Title: The Philosophy to Live by
Focus: True faith displays a heavenly, practical wisdom with works to transform the mind to humility and grace.
Function: To motivate the hearers to be transformed in their thinking to show grace and humility in their lives
Text: James 3:13-4:12
Intro: 1. Story on thinking 2. True faith has to do with not just how you act, but how you think as well 3. Text: James 3:13-4:12 I. True faith works true wisdom (3:13-18) A. James begins this section with a challenge: Who is wise and understanding? 1. Most would like to think of themselves as having some wisdom 2. How does wisdom evidence itself? B. How do you recognize wisdom? 1. Wisdom shows itself by (v.13)... a. Good behavior b. His deeds c. In the gentleness of wisdom d. Wisdom without good works is dead 2. There is another kind of wisdom (v.15-16) a. Main characteristic: Selfish ambition b. This is a presecription for “disorder” and “EVERY evil thing” C. People don’t think of Ambition as being evil (even selfish ambition) 1. We tend to respect those who have clawed their way to the top a. If they succesful, they must know something b. So we listen to all kinds of “advice” from successful 2. Americans listen to celebrities’ advice & try to imitate them. a. If I dress like Britney, I can be somebody b. If I have a backyard wrestling match, I’ll be cool c. If I pierce myself I can fit in 3. Those usually apply to teens, what about Adults? a. If I go to the company picnic & drink, I could get promoted b. If I work 60-70 hours a week, more money, better for family D. But heavenly wisdom is differnent 1. James gives a list of the qualities of heavenly wisdom (3:17-18) 2. Are there really 2 kinds of wisdom? a. They are exact opposites, how can they both be “wisdom”? b. Warning - Since both are called wisdom, we need to not be fooled - We need to be discerning c. Kingdom thinking involves turning everything upside down - Turning is the idea behind the word “repentance” 3. When we looked at James 2:1-13, we got a glimspe of this overturning a. Lowly becomes great in the kingdom b. Poor become rich in the kingdom c. Those who are a somebody, become a nobody, and nobodies become somebody 4. This leads us to the next point II. True Wisdom works transformation of the mind A. (4:1-3) What connection do these verses have with what preceeds it? B. What is the source of quarrels and conflicts? 1. “Pleasures” (enjoyment/pleasantess) which wage war (Wage war?) a. You lust/desire (epithumeo) & do not have b. You kill & envy & are not able to obtain c. You fight & quarrel - You do not have because you do not ask - You do not receive, because ask wrongly - That you may spend in on your “pleasures” (enjoyment) 2. This is what I call the “Cycle of elusive happiness” C. “Pursuit of happiness” - is good and acceptable in American culture 1. Look at where this pursuit has led Get up to radio clock, warm water in shower on demand Get microwave meal out of the freezer Drive in car to work. Work with machinery of some sort Come home, check email 2. Why all these gadgets invented? a. To make life easier b. More time for pursuit of happiness D. 2 Problems with this pursuit (v.4-5) 1. It is adultery a. Cannot be a “friend” of the world and of God - Rom 8:29 - He destined us to be conformed to the image of his son (not of the world) b. Would my wife want to share my heart with an old girlfriend? - Would it be a problem if I always thought about her? - What if I continued to like the things an old girlfreind likes simply because she was my old grilfriend? c. God doesn’t want to share our heart with the world d. God Jealously desires the spirit in us Note: Translational difficulty - The Spirit which he made to dwell in us jealously desires - He jealously desires the spirit which he made to dwell in us - (The second reading fits the context better) 2. It will always be a “pursuit” - It is a dead end a. Technology to pursue it, nobody seems to be any happier b. If you look for happiness, you will never find it E. So, what to do? 1. I’ve tried everything to be happy, not its time to try God a. It is STILL a dead end. It is still worldly thinking. What!? b. It is still selfish ambition 2. (2 Cor 5:9) Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. a. Was his ambition to be happy? b. He had an ambition, but it was a selfLESS ambition c. Don’t try to find happiness, Please God and it will find you 3. Read - 2 Cor 10:3-5 a. Don’t think like the world b. Be transformed in your thinking c. Take every thought captive to Christ III. A transformed mind works humility A. What does pride have to do with the pursuit of enjoyment? (v.6) 1. v.14 - Selfish ambition and arrogance go hand in hand 2. The root of arrogance is selfish ambition 3. Selfish ambition and arrogance will cripple you B. God gives a greater “grace” ----- to the “humble” Therefore: 1. Submit to God 2. Couplet one: a. Resist the Devil (worldly thinking) & he will flee b. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you 3. Couplet two a. Cleanse your hands you sinners b. Purify your hearts you “doubleminded” - God wants a heart that is all his, nothing mixed in - No one wants a double-minded spouse 4. Be miserable, mourn and weep (Repentance) 5. Humble yourselves in the presence of God a. I’m not number one, God is b. What will God do? - Lift you up (v.10) - Give you grace (v.6) C. Countless examples of this throughout scripture 1. Men humbled themselves & God showed grace 2. Ahab (1 Kng 21:29); Manasseh (2 Chr 33:12); King of Ninevah (Jonah) D. Now is the time to repent of an untransformed mind 1. An untransformed mind in church is “doubleminded” 2. Purify your hearts you doubleminded IV. Humiliy and Repentance enable you to work grace (v.11-12) A. This seems to conclude the thought that began at chapter 3 B. It seems that we are back to speech ethics once again 1. Do not speak against or judge one another - Text literally says to stop speaking against each other 2. Why? If you do speak against or judge a. You are not a doer b. You are judging the law 3. What law? a. Royal law - Love neighbor (Jas 2:8) b. Law of liberty - Shows mercy (Jas 2:12-13) c. As a result, all are equal in God’s kingdom 4. You disregard that when you judge or speak against a brother 5. God is the judge, not us C. Don’t speak against one another, but build each other up instead. Concl: 1. True faith works true heavenly wisdom 2. True wisdom works transformation of the mind and heart 3. A transformed mind works humility and repentance 4. Humility and repentance enable you to treat one another with grace 5. This is a big challenge a. We are not to isolate ourselves from the world b. We are to be like them yet not of them 6. Heavenly wisdom evaluates everything by heavenly standards 7. What do you evaluate? 1. My job 2. My career goals (Don’t have time for church or God?) 3. My friendships (Do you influence them or vice-versa?) 4. My leisure (I am involved in a club, sport, fraternity, no time for God) 5. My Ambition (To please him or myself?)