Introduction: This is the last Sunday in our church’s calendar year. And it is a privilege to be preaching at this time and I don’t believe that we could have a better suited Biblical text than that which has been given to us by God through James. Why do you ask is it so good? 1. Because it comes straight from God’s word. 2. The passage deals with two things that we could never have enough of: wisdom and faith. How many of you would like to have a successful church year this next year? In order to have a successful church year in the sight of God, there are two things we must have: wisdom and faith. And the kind of wisdom we are to have is the wisdom gained from God or given by God.
· We will experience trials during this calendar year. In order to go through these trials in a manner that will glorify God, we need wisdom, we need Godly wisdom. James tells us later in his letter that James 3:16-18 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
· We as God’s children need to heed the words of Solomon when he wrote, Proverbs 3:5-7 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. Job after all the advice from his friends concerning the trials that he was going through had this to say, But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, “It is not in me”; and the sea says, “It is not with me.” Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx, or sapphire. Gold or glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; and the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon and Death say, “With our ears we have heard a report of it.”
· Then Job proceeds to tell us where it comes from: “God understands its way, and He knows its place”
· So what is the driving force behind our need for wisdom? James addresses the ….?
I. The Impetus: If any of you lacks wisdom. We need wisdom.
a. Man has been in search of wisdom since the fall. Genesis 3:6 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. So man has sought wisdom but not always the right kind. As a matter of fact most of the time it hasn’t been for the right thing, nor has it been the right kind.
b. We need wisdom because often times we don’t even realize our need for wisdom until we find ourselves in a trial. Once in a particular trial we need wisdom to know if it is a trial that God wants us to overcome by faith or persevere in by faith.
c. In trials, we need wisdom a lot more than we need knowledge. Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom knows how to use it. Someone has said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, but wisdom is the ability to put things together. Knowledge comes from looking around wisdom comes from looking up. So what is our imperative?
II. The Imperative: Let him ask of God.
a. There is only one source for wisdom: God. And there is only one way to obtain it: Ask Him. James is not giving us permission here to ask, he’s commanding us to ask. The verb is in the imperative mood.
b. When a believer is being tested they should be driven to the Lord. And if they aren’t might it be possible that God would allow one to remain in that particular trial until they come have an “ear attentive to wisdom”, and “inclines a heart to understanding,” as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 2:2.
c. Solomon continues that if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous:
d. It is quite obvious from this that God has an abundant amount of wisdom, he expects his people to ask for it. Jesus instructed us to ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If we ask God for wisdom he will give it to us. How do I know? Because I have…..
III. The Insurance: Who gives liberally to all men without any reproach.
a. God longs for us to have his wisdom. If we need wisdom let us ask it of the giving God. And if you’re a child of God, you know that he is a giving God, don’t you?
b. Not only does he give us wisdom, but he heaps it upon us. God never does anything halfway, and I can guarantee you that if you ask Him for wisdom, he’ll not dole out in portions that will leave you wanting. It will be adequate.
c. There is no reproach, there is no scolding from God for requesting wisdom. There is no chastisement for asking for wisdom of God, if we ask in the correct way. God insists we ask the correct way.
IV. The Insistence: Let him ask in Faith.
a. We are instructed to ask in faith. Our request to God must be without any doubt of him fulfilling His promise to us.
b. It is an affront to God to doubt His promises. Hebrews 11:6. The reason that God honors faith, is that faith honors God. It is God’s children coming along and saying that they’ve seen the character of God and it’s honest. They’ve seen the trustworthiness of God and they will trust Him.
c. James instructs us not to be like the waves of the sea. Ocean Illustration. I was holding my son last year at the beach in Destin Fl, when a wave took my feet out from underneath me. I never saw it coming. Waves can’t be trusted.
Conclusion: Do we want to be tossed around like the waves of the ocean? Or like Paul wrote to the Ephesians carried away with every new wind of doctrine? No I think we would rather be like the way God described the Israelites being if they would adhere to his statutes in: Deuteronomy 4:5-6 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
James has given us the blueprint for a successful church year. We need wisdom, we need God’s wisdom, we need to ask it of God, and we need to ask in faith. If we have God’s wisdom working in our lives we will do the things of God in that manner that God desires and in the timeframe that God desires. When trials come we will have wisdom to face the trials and we will know what to do in the midst of them. God’s wisdom is true wisdom. Let us be people who are wise in the sight of God.