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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Wisdom from Above(5) - Wisdom from Above (5)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   James 3:17
Date
   2008-09-07



Passage

James 3:17
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy."

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When children don't have a proper understanding about money, some of them prefer coins rather than paper bills. Suppose a child has a 500 won coin, and you suggest to him, "If you give me that 500 won coin, I will give you 10,000 won bill." Then, the child will probably say 'no' holding the coin more tightly.

Because he has had the experience with a 500 won coin to buy snacks or chewing gums, he knows the value of the coin quite well. But he doesn't really understand the value of a 10,000 won bill.

From the viewpoint of an adult this may seem foolish. But God sees the circumstances of adult behavior to be as foolish as that of this child.

God says to them, "Keep these commandments and do good, and I will bless you." But they don't obey.

In their sight, keeping the commandments of God is not really beneficial for them for the moment.

But those who are spiritually wise understand very well that the blessing of God is much greater than some quick profit they can gain through worldly methods. That is why they follow spiritual attributes such as purity, peace, gentleness and reasonableness.

This is the fifth session in 'Wisdom from Above'.

Through this message, I hope you will understand the way to bring down blessings from God who is the source of all blessings.

Main

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, peaceable, gentle, and reasonable.

To be reasonable is the good and beautiful aroma of the heart expressed as the good fruits of words and deeds.

If one's heart is filled with goodness and truth, it also shows as outward fruit.

It will show as fruit of lips of only sweet words and fruit of beautiful deeds.

There are three main characteristics of reasonableness. First, it gives peace to others and it can discern the truth in any situation so that it prevents faith from being shaken.

When a person who possesses reasonableness is conducting counseling, he can discern the essence of the problem and refresh the hearts of the others.

If one has selfish motives, his eyes will be blocked by his own benefit or ill-feelings.

But if we don't have any selfish motives, we have understanding and can see the way to solve the problem.

This is what I explained in the last session.

The second characteristic of reasonableness is being self-content and at ease with oneself.

Philippians 4:11-13 says, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

As said, if we have reasonableness, we have no agitation of heart whatsoever, not only in good times but in difficult situations.

We won't get discouraged or complain saying, "This is hard and that is difficult." We will be able to do anything with thanks and joy.

It's because the grace of God we have in us is much greater than the hardship we are facing at the moment.

Some people visually show their discontent when things do not go as they want or when they are in difficult situations.

They become nervous, their facial color changes, and they make others feel nervous as well.

They pour out complaints and resentment, and they may also put the blame on others for the things that are not going well. But this way, we cannot solve the problem. This kind of act will block us from experiencing the works of God, and we will lose the heart of others, too.

However, those who have cultivated reasonableness will not lose the comfort in their heart even in difficult situations.

They don't get surprised or become sad. They just quietly discern the will of God.

Because the grace of God they have received is abundant in them and because they are sure of the love of God, they can be at peace.

And they choose the best course of action they can in that situation.

Apostle Paul preached the gospel manifesting great works, but he also went through countless persecutions and sufferings.

Even when he was going through persecutions, he didn't worry or become disheartened thinking, "Why should I suffer these things while doing the work of God? What would the people think of me?"

Even when he was beaten up and put to shame in front of many people, and even when he went without food or sleep, his heart was always at peace.

It was because the Lord saved him while he was persecuting Christians, and this grace was so great.

Also because he was filled with the hope of heavenly kingdom in him, he was not suppressed by the difficulties of reality.

Once, he drove out a demon with God's power, but because of having done it he was beaten and was jailed.

At this time, he didn't say anything like, "Why didn't God protect me?" nor did he nervously pray saying, "God, You have to get me out of this quickly."

He just accepted the situation and waited for God to work. He just praised God while thinking of the grace of God.

It was late night when the praise of thanks resounded from one corner of the jail. Can you imagine the beautiful aroma the praise must have produced before God!

Psalm 50:23 says, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God."

And God accepted the sacrifice of praise joyfully and something truly amazing took place.

There was an earthquake to open the gates of the prison, and the jailer and his family accepted the Lord Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, while we were conducting overseas crusades, we sometimes faced unexpected obstacles. But in every case we trusted God. When we calmly did what we were supposed to do, God surely opened the way for us.

In the Pakistan crusade, the crusade location was suddenly shut down because of the fear of a terrorist attack.

But in my heart I had an assurance, and I professed that the crusade would be held.

And I calmly waited leaving everything in God's hands.

You already watched how dramatically the closed gates were opened at that time.

In the case of Honduras crusade, heavy rain began to fall just before the beginning of the crusade. It didn't seem that it was going to stop any time soon.

But by relying on God when I went up to the stage, the heavy rain drops disappeared like a fog.

Even more dramatic was the India Crusade. Even during the crusade it was raining hard, and I heard that many of our members who were praying for the crusade in Korea were worried very much.

In the crusade location where there was a heavy rain along with strong wind, maybe we could have lost our faith, if we used fleshly thoughts.

We could have been very nervous and thrown into confusion thinking, "God has to stop this rain just as He has been doing things up until now. We cannot have a crusade in this rain."

But we just continued the crusade even in the heavy rain trying to understand the will of God.

We did not just insist that God had to fulfill what we wanted.

We waited with expectations as to how God was going to be glorified this time. Of course, having peace in mind without being shaken doesn't mean we had no nervousness at all!

We still had to find all the ways that were possible seeking the grace of God, with determination that we could also give our lives.

But deep inside the heart there was no agitation, and we were at peace by trusting God.

When that trust is truthful, God will surely answer us and be glorified.

In the India Crusade, too, though we didn't know at the moment, it was the blessing of God. It's just that men could not think of it in such a way.

Generally, it is better to have no rain for a crusade.

But it was different in India.

There was a heavy rainfall while they were suffering in the midst of a severe drought. The rain was God's grace for the local people. Also, when they saw me preaching and praying for them so hard even in such a heavy rain, more people were touched in their hearts.

That is why the next day, an unimaginably great number of people came and the crowd filled the vast beach.

Consequently, because of the heavy rain, we were able to have had the biggest and greatest crusades of all.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Faith is not just wanting and having God work the way we want Him to work.

If we truly believe, we have to realize the will of God by relying on Him all the time.

And within the will of God we have to find our way and act with faith. If we have self-content in our situations with reasonableness and follow goodness, the Holy Spirit will always shine our way.

This way, we can discern whether to go now is the will of God, or we have to stop for a moment and continue again.

This is the wisdom to experience the works of God who walks with us even in the valley of death.


Thirdly, if we have deeper reasonableness, we will not only obey the word of God but do more than what we are supposed to do.

For example, suppose the parents ask their son to do something when they are going out.

"Take care of your little brother and do your homework, too!"

This son could have just played once he finished his homework but by the time the parents came back home, he had not only done his homework, but he had given his little brother a bath, washed the dishes, and did some house cleaning also, though it was not really perfect.

He tried to understand the heart of his parents and did more than what he was supposed to do. When they see this kind of a child, how lovely he is, and how proud of him his parents are!

Though he is just a child, he is trustworthy.

Likewise, those who have reasonableness will obey the word of God as it is because they love God.

Furthermore, by the illuminating of the Holy Spirit, they can discern what is better in everything so that they can do the goodness that is at a higher level.

When God commands them one thing, understanding the heart of God they do two or three, or even more than that.

When God the Father looks at this kind of children, He will be so pleased saying, "They are after My heart." For example, in your Christian life, you sometimes have to choose between two things.

Of course, I am talking about a case in which both of them are not against the truth.

If one is truth and the other is untruth, you obviously have to choose the truth.

But only if you are at the third level of faith, you will not act in lawlessness just because it is beneficial to you.

If both of the things were OK in the truth, most people would want to choose what they themselves want more.

But if we have complete reasonableness, then, we will not choose what we want but the choice that can glorify God more.

We will think which way will please God more. It was the case with Daniel. Due to the sins of the southern kingdom of Judah, it was invaded by foreign people.

Daniel and his friends were taken as captives to the Gentile country.

Though they were captives, they lived in the palace of the king and came to eat the choice food of the king.

But this choice food possibly contained the kind of detestable foods prohibited by God's Law.

Daniel and his three friends asked the chief of officials for a special favor. They asked him to give them only water and vegetables.

But the chief of officials was worried that if the appearances of those youths were not good, he would be punished by the king.

So Daniel and his friends suggested that he do a test on them just for 10 days. After the 10 days of eating just vegetables and drinking water, something amazing happened.

Daniel and his friends' faces seemed better and fatter than other youths, although they ate only vegetables while other youths ate the king's choice food.

In a case like Daniel what would you have done? As a mere captive, you are to eat what is given to you. You are not in a position to make any choices or demands.

Especially, they are giving to you not low quality food but king's choice food.

It may contain some detestable food, but not all parts of it were detestable.

If you say you want different food, the chief official may dislike you, and it can even cause the anger of the king, too.

You may just eat what is given just like other captives thinking, "This situation is out of my control." But Daniel and his friends volunteered to eat only vegetables, not eating the good quality food.

God was very pleased with their heart trying to choose what was more proper in the sight of God.

So, God worked in a way that their appearances were better and more robust than those youths who were eating the king's choice food.

Furthermore, Daniel 1:17 says, "As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams."

Daniel and his friends received great blessings because of their understanding and wisdom.

Although they were just captives in that country, they could reach high positions being recognized by the king. Brothers and sisters, it is not something very easy to choose what is more proper in God's sight in all matters.

Even if we choose what is more 'good', we may have some difficulties rather than immediate blessings.

But even in those times, we have to have the willpower to take them, without any complaints or resentment.

We can do this only when we have spiritual brevity by living in the truth only.

We have to have firm trust in God, believing that God is on our side and He is the owner of our life.

About choosing what is more proper in the sight of God with reasonableness, we will continue in the next session.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, reasonableness is to choose what is more proper in the sight of God. But here, we should remember one thing. We have to remember what kinds of attitudes Daniel and his friends had until they were able to ask the chief of the officials such a favor.

For the chief of the officials, he didn't have to listen to their request at all. If he did, he could have been put into difficult situations.

He could have just ignored them, but he did a special favor for them. Of course this was grace of God.

But at the same time, we have to understand that Daniel and his friends were very good, faithful, and lovely before the chief of officials and other people.

It means they had accumulated enough measure of their good deeds according to justice so that at a crucial moment God could move the heart of the chief of the officials.

When you show your faith, you sometimes have to gain some understandings from others. For example, you want to participate in a church event, but you cannot take free time from your work or you may have a family event to attend.

In these occasions, if you can resolve it somehow and participate, it would be good. But to do that, you have to accumulate goodness at usual times.

You always have to work faithfully and be acknowledged by others. You have to do a proper job before you take your time off for a church event so that you will not cause any inconvenience to your co-workers.

For your family members, too, you should move their hearts by letting them feel that you cannot be with them in body but your heart is always with them.

If you just act as you want normally, and act with faith only when it is necessary because you want to ask them to excuse you for something, this is not faith at all.

In fact, this comes from your selfish desires.

Those who have gentleness and reasonableness have no selfish motives. Only when we don't have selfish motives can we look at the broad picture with broader hearts, not insisting our opinions only.

This way, we can choose what is more 'good' in God's sight to move His heart and gain the heart of others, too.

Only when we act in a blameless way before God, He can also work for us and receive glory without causing Satan to bring any accusations.

I hope you will understand this rule of justice and cultivate true gentleness and reasonableness.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will live an abundant and rich life with the wisdom given by God from above.

[Amen]

 
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