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June 22, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a message titled “Who is a Wise Person?,” from James 3:13.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where the focus would be on Christ. So he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled wisdom from above, which is a study of the book of James. There's a study booklet available for this series and if you'd like to follow along. You can order printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Would you please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of James. James chapter 3 this morning.
We are in the second chapter in your book, I'd encourage you to bring your book to chapel Mondays. That way you can follow the message. Take notes during the outline when he began by asking you a question.
Have you ever been sitting on an airplane over the intercom system comes the flight attendant and the attendant asks the question, is there a doctor on the plane. How many of you have ever experienced that before. Okay, a few of you so that happens what your first thought is a flight attendant really wanting to meet a doctor like she's dying to see a doctor. Well, I think we all understand that the nature of the question presupposes a very serious need in James chapter 3 in verse 13 we really are. If I can call it the thematic peak or maybe the top of the mountain of the whole book of James, and understanding it and it is all centered around a question of question that presupposes a very urgent need this morning. I'd like to take that question and try to ask and answer the question that James puts before us for notice what he says in verse 13 he asked the question, who is a wise man and endued with knowledge amongst you, that is within your group who would be viewed as a wise person and as he asked the question.
It's a rhetorical question. In other words, he's not looking for you to give him an answer, but he actually gives an answer and what is his answer is the rest of the verse.
He says let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
In other words, a wise person demonstrates that wisdom by answer that he gave so this morning I like to speak to you on the theme of who is it that is a wise person with the idea that this presupposes a very urgent and serious. So I mean, let me back up just for a moment and go back to a few things that I said last week and that is that the book of James. The author James the brother of Jesus was the pastor of the church of Jerusalem and we read in the book of acts chapter 8 in verse one. It tells us that a persecution came to Jerusalem where the Jewish Christians were driven out of Jerusalem and they were driven out of Israel and they became wrapped G and will become the James chapter 1 in verse one. He tells us to whom he is writing look at what is says, and in chapter 1 verse one James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes watch this which are scattered abroad. Acts 81 says they were scattered abroad. So now this is the group to whom he is writing so who is he writing to. He is writing the people who are under a very severe trial.
They are refugees and so what is James's goal in writing them well. I assuredly he wants to comfort them, but he wants to do far more than that. He wants them to understand or see or have the wisdom in comprehending what God is doing in their life. What is wisdom it's seeing life from God's perspective it's you being able to see things differently than a normal person would see them so beginning in verse two of James one.
He tells us that when you fall in the trials which your first response to your account it all joy. Why do you count it all joy, because that's not your virtual response is a response of faith is believing God in verse three, he tells us that there's a reason why we going to the trial. Here's the perspective, your faith is being put to the task you're finding out if your faith is really real and that faith has to keep on believing that's called endurance and he says here's the goal, and that's what verse four is all about when he says these words, but let patience that is this endurance have its perfect work are literally mature. So what's his point. What's he trying to say he's trying to help God's people mature and when you read all of the letters of the New Testament written by Paul and James and John and Peter. They all have the same goal for the Christian life purity, but they use different words to describe it.
Paul uses the idea of becoming like Christ. Peter uses the idea of being holy. John uses the idea of being perfected in love. Think about it.
Christ likeness holiness love all of those things are emphasis in James, what is his primary emphasis how do we know what would becoming mature and he tells us in verse five he says if any of you lack what you like what I how many of you would say I lack wisdom must be on Sunday. Okay. If any of you by the way you do.
If any of you lack wisdom.
Wisdom and wide in the middle of these trials. Why do you need wisdom to understand life to God's perspective life because God's trying to grow you don't know any group of people in the world today that are in this.
What I would call James chapter 1 stage. Think college students because your faith is being tested because you're going through things and God is willing to mature you and he wants you to become a wise person. Now we jump to chapter 3 verse 13 he asked the question, here's the point.
Here's the big who is it among you, that is a wise person so three very simple questions. I like to ask first of all why is it that we really need wise people. Why do we need maturity.
I mean, let's be honest if you've accepted Jesus as your Savior get you going to go to heaven. So what's the big deal about maturity and of course we understand that maturing in Christ likeness is God's goal.
It's God's purpose. The greatest way you and I can glorify God is to become more like Jesus Christ.
We are maturing and were growing and yet we are on a highway of maturity that is filled with detours and dead-end streets in ditches. Another words, there are lots of people who are Christians, but for various reasons. They got off if I can say it this way. The road to maturity things that happen in the so what's the need than he does wise people who are travelers. Have you ever traveled to someplace you've never been in your little nervous about traveling.
Why is it that we take a tour to a foreign country. We often do it with somebody who is a guy because we need to have somebody who has experience and knowledge and information and they know what to do and they know what to avoid and here we are own this journey and we were growing in the Lord and we need mature people to go before us wise. People who avoid these hazards and how to knit and know how to stay on the pathway. Is there a wise person in the house. That's the question James is asking and what were some of the issues that they were facing in James's day is very interesting when you read the book of James. They were facing the same issues we face today. For example, many of many of the believers were emotionally immature and they were struggling with spiritual maturity. I said it before, I'll say it again through this whole semester. You cannot be spiritually mature and be emotionally immature. Your emotions need to grow. Some were struggling with the reality of their faith in the midst of their trials.
