3 Is Anybody Out There Wise? James 1:5-8, 3:13-18

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Is Anybody Out There Wise? James 1:5-8, 3:13-18 Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/is-anybody-out-there-wise-tim-bond-sermon-on-growth-in-christ-48375.asp

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3 Is Anybody Out There Wise? James 1:5-8, 3:13-18

  1. 1. Is Anybody Out There Wise? James 1:5-8, 3:13-18<br />Adapted from a Tim Bond sermon<br />http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/is-anybody-out-there-wise-tim-bond-sermon-on-growth-in-christ-48375.asp<br />
  2. 2. We’ll read verse 4 for context.<br />James 1:4 NET And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.<br />
  3. 3. 6But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.<br />
  4. 4. Imagine that a genie appeared to you. Instead of granting you 3 wishes, you get the economy version and are granted 1 wish of your choice. (no you can't wish for more wishes) What do you choose? So many things that you need. Would it be money? Power? Position? Would you want some difficult situation resolved? Tough question isn't it?!<br />
  5. 5. A situation like this happened one time. It was during a transition time in the nation of Israel. King David had recently died and there was a new king on the throne, David's son Solomon. <br />1 Kings 3:5 NET One night in Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said, "Tell me what I should give you." 6 Solomon replied, "You demonstrated great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served you faithfully, properly, and sincerely.<br />
  6. 6. You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne. 7 Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in my father David's place, even though I am only a young man and am inexperienced. 8 Your servant stands among your chosen people; they are a great nation that is too numerous to count or number.<br />
  7. 7. 9 So give your servant a discerning mind so he can make judicial decisions for your people and distinguish right from wrong. Otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours." 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. 11 God said to him, "Because you asked for the ability to make wise judicial decisions, and not for long life, or riches, or vengeance on your enemies, <br />
  8. 8. 12 I grant your request, and give you a wise and discerning mind superior to that of anyone who has preceded or will succeed you. 13 Furthermore, I am giving you what you did not request — riches and honor so that you will be the greatest king of your generation. 14 If you follow my instructions by obeying my rules and regulations, just as your father David did, then I will grant you long life."<br />
  9. 9. I think it is safe to say that the first act of wisdom that marked the life of Solomon was his decision to ask God for wisdom when the opportunity arose.<br />There is actually a book titled “How To Do Everything Right.” It can be ordered on the internet. I understand it covers all kinds of practical issues from taxes to travel tips, and even tells you how to find lost contact lenses in the carpet. <br />
  10. 10. Wouldn't it be nice if all you had to have is a copy of a 75 page book to know how to do everything right?<br />How about having one of those "EASY" buttons you see on the TV commercials? Wouldn't that be great!<br />But wisdom doesn't come that easily, does it? Some issues can't be translated into black and white on a page. <br />When your children, parents or siblings are giving you fits, the books don't always have the answers. <br />
  11. 11. That book doesn't have any chapter entitled, “How to fix everything that is broken, including relationships, hearts, and trust.” Life is really not that easy that you could get a couple of experts together, ask a few questions, and have the answers. Why, you would be lucky to get the experts to agree what the questions are.<br />
  12. 12. That's why James spends no little amount of time discussing wisdom in his book. Remember, in his letter, James is interested in telling us how to experience “everyday worship.” How to live life facing God. After beginning his book by diving into the deep end with a discussion about suffering, he moves right into the subject of wisdom.<br />Today we are going to look at <br />James 1:5-8; 3:13-18.<br />
  13. 13. I want you to notice something. If you look at James 1:5-8 you will notice that his words about wisdom are within his discussion of how to deal with suffering. That is no accident. It seems that it is in the middle of the hardest times that we need wisdom the most.<br />When you are suffering through the pain of health tragedies, there are often life and death decisions that need to be made.<br />
  14. 14. When life has thrown you a curve ball and the most unthinkable situation occurs, you have to decide how to respond.<br />When your situation changes such as when you lose your job, a loved one dies, you graduate from school, or you go through some other type of life transition, you will invariably find yourself in situations that call for wisdom. Decisions have to be made, and there isn't always a handy reference book to tell you “How to do everything right.” So what do you do? James says that you should turn to God. <br />
  15. 15. 5But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind.7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.<br />
  16. 16. What a pious sounding answer. It almost sounds like one of those generic church answers for anything that we are so good at giving. <br />We are so conditioned to hearing the church answers that we repeat them without thinking. So when James says, “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God,” that sounds way too simplistic for something that so many people struggle with. <br />
  17. 17. And just how does God tell me the answers? Is He going to write on a wall, or will it come in a bolt of lightning, or will I get a warm feeling in my belly when I come upon the right answer. That's the way many today determine what to do, according to if it feels right or not. But as I looked at what James said about wisdom, I noticed that he didn't say “If any of you lacks answers, he should ask God.”<br />
  18. 18. God is not the “Shell Answer Man,” doling out advice. Who God is, is the one who designed the universe and set into motion the way it works. As such, He is the one who knows how you and I will function most effectively within it. Think of an owner's manual to help people understand. The manufacturer sets standards, knows what is best for the vehicle, lays it out in the owner's manual. I am wise to obey.<br />
  19. 19. Many teach that this text is talking about asking God for answers. “Should I buy this house?, Should I take this job?, Should I make this choice or that choice?” It is essential that we pray about every decision we have to make. James is saying it is wisdom that God wants to give us, not advice. In this context God is not so concerned about where you live as how you live. He is not hung up on what you do for a living as He is the kind of living you do. <br />
  20. 20. James 3:13 NET Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.<br />
  21. 21. 16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. 18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.<br />
  22. 22. Do you see what James is defining wisdom as? It is “Knowing how to live the way God wants us to.” That is a profound difference from knowing how to get ahead in life. Wisdom according to James is “knowing how to get Godly.” <br />Notice the contrast he paints. <br />Earthly wisdom: bitter jealousy, selfishness in your hearts, boasting, tell lies against the truth, disorder and every evil practice. If you want to get ahead in this life, learn how to live like this.<br />
  23. 23. Heavenly wisdom: good conduct, pure, peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. If you want to get ahead in God's eyes, learn how to live like this.<br />Let me clarify something. There might be times when God might be interested in what house you live in. By stretching yourself to buy a home or a car that is poor stewardship or overextends you so that you can't live a life of generosity,<br />
  24. 24. But I don't believe God cares if you drive a Ford or a Chevy, foreign or domestic. What matters more to him is the way you treat people when you are behind the wheel. If you’re driving to the bar to get drunk or to church or help a neighbor.<br />One more issue that is very important to understand out of this passage is the idea of being “double-minded.” James wants us to understand that there is a danger of trying to straddle the fence.<br />
  25. 25. You see, there are some people who will try to double-dip their wisdom. They want the best of both worlds, drawing from God's wisdom and the wisdom of this world. They won't commit.<br />Have you ever known someone who lived a life of moral purity, they would never think of doing anything wrong, pure as the driven snow. But they live that pure lifestyle and make sure that everyone knows it so that they can feed their pride. <br />
  26. 26. Have you ever known someone who was very helpful always doing things to give a hand to others, but in reality it was just a ploy in order to manipulate others and get them to do what they wanted. <br />Have you ever known someone who was interested in having a “smidgen of religion.” They want just enough of God to get them out of hell, but not enough to change the way they live.<br />
  27. 27. I know you've known someone like that, because there is a little bit of that in every one of us. That is so often what holds us back from full commitment. We want to drag that foot on the other side of the fence just in case we need it over there some time. When we do that, James says we are “double-minded,” and we limit the blessings that we receive from God when we limit our Godliness by half-heartedly following.<br />
  28. 28. Nobody exemplified that more than Solomon. He had wisdom, but he also tried to get ahead by other means. His story in the O.T. is the perfect portrait of a double-minded person when you read it closely. <br />Let’s take a quick look at God's special commands for Israel's kings.<br />
  29. 29. Duet. 17:16  NET Moreover, he must not accumulate horses for himself or allow the people to return to Egypt to do so, for the LORD has said you must never again return that way. 17 Furthermore, he must not marry many wives lest his affections turn aside, and he must not accumulate much silver and gold. <br />
  30. 30. 18 When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law on a scroll given to him by the Levitical priests. 19 It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out.<br />
  31. 31. Did Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, adhere to God's commands? <br />1Kings 10:14 NET Solomon received 666 talents of gold per year<br />1Kings 10:26 NET Solomon accumulated chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He kept them in assigned cities and in Jerusalem.<br />
  32. 32. 27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones; cedar was as plentiful as sycamore fig trees are in the lowlands. 28 Solomon acquired his horses from Egypt and from Que; the king's traders purchased them from Que. 29 They paid 600 silver pieces for each chariot from Egypt and 150 silver pieces for each horse. They also sold chariots and horses to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Syria.<br />
  33. 33. 1 Kings 11:1 NET King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh's daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 2They came from nations about which the LORD had warned the Israelites, "You must not establish friendly relations with them! If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods." But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them. <br />
  34. 34. 3He had 700 royal wives and 300 concubines; his wives had a powerful influence over him. 4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father David had been. 5 Solomon worshiped the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. 6 Solomon did evil in the LORD's sight; he did not remain loyal to the LORD, like his father David had.<br />
