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June 29, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a message titled “Wisdom in the Midst of Trials,” from James 1:1-5.
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. His 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 is continuing a study series entitled wisdom from above, which is a study of the book of James. This study was preached in chapel to the Bob Jones University student body during the first few months of 2020.
However, due to covert, 19. The student body went home, but they continue to take classes online and Dr. Pettit decided to continue preaching the James series through Lifestream chapel services. Today's message is entitled wisdom in the midst of trials. As always, you're invited to follow along in the study booklet. The doctor Pettit has written for this series, you can order a printed copy from the website.
The Daily Platform.com. I thought it would be appropriate this morning to go back and take a step back. We have not been in chapel for at least three weeks. Our thing this semester is wisdom from above and we really haven't been able to work through the passage of Scripture over these last three weeks. I think it would be helpful this morning to just simply do a review will go back over more or less the lack the last six or seven messages and then will set us up for the next three weeks that will follow his will study through and finish our series here on the wisdom from above. I like to read this morning from the book of James chapter 1 verses one through five very familiar passage, but I think as we read it.
Of course, will have franchise and new insights and hopefully a deeper understanding of the word of God. James one verse one says James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes which are scattered abroad greeting, my brethren counted all joy when you fall into diverse temptations. Knowing this, the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraid if not, and it shall be given him. The author of this book is obviously a fellow named James.
It is the brother of Jesus, the half-brother of Jesus and he is writing this book at a very interesting time it was written about 49 A.D. which means it's actually the first of 27 books in the New Testament that were written so to me it's very interesting. This is the first book that this is the first inspired writings in the New Testament and then we come to James chapter 1 verse one and verse two and we discover that the very first thing that James addresses is the issue of trials or pressures in the life of a believer. How practical is that in James as he is writing this letter is writing to his own people. James was the lead pastor of the church of Jerusalem. In acts chapter 8 in verse one right after the stoning of Stephen we find that there was a massive disruption in the church of Jerusalem because the people came under persecution and they were driven from their homes and they were spread out and what we would call a dispersion in the simplest way that I can say it is best that there will whole life had been completely disrupted and James is their pastor was trying to lead them through this crisis. Well that's that's pretty practical for us here we are. We we were humming along. This semester we had a great Bible conference on the God of all comfort. We been studying wisdom from above and all of a sudden we been thrown into a situation were actually we are experiencing, at least in some ways, not completely, but in some ways the same things that these early disciples in the New Testament experience so goddess is putting us in a place where we are practically learning to live out God's truth. I I look at this situation that we're here in today is what Paul says in second Corinthians chapter 12 verses nine and 10, when he says that he glories in his tribulation, because when he is weak he is strong. Any list out various ways in which were suffering. He talks about infirmities which are physical problems he talks about distresses which are actually national issues, and so in one way we're experiencing right now infirmities with sickness or where experiencing at the same time these distressing times because of a pestilence, or because of a plague that is come upon our country so he's writing to these individuals and he views them as brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ brothers and sisters. So who is his audience will are already mentioned they were believers in trials.
They were suffering and James open up as he opens up any calls them his brothers. In fact, is later throughout the book he calls them either brethren or beloved brethren.
And he he focuses his attention on his deep love for them as a part of the family of God. If you're like me for the last three weeks I've I've had church at home and be honest with you I don't like church at home because the church is a called out assembly it's it's a group. This meeting together and I posted this on my twitter yesterday as I thought about what it's going to be like when we all come back to our churches, and maybe it's going to be another two or three or four or five weeks.
We really don't know. But as as time goes along in absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm thinking that we come back together. It's going to be an explosion of praise and worship and thanksgiving to God. And I thought about what is going to be like when we all get to heaven and we all worship around the throne of God where we see the Lamb of God who God is, put his love in our hearts and one day we will see him with her eyes when James wrote this book.
It was really a first century. 101 manual for Christian living and what he says in this book is pretty simple and straightforward is not primarily focused on doctrine though doctrine is throughout the book is actually focused on Christian living.
Out of the 108 versus there are 50 definitive commands. So what is the main purpose of the book of James. While it's really what we been studying all semester wisdom from above. It's the first New Testament letter.
As I already mentioned in his goal is to help believers mature to grow up spiritually. I think during that during this time as we been thrown in the trials. Obviously, we've had to face difficulties which is made all of us have to grow up a little bit and so we find here the James is warning the believers to grow up into wisdom.
