Whence our Wisdom?
James 3:13-4:10 (Pastor Brian)
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition,there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
— No recording – cable is broken today —
Christians are not to expect rosy, perfect lives, we are to expect conflicts that Jesus and others told us to expect – but THROUGH them, our faith grows, and BY it, we overcome the world.
We trust Christ and he blesses our obedience.
James talks about the trials and how our faith is strengthened through the trials. He speaks of the rich man and poor man (the rich in faith). In fact, usually it’s the rich who oppress and persecute and sue.
Don’t set your goals on this world, but on heavenly riches.
Some Bible versions have the same word for trials and temptations.
But, temptations come from WITHIN, trials come from WITHOUT.
We have been given new hearts, new spirits, but we still need to deal with the flesh. But still, 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Jesus said, “From within, from the heart comes greed, lust, murder, robbery, etc.”
God’s gifts are given generously to us if we ask for wisdom – God grants wisdom generously, lavishly, without reproach (without finding fault).
I struggle with condemnation, judgment, self condemnation and self judgment. “The Accuser” (Satan) of the brethren accuses us and pushes these things to the forefronts of our minds. But the Lord gives us grace and advocates (speaks for) us against the enemy.
“If Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”
Listen to my Advocate – Jesus, he says, “NOT GUILTY” – he gives without finding fault. He’s not ignorant of our failings and sins, but he still provides the means by which we can be forgiven. God gives lavishly – we must be open to receive from him and we must have faith to receive that which we ask for (wisdom).
James reminds us of the holiness of God and his word – 1/2 Timothy 4:21? “The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword…”
Where’s the GOOD seat? Do you say to someone “Hey sit over here by my feet”? God wants us to treat others equally and fairly – but we need the spirit of God and his sensitivity to do that.
Faith vs. Works.
- We are SAVED by faith.
- Evidence OF our salvation must be visible by works.
- We are not saved by works – by the things we do. John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
- We may HEAR the Word of God.
- We may FEEL the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
- But we still have the CHOICE to accept or reject that salvation offered freely by God.
- Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, THE Life.
OK, so you’ve accepted his salvation by faith. Now what?
Look at your testimony, and give it! “I’m not the man I once was. I don’t do the things I once did. Yes, I still fall, but there is ONGOING IMPROVEMENT – I am DAILY being renewed and remade in the likeness of Jesus, my Savior.”
Now, on to works. “Do SUCH good works that other men praise God because of you.” (Even in your workplace, home, community, society, etc)
Then, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers” because you will be judged more harshly.
Ex: “God says in his Word ‘You shall PROSPER!’” So how can we not believe it??” (Actually that verse says, “So that your SOUL shall prosper.” Get the soul prospering first before pursuing fleshly, worldly things.
Some of the things that James speaks of here (probably MOST of these things) were actually going on in the church at that time. There were people who dreamed of riches without God’s will, there were those who dreamed of being teachers, there were envious people, bad tongues, etc.
“All creatures of the air, land, and sea can be tamed and have been tamed by man, but no one can tame the tongue. Consider what a large forest may be set ablaze by a small spark. The tongue also is a spark and may set the whole world on fire and poison those who hear it – when we are critical and complaining.”
Remember this: “Cast all your cares on the Lord because he cares for you.” (Read Psalms for some great care-casting).
Whence is our Wisdom? From where does our wisdom come?
What do you think of when you hear “wisdom”? A gnarled old professor? Well, he MAY be wise, but merely HAVING Knowledge (in your head) is not wisdom. The APPLICATION of that Knowledge is wisdom.
There are three kinds of Wisdom:
Some people BOAST of their wisdom. They want people to NOTICE just how wise they are. But if they don’t have “the fear of the Lord”, they don’t have true wisdom.
Proverbs: “For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
What is this fear?
Being in AWE of God. We want to preserve his presence.
Some people are “wise” in a way, but it’s not godly wisdom:
- Earthly wisdom = knowledge used to your own advances. If you rip me off, I’ll sue the pants off of you. I’ll blackmail/take advantage of you. Spam you, Phish you, bully you, etc.
- Soul wisdom = intuition, feelings, etc.
- Demonic wisdom = deception
People are constantly looking for the truth in various religions and ways of life – all the while IGNORING THE Truth.
Here’s a testimony I’d like to share with you. This man goes out every week to Manchester and hands out these testimonies.
