Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

Growing in God’s Wisdom

Notes & Transcripts

Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Part 10: Growing in God’s Wisdom

James 4:8-17

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 22, 2012

*Everybody needs Godly wisdom. We can see this so clearly in Scriptures like James 3:17, which tells us that the wisdom from above “is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

*We all need God’s wisdom. And He promised to give us all we need in James 1:5. But there are also some important things we need to do to grow in God’s wisdom. Thinking about that, lets’ read James 4:8-17.

8. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

9. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

11. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

13. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit";

14. whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

15. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

16. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

17. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

*How can we grow in Godly wisdom? -- The Holy Spirit spends the last half of James 4 showing us how, and we see six ways.

1. First: Pursue the Lord.

*As James said in vs. 8a: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. . .” Draw close to God. And when you do, you will find out that He was close by you all the time.

*King David made this clear in Psalm 139, when he said:

7. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8. If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10. Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

*We can be as close to God as we want to be, because He is here all the time.

*There is a neat phrase in the Old Testament that helps us see how close we can be to God: “The apple of God’s eye.” Deuteronomy 32:9-10 says:

9. . . The LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.

10 He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.

*And in Psalm 17:8-9, David prayed these words:

7. Show Your marvelous loving kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them.

8. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

*“Keep me as the apple of Your eye.” Eddie Snipes tells us that the word picture is for someone to be so close to you, that you can look into their eyes and see your own reflection. That’s how close God wants to be to you. And we can be as close to God as we want to be, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead.

*But how do we draw close to Him?

-By receiving Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord.

-By focusing on Jesus.

-By fellowshipping with Him through Scripture and prayer.

-By coming to Him as a little child in trust and love.

*Draw close to God in prayer and in praise.

-Draw close to God in worship and in His Word.

-Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.

*If you want to grow in Godly wisdom, pursue the Lord.

2. And purify your life.

*As James said in vs. 8b: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

*God wants us to purify our lives, so He tells us:

-“Cleanse your hands and cleanse your heart.

-Clean-up on the outside and on the inside.

-Clean-up you actions and your attitudes.”

*Clean up your life by repenting from sin, and by confessing your sins to God. God will surely do His part! His Word makes this clear. In Rev 1:4-6, the Apostle John speaks of grace and peace:

5. from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

6. and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

*And remember when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet on the night before the cross.

8. Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!'' Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.''

9. Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!''

10. Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.''

11. For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean.'' (John 13:8-11)

*1 John 1:8-9 says this to Christians:

8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*God will do His part. And He wants us to do our part.

-If you want to grow in Godly wisdom, purify your life.

3. It also helps to ponder your shortcomings.

*We’ve all got shortcomings. Charles Stanley once said, “There was a time when I was sure God loved me. But I was not sure that He liked me!” (1)

*We’ve all got shortcomings. And it’s a good thing really let that sink in. James put it this way in vs. 9&10:

9. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

*Can any Christian hear these words and think lightly about their own sin?

-We have to go down in our own sight, and God has to go up.

-And when we go down in our own sight, we go up in God’s sight.

*But doesn’t God want Christians to be happy? -- Yes, God wants His people to overflow with joy. But God never wants us to be happy with sin, no not for one moment.

*God never, ever wants people to be satisfied in their sins. So in vs. 9, He says: “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

*Don’t answer this, -- but how long has it been since you cried over your sins?

-Maybe you have put the most obvious sins behind you. But there is no such thing as a good sin. And God calls us to sorrow for our sins.

*The best way to have true sorrow for our sins is to remember the price that Jesus paid for our sins.

-See every sin as a thorn in His crown.

-See every sin as a stripe on His back.

-See every sin as a blow from the hammer that nailed Jesus to the cross for you.

*Every time you sin, remember the nails that pierced the Lord’s hands and feet.

-Remember with sadness for your sin.

-But also with joy and gratitude for His love.

-And remember with the inspiration to live in obedience to the Lord.

*If you want to grow in Godly wisdom, ponder your shortcomings.