And if you think about it and I've mentioned this over the semester that each New Testament writer who wrote to believers about how to live the Christian life focused on different aspects of maturity. For example, Paul, which is very clear as we read his letters is his goal for the Christian life is to become like Jesus Christ likeness. We read peters letters his two letters and he focuses on believers becoming holy we read the book of the of John John's letters. His history of pencils and John's goal is that believers would be perfected or they would be matured in love. So you have love, holiness, Christ likeness you read the book of Hebrews who the author is unknown, but his message is clear that he wants us to go on to maturity and the way that we become mature is by persevering faith or simply saying being faithful and then we come here to the book of James, and what is the goal of James's goal is for believers to become wise people and that corresponds with what Paul says in Colossians 1 and verse nine. It's a prayer that I been praying over the last few days. It says and so, from the day we heard it we have not ceased to pray for you and asked that you will be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. My prayer for you is that during this time that your understanding of God would deepen me think about all the free time that we have in many ways when there's only so many reruns that you can watch on television.
Let's be honest. Television gets pretty boring. There's not a lot to watch unless you want to watch basketball games from 15 years ago and God is put all of us in a place where we have the opportunity to seek him to pray to spend more time in the word and James's overall goal is to help believers mature and the wise men and wise women and I hope that you're doing that during this time. So what is the process by which we gain wisdom well.
Wisdom is not something we get automatically is not something that you get in the classroom is not something that comes just because you have a lot of knowledge and is not even something that you get when you get understanding. Although that's a part of it.
But the Bible says wisdom is something more than that wisdom is something that God gives. If you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, wisdom spiritual maturity spiritual growth comes through God giving us wisdom so here's the question. When do you start pursuing wisdom.
What would motivate you to want to have wisdom and the answer is actually here in James one versus two through five. You and I seek wisdom when we are in the midst of trials. You know what is interesting when when James says, count it all joy when you fall that word fall into various trials, is the idea that something is come in your life it's unexpected, something that was unavoidable and something that it was definitely unwanted on the day that I made the announcement a little over two weeks ago that school would be closing the next day is very interesting to watch our student body as in some cases. I'm sure there was a sense of relief that maybe you would have classes for a couple of weeks, but by and large pretty much the.
The student body was very sad about the situation.
This is something that none of us really wanted Shirley.
None of us expected and there was not really much we could do to avoid the situation and that is really the recipe for a not only a trial but how it is that God gives us wisdom because these trials and these pressures have come into our life and what do we need to do.
We need to learn to think properly and respond correctly and I would say respond, leaving Lee in a way that will honor God because wisdom is this. It is learning to see life from God's point of view. Think about all the different ways that people are looking at this particular trial right now and wisdom from above is learning to look at it from God's perspective. Wisdom is the ability to connect the trials that we endure with the purpose and the character of God in our life. Wisdom is learning to have write responses and make right choices when you and I are going through a trial. For example, one of the things that we learn and try like this is trials bring it around. Life pressure. That's what a tribulation is it's an outward pressure from our circumstances that squeeze us and of course when we go through these external squeeze things things come out of our heart.
Whether it's sadness or confusion or or anger or whatever comes out of our life and we know that this is the means by which God matures us because as we go through the trial and we struggle within the realm of our motions, God is actually spiritually maturing us in one thing is very important. Remember is you can't really be emotionally immature and spiritually mature at the same time. So God takes us through situations where we struggle within the framework of our emotions and what God is doing is he's actually maturing us spiritually.
For example, God takes us through a trial and we go through. Let's say a circumstance of sorrow and through that we learn how to have joy in the midst of pain. We go through inconveniences and we learn to be flexible. II think of of everyone in the situation. Students, staff, faculty who are so flexible and at the same time instead of complaining and being upset and angry there actually showing spiritual maturity where they are enthusiastic and they are zealous in their joyful we have to face unwelcome responsibility.
Some of you gone home and you faced a whole new set of pressures and problems at home responsibilities that you didn't expect to have and what is God doing God is teaching you trustworthiness now between the trial and the wisdom what has to happen. There has to be endurance there has to be a sticking it out. There has to be a rejoicing, which is an act of faith and there needs to be prayer and God's molding and shaping all of us through this trial.
It's it's like the way a pearl is developed.
