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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Wisdom from Above(8) - Wisdom from Above (8)    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   James 3:17
Date
   2008-10-26



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,

This is the 8th session of 'Wisdom from Above'. Wisdom from above is full of mercy and good fruits. Mercy is not just to have pity on somebody. It is to consider one soul more precious than the whole world and to give life to that soul.

We may have to forgive him, punish him, or provide him with charitable works as necessary.

In the last session, I explained about the mercy of forgiveness and mercy of punishment, among many of the aspects of mercy.

In this session, I will talk to you about the mercy of alms-giving. Only when we have mercy can we receive the wisdom to give life to the souls.

Also, those who have mercy on others will receive mercy from others and God.

Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have abundant wisdom in mercy and bear the fullness of good fruits.

Main

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if we have mercy, we will offer a helping hand when we see people in need.
We won't just feel pity for them. 1 John 3:18 says, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."

True mercy is to help others with deeds of action and in truth, even if it means that we have to reduce spending on ourselves.

First, above all else, we have to have mercy for those souls who are not saved because they don't know the gospel.

Because we have mercy we can preach the gospel when we are persecuted or even if it puts our own lives in danger.

Also, we have to show mercy to and take care of those who failed in this world, those who are sick, the downcast and neglected.

When we show mercy with truth in this way, God will also show His mercy to us. If we just look at the case of this church alone, you know very well how our church has handled charitable works.

We helped others not because we had much, but even when we didn't have enough for ourselves, we helped others with faith.

Right after the beginning of this church, we didn't have enough to pay the rent for the sanctuary. We literally had to save even a penny. Nevertheless, we began to help other newly opened churches from just a couple of weeks after we opened.

It's because we believed that God would fill us when we shared our things with others.

Luke 6:38, first half says, "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

As said, God gives us more blessings that what we have sown and overflowingly filled us every year.

That is why to help others is wisdom. But when we help others, we have to have discernment. For example, suppose there is a person who has failed in his business and is having a financial crisis because he violated the justice of God and did not act in the truth.
Just to have mercy on him, if you financially support him or become a business partner with him, this is not right in the sight of God.

When Jonah was suffering because of his disobedience against God, you know very well that those who were with him suffered together with him.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, but Jonah ran away to some other place. He got onboard a ship that was going to Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction of Nineveh.

When this ship faced a big storm at sea, Jonah knew that it was because of himself and told the sailors to throw him overboard into the sea.

But with their fleshly goodness the sailors couldn't do it. Only when their own lives were threatened did they finally throw Jonah overboard. But they already had suffered great loss.

They had to struggle against the storm for a long time, and they had to throw out all their baggage into the sea. We have to bear in mind the lesson here.

Also, among those who have financial difficulties, there are some who do not work because of addiction to alcohol or gambling. If they receive any help, some of them spend it on their vices and pleasures.

In this kind of case, our charitable giving will not bring us blessings in return.

Or, some people visit many churches and plead the cases of their difficulties. But in fact they are just telling lies. Right after the beginning of our church, somebody came to the church and asked me to help him telling me about the difficulty of his situation.

So I said to him, "I would like to help you, but to solve the fundamental problem, believe in God and rely on Him. You can receive the healing of your family member and solutions to your financial problems by attending church and relying on God."

Then, as he found out that he couldn't get money easily, he never came back.

Likewise, there are many kinds of people among those who ask for help, so we have to receive the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Even in the case of forgiveness or punishment, it should be done to save the souls. The charity or relief given should be done for the same purpose: to save souls.

But if we help others without discernment, we may cause others to commits sins.

If we cause him to go the way of darkness, we cannot call it mercy.

But sometimes, in my case, I help even those who are not really suitable in the sight of God. I know that they are in trials because of their unrighteous acts, or they are cheating me, but I just help them in some cases.

It is to give a chance to them to repent and to find the way to let them find life. Of course, some of them do not repent until the end and finally leave God.
In that case, does that mean I suffered a loss? No, it doesn't.

It's not that I was cheated without realizing it. I just sowed for that soul committing the situation to God with faith.

God will pay me back for such things.

As I sowed the seed of mercy before God, God will give me more blessings from some other sources.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the merciful will be shown mercy. In Acts chapter 9, we have a woman called Tabitha.

Tabitha looked after the widows and did many good and charitable works.

When she became sick and died, many widows pleaded with Peter in tears showing the clothes that Tabitha had made for them.

Those good deeds and alms-giving reached God and Tabitha was revived by the prayer of Peter.

The same kind of principle applies to Cornelius, the Roman centurion. He received salvation because his good deeds and prayers reached God.
Hebrews 13:16 says, "And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

I hope you will be able to look around you with love, and comfort the wounded hearts with deeds of truth. Brothers and sisters, if we have abundant mercy, we will be full of good fruits.

What we do in mercy will surely be borne as beautiful fruits by the works of the Holy Spirit.

Above all, we will gain the fruit of salvation by leading many souls to salvation.

If we act with mercy we will also bear good fruits in our heart.

All things such as the good deeds that we show even towards evil persons and the aroma of prayer in endurance and goodness are all good fruits.

Through these fruits, we will gain honor both on earth and in heaven.

Jesus also harvested countless fruits with His indescribable mercy. He voluntarily took the pain of death with His mercy for the dying souls.

With that fruit, innumerable souls came in to the way of salvation.

The mercy of Jesus bore countless fruits to include Peter, who preached the gospel until he was crucified upside down; John, who used to be called son of thunder but changed into an apostle of love; Mary Magdalene, who used to be despised, but was changed into the most honored of women through meeting Jesus.

All of you who are here and also those who are attending the service through satellite and Internet are all good fruits borne by the mercy of the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, next, the wisdom from above is unwavering, without hypocrisy.

'Unwavering' means viewing everything with steadfast integrity without partiality. Before being able to look at everything in Justice and with such integrity, we first have to cultivate mercy in us.

Even if we know a lot about the word of God, we cannot put it into practice properly without love and mercy.

We will only incline towards our own taste, character, self-centered righteousness and frameworks. As a result, it will bear the fruit of falsehood.

I said that the result of mercy is the fullness of good fruits that revive lives.

But 'wavering' will bear the evil fruits that distort the truth with judgment and condemnation and that cause loss of life.

It was the case with Pharisees and scribes at the time of Jesus.
They were proud that they knew the Law very well and they were in the position to teach the word of God.

But they interpreted the Law within their own frameworks, and if something was being done that was not right according to their framework, they condemned everybody as a sinner. When Jesus healed a sick person on the Sabbath, within their concept of 'wavering' they interpreted the act to be in violation of the Sabbath.

The actual meaning of keeping the Sabbath is not just to prohibit all kinds of work, but to take spiritual rest.

To heal sick people, preach the gospel, and to revive the souls is not labor seeking one's personal benefit. It is rather something we have to do on the Sabbath.

But the Pharisees and scribes judged Jesus for violating the Sabbath.

Finally, they came to the conclusion that Jesus was standing against God, which was completely false.

They knew the word of God very well as knowledge and literal understanding, but they didn't have the wisdom to utilize the Word they knew.

It's the same today. Just being a Christian for a long time and reading and studying the Bible extensively doesn't mean a person has the love of God in his heart.
We have to put the word we know mentally into our hearts and practice it.

Even though we realize the spiritual Word by the grace of God, it's not the end. We have to cast off the sins and evil in our hearts by constantly trying.

We have to cast away such things as hatred, anger, envy and jealousy, greed, judging and condemnation, arrogance and so on.

If we cannot cast these things off, then we can neither feel the heart of God nor understand His love.

As a result, we will judge others according to our own standard. We will misunderstand and hurt the feelings of other people.

We often see this kind of fruit that is born of hypocrisy and wavering partiality in our daily lives.

For example, suppose two little brothers had a fight. If you ask the elder brother, "Why did you fight?", then he would say, "My brother hit me first!"

But if you ask the younger brother, then he would say, "He tried to take away my toy and I hit him!"

If you scold the younger one listening only to the elder brother, the younger one would feel he has been victimized.

And if the parents tend to love the elder one more, they can do this at any time. If the younger one is usually the trouble-maker, they would even more easily believe only the older one.

It's not only the children who distort the facts, but adults also do it for their own benefit or the advantage of their own opinions.

Because of the wavering in them, they speak in falsehoods without even realizing it.

For example, suppose you hear that somebody you love has been accused of doing something wrong. You are likely to disagree immediately saying, "That's impossible."

Or, you may just want to ignore the person's fault saying that they must have had a good reason.

However, if that person is somebody you don't especially like, then the situation will be very different.

You just believe it, even though it is not really true, and think, "He made mistakes like that before, and he has done it again."

Furthermore, you may even justify your ill-feelings against him saying, "That's why I was never able to like him anyway."

Because of the 'wavering' (of partiality), rather than trying to discern the truth, you just tend to believe even what is evil and pass judgment on the person.

Let me give you another example. Suppose somebody is passing by you, and he just quickly goes away ignoring you.

He could have been busy, or he was preoccupied with some other thoughts. He could have had a physical problem and just tried to avoid people for the moment.

But if we don't have love for him, under such conditions we are likely to pass a judgment on him.

We may think he is very rude or interpret it in another way within our own experience and feelings thinking, "I didn't respond positively to him before when he asked me for a favor, so now he must be upset."

To the extent that we don't have mercy and love, we will use fleshly thoughts within the context of wavering.

Therefore, we cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and our eyes will be closed and we cannot find the truth.

Or, there can be some other cases. In a situation to choose between things, if you are already inclined to what you like, your speech will also incline towards it.

So, you don't ask what the will of God really is, but you just ask as to whether you can proceed what you'd like to do.

In this case, in a counseling session, no matter what kind of answer they hear, they just interpret it as they want.

Therefore, when you give advice in counseling, you should have the wisdom of knowing that the wavering bias of a person's heart gives rise to falsehood.

For example, suppose a believer wants to quit his job but his wife doesn't agree. So he goes to a pastor for counseling.

He says, "Pastor, my company has no vision, and I don't like this kind of work. It's difficult to lead a life of faith because of long hours of work. I would like to do another kind of business. So, pastor, what do you think?"

When the pastor hears such words, he cannot flatly say 'Do it' or 'Don't do it'. What can he say since this believer says he wants to lead a better life in faith?

So, the pastor may just say, "Yes, I see. If this business has a future and if you can spend more time working on a life in faith, it sounds OK. But you don't want to be hasty.

You should consider many other things and also listen to the opinions of the members of your family. Above all, you should pray fervently enough to be guided by God in your decision."

Then, this man quickly goes to his wife and tells her:

"I received counseling from a pastor about my job, and he says doing this business is good because it has more future and I can lead a better Christian life. He advised me to pray well with the family members to be guided by God, so please pray for this!"

Here, this believer doesn't even realize that he is changing the words of the advice he has heard.

Focusing on fulfilling his desire so much, his eyes of truth are closed to the truth.

When you give advice to somebody, you should be able to discern the biased wavering of the mind of people, and you must be able to give advice wisely.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:15 says, "But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one."

If we look into the sea of crystal in front of the throne of God, we can see the fish and even the particles of sand.

In the same way, if we go into spirit and whole spirit, we can discern the hearts of men and the whole picture of a particular situation. We will be able to discern the heart of others according to the truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Because we won't judge anything with evil, we can read the truth.

But if we are not in the spirit, many times we cannot clearly discern the will of God.

What looks right in the sight of men may not be right in the sight of God.

Or, when we may not understand a particular matter, God will say it is righteous.

Therefore, to understand the will of God without wavering, we first have to cast off sins and evil.

We have to think in goodness in everything and discern the truth in the works of the Holy Spirit.

We must not force others to do what we think is righteous or what is beneficial for us. Also, even for things that we have seen and heard ourselves, we must be able to discern the truth taking into consideration the measure of faith of others and the situations.

Especially, for those who deeply communicate with God and show the works of the Holy Spirit, we have to be very careful when we think and speak about them.

It's because the things that belong to spirit are many times very difficult for men of flesh to understand.

I hope all of you will cast away the sins and evil that are placed deep inside your hearts.

In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will gain wisdom to look at everything discerningly and as clear as crystal with the eyes of a beautiful heart.

[Amen]

 
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