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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Wisdom from Above(6) - Wisdom from Above (6)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   James 3:17
Date
   2008-09-14



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,

In Daniel chapter 5, we see a really extraordinary incident.
King Belshazzar of Babylon did something to mock God while he was having a party. He brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem. He drank from them and praised his idols.

At that very moment, the fingers of a man's hand suddenly emerged and began to write something on the wall of the king's palace.

After seeing this extraordinary event, the king was so shocked he trembled with fear.

He said he would give a big reward to the person who could interpret the writing, but nobody could either read it or interpret it.

At that time, there were some people who thought of Daniel, who had received the wisdom of God.

When Daniel was summonsed, he was able to read that it was "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN," and he was also able to explain what it meant.

The meaning was that king Belshazzar acted arrogantly before God and he treated God contemptuously. Because of it, his kingdom was to be handed over to Medes and Persians. The king was satisfied with the interpretation and gave him great awards.

Namely, the king clothed him with purple and made him the third ruler in the kingdom.

But something is strange here.

What would you have done if you were King Belshazzar?

If you really believed what Daniel said, the primary concern would not be rewards, but it would be to resolve the problem you face.

In the event that you received the declaration of God concerning your impending destruction due to your arrogance, you might first consider the necessity of repenting thoroughly and changing.

But King Belshazzar considered it as though it was somebody else's matter, and being satisfied with the interpretation, he just gave Daniel great rewards.

He didn't repent before God but kept on enjoying himself in the party. Daniel 5:30 says, "That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain."

On that very night, he was killed by the enemy forces as God had said.

God warned him in advance through such an extraordinary incident, and Daniel explained to him with wondrous wisdom, but what was the use of it?

Because the king did not apply the wisdom to himself, he could not derive any benefit from it.

He was happy hearing the wisdom, but in the end he went the way of the foolish.

There are many people who are like him even today. They like listening to stories of wisdom. They read many books and try to stay close to those who are wise.

Even in the faith, when there are people who tell about God's wisdom or spiritual realm, some of you try to listen to them as much as possible. As you follow them and listen to them, and when you hear the truth, you rejoice.

But some of you are very slow to apply that truth to yourselves and slow in changing yourselves.

Even though you rejoice listening to the word very much, you cannot really make it completely yours just by listening.

We cannot gain wisdom by knowing the truth as knowledge. To truly gain wisdom we have to accept it in our hearts and practice it and then change ourselves accordingly.

In the morning service, you heard about the family of Cornelius, but will all your families become like his family because you heard about it?

Yes, of course, it can be so.

But just by hearing about it something like that cannot just happen.

You have to try hard, change yourself, and change your surroundings with good wisdom. Then, your family members and people around you will come into the grace of God through you.
This is the sixth session of "Wisdom from Above."

In this session and through this message about wisdom, I hope your hearts and inner hearts will be changed.

I pray in the name of the Lord that the blessings that God has prepared will descend abundantly on you in your lives.

Main

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

And reasonableness is when the good and beautiful aroma of the heart is shown as the good fruits of words and deeds.

I was explaining about the third characteristic of this reasonableness and couldn't finish it because the time was up.

Those who cultivate reasonableness will not just obey the word of God, but do more than what they are supposed to do.

When we see the deeds and confessions of the apostle Paul, we can see that he had borne with fruit of reasonableness in abundance.

Even before he knew the Lord, he kept the Law of God completely.

Furthermore after he met the Lord, he gave his everything and he did not enjoy even the things that he could have enjoyed for the sake of the Gospel.

For example, 1 Corinthians 8:13 days, "Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble."

This he said when he was answering the question about eating the meat that had once been offered to the idols.

At that time, there was a lot of idolatry in Corinth, and in many markets they sold the meat that had been offered to idols.

Suppose a believer bought some meat from the market and ate it, and this meat had once been offered to an idol.
Would this be unacceptable to God? Of course, if the believer knew that it had been offered to idols, it would be better that he did not eat it.

But, if he had not been able to check where the meat came from each time, and if he needed to eat some meat, then even if he ate the meat it was not a sin.

He was just eating it as food, not as a part of participating in idolatry.

1 Timothy 4:4-5 says, "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." But for those who had weak faith, they might have disliked eating what was once offered to idols.

Also, when a believer who had faith ate something that had been sacrificed to idols, those who saw it could have committed a sin.

For example, just by seeing him eat that food, they might have thought that he was participating in idolatry. They might have passed judgment and condemnation on him thinking, "He is a believer and how can he do that?"
Or, they might have thought, "Oh, if a person like Paul can eat food that has been sacrificed to idols, then I can eat them, too."

Here, I already explained that to eat it was OK when the person thought it was just food, and did not know it was sacrificed to an idol.

The problem arises when a person knows it was sacrificed to idols, has qualms of conscience, but still eats it. He is causing accusations to be brought on himself because he knows he shouldn't do it but just goes ahead and does it anyway.

Romans 14:23 says, "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin."

Also, if we do something knowing we shouldn't, it may numb our conscience toward the thought or action.

So, next time, even when we actually commit a sin, we may not feel that we shouldn't do it.

Because the apostle Paul knew these things very well, he didn't say he would eat what was sacrificed to idols because he had faith.

He would not eat that kind of food in the fear that somebody who saw him could stumble.

He said he wanted to choose not to eat any meat forever to prevent any soul from stumbling.

Likewise, Paul had the faith and authority to do anything, but he gave up many things.

That way he had great confidence before God.

God was pleased with Paul and let him manifest more powerful works than the disciples of Jesus.

Also, God gave him clearer inspiration and greater wisdom.

If we cultivate gentleness and reasonableness, we can discern the will of God clearly no matter how complicated the situation might be.

At the time of the Early Churches the gospel was spread but the Bible wasn't really finalized like now.

So, many believers had many questions on how to apply their faith in their daily lives.

It wasn't only about the sacrifice to idols but about marriage, divorce, problems at family and workplaces, about gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the matters associated with Holy Communion.

I cannot give answers to all these questions here, so please refer to the lecture series on 1 Corinthians.

The apostle Paul could give them clear answers to each of the questions with wisdom and understanding.

His word was guaranteed by the powerful works and he could save countless souls.

Through the Father he could give birth to life and guide the flock to the way that God wanted.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, you, too, sometimes give up what you can enjoy to spread the gospel. You try to act in the truth always, but when your neighbor knows that you are a believer, you try to behave yourself more properly.
You are being careful not to let your neighbors say something like, "Why would a believer act that way?"

Even if you are in a position to point out the other's fault, you just smile and not mention it.

When you try to evangelize a shop owner in your neighborhood, you sometimes intentionally buy some things from that shop although it's more expensive there than other shops.

This can be considered as an aspect of reasonableness.

But if you have reasonableness itself in your heart, you can choose the way of goodness all the time, not only when you try to spread the gospel. You don't do it because you have an ulterior motive, but more because you want to please God.

You don't think in a way like, "If I do this, I can gain this, and this person will react in goodness, too."

You will just show your words and deeds that contain goodness that fills your heart completely.

Pastors or leaders should have reasonableness even more for they have to set an example before the flock.

Because you have to set an example, sometimes, you cannot do what you want when you are in the sight of other people.

Or, sometimes, you do something for God's glory although it is not something you have to do.

For example, pastors and leaders have to check their clothes or hair just to go to the market in front of the house. Of course they can just go with a more comfortable appearance, but they must be careful so that not even one church member might stumble.

Also, they are even more careful when they are in the sight of the church members.

This does not mean that they should be hypocritical, pretending to be holy on the outside only, not casting off flesh from the heart.

I am just saying that even when they can just do something that is not sin in faith, they don't do it for other people.

Right after the opening of the church, I used to put on a cross badge and the church members did the same thing.

But some of the believers who had weak faith acted in a way that was not really edifying.

So, I just stopped wearing it. Some people gave me tiepins as a gift, but I didn't wear any of them in a fear that our church members would also want to enjoy luxurious things.

Beginning with these little things, I bound myself in all aspects of my life because I am a pastor whom the church members always look towards for guidance and as an example.

For example, until I turned 50, I didn't even shake hands with female members.

I worried that if I did, it would become common even between men and women and I couldn't even hold their hands warmly, because this might cause other problems.

Also, once or twice a year, when we had pastors' conference or other leadership conferences, we had a time to rest for one day.

Because they work all year for the Lord, I wanted them to be able to relax for just that one day.

But when I went to the bowling alley to get some exercise on that kind of rest day, this spread very quickly in the church. They didn't only play once or twice a year to take a rest, but some of them wanted to take fleshly things often.

So, I quit bowling, too.

Also, if I meet with the church members, make home visitations, share meals together and have conversations with them more often, I will be very happy, too!

But because I have to accomplish greater things than those, I don't even do those things. I just face the wall to pray every day.

Even in the summer retreat we have once a year, I cannot participate unless there is special permission of God.

When the church had to go on a tight budget, I reduced the number of side dishes to three.

And for a while, I ate only soy sauce and chilly-pepper paste with rice.

I could eat well to work for God more vigorously, but I wanted to ask for God's compassion by binding myself that way.

When I bound myself that way and did the things that could move God's heart, He blessed me abundantly.

He gave me power upon power and let me accomplish world evangelism more greatly.

He let me receive overflowing love from God the Father and from church members.

Because God pleasingly received each of my acts, He let me have joy in things that from my point of view I really didn't need to enjoy.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, even such a powerful apostle Paul says, "but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

Paul was so confident in himself that he could even tell believers to be imitators of him.

But behind that confidence he had controlled himself to the point of making his 'self' disappear.

I hope you will be able to enjoy freedom in the truth, and still always look back upon yourself.

Even if you think you are doing it with faith in truth, it will be your blessing if you can look back on yourself once again.

I hope you will act with prayerful hearts thinking and praying, "Father, is this really right? Did I really choose what is more proper before You?"

When you humble yourself before God this way and check yourself, and choose the way that is more pleasing in God's sight, you will gain greater perfection.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if you have to abstain from doing the things that you can do just for the benefit of others, you may think you are under too many restrictions.
Of course, you do it according to your measure of faith, and God doesn't force all believers to do be perfect right now.

But if you can choose what pleases God more by putting constraints on yourself, this is true wisdom.

To the extent that you don't have selfish motives in you, you will gain wisdom and understanding to be able to discern everything clearly.

Also, when God has joy because of His children, He doesn't just rejoice quietly.

He repays us with overflowing blessings on earth and in heaven. If you do two such things while you had to do only one, God the Father will be pleased with this and pay you back even 30, 60, or 100 times more.

Matthew 19:29 says, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life."

As said, God gives us better things than what we have given up.
God gives us much consolation and happiness on earth, but especially in heaven, He gives back to us with so many good things to console our hearts.

When there are some things that you can take but you do not take them for the Lord, God remembers all of those things.

So, when you see your house and rewards in heaven, you will give thanks and love to God who has remembered even least of your wishes. I hope you will not just see the things that are visible right now but the eternal and true things in heavenly kingdom.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be really wise persons who take true blessings.

[amen]

 
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