God, he really real. How do you handle the sense that God is absent from some were falling into sin and blaming God for their temptations. Some were growing in resentment over financial problems.
Some were very inconsistent to worshiping in the house of God, and they were not really committed to the Lord. Some work somewhere in the church were vulnerable widows and orphans and being neglected by the church somewhere allowing the world to affect them.
They were worldly, they were really not totally committed to the Lord and there was growing in the church some strife and some disagreements in some conflicts. So here's the question. Is there any wise people among you who are skillful enough to give real answers to real problems. We do something for most important things in the student body here Bob Jones are mature Christians who can help those who are immature and I I just pray that our student body will mature that you won't be like in your junior and senior year in spiritual.
You haven't even gotten out of diapers yet that we really need mature believers. I was helped spiritually. My sophomore year of college by a junior who was much more mature than I was. Any really helped me along. Are there any among you who are perceptive enough not only to see problems but are able to work towards peaceful resolutions because anybody can see a problem but very few people can solve problem. Are there any who are able, for example, who can connect the issues and struggles you're facing with the character and purpose of God. Here's the problem.
Can you see what it is that God is doing. This is why we need wise people to lead and guide the people of God to resolve the issues of life and move forward in that leads me to the second question, then, and this is probably one that is core to the whole semester and that is what is wisdom what is it mean to be wise, well, wisdom's, one of those words that you think you know what it means until somebody says what is it in any sort of kind of stumble along trying to explain what it is because you know that that being wise is not necessarily being smart, if you've ever met. A smart person who did something really stupid yet, so obviously that's not why. So what is wisdom is not necessarily being smart is not necessarily being experienced or having a lot of knowledge. You can have a PhD and not necessarily be all that why so what is wisdom. Let me give you a simple, practical illustration, my family and I traveled for 29 years in the ministry of evangelism and during all that time we lived in 1/5 wheel trailer that's a that's a trailer that hooks up to the back of a pickup truck. The first trailer about 1985 I bought it down in Richmond, Indiana and when I bought it I got a three-quarter ton GMC truck. It was a 35 foot trailer back in those days and you don't even need it today. You don't have to have a special license so all you do is pay the cash and hook it up and take off. So I took off driving up the highway never had driven a trailer my life and I began to notice some things very quickly. Number one that the trailer is heavier than the truck because the truck was about 6000 pounds in the trailer was about 15 to 18,000 pounds and that so when I was going up the hill. It actually slowed the truck down, but that wasn't really a big issue. The bigger issue was going down the hill because when the trailer weighs three times more than the truck you actually feel this pressure only and in the end that's not so bad because you can kind of work at you. You kinda learn how to not fly down the hill and that stamp on the brakes. To me that's something stupid.
I mean so you figured out but there always things that happen that you're not prepared for and one of them is when some smart engineer decided to put a traffic light at the bottom of the hill. No problem in a car big problem in the truck and trailer when you're coming down that hill, you have three possible options based on three colors red, yellow and green so here's my question. Let's see how wise you are, what is the absolute worst scholar to have to face. Okay, let me tell you the best color the best color is red because red you know exactly what to do. You're supposed to what is most to stop so I it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Stop yellow is sort of number two because you know when it turns yellow. You're going to have to stop. So again you have to decide do I go through it.
Do I go through the yellow light, or do I slow down will depends on where you are on the road in a course in South Carolina. It doesn't really matter. You know I used to think the problem in the world today is world hunger is not his South Carolina drivers to be honest with so but the worse the worst colors green, why green because you have options. See wisdom is basically often times having options and decisions you have to make you not sure what to do.
And of course the decisions you make have consequences. For example, if it's green and you decide to go for it because it's green. What happens if it turns yellow and red, and you're going through a red light with the truck and trailer and so what is wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to navigate well. Wisdom is the ability to navigate life well and in the matter of our spiritual life is becoming skillful in righteous living. For example, the Bible says a wise person foresees the problem and they hide themselves. They all avoid things instead of going forward and ending up in trouble.
How many of you got in trouble when you didn't see it coming and you and whose.
I didn't think about that. Well, that's the point. Wisdom is learning how to make light choices right now so that leads me to the third question and that is going back to the text to his wisemen in a do with knowledge among you.
What is a wise person they look like, how can we determine up if a person's wise or not, and James answers the question and this is basically foundational for the rest of the semester because these are the qualities of a wise person and then he sort of. If I could say beginning in verse 14, all the way through the chapter 4 verse 10 he goes down into the weeds and he begins to sort of unfolded in a very clear way.
So what are the two qualities of a wise person number one. The first quality is that they demonstrate their wisdom by the way that they live their life, we think of a wise person were talking about the way they live their life. Notice what he says let him show out of a good conversation. The word show means to put on display the word good is something that is beautiful so I have here in my notes and illustration that I'm not getting use because I want to use one that is very palpable.