4. And put an end to evil speaking.

*James put it very strongly in vs. 11-12, where he said:

11. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

*“Speaking evil” is slandering someone, cutting them to pieces with sharp, critical words. It starts in the heart with a critical spirit, judging one another. And it can lead to a lifestyle of constant complaining, so in James 5:9 God also warns us: “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

*God’s Word also warns us against a hard-hearted critical spirit in Romans 14:10-13:

10. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.''

12. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

13. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.

*God warns us against a harsh, judgmental spirit, because the truth is that we all desperately need the mercy of God. So author Max Lucado said: “We aren’t good enough to judge. Can the hungry accuse the beggar? Can the sick mock the ill? Can the blind judge the deaf? -- In the same way, can the sinner condemn the sinner? -- Absolutely not.” (2)

*The truth is that we all need a lot of mercy, so we had better be giving a lot of mercy.

*Back when our Katie was in high school, their English class studied Hawthorne’s classic novel, “The Scarlet Letter.” As part of Katie’s project, she wanted a way to show the hypocrisy of the Puritans who judged Hester. Katie decided to get a handheld mirror and paint a big scarlet “A” on it.

*You get the idea: If you want to look at someone who needs to be forgiven, just take a look in the mirror. Of course, we don’t all need scarlet “A’s,” but there is a whole alphabet of other sins we might be guilty of.

*We all needed forgiveness. And Jesus met that need when He died on the cross. He took our punishment. He paid the price for our sins. Now by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. And God does not want us to be presumptuous enough to judge fellow believers. He is the Judge, and we are not.

*Listen to James one more times in vs. 11-12:

11. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

*If you want to grow in Godly wisdom, put an end to evil speaking.

5. And plan as if your life is in God’s Hands.

*James spoke to this truth in vs. 13-16, where he said:

13. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit";

14. whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

15. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

16. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

*James reminds us here that life is short, and it can turn on a dime. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that: “A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

*What’s the best thing to do? -- Put our lives in God's hands! A great song by Kathy Triccolli put it this way:

-“My life is in your hands. My heart is in your keeping.

-I’m never without hope. Not when my future lies with you.

-My life is in your hands, and though I may not see it clearly,

-I will life my voice and sing, ’cause your love knows amazing things.

-Lord, I know my life is in your hands.” (3)

*If you want to grow in Godly wisdom, plan as if your life is in God’s Hands.

6. And practice what you know.

*In vs. 17, James simply concludes, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

*What is there in your life that God wants you to do, and you haven’t done it?

-If you make the commitment, God will make the way.

*Carolyn Gillette told the story of a hospice chaplain, named Larry, and how he became friends with an 80-year-old lady named Mary. Mary was a hospice patient. Larry visited with her many times, and was greatly impressed by her faith.

*One day, he got a call that Mary had taken a turn for the worse. They told him he’d better go that day, if he wanted to see Mary alive. Larry went to visit his friend, and found Mary in a very deep sleep. He didn’t wake her up, because he knew she’d been in a lot of pain. But just as he turned to go, she opened her eyes wide and stared right at him.

*Mary looked intently, but didn’t recognize Larry at first. When she did, Mary surprised Larry by saying, “Oh, -- for a minute, I thought you were Jesus.”

*They laughed about it for a moment and had a good visit together. Just two hours later Mary did see Jesus face to face.

*But Mary’s comment really hit a note with Carolyn Gillette. “Oh, for a minute, I thought you were Jesus.”

*Carolyn later wrote, “I believe we all ought to be mistaken for Jesus, every once in a while. God has given you a mission, just as God gave a mission to Jesus. If you’re living it out, if you’re showing his unconditional love, if you’re treating other people with care and compassion, if you’re bringing good news to the poor, and healing to the sick, and freedom to those whose lives are being torn apart, then maybe someone will look at your life and say, “Oh, for a minute I thought you were Jesus.” (4)

*That’s the goal of Godly wisdom. Let’s ask the Lord to help us get there.

1. Original source unknown

2. SermonCentral illustration contributed by Aaron Burgess

3. “My Life Is in Your Hands” by Kathy Triccolli

4. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, Sermon: “What God Gives” (Source: Sermonillustrations.com - 01252004)

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →