Nov 11 2018 Wisdom in Relationships

Lord, thank You for Your love for us and all You do for us. We want to come before You – some of You know Doug – he is going for some major surgery at the Cleveland clinic – and his son, Daniel, who is only 19, has the same genetic disorder – and will have surgery in December. Lord, we pray for the doctors that things would go well and that Doug and Daniel would have full recoveries. Heal them, and give them long lives. We pray that You would be with them in this situation. May Your grace abound. May Your healing hands be at work, both in Daniel and in Doug

James 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

James gives us a Biblical definition of wisdom from Jesus’ perspective.

Wise – Book smart and practically smart.

Understanding - focuses on practical life skills.

We tend to focus on information and knowledge.

But it is important to focus on skills too.

I saw on the news lately – there is a shortage of skilled laborers. I would say there is a shortage of spiritually skilled laborers. Knowledge and practical skill cannot be separated.

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

It is not enough to know ABOUT God – we need to know God. It is not enough to KNOW what God says, we need to DO what God says. The knowing without the doing is actually a harmful thing, Paul says.

Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

A true understanding of our true condition before God and then allowing that understanding to shape our relationships with other. None of us is good enough for God. We all fall so short – but then allowing that humility to shape us.

It is easy for intelligent people to become proud. But it is impossible for proud people to become wise!

James goes on:

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

Jealousy and selfish ambition work against wisdom and understanding. This is seeking our own best interest no matter how it affects others.

“A fierce desire to promote one’s own interest or opinion above the interest of others.”

For them – this was used in the political arena. So this ‘selfish ambition’ is for US today too!

If these are part of who you are – there is a problem.

In James day – they were fighting over their privileges and advantages.

Like in Philippians 2 – Jesus was God – but He laid aside those rights – he laid all of that aside in order that He might be a sacrificial servant for us. THAT is true wisdom. The ability to know in any situation what my advantages and privileges and rights are – and then to lay them down – to be a sacrificial servant of others. If we could just get that concept through – the church would be radically transformed.

People would say that is crazy to do that!

15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

Do not be so naïve so as to disregard how the powers of darkness use the hate and animosity on display in our world to bring about evil.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…

All of the world’s systems – governmental, economic, education, social, the list goes on – in all of these, the powers of darkness are engaged. That does not mean that we stay out of them – even though the powers of darkness are fully engaged, we need to enter in, BUT we do engage in those systems as people of light – not the way the world engages in them.

I think a helpful way to understand this – read the Sermon on the Mount over and over again – and that is a phenomenal starting point. This tells us how to live as disciples of His kingdom in this world. We need to live the Sermon on the Mount.

We need to engage knowing that the enemy is not specific people or groups. We just had an election – and we are all glad it is over – and the enemy is not the other side, the enemy is the powers of darkness – the spiritual forces of evil. Parties are meaningless. There are forces of darkness that are massive coming against us and we need to focus our attention there.

We can only take on the forces of darkness through prayer. We must also put on the armor of God, Ephesians says. It is a whole different approach.

He first described the worldly wisdom – now the wisdom from above.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure (free from spiritual and moral defect, uncorrupted by the world),

True biblical wisdom is always connected to relationships. He gives us a pattern of what this looks like – again – wisdom is not “I know more than you” it is I know how to love you, meet your needs, care for you, and help you.

So, in this wisdom – James gives us a test – first pure

then peaceable,

When I engage in relationships, how peaceable am I?


reasonable, Oh my! Reasonable? Why would you want to be reasonable?!

full of mercy (not just a little bit! Couldn’t we use more people treating people with mercy?) it is easy to throw stones at the political commercials – how many did you see that were full of mercy? This is what it means to look like a Christian. Be like this! There it is! We can’t walk around this stuff! It is the complete transformation of what we think – wholly different from what we see and know. That is what God is – WHOLLY DIFFERENT! That is why we call Him GOD! That is the definition of God. To be wholly other.

and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. WITHOUT hypocrisy!

18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Let us be that way. On your job. In your family. In your neighborhood.

Then we will jump to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5: - true wisdom from Jesus’ perspective:

3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

True wisdom is totally counterintuitive – these are not the qualities the world looks at and says, yeah that’s what we are looking for!

8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Do we ever think – Blessed am I when people insult me?! These are the blessed, according to Jesus. These are the winners, we would say.

The one who is insulted is a winner!

Sometimes winning is actually losing, and sometimes losing is actually winning. The faster we get that into our brains, the better we will be. Jesus said – the first shall be What? Last. And the last shall be first.

Winning – well, not in football (wait for laughter) – is actually losing.

You don’t say that to the person you are having the argument with! But we want to think that way – sometimes losing is actually winning.

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

QUESTION: Has the salt of our witness lost its taste? How does that happen?

First – through improper behavior of some kind – the salt loses its taste. Hypocrisy is a huge one. It causes our salt to lose its taste

Giving offense in relationships. Offending people.

Paul said – give no offense to Jew or Greek – I become all things to all men that I might save some.

Wow! If we could grasp those things in our lives.

In your neighborhood – is your witness still salty because you have not given offence? There are all kinds of ways we can offend people.

When we fail to do the works of the kingdom – mercy and justice – kingdom stuff – that causes us to lose our saltiness.

Self-righteousness and spiritual arrogance. That destroys our witness.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

We are the light of the world! The world is darkness and we are the only light of the world, because we possess the gospel of Jesus – we have Christ in us – not because of who we are –

The question with this one: Are we hiding or covering our light? Like I said – I think we do that when we fail to do the right actions – let your light shine so they may see your good works! Get out there and engage in kingdom work and kingdom witness – and it involves much more than what we would consider witnessing. It is all the things we do representing God in this world.

Here is your practical thing – Find one thing that fits your gifts and talents and skill – that you can, within that realm – do kingdom context.

Larry talked about how he worked down at Haven of Rest. He works as a UPS guy and then he uses that skill to drive deliveries for the Haven of Rest. He has found something within his gifts and skills to serve.

And then Chris – working in construction – and now he works at Urban Vision – working on that building! He will continue working on that building – even when he is in heaven, because that building will still need work!

It may be in your neighborhood – you may have a skill that allows you to do kingdom work. Just find one thing.

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