We can feel it, because we just heard it and that is David Kim how many of you would say he he he he is pretty good you know you can play a note and you can play a note in the song that he played was actually quite simple. It wasn't complicated, but oh how he played the note.
What is wisdom. Wisdom is a person who demonstrates their wisdom in the way that they lived there like he says out of a good conversation and often times will translate the word conversation is your conduct or your lifestyle, and I get that in. That's that's basically the translated but I actually like the word conversation because the idea is your life says something every time we get with somebody where our life is speaking it's saying something your talk talks in your wall blocks, but your walkout talks louder than your talk talks you are saying something what he is saying is a wise person demonstrates their wisdom because of the way their life speaks and what is it saying let's go back and just look at the characters of the Bible.
What is there like say to us, Abraham was the Bible say about us.
He was a man of God. We go back and look at Abraham and Moses said Noah and David and Isaiah and the prophets. What we see in their life, we see our life demonstrates a and demonstrates faithfulness and demonstrates godliness. We look at the life of Moses who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. God contrasted him. He wasn't worldly. He was godly. That's what we see in the lives of the women in the Bible like Sarah and Esther and Ruth and others. They demonstrate their wisdom by the way they make their choices.
By the way they speak by the relationships they build. By the way they handle their relationships with people and the Bible says wisdom is demonstrated in a beautiful light output. Your goal to live a beautiful life because as we all know beauty is vain, but a woman that free our fear of the Lord, she shall be praised. And then there's a second quality of what demonstrates wisdom and that is is not only a demonstrated by the life that we live. But secondly, by the way we handle the issues of life for notice what the text says let him show out of a good conversation his works. That's the way lives, with meekness of wisdom. Remember this, people do not judge you based on what you say. People judge you based on what you do.
I know that said, that's a proverbial statement we do get judged by what we say. But people people put more stock in your actions than they do in the words letting demonstrate out of a beautiful life. His works, his actions with meekness of wisdom. So here's the point I want to make what is he mean by meekness of wisdom, let me say this way, the most demonstrable quality of wisdom is meekness.
In other words, a wise person. If you say what is a wise person like in order to give qualities.
The most important quality of the wise person is that they are meek that we know that because meekness is the cardinal virtue of the greatest leaders that have ever lived. For example, Moses numbers 12 verse three now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. Jesus take my yoke upon you and learn of me because I am meek and lowly in spirit.
Paul second Corinthians 10 one now I call myself a seat you by the meekness and the gentleness of Christ to be a meek person is one who is demonstrating their wisdom. So what is it mean to be meek well it doesn't mean to be weak.
You say, why do we say that because it rhymes no because that sometimes what people think because of meek person often feels like a person you sort of can run over Jesus said in this way, the rulers of this rule world ruled by power be said, my children, my servants will not be that way they will actually be servants because the greatest among you semi the server.
So what is it mean to be meek person. Let's go back and think through what he says in James one, when he says counted all joy when you fall into various trials LME as you question is counting it all joy.
The natural thing to do.
Yes or no notes.
Not so, what's the natural thing to do whatever comes out of your heart is call reacting.
I get mad I get upset that I get angry.
I blame people become bitter. I become resentful become rebellious, so those reactions that are coming out of my heart are what we call emotional immaturity and what is God trying to do crawl us out to overcome those emotionally immature areas of our life and become spiritual people. So what is it mean to be meek. It's the opposite of that is not being reactionary, it is not being rebellious. It is bringing my will, under control of the Holy Spirit, we could say it this way, it is me being broken over myself in surrender to God and what's the best illustration of that. I think one is a horse that's been broken many years a big powerful horse. What can a horse do to you if it wanted me to kill you. You ride on it but you all the install shoe but a horse that this like that is really of little value. So what is the trainer do it breaks the horse in the sense that with its will become submissive and wanted me and that's the idea of being meek.
It's the idea of strength that is brought under control who is a wise person is somebody who demonstrates wisdom by the fact that they're not rebellious they're not reactionary. They are not retaliatory. Have you ever seen a fight on the basketball. I saw one recently and you know what it never ends up good. Even if you get the punch the guy me my human nature. I actually like to punch people.
I'm serious, I really do mean I mean if I want to play against you. I'm gonna take you out and I I actually buy my human nature like that.
That's by the way, is not meekness.
Meekness is the opposite. It's not reactionary it's not retaliatory, and we always respect the person on the court, who doesn't react even when they're mistreated, but we submit, we submit to the authority we submit to the referee's and the point I'm trying to make is that what James is doing is trying to get us to maturity and that maturity is a wise person and that wisdom is demonstrated in a spirit of meekness and we have a lot to pray for, because if you listen very carefully this morning. We should all be convicted of the fact that actually were not that meek and so Lord help us to grow the rest of the semester. Now what were going to do is unfold to try to see what a wise person unfolded really looks like.
In contrast to a person that's not wise and may God grant us the grace to be wise.
Let's pray father, thank you for your word. Help us Lord to be wise and walk humbly with you in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from the book of James by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit series, visit our email@example.com where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled wisdom from above.
Thanks for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on the daily