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The Wisdom From Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2022 4:00 am

The Wisdom From Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 16, 2022 4:00 am

It’s possible to be brilliant, yet unwise at the same time. That’s because wisdom is not found in what we know but WHO we know! On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg details the practical attributes of God-given wisdom.


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The Bible makes it clear. True wisdom is the product of an advanced education or some kind of super intelligence. So what is it that defines wisdom, how we recognize today on Truth for Life.

Alistair Begg details the practical attributes of God given wisdom later this morning is from James chapter 3 and were going to read from verse 13 to verse 18 because it's here that we find ourselves in our ongoing series of expositions in the in the book of James. Now James chapter 3 in verse 13 who is wise and understanding among you, let him show it by his goodly life, by 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 off 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, then peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit in partial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Father, we ask for your help in studying the Bible so that our thinking and our speaking and our hearing and are obeying me be prompted by your spirit, and that you will free us from every distracting influence and help us so that we might be drawn afresh to your son, the Lord Jesus, in whose name we pray.

Amen. Well, if you're using an NIV, then you will be helped by the little heading before verse 13 whereby we are told that James is about to introduce his readers to two different kinds of wisdom. Wisdom that he says is false, which is earthly and on spiritual is just God bless that wisdom is marked by envy and by selfish ambition, and it in turn, goes on to produce disorder and all kinds of evil. We have not yet come to the consideration of such wisdom, instead beginning with the wisdom which is true wisdom the wisdom that comes down from heaven and last time. If you are present. You will remember that we set out to establish the source of this wisdom or to discover it and we found that it is in verse 17 a. The wisdom that comes from heaven or from God, we saw that James had already introduced the subject. Back in chapter 1, and anyone who was lacking wisdom should simply ask God is the only place to go because he is the source of all true wisdom.

We then said we would look at the nature of this wisdom and then finally at the evidence for the wisdom during the week as I studied some more. I decided that we would hang our thoughts this morning and not on nature and evidence but simply gather them around these two headings were getting.

Or perhaps more straightforward we will consider true wisdom to find and then true wisdom displayed discover it as it is described and given definition and then we will end by looking at the way in which this wisdom finds itself on display. So if you have a Bible in front of you. You have the text before you, and you can see what we're doing. The definition of true wisdom is provided for is not a in exhaustive terms here, but selectively so. And we have to remind ourselves in doing this, that, as we've said before, James is a very Old Testament book is a kind of proverbial book and James thinking and Old Testament frameworks is describing wisdom, not in terms of intelligence, or in terms of logic but rather in the practical or moral or ethical terms, and all of that morality and practice in spiritual truth is based.

As we saw last time on a knowledge of God himself. If we get are wrong and we begin to think simply an in theoretical terms are in abstract terms, then we will we will immediately go wrong in our study, there is of course a great importance to intelligence and logic. The Bible does not gainsay that a tall and when you read concerning these things you come across all kinds of interesting illustrations of the same.

And when I thought I'd share with you because I just can't resist having discovered this week as I was considering the nature of the distinction between wisdom and logic and intelligence, and so on, and I came across this missive or directive from the British Admiralty at the time of the second world war and they posted this for those who are under their command in relationship to the storage of warheads and this is what was posted for the for the soldiers, it is necessary for technical reasons that these warheads should be stored with the talk at the bottom and the bottom at the tall in order that there may be no doubt as to which is the tall, and which is the bottom for storage purposes and will be seen that the bottom of each warhead has been labeled with the word tall. I've never been in the military, but they tell me that is fairly representative of military logic.

What is normal when dealing with here is something far more significant than that. Nor is it incidentally an approach to wisdom, which is a desire for the Buddhists attempted personal equilibrium know it is none of the above but it is that endowment of heart and mind which comes from God, given to his children in Jesus all that is necessary for the conducting of our lives in a way that is true and right and obviously so James along with Solomon in Proverbs seems pretty keen to make sure that we as readers understand that this wisdom is dressed. If you like in working clothes that it is a wisdom is not in the Academy. It's not in the library and some stuffy section with large tones, but it is a wisdom which is worked out in individual relationships and in the Evan flow of everyday life and we do well to keep in mind the well-known verse in Proverbs 1010 the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy one is understanding. We will go back over territory from last time. Let's move directly to look at verse 17 and to the way in which James defines this forms the wisdom that comes down from heaven is first of all pure and I was right in the head of the list says James is this question of wisdom's impunity.

Phillips actually paraphrases it.