  35. 35. Here’s what was going on.<br />God told the nation of Israel that if they would trust Him, He would protect them from other nations that would try to destroy them. Solomon said he trusted God for protection, but he made treaties with other kings, just in case. The Bible tells us that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.<br />
  36. 36. One of Solomon's wives was feeling down & unloved. She asked Solomon, “Do you really love me?” He replied in a soft loving voice, “Of course I love you dear…why you’re one in a thousand.”<br />In that day most of those marriages and arrangements were made to secure political alliances with foreign governments. It was a picture of double-minded wisdom. Solomon sought God with sacrifices and he even built the beautiful Temple in Jerusalem.<br />
  37. 37. But he also allowed his wives and political alliances to persuade him to offer sacrifices to other gods. It is a way of hedging your bets, just in case those gods turn out to be helpful too.<br />God doesn't want us to be like that! He is seeking full-time followers who are completely devoted to Him. And the incredible thing is that when we are single-minded in our devotion to Him, we become wise.<br />
  38. 38. That doesn't mean we know all the answers to every question. It does mean that we become like the wise person that James describes in James 3:17NET But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.I long for that kind of life. If you do too, if you want to be wise in the way that God calls us to, then let me briefly offer you three ways to fully adopt the wisdom of God.<br />
  39. 39. Allow God's Spirit to fill you.<br />The beginning point of adopting God's wisdom into your life is to completely give your life to Him. When we make Jesus Christ our Lord, the Bible tells us that we are given an incredible gift. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God comes and dwells in us, and He guides us to live godly lives if we will listen to Him.<br />
  40. 40. Just before His death, Jesus told his disciples "If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever - 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.<br />John 14:15 NET<br />
  41. 41. That promise was fulfilled for us in Acts 2. Peter preached a sermon, and as he concluded it he called the people to make a decision. <br />Acts 2:38 NET Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself."<br />
  42. 42. That is great news. We can have God living in us, know Him intimately through the Spirit that Jesus called “the Spirit of truth.” In order to do that, we have to obey the commands of Jesus, make Him our Lord. That, my friends, is the beginning of true wisdom.<br />
  43. 43. Know God's Word<br />I don't think I can over-emphasize this point. Paul says that the Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit.” <br />Ephesians 6:7 NET And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. <br />The Holy Spirit will guide you through the toughest of situations. He will comfort you when you are hurting and strengthen you when you are weak.<br />
  44. 44. But you have to realize that His most effective tool in doing those things is the Word of God. There is simply no way to get around it, the more you know of God's Word, the more wisdom you will have and the more God will work in and through your life. The less you know of God's Word, the more you have limited the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.<br />
  45. 45. That is why it is so important for you to read the Bible and be a part of a group of people who study it together. You limit the work God will do in and through you when you don't allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the Word. The Psalmist wrote By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.Psalms 119:105 MSG<br />
  46. 46. Knowing the Bible helps us to know the mind of God. We learn through these pages who God is, and what His design for our lives is. If you want to be wise, you need to be plugged into God's pipeline of wisdom, His Word. That is more than just hearing what I have to say. Know if for yourself. Read it, study it, let it fill your thoughts as you pray. Pick a Psalm and make it your prayer. A good one to start with this week is Psalm 119.<br />
  47. 47. Listen to the Godly people <br />around you<br />Sometimes even when you have the Holy Spirit as a part of your life, and even when you know the Word of God backward and forward there will be times when you will struggle to know what the right thing to do is. When that happens, you need the advice of others who have allowed the Spirit of God to fill their life. <br />
  48. 48. Proverbs 12:15 NET The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise.<br />When you seek out someone to advise you, find someone who shows that the Fruit of the Spirit is part of their life. God created us to live in community because sometimes we have blind-spots. Others can help to give us perspective on those blind spots we have.<br />There are very few people who would deliberately choose ignorance over wisdom.<br />
  49. 49. Oh, I'm sure there are some who believe the old adage “ignorance is bliss,” but I don't think there are many of those people here this morning. They are still asleep or out on the lake somewhere. But if you have come here this morning looking for something to make your life complete, to make you wise in getting through this life and into the next one, then there is only one place to point you. Look to God for everything you need. <br />
  50. 50. 2 Peter 1:3NETI can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.<br />Our God is a good God who wants to give to us. He is loving and compassionate, and His will is to guide us through this life in such a way that we can live forever with Him in heaven.<br />
  51. 51. He wanted that so much that He sent His Son to remove the barrier of sin that separated us from Him. Jesus died on that cruel instrument of death we call a cross so that we could have life, abundant life here on earth, and eternal life in heaven.<br />The good news is that those who are wise enough to admit that they need His help will always find it.<br />

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