.

Matthew 6:23: “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

We must not look within ourselves for light. There is an immensely popular philosophy in America today and it did not originate in America, but it is here and has been here for a long time, “the answer is within yourself.” If you want to find light, if you want to find truth, or you want to find reality, look within yourself. If you look within yourself, you will find darkness. You need to have your eye single and focused upon Jesus because He is the light. He is the light of the world. Look within yourself, you will not really like what you find. People say, “Oh, I found myself.” Really?

Matthew 6:24: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

“Mammon” meaning materialism. You cannot serve materialism and serve God at the same time. It is an either-or, just like “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not onto thine own understanding.” – it is either-or. You must do one or the other.

The Work of Who?

Matthew 12:22: “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.”

Matthew 12:23: “And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?”

What did they mean when they asked, “Is not this the son of David?” They were saying that the son of David would be the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world, who would reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem, has come. That is what they were saying. They were saying, “Isn’t this the Savior? Isn’t this the Messiah?”

Matthew 12:24: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”

But when the Pharisees heard that the people were proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah, they discredited Him. There are always people who are going to try to discredit somebody they do not like, envy, or who are doing right. In this case, it was the Pharisees.

Three major groups opposed Jesus, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians. The Pharisees were deeply religious, but they didn’t know God. It is heartbreaking to know how many people are religious and do not know God. The Sadducees believed in the here and now only and that there is no eternity or afterlife – you are born, you live, you die, and that is all. There are many people like that today. What a hopeless existence.

Then there were the Herodians who were a little religious but really go with the world, particularly with culture and the trend for the day, and particularly government at the time. That is why they were called Herodians because they went with King Herod. Those people are still around. We do not call them Pharisees, Sadducees, or Herodians anymore, but there are still people around that do all those things and there are plenty of them and they are not hard to find. The Pharisees accuse Jesus, they give credit for Jesus’ work to Satan, and that is blasphemy.

Matthew 12:25: “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:”

The Pharisees did not say it out loud, but Jesus knew their thoughts. He knew what was in their hearts. Jesus always knows our thoughts. Did you ever think you had a private thought that nobody knows? But Jesus knows about it.

Matthew 12:26: “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”

Matthew 12:27: “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.”

Matthew 12:28: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”

Matthew 12:29: “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”

Matthew 12:30: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

So, Jesus heals this person possessed by a demon and who is both blind and deaf. Jesus casts out the demon and heals the man. The people were saying, “Is not this the son of David, the Messiah, the Savior?” And you have the Pharisees there saying He does the work of the devil. They give credit for the work of God to Satan. This goes on a lot today.

A Strong Defense

But Jesus knew their thoughts as He always knows our thoughts and said, “a house divided against itself shall not stand:” Does this mean we unify on every point? Of course not. Does this mean we fall in line with mindless obedience? It does not mean that. What it means is Satan cannot cast out Satan. Jesus said, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Jesus is saying that He is the son of David.

Jesus says if you rob a strong man you must tie him up first. We talk about war as being a negative thing, but we are not going to get rid of it until Jesus comes. George Washington once said that the greatest deterrent to war is a strong defense. Is that true in your physical sense? Should you have a strong physical defense? You should.

Not everybody is strong enough to fight off someone, but you should find a way to put up a physical defense. There are many ways of doing that. But Jesus is more interested in you having a strong spiritual defense and that you are strong spiritually. You must surrender your body to your mind, and your mind to your spirit, and your spirit to the Holy Spirit so you can be strong spiritually.

There is no room for a double-minded man. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” Jesus said. “He that is not with me is against me.” Jesus also said, “He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Either you are bringing people to the Lord or you are pushing them away. That is what He is saying, you cannot do both.

The Lord is saying the same thing James is saying:

James 1:8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Trying to go in two directions at the same time will drive you insane. If we try to follow Jesus and go the world’s way simultaneously, we will find ourselves completely out of balance.

James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Steps to follow:

  1. We should submit ourselves to God. Just do it.
  2. Resist the devil.
  3. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.
  4. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Renewing of the Mind

Purify your heart. Paul gives us some insight on that:

Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Listen with both ears: I believe in the Bible. I do not believe that there has ever been, nor do I think there is ever likely to be, a better rendering of the Bible than the King James version. That is what I read and study from and have preached from for over half a century now. But I will tell you this. I saw a poster in a Christian school, and it had Romans 12:2 on it from a newer translation. It did not contradict what was in the King James version but worded it a little differently. I think it might help you to grasp what the verse is saying:

Romans 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world.”

That little poster had it reading this way: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold.” That is true, do not let the world squeeze you into its mold because it will. “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

How are we going to do that? Get into the word and let the word get into you. Follow the Holy Spirit and let the Holy Spirit have control over you – the Holy Spirit controlling your spirit, your spirit controlling your mind, and your mind controlling your body. That is how you get the renewing of the mind.

It is going to start with you getting into the word. That’s it. That is the cure for the double-minded. That is the cure for living the life of two spirits. That is the cure for staying in balance and not being unstable in all your ways.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: The Double Minded Man

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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