“Barry” was seeking wisdom in all the wrong places, but the Lord had mercy on him and led him to Christ. One man received this testimony and was so intrigued that he wants “Barry” to write more.
“Don’t talk to me about miracles. Show me one, and I’ll believe you. Christians can talk all day about the Bible’s ‘miracles’ but they can’t show you one. Obviously, the Bible is a tale of fairies, and has nothing to do with the real world – pain, failures, misery – and we all paper it over with fake smiles and try to make a crazy kind of life that we must make our home.
“Most of the above is true in the opinion of many – but here’s my story. This is the story of better and expecting better things. I’m sure many in France are hoping for better things now.
“My name is Barry. When I was young, a hippy, 60s generation, I was broken down, degraded, lawless, self-hating, delusional LSD tripper, occult-dabbler. As I ended this period, I was dying, extremely sick, and tormented. I was irredeemably insane. I was obese, and had sores all over my body. All who met me saw something so evil within me that they had to look away.
(Another friend of my was sitting in a cafe and said, “God, you’re so good, you can save anyone.” In walked Barry and the man said, “Maybe not him…”)
“April 1972 – I knew this day was to be my last – I could not endure even one more tormented life. I was nocturnal, had dreams of parades of horror.
“Margaret was a young woman living near me and had been praying for me. Whenever she entered my room, an unnatural peace entered my room – and when she left, the peace left.
“Final morning. Why should she care so for the wretch I’ve become? At least, I must go say goodbye to her. I went to her house and she told me and said, ‘God spoke to me and said you’ll be freed TODAY.’ I couldn’t believe her, but I asked her to pray for my soul.
“She was young, 24, married, had only been a Christian for 6-months. She prayed, ‘Jesus, I know you can heal him NOW.’ I suddenly convulsed and thought that I’d die immediately. The muscles of my face spasmed into grimaces of evil expressions.
“Margaret later told me that had even the heavyweight champion of the world had been there they’d have been ripped to pieces.
“Suddenly, I noticed that someone else was taking over my body – then a horrible wind rushed from my mouth for 1 minute – I thought I was surely witnessing my own death. I slumped to the floor and heard a death rattle coming from my throat.
“This is my miraculous story of rescue from demon possession – I don’t know how many there were, but at that time they were all cast out. That night, I slept my first peaceful night for 3 years.
Aug 25, 1972 – I became a child of the Living God. Jesus had risen triumphant from his grave, and likewise, I now was raised from my grave. Yes, really, that is the grace that I stand in today – I’m a Christian now and there is nothing special about me, BUT by crying out to Jesus, I’d given him permission to reach out to me and rescue me from the depths of my worst, most demon-possessed state.
“God is the Living God, and while he hates the SIN, he died for US – to lift our penalty from us and place it on Jesus for us that we might not perish but have everlasting life.
“All this is the gospel truth. Despite many failings, I’ll never forget this truth, this good news. I can guarantee that if you ask Jesus to reveal himself to you, he WILL – he cannot and will not leave your prayer alone.
“Joel/Job? And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thank you for reading this account of my life.
He’s handed out about 12,000 to people individually. He doesn’t know what effect that may have.
The same need that Barry had is the same need that every one of us, our families, our friends, our enemies need. Are you manifesting works that prove that you’re saved by faith?
God says, “Open up my WORD. Read the Bible. I’ll speak to you through the Word, other people, dreams, circumstances, etc, etc.” God is reaching out to you – he wants YOU to experience HIM more fully – experience his peace, joy, salvation, life change.
Even as a Christian, do you know THIS? Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Jeonju), Judea (Iksan), and Samaria (Gunsan), and to the ends of the earth (Korea – your home country).
Make THIS your New Year’s Resolution!
How many times have we HEARD the Word and NOT acted?
Please don’t read this as a call to “religion” – it’s NOT. “Religion” is a hopeless attempt to satisfy a God we cannot know in a life we cannot live. God calls you to a RELATIONSHIP – a RETURN to your loving Creator.
At the beginning of this year, if you’ve never accepted Jesus, BEGIN the journey (Sola Fide – by faith alone).
But if you’ve BEGUN the journey, it is no longer Sola Fide – by faith alone – your faith must be SHOWN and ACTED upon. WORKS PROVE your salvation. Consider all the examples of FAITH IN ACTION that James gives throughout the book. Rahab, Abraham (not always a shining example of faith), – but in his journey in faith, he OBEYED God (faith in action) and God blessed him.