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June 24, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a second message titled “Wisdom from Above,” from James 3:17.
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.
Let's listen to today's message from the study series from the book of James called wisdom from above. 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 like to ask you take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of James chapter 3. If you are guest with us this morning we have on our Monday morning chapel is our discipleship theme in this semester were working through the theme of wisdom from above, from the book of James chapter 3 verse 13 all the way to chapter 4 and verse 10.
So we have been laying that foundation. The importance of of maturing into wise people how this God get us there. We looked in James 313 is the is the peak verse was a wise man in a do with knowledge among you.
We talked about what what a wise person looks like the last week we talked about help how the writer James contrasts wisdom from below and wisdom from above is so last week we asked the question why, why would he call the wisdom from a blow wisdom because of the negative aspects and essentially it's a worldly form of wisdom. So this morning were going to begin by looking in James three verses 16 and 17, where now James contrasts the wisdom from below with heavenly wisdom, the kind of wisdom that we should pursue after. So let's read this morning, beginning in James three and verse 16. She is me.
I'm sorry. Verse 17 but the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy, and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace in the 18th century. Something radically happened that transformed Western culture. It was a transit position that took place that was so dramatic that there is not a subject today that is tall and high school or in college that hasn't been influenced by this movement that is characteristically known as the Enlightenment. This was a period where in the Christianized culture of the Western world.
The basic symbols of God's revelation in the Bible were laid aside, and man became the center or the measure of all things, it corresponded in time to many of the scientific discoveries of that.
And what is interesting is that many of the scientists were real believers who understood that if we listen to the word of God to hear what God said that we should listen to the book of nature to hear how it was that God has put nature together and in the end, or during this Enlightenment. The belief was that truth was discovered by the power of human reason, in contrast to divine revelation. The movement started with intellectuals, but it has pervaded all education today and its worldly wisdom. However, the Enlightenment, or what we call modernity is now past and is issued into what we know as postmodernism. This is where there is really no singular truth. No real absolutes except only as I personally experience it.
The only thing that is authentic or genuine, or true is my own experience and the postmodern wants both license and approval license to live as they please and approval in the sense of the right to not be criticized for the way that they live and the outgrowth of postmodernism on society is that the cardinal virtue are there cardinal virtue is the virtue of tolerance and the sins of postmodernism is trying to enforce your values on someone else. I think we would all agree that that is the mindset of the day and in the day of the apostle James, his teaching was Johnston is counterculture to the teaching of the car or the or the prevailing culture of his own day for James taught believers in a pagan society how they were to live their lives to please God and how to make a mark on society by being models of spiritual maturity and having wisdom from above and what was the wisdom from above that distinguish them that made them different in is what James said in chapter 3 verse 13 he says wisdom is demonstrated in the way that we live our lives and the way that we do what we do and we live our lives with the meekness of wisdom.
Or I can say this way. The chief characteristic of a wise person is that they are mean and that's the difference. So James contrasts wisdom from below wisdom from a book from above one is bad. The others good one kind of wisdom is destructive. The other kind is constructive. One.
Wisdom tears people down the other. Wisdom builds people up. One is clearly from God above the other is clearly from Satan below. So this morning I like us to look at the wisdom that is from above, and James is already told us about the quality of meekness and now we dive deeper into the weeds as he unfolds in a clearer way what it means to have wisdom from above, so notice first of all, the source of this wisdom, he says, but the wisdom that is from above. That is, he's referring to the divine source of wisdom. Wisdom is a gift that comes from God.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and this wisdom is actually a gift of God's goodness a number of years ago I was preaching in a church down in the state of Florida and the pastor was one of those pastors that once you meeting you never forgetting he was very unusual and extremely generous, and during the week he came to me and he said Steve I would like to buy you the nicest pair of shoes you've ever wrote and I said okay. He said what your size of Tony so what kind of style of shoes do you want this was probably on about 25 years ago. So and I was thinking, well, you know, dress shoes, preacher shoes so I said wing tips your wingtips are well you go online figured out so he bought me a pair of Florsheim Imperial their top line wingtips. I love the shoes I wore them till I warm out. I resold them and I put on the that that the new souls and I wore those out and finally I just said I can't take it anymore.
The shoes are going to survive.
And so I put them up in my Hall of Fame of shoes, but what I remember the most about the gift was not so much the shoes themselves, but what my pastor friend said to me because he handed me the shoes for the intention of making a point. And he said Steve never underestimate the generosity of God, thou art coming to a king with the large petitions bring for his grace and power are such that none could ever ask too much wisdom is a gift that God gives. Do you need wisdom for your life do you need his direction. Do you need his ability to overcome to go for what is he say if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, generously, that our God is a good God and he is generous in is in his giving any does not reprimand us for asking, therefore, should be quite clear to us that wise people are people who pray if we don't pray, then we are not wives, your member when Solomon received the daunting task of being the king of Israel, and God gave them the opportunity to make a request and what did he pray for, well, God said to Solomon.
