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Who Is Wise? (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2022 4:00 am

Who Is Wise? (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 14, 2022 4:00 am

What’s the proof of wisdom? Is it found in the diplomas you have, the books you’ve read, the knowledge you’ve gleaned? Well, on Truth For Life, Alistair Begg demonstrates the biblical measure of wisdom and discernment.


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You probably heard the saying.

With age comes wisdom, but that's not always the case is it is knowledge or life experience the same thing as wisdom will hear about the source and proof of true wisdom today on Truth for Life.

As Alastair begged teachers a message titled, who is wise. James 313 who is wise and understanding among you, let him show it by his good life by good deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom, but if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly on spiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice by the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. Now father with our Bibles open before us. Please come and help us so that we might speak and listen in a way that is honoring to you and life transforming for us, for Jesus sake.

Amen we have been studying along with others in James know that this third chapter has begun, with James addressing the would-be teachers and then from verse three through verse 12.

He has a discourse that is all about the tongue, and may well be that this discourse is in some sense is a digression meaningful digression he's on the tongue, and he just reinforces it, but that he hasn't. In verse 13 changed his focus in terms of those he is addressing at the beginning of the chapter. In other words, he still has in mind the would-be teachers. Those who by dint of their background or interest or involvement, suggesting that they are the individuals who have the requisite gifts and calling to become teachers in the church and so to then and to others of his sleigh, but to then perhaps in particular he issues this particular challenge who is wise and understanding among you getting a group of wise and understanding individuals together and we would like all of you to assemble over here by the tree if you would as people begin to scurry for their diplomas and for their briefcases and for their files full of information and for their heads full of knowledge in order to come over and display themselves to be amongst the wise and the understanding James is a hang on just a minute you'll be able to tell whether you should be over by the tree, not by your degrees, but by your lifestyle 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 and the challenge that he is laying down is akin to what is already happened in chapter 2, as it relates to faith.

Remember, here comes on as I am a man of faith, or I'm a woman of faith and Jim says okay then show me your faith. Show me your faith now in chapter 3.

Here I am.

I'm someone of wisdom and understanding as well then let's just apply the same test. Why don't you show me how wise and understanding. You are why because true wisdom like truth, faith is vital.

It is practical and it is observable because the wisdom that James is addressing here is the endowment of heart and mind from God giving is all that is necessary for right conduct as a result of right thinking what you have in Romans 12 be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How will we know that our minds are renewed. How will we know the nature of our creed in our conduct. How will we know the nature of our faith in our function. How will we know the nature of our wisdom in our practical living out of such a life is a very Old Testament in his orientation in which said already that James is a very proverbial New Testament book. There are many echoes of Proverbs in this book, and so it is not surprising that the Old Testament concept of wisdom is uppermost in the mind of James wisdom is to be seen in the living of life, we are completely on the wrong track of her thinking simply in terms of SAT scores of RR of intellect or of gray matter of capacity, mental capacity is knowledge and is addressing here so really what the Bible addresses up tall when it comes to the subject of wisdom. Wisdom has feet. Wisdom is action. Wisdom goes places. So for example in Psalm one the book of Psalms opens up with a description of a wise man. How do we know that he is wise because he does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. He does not stand in the way of sinners, he does not sit in the seat of Marcus, so people look at him and see him go see him sit, watch where he stands and then conclude here's a wise man is wisdom is the juice from his life as lived, not from his lips as proclaimed, there is a huge distinction between education and wisdom. Our culture is preoccupied with education, justifiably so.

We don't one dumb chilled parents are concerned schools are concerned, politicians are concerned is archery later on. Many of those concerns are completely divorced from that which James is addressing here the wisdom that he's referencing is the wisdom that gives insight into the will of God's purposes and gives the ability to fulfill his purpose.

And what I'd like to do is to isolate one wisdom from the other. You will notice 11 NIV that it describes.

It says here are two kinds of wisdom one is heavenly one is actually one is proud one is humble one is from heaven. One is from hell. So long would only going to deal with it in terms of heavenly wisdom were true wisdom to begin with, and we will deal with all of it.

Even this morning.

In this first instance to give you some idea of what were trying to do. We will first of all, look at the source of this true wisdom and then in verse 17. At the nature of this wisdom and then coming back to verse 13 again at the evidence of this was but we will get beyond source so really really worry very much about tall James has already introduced the subject and has and has answered his own question and in the fifth verse of chapter 1.

If you remember, he said if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously. In other words, James knew his Bible.