It is utterly pure. It is without any kind of flaw tall and of course, why would we be surprised that this comes first of all, since we've already considered source for the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. So the notion of purity here would be understand by the Metallica just or the chemist or anybody actually having a drink of water is all the difference between having a glass of water that is absolutely clear and clean. To all intents and purposes, and one that one might pick up that that has all kinds of residue floating in it and we would be tempted to say, and I would rather one that is just the straightforward clean unpolluted uncontaminated water. I don't want the one with the residue. That's the war that is being used here for wisdom. This wisdom that comes from heaven is uncontaminated by the elements, he's already mentioned in verses 14, 15 and 16. You will not find wisdom cozying up to envy and selfish ambition, you will not find wisdom of finding its expression in all kinds of disorder and evil practice. Why because this wisdom is utterly pure. He then goes on in some senses to employ adjectives which unpack the nature of pure wisdom that you could say almost that all of these following adjectives.

Explain what he means by the wisdom that is first of all pure and so will look at them in turn. And hopefully in a way that isn't tedious, but I want us to walk down the list along with you noticing them in turn. Wisdom comes down from heaven is first of all pure, then peaceable, in other words, it is the opposite of contentious contentious spirit sits quite happily on the bus next to envy and salvation. Bishop but wisdom is not going to sit on the bus with these characters because wisdom is peaceable, the peaceable nature that is described here is not some kind of acquiescent approach to life which simply says nothing for a happy life, but it is rather the wisdom that comes from God, whereby those who are embodying this wisdom become the promoters of peace. When you spend time with them.

They are not seeking to be disruptive and argumentative, but they're looking for ways to make things cohere to make people come together to enjoy the company of one another as it is possible, under God, because after all, God is introduced to is in the Bible as the God of peace. On numerous occasions.

Therefore, it stands to reason that God's children with themselves.

The peaceloving people. Thirdly, that we are to be marked or wisdom is marked by consideration.

Consider and once again you see that it is only in relationships that we can test this whether it is true of our lives quite possible to be considerate as long as you don't, you're not spending time with anyone as well you to be inconsiderate in relationship to yourself.

But I would be over the top. Are you be hard to be inconsiderate and in a telephone kiosk if such things exist anymore, but it is one sure I would in the mainstream of life in dealing with people, not least of all in the local church you find out just how considerate you are, and wisdom is considerate.

In other words, it is the description of somebody who is fair and who is generous in their dealings the kind of individual who doesn't insist always on the fulfillment of the letter of the law, but rather recognizes that the spirit of the law is comprehensive and gives people the benefit of the doubt.

It is in essence the absence or the opposite of quarrelsome, quarrelsome wisdom is not quarrelsome. Wisdom is considerate. Fourthly, wisdom is also submissive, submissive Adamson, one of the commentators translates this word from Greek yielding to persuasion. Wisdom yields to persuasion doesn't mean that wisdom falls over every time there is an opinion expressed and agrees with everything else.

The picture is much more that of the yielding of a wise son to the instruction of his father, or the yielding of a private to his Sgt. or to her. Sgt. within the framework of military command within the order of family life.

The wise individual is submissive. In other words, is willing to listen and willing to be persuaded by what is good and what is best. It is a wonderful characteristic isn't when I was an assistant in Edinburgh all these years ago now in the mid-70s and I would be picked up to go to various meetings of the church by the one who was my boss and my mentor Gary prime I would seize every opportunity. On the drive there and on the drive home to apply them with questions and find out as much as I could not simply about what was happening, but why he approached things in certain ways, and I remember on one occasion as we were going to a meeting that was going to be marked by a fairly significant discussion where there were divergent views. He said to me, it is very very important Alister that you under stand the distinction between going to a meeting knowing your own mind and going into a meeting with your mind made up.

If you think about that.

That is good because if our mind is made up. Then when others express a view different to our own.

We will be written, we will refuse to be persuaded by we have already made up our minds.

But if we know our minds, but have not made them and someone expresses wisdom and clarity and outlines an approach to things which may be parallel or even largely different to the way in which we conceived of something then if we are all the submissive perspective we will be prepared to yield to them to yield to them I think is in Congress that that they use that phraseology.

II yield to the honorable member from Ohio. Usually there's nobody there to yield to. I've seen it on C-SPAN.

It is talking to themselves but nevertheless at least the posture is right. I'm not going to hold the floor and another to hang onto them and I look, I'm going to yield. Of course, don't get carried away with the principal and applied inaccurately because a truth that is pressed in the wrong direction very quickly becomes ever clearly James would not be approaching every issue with such a deferential dimension. He is very very clear when he needs to be clear, for example, you just allow your eyes to look at verse four of chapter 4. You can see that when it comes to matters that are foundational theological and moral principle that he doesn't he would not be considering submissive as yielding on these things. So is not Johnny milquetoast is very clear you adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God.