Solomon did not ask for riches.
You did not ask for honor which you asked for the wisdom to rule in such a way that you understand the people's needs and the ability to perceive what decisions will be good and what decisions will be bad because you chose the right thing. I will give you riches and honor. Wisdom is something the Bible says we should pursue like we would pursue gold or pursue silver.
What is your life's pursuit is your life pursued my name well the wisest thing you could do is to pursue wisdom in the Bible says the Lord, and yellows. Wisdom is very interesting that one of the early New Testament Christian historians are they called him a chronicler was a man named haggis. See posts and he wrote in 110 A.D. ways born in one 1080 but he wrote a statement about the apostle James list what he says after the apostles James the brother of the Lord's surname to the Jost was made head of the church at Jerusalem.
He went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people in so much that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of Campbell's knees want wisdom pray God is the source of all true wisdom that leads me to the second thing and that is what are the characteristics of wisdom. What is it look like an James sets forth here a catalog, a list of virtues that describes meekness is very interesting that the qualities of wisdom that that we see here in the book of James actually resembles the fruit of the spirit. I mentioned earlier that every New Testament writer have the same goal for the Christian life that is to be mature but they use different words to describe it. So Paul said Christ likeness and Peter said holiness, and James said love. I think I've concluded that the book of Hebrews who does not. We don't know the author and that is that the goal of the Christian life is to be faithful and James tells us the goal is of course to be wives and yet where the where we see the qualities of an of wisdom.
We also can compete and compare them to the qualities of the spirit in the book of Galatians, in the very similar.
So what are those qualities. Notice he begins when he says, but the wisdom that is from above is first pure, that word first Actually separates this one quality from all the others because he says, first, pure in and then he says, then so the word first means first in order of importance.
You could say this is the route and the rest are the fruit of what he's writing and saying is that purity is a fundamental quality of wisdom. If meekness is the visible what we see, then purity is the internal or the invisible.
So what does he mean by pure will literally the word means to be chaste, you've heard that word before and typically we would apply that to sexual purity, but I think in the book of James. It actually means more than that is the idea of one's commitment to another person. You could call it this, a wholehearted red salute complete and absolute commitment to one person and one person only shows like what you decide when you get married you need to become a a one woman man a one man woman is a complete devotion to that person in your marriage relationship.
So listen to what Paul says in second crib. He is 11 to he says I'm jealous over you. Corinthian's with a godly jealousy for the spouse you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Jesus Christ was concerned about the church because they were worldly and he wanted them to be single-minded and wholeheartedly committed to Christ and what is James burden for us. He doesn't want us to be double minded where we have a desire for the world and the desire for God and were back and forth all the time and were tossed to and fro. He wants us to make up our minds that we follow Jesus Christ. I think this is inclusive of devotional and moral purity, devotional purity and unmixed passionate devotion towards Christ. There's nothing in the world but I will more than Jesus Christ. My wife and I went on our first date of Bob Jones University.
That was back in the days when dating opportunities were extremely limited.
Yet two places ago. The dating parlor or the alumni Stadium that was it.
We could hang out and talk to each other because that was against the rule we got the marriage that's called ordering so we could go to two places in the first day I have moved my wife was in the alumni Stadium. There were two soccer matches going on all of society matches who played. I don't know, didn't care, but at the end of our 2 to 3 hour date.
We both concluded our life that we come to a point where we could say sincerely and Psalm 73. Who do I have in heaven.
But the and there is not a planner that is besides the we talk about devotional purity.
We talk about a purity of your commitment to Jesus Christ and your love for him is greater than your love for any thing else that's wisdom and then he talking about moral purity, free from all vices and defilements of any kind. It is a delicate sensitivity to the polluting nature of immorality where we should turn from our want run away from putting ourselves in those kinds of positions where we are being tempted to ignite our lust and what he saying is that the first evidence of genuine meekness surrender, humility and dedication to God is found in purity and the notice the qualities that followed. Then he says to give six qualities. These qualities are primarily in our relationships with people.
Notice he says the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable Proverbs tells us of of of wisdom, her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
The Hebrew word for peace is the word shalom. It means stability, security, solid whole healthy healthy relationships. Heavenly wisdom longs for peace do you want to go fishing boat during a hurricane. Of course not.
Do you want your home to face a tornado of course not. It is human nature to want to avoid storms if possible. Therefore, wise people are peace makers. They are not strife coulters they seek to settle disputes rather than to provoke them.
They are not eager or quick to argue to fight moral they don't spend their time with sarcastic and caustic conversation. This is the opposite of what we saw in verse 16 of verse 14 where he talked about envy and strife and is this not what God wants is God, not the God of peace. So Paul tells us in Ephesians that through the blood of Christ, he has become our peace by his death he is brought together two groups of people who were the greatest antagonist Jews and Gentiles. The ultimate racists. The ultimate prejudice the ultimate intention, and if he can bring peace between these two opposing people and should not, we seek peace in our life in the notice. The second word, the word gentle.
Probably the best way to illustrate the word gentle. We will take the time to return there because were limited but in Matthew 18 Jesus talks about a servant of the king who owed the king 10,000 talents little study and back in that Bible days one day's wage was called a Dinero in order to earn one talent. It took you 20 years of earning Dinero I to get one talent this guy owes 10,000 talents and do the math. He has to work like 72 million days to pay off his debt. In other words, it's impossible and he goes to the king, and he says king. I'll pay you back which would which which was like ha ha suck it happen. So what is the king doing shows and compassionately forgiving the very got same guy will owe 10,000 talents had a friend of his who owed him 100 talents as 100. As if that's 1/3 of a year salary and instead of forgiving that man of the debt he went and grabbed the man to the throat and and and threaten to punish and of course, the point is that you read the story and you go this guy is like a total loser because God this king is been so compassionate and that's the way you respond and actually gentleness is understanding how much God is forgiven you. And so you're able to be that way towards others when I meet people that are really hard in partial people because of one bad thing they've done to so that they're very reactionary. I wonder, how much do you know how much you been forgiven. To be gentle is to be considerate of others to respect their feelings to make allowances for their weaknesses. The Bible says speak evil of no man but be gentle in the notice. Thirdly, he says he's easy to be entreated what is it mean to be entreated it means to be approachable by John Singer said beware of none of unreasonable people because good men are always reasonable. They're willing to listen. There approachable. You can go and talk to them without feeling like somehow you're going to be condemned because they're willing to listen to you. They're not stubborn their open-minded their persuadable they're good listeners in the notice. Number four. He said the wisdom from above is full of mercy and good fruits picture here to someone who is abundantly compassionate. They are generous they they want to do good to others. They were their desire in life is to be a blessing and then number five, without partiality. Was it mean to be without partiality by Joe Senior said this way, he said, beware of the man account house to his superiors and his route to his in without partiality means you treat people to say you try to be consistent. You don't play favorites. Your strike for your consistent and the way people of the way you handle people, people pretty much know what you're going to do because of your consistency in the notice.
Finally, without hypocrisy.
The idea here is a wise person is free from hidden agendas.
The idea for part of a hypocrite if somebody wears a mask, a person who is wise is open and forthright.
What you see is what you get.
People come to work at Bob Jones on a very clear, don't bring your hidden agendas here don't don't come here to try to manipulate to get your way.
What you open your honest your forthright you are here to serve. There's no self-centered purpose.
You are here for the betterment of others.
So what is James saying here are the qualities of people who are wise, let me finish this morning with the last point, and that is what is the effect of wisdom. I want to go back and look at what he says in verse 18 is really interesting to me is is the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make me is the sowing and reaping here you so this you get this so what you so what is he say so. The fruit of righteousness is sown and what what is what you so you so what peace what's the fruit of it righteousness you know I used to think was the opposite. You do right and you get peace, but here he says so peace and you get righteousness. And it tells us something that in all of my relationships with people. I'm not looking to make moral compromises, but I'm looking to work towards peaceful resolution. And when I do that.
That was the result. There's righteousness. Let me finish with one illustration on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Immanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church or historic church in Charleston.
They were having a Wednesday night, but Bible study and that Bible study, there were seven ladies and two men, one of the one of the men was a pastor the church. He was also a South Carolina state senator as they were having their Bible studies, Bible study, a young white man from Columbia, South Carolina named Dylan. Ruth came in and sat down and they welcomed him to be a part of the Bible study at the end of the Bible study.
Dylan stood up with a 9 mm pistol and shot all night people and killed. I remember good news when it came I was here is the president's my second summer and it was so shocking we could hardly believe it, but with that was an underlying fear because this young man was a racist and he had killed nine African-American people and so of course what's the natural fear. The fear is going to be a riot. But something happened that was amazing as broken hearted as the families were the families of the people that were slain over time, rose up and publicly acknowledged that though the young man deserves to be punished by society. They were willing to be forgiving in their heart.
What they did was way beyond everybody was tense because they were fearful of what could've happened and what made the difference is they manifested wisdom and that they pursued peace and righteousness came. Should the young man be punished absolutely should get get the death penalty in my estimation, without a doubt.
But that's why you have wall that's why you have government and the greatest thing that they could do was to pursue peace and forever South Carolinians will be thankful for the people of that church as they saw wisdom from above.
Father, we thank you that you are shaping us to become wise. People help us floor, O Lord. We need this today help our students to learn and become wise people give them a heart for in a pursuit for wisdom 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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