He knew that this was exactly what Solomon had written in his Proverbs, and particularly in Proverbs chapter 2 where he says, for the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding the Bible is unequivocal concerning this. If you want to be a wise person you need to know God. If you want to be a wise person. You need a Bible. If you want to be those who display understanding that it starts with your own humility before the majesty and might of the God who has made you if you don't start there and everything else will be deducted in a way that is flawed. So he says the wisdom back in James one verse 17 is the wisdom that comes down from heaven comes down from heaven and this is simply another way of saying that it comes from God wisdom that comes from heaven. Remember that the Jews and Orthodox Jews.

To this day are concerned about the irreverent use of the name of God and so they will in every instance that they can use a substitute for God so if you have resembling the parable of the prodigal son when he comes to his senses. He says I have sinned against heaven and in your site and I'm no longer worthy to be called your son was immunity sinned against heaven simply aware of them avoiding the use of God's name.

I've sinned against God, God is in heaven. So when James says this wisdom comes down from heaven.

He simply saying what is referenced in verse five of chapter 1. This wisdom is from God and it is this wisdom which Solomon requested of God.

Remember how God comes to human is recorded for us in first Kings three. It's a wonderful story and and God says it what what would you like Solomon and Solomon said well I would like to be wise, I'd like to be able to discriminate between error. In truth, I like to be able to discern between right and wrong, I like me a wise person. The first Kings 310 records the fact that the Lord was pleased that Solomon asked him for that good man Solomon that was that was a good answer where you come up with that answer, Solomon Wiley answer to that question. Solomon tells is in in Proverbs chapter 4. Listen to what he says when I was a boy in my father's house still tender and an only child of my mother. He taught me and said lay hold of my words with all your heart keep my commandments, and you will live get wisdom, get understanding.

Don't forget my words or swear from so from his very infancy.

Solomon was nurtured in the awareness of what he later writes that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom that the entry into the school of understanding is an entryway that comes in an encounter with God who has made us, and a God who is made as has revealed himself to us externally in creation and internally by means of our conscience, and so we have within us a sense of darkness that speaks to the fact of his handiwork and his control and we have above is and beyond is the vastness of the world that he is made which speaks to his power, and to his Majesty not leave you to read some of Solomon on your own. Chapter 4 is particularly powerful as he calls out to his children to make sure that they don't neglect wisdom. Whatever else you do. He says make sure that you are wise. Make sure that you discern between right and wrong. Make sure you make straight paths for your feet, don't go from the right and don't go to the lead. Is this just a sort of elaborate cry from an intelligent dad who is a pragmatist and knows the benefits of putting your best foot forward.

No, no, as he goes from chapter 4, into chapter 5 and was chapter 5 about adultery.

It is one is going to go down there is one is going to stop off at that house.

What is the need is to be wise, he does need to be educated if education was the answer to helping people to stop smoking. The information so undeniable that when the person smoked in the entire world, education is not capable to do if education could deal with teenage pregnancy. It would be over with and can't do its wisdom that is like.

Group of wise and understanding people are going to stand over here by the tree whose who are the wise and the understanding see what Solomon does is provide. If you like the example par excellence of Christian parenting because what he does in his day and generation is what every Christian parent must at least attempt to do in their generation and interestingly, when you move from generation to generation in after you've lived a little while. You can speak about generation and you can read history books and then you know a little more about generation but it is an observable fact to me that the older people grow, the more they pontificate about the nature of the predicament of the culture in which they live.

So grandparents are all this is the worst I've ever seen in my entire life. I don't think my grandchildren are going to build a call by then the whole world is over no and there may be justifiable reasons for making those deductions. We only need to read history to know you're just saying an old song, and of this was up the charts. Many many times before you go to any century and find people been bemoaning the same thing. What you think. Augustine's mother thought in the fourth century. We think she was same whether boy complete bad lamb in his life going all over the place.

Listen to this sound familiar. Our young people are growing up in a. When the foundations of the earth around of course. And when supple and restless efforts are made to poison their hearts and pervert their ways nothing, therefore, can be more importantly to fortify them with sound principles that when withdrawn from the parental wing into a world of temptation. They may be under a divine cover is the children of a special providence. This is the introduction to a book on Proverbs October 7, 1840 660 years ago, followers write an introduction to Proverbs leaders. This is this is terrible. Our young people are just in dreadful predicaments if they I can believe the kind of things that are going on the books that are out there and in which the silent movies yet. Can you imagine why somebody was drop down from 1846 just to watch MTV.

The conceive of such a world, 1846 that decade is interest presence in that decade of Jonathan Edwards whose name you may know, and some of his colleagues started to call for what he referred to as a great awakening started to ask God to come and visit North America with a dramatic display of his power, and of his wisdom. What most of us don't know is that what motivated this call from the heart of Edwards and his friend was the secular thinking being taught at Harvard and Yale and they were so disappointed as graduates of Yale and how things are gone and what they had been taught that the ask God to come and speak wisdom again into our land. If you think about this. It is quite fascinating because Harvard was founded in the 17th century Glasgow University in the 14th-century Avenue but anyway we needed to produce the scholars to bring them over here so you have a university but anyway, sorry for that dreadful burst and resisted rhetoric 16 is 1636 Harvard is found. 1642 the student handbook is published in which every student at Harvard is called to be close plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well that the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, and therefore to lay hold of Christ as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. At 1642 Harvard student handbook. So if you send your son off to Harvard in the 17th century and he came home with a handbook and you were washing is is is laundry and you have a little looking that I handbook you will discover that your boy was in a good spot or your girl was in a goods there. They're going to land but be compelled to consider the fact that they only found of genuine knowledge and understanding is there in a foundation which can be laid by no one other than Jesus Christ himself. Yale was founded in 1701 and the reason for the founding of Yale was because Congregational believers that had believers in the Congregational church were disappointed by the growing apostasy at Harvard and Edwards and his colleagues emerge from Yale is that we better try another place, and they founded Princeton University as a reaction to Harvard and Yale. What is the what is the point of declension at every point is the departure from wisdom and the embracing of earthly perspectives, simplistic analysis.

Undoubtedly, faithfully true.

Yes, in other words, such cries are far removed from the contemporary president of Harvard who said just recently things divine have been central. Neither to my professional nor to my private life issues of divinity. He says do not influence me in my professional capacity nor do they play any part of significance in my private life. I admire his honesty. At least it's true, but it is a long way removed is just pause and acknowledge something that is there is patently obvious. Ideas have consequences, and people know that ideas have consequences, and that's why advertising is is profoundly impactful as it is because it is essentially the packaging of ideas of concepts of notions.

Some of them very subtle. Some of them almost deceitful is amazing the way in which somebody sells their product to us by making us feel good about our funny little golden retriever that is running through the grass was good. Nothing at all to do with the other.

The exorbitant fees that the bank is going to charge you for leaving your money in their in their establishment, but somehow or another the retriever didn't you know I just it. We got caught up by the retriever they sold as an idea, the packaged David Myers wrote a book called the American paradox spiritual hunger and age of plenty was the subtitle was published actually by Yale University press and this paradox he described as follows were better fed, better paid that your house better educated and healthier than ever before, and with more human rights, faster communication and more convenient transportation than we have ever known. Alongside all this largess, however, are the signs of life in pain and travail. Since 1960.

The divorce rate has doubled teen suicide has tripled violent crime quadrupled the number in prison has queen tuple illegitimate children 66 to and the number of those cohabiting has increased sevenfold. These are facts, ideas of consequences. The idea that there is a God to whom men and women are accountable has an impact when believe on the lives and lifestyles of those who believe the idea that we are simply a random collection of molecules held in suspension with no particular significance of tall also has implications not least of all in how we spend our time, our money and with whom we spend our time and money, and it may be with whomsoever we choose, and on whatsoever we desire depending on the source of wisdom true godly wisdom is vital to practical and it's observable begins with the fear of God listing to Truth for Life with Alastair back in today's message we learn the source of true wisdom. We need to know God, and know the Bible and that's why our mission to Truth for Life is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance every single day and to make additional teaching available for free through our website the Truth for you can search for messages thereby topic by serious or biased scripture passage. You could even access the complete ESV Bible online the Truth for you know the Bible assures us that when we ask God to reveal himself to us. He will to our prayer is that he will use the teaching you hear on this program to open closed minds so that unbelievers will become committed followers of Jesus. We also pray that believers will grow in their faith and wisdom and that churches will be strengthened as a result, along with Alistair's messages. Each month we choose with great care books that we can offer books that we offer with our mission in mind you may have heard me mention our current title. It's little pilgrims big journey part two this is a wonderful story book. It follows the journey of a young girl and her brothers as they navigate the Christian life. It's a sequel to the very popular little pilgrims big journey part one and both of these are adapted from John Bunyan's classic work, so don't miss out requesting little pilgrims big journey part two when you give a donation of Truth for call us at 888-588-7884 about Lapine. Thanks for listening.

Scripture teaches us that there is no intellectual road to God. So how do we become wise. Join us tomorrow for the answer, as we hear the conclusion of today's message. The Bible teaching of Alastair Greg is furnished by Truth for Life learning is prolific

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