How is a pearl made it's the only living organism that actually come becomes a Jew and it comes through suffering because in a pearl begins with an oyster and a shell where its content. It's safe until a little piece of sand works its way into that shell, and it begins to rub the side of that oyster and the oyster response to the pain it excretes what is known as snack or in the more it robs, the more it excretes in overtime that knackered forms and shapes over that oyster it hardens in time, it becomes a beautiful pearl so that a pearl diver goes down to the bottom of the ocean or the bottom of the sea, or wherever finds these scoops up the shelves brings it to the surface of the water gets up in the boat, pops it open with his knife and there you see this beautiful pearl. What is a pearl. A pearl is simply an irritated oyster over a long period of time in a way that is what God is doing. He's maturing all of us through these difficulties through these hardships through these trials that we find ourselves in.
And God is maturing you. You are growing and as you learn to focus on the Lord and rejoice in him.
He's taking these things within us and he is changing us and so that that leads me to the last point I'd like to make this morning and that and what what then would be James's overall concern for his believers in the midst of these trials in his overall concern is going to be in the way that they respond in James chapter 1 and verse eight he tells us something that is intended to be very convicting. He says in verses six and seven that we are to ask God in faith for wisdom, not wavering the idea of wavering here is like a ship in the ocean that's being tossed back and forth and then E then he after that illustration of that both this tossed back and forth. He says in verse eight he illustrates what he means by that that this ship going back and forth is called a double minded man and is unstable in all his ways. A double minded man literally means to souls. It means somebody who has it's a Christian and were all like this who has a heart for God. He loves God he wants to do God's will, but he also has a heart for this world. He's living in this world. He has desires for this life. He has his own dream, but many times in life are dreams are not really realities. It's not the way it's working out so between what you desire what you dream what you want in God's will and what he wants.
We're kind of in the middle and we have to make up her mind. Are we going to wholeheartedly and single-mindedly follow God no matter what are we going to go back and forth between the desires of the world and the following of the will of God doesn't mean that God doesn't fulfill many of our desires, but he has to be in first place and that's why James says when you pray for wisdom, let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. What he means by that is that when you pray in you, you ask God for wisdom. It means that you're committed to think God's thoughts and follow God's ways and do God's will. There is a commitment in your heart and what is James's biggest concern. His biggest concern is whether or not the people of God would be wholeheartedly and single-mindedly committed to following the Lord, and so he gives commands here in verses two through five that shows what it means to be committed when you're in a trial. What you're supposed to do your supposed to rejoice, rejoice as a may not feel good. Rejoice, doesn't mean that I necessarily like this. Rejoice means that I believe God is sovereign control and my ultimate joy is found not in the circumstances, but in the Lord. Not only are we to rejoice, but we are to remain where to be faithful we are to Ian Dewar. It's to stick it out. You got four weeks of classes. There will be endurance, no doubt about it, it will be it will be a struggle for many of you, but you need to stay with it. Why because you believe that this is what God wants and then what are you to do.
You are to pray. I've been thinking a lot lately about my own personal prayer life and to be honest with you, and the busyness of being here at Bob Jones University working here it is so easy to neglect the most important things in our life and one of those is the time that it takes to pray you have time now to pray in a way that maybe you'll never have the rest of your life. So let me urge you to pray and seek God and ask God to do abundantly above all that we could ask or think so. That's what James is all about and is we've been looking this semester we talked about who is a wise man. We talked about wisdom from above and we talked about wisdom from below that is manifested in the way that you react and you respond and then the last time we met. We talked about worldliness and I'll come back to that next week because I want to talk to the next time we meet on how it is that God responds to us when we don't make those right kind of decisions. It is surprising what you discover about how God responds to us when we don't respond correctly to him that will be next week's message, but until then, may the Lord bless you.
May the Lord keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
God bless you and have a wonderful day you been listening to a sermon entitled wisdom in the midst of trials by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. A recent him titled, oh God, my joy has been written by Paul Q and Brent Penner. The hymn begins with the words. Oh God my joy.
You ran above in radiant splendor and beauty verse two especially ties in with what Dr. Pettit preached today regarding trials sustained by joy in trial and pain. I trust your wisdom and mercy through suffering that your love ordains more like your son you will make me. Let's now listen to the Bob Jones University student body singing the hymn, oh God, my joy, recorded live with orchestra accompaniment during a chapel service I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. I'd like to invite you to attend one of our summer camps for both middle and high schoolers. BJ you has over 50 camps to choose from. So there is one for you. Here's just a few aviation astronomy cinema computers, culinary criminal justice media music nursing theater robotics soccer, basketball, volleyball, golf, and there's many more come explore your future during a week. What we call education. For more information about our camps.
Visit our website go to educate up. That's EDU cAMP.BJ you.you. Thanks for listening.
Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform