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PROVERBS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT – pt.2
GOD CENTERED WISDOM
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from the Book of James Chapter 1 – same as last week’s passage. That’s because today’s message is part 2 of the series PROVERBS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. As I mentioned last week I’ve named it such due to James’ epistle or letter was written to the New Testament churches who were living outside of the Holy Land
For those who missed last weeks message you may want to review James 1:1-14
Remember that the purpose of James’ letter was to encourage Jewish believers who were suffering various trials that were testing their faith; and to correct the erroneous ideas about the nature of “saving faith.”And to instruct them of their need of wisdom; to accomplish saving faith.
Last week we examined his concern for their faith. Today we will spend effort on his dissertations on wisdom.
In verses 2, 3, and 4, at which we looked last Sunday, he talked about suffering and how we are to be joyful in suffering. Now in verse 5, he talks about wisdom. In talking about wisdom, he’s talking about being God-centered, and single- minded. Let’s look at the possibility.
Before we get to the main theme of the sermon, let’s take a little side path in our thinking, and look briefly at wisdom We can see wisdom, even feel wisdom, better than we can define it. When you describe a person as wise, you know what you mean, but you would be hard-put to define what it is that makes her wise. And you know when you have acted wisely. You feel it even though you may not give reasons for your action.
When pressed, most of us would agree that wisdom is not philosophical speculation or intellectual knowledge. It is more practical than that. Wisdom is about life, about living life rightly.
Paul Cedars, in “The Communicator’s Commentary, Vol. 11” says, “There is a quality of the wisdom of men which comes primarily from the experiences of life. For example, a person shows wisdom when he or she does not touch a hot stove. Most of us have gained that little bit of wisdom through the painful experience of touching a hot stove at some time in our lives and gaining the desire never to do it again. That is the process of gaining earthly wisdom. Of course, the longer we live, the more “hot stove” experiences we encounter; older people are usually wiser people. James is inviting us, however, to employ a quality of wisdom that far exceeds the earthly kind of wisdom.”
That wisdom has to do with guidance, with living life in the way God designed it. It has to do with knowing who we are as God’s children and acting in that fashion.
“Dr. Hendrik Kramer was a missionary in Indonesia for some 23 years. When he returned home to Holland, the Nazis were overrunning his country and arresting the Jews who lived there. As conditions grew worse, several of these Christians began to rely on Kramer for strength and inspiration. And late one night, some of them slipped into Kramer’s house and said, “Tell us what to do Herr Doctor. Our Jewish neighbors are being dragged out of their homes and off to the gas chambers. And many of our own are hearing the knock of the Gestapo on the doors at night. Tell us, Herr Doctor, tell us what to do.”And Kramer was silent for a long, long time. Then he said to them, “I cannot tell you what to do, but I can tell you who you are!” And with that, he reached over and picked up his Bible and he opened it and began to read.
His point….. We are a peculiar people who live in the midst of the world, those of us who dare to name ourselves after Christ. We might not have all of the answers to life’s perplexing questions. And indeed we don’t. But even still we choose to live by faith
Specifically now, how do we get it? We ask for it. That’s what James says. Listen to him, verse 5 of our text: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.”
There are two hindrances to receiving wisdom. One, our failure to recognize our need of it. You see it in the text. “If anyone lacks wisdom, James says. Our asking is predicated upon recognizing the need for wisdom. We simply will not ask if we do not realize that we have the need.
The second hindrance is that we can’t believe that wisdom is ours for the asking.
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