You need to know that anyone chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God, that in some very submissive. What about people don't believe that James is I don't care whether they believe it or not. That is what is is very important also. And fifthly, wisdom is full of mercy, full of mercy mercy. Of course, is one of God's essential qualities. Grace puts simply is that aspect of God's character whereby he gives to us what we don't deserve mercy is that by mention of God whereby he does not give to his what we do deserve. So, for example, classically, and Lamentations 3. It is because of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, are they are new every morning. He remains a faithful God.

Therefore, it also follows that when we have been made by new birth. James 118 been brought to faith in Jesus through the word of truth that in becoming a kind of firstfruits that we would be marked by this mercy also the mercy of God is an all embracing mercy. It is a mercy without respect of persons. Indeed, it is then a mercy which cuts across the barriers and boundaries that people are frequently desirous of erecting new you remember this in Jesus dealing with the experts and teachers of the law with the Pharisees, how in the minds of many of these people.

They wanted to know their neighbors, where so that they could be merciful to the ones that were described in those terms. And then that they would need to be merciful to to all of the other ones you said yourself that is a strange approach to things.

While not as strange as you might think if you think for a moment or two, we may be the kind of people who attempted to show mercy just to the people that fit our bill or fit the framework of what we regard as acceptable behavior, not the mercy of God is in all embracing mercy and it breaks down the barriers that man erects its classically reported for us in the parable that Jesus told after one of the teachers of the law came to him and said you are a wise man. What must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said well you know was written in the law.

How do you read it and he said well I know that in the Lord says you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that is entirely correct, you've answered rightly, then just go ahead and do this and you will live the mention of split at that point, but he didn't look tells us that the man seeking to justify himself asked Jesus to define neighbor. I want to know my neighbor is let me tell your stories as this colony came down the road. He buzzed off another one came down and he did do, but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he wants and when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds and poured in oil and wine, and set them on his own animal and brought into an in and took care of him and on the next day when he departed need to come to the Natalie and give them to the innkeeper and said, take care of him. And if you spend any more than this when I come back I will repay. So which of these three do you think was the neighbor to him who fell among thieves. Sewage is not terms the tables on this check. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, who is my neighbor worry about who your neighbors answer this question. Who was the neighbor to the man who was in the predicament and the lawyer is forced to answer.

He who showed mercy to then Jesus said to go and do likewise. Incidentally, in passing, I'm so thankful for my elementary school education in Glasgow, Scotland, in a secular school with the teacher who made us memorize the Bible before we began the lessons of our day.

And the reason that I was quoting this from the King James version is because I remember from the age of 10. In elementary school in Scotland.

Certain men went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves who stripped him of his raiment, and departed, leaving him half dead who were shown the RC to the half dead of 21st-century Cleveland culture whom shown the RC to the battered in the beaten, the merciful. My unwillingness to displaying the RC to those outside my circle of reference is unavoidably a representation of my own stony hearts inability to grasp the vastness of God's mercy towards me is when I am reminded constantly of what I deserve before God and what he has chosen to do in Jesus that I then realized what a wonderful thing that RCS listing to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life and I love the way that Alister talked about his dressed in working clothes. Today it is wisdom that is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive and full of mercy your listing to Truth for Life. Be sure to join us Monday for the conclusion of today's message. In addition to the daily Bible teaching you hear on Truth for Life. We are also careful to select books to encourage you as you grow in your faith. If you are new to Christianity or you know someone who is there may still be some lingering doubts about the veracity of the Bible is trustworthy. Will the book 7 reasons to reconsider. Christianity addresses some of the common points of reluctance or hesitation, carefully laying out reasons why we can have confidence in the Scriptures. This book openly acknowledges questions that many of us struggle with questions like, what's wrong with the world war. Why is it so broken the book 7 reasons to reconsider Christianity is written honestly and with humor.

The author himself was battling cancer and facing the reality of death. While he wrote this book in the process of his exploration of why the Christian faith is credible and worthy of consideration. He actually affirmed his own beliefs. Request your copy of the book 7 reasons to reconsider Christianity. When you give a or call us at 888-588-7884 and if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio, or ZIP Code is 44139. By the way, seven reasons to reconsider. Christianity is a great book to give to someone who has not yet put his or her faith in Jesus, particularly those who may be becoming more curious about Christianity. If you request the book along with your donation and you'd like to purchase extra copies will find them in our online store. They are available for purchase at our cost, while supplies last. Visit Truth for Bob Lapine.

We hope you enjoy your weekend and that you're able to worship in your local church this weekend in the church where the Bible is central to all that is done now that we've learned how to define crew wisdom hope you'll join us Monday for will hear how to display that kind of wisdom, the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life for the Learning is for Living

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