The Reflection of Faith A Study of the Book of James Sermon #2 – Faith in God’s Wisdom James 1:5-6
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.(Romans 1:20 ESV)
This “bubble” can be expanded through discovery. • This “bubble” can be expanded through fantasy of the imagination. • This “bubble” can be expanded through religion. • This “bubble” can be expanded through philosophy.
RESULT OF MAN CENTERED WISDOM: THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD IS NOT WORSHIPED AND BELIEVING IN JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD IS FOOLISH. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,.. (I Cor. 1:19-23).
Am I lacking Godly Wisdom? (James 3:17) 1. Is my heart pure in all situations? (Good, righteous, holy, true and fears God) 2. Does my attitude revealing peace and love of God to those who hate me? 3. Do my actions consider others above myself? 4. Does my walk of humility before God validating the opinion of others? 5. Does my behavior towards others showing mercy as the Lord has shown me mercy? 6. Is my life bearing good fruit for God’s Kingdom? 7. Is my conduct impartial to those who show prejudices against me? 8. Are my words genuine to those who trust me to speak the truth?
“To you, O men, I [wisdom] call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.” (Prov. 8:4) “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I posses knowledge and discretion.” (Prov. 8:12) “I [wisdom] love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Prov. 8:17) “…in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:2-3)
AS A RESULTOF GOD CENTERED WISDOM: GOD IS WORSHIPED AND JESUS CHRIST IS HONORED AS LORD OF ALL.
The Reflection of Faith A Study of the Book of James Sermon #3 – A Christ Centered Mind James 1:6-8
I. A CHRIST CENETERED MIND HAS SUBMITTED TO GOD’S WISDOM. A. God invites us to ask us for His Wisdom. B. Believing is the only condition to receiving His wisdom. C. Doubting God’s Wisdom is to embrace man’s wisdom.
II. A DOUBLE MINDED BELIEVER HAS SUBMITTED TO HIS OWN WISDOM • 1) The Natural Mind – Mind of the Flesh (Rom. 8:5-8) • 2) The Single Mind – Mind of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-8) • 3) The Double Mind – Mind of Doubting (James 1:8) • A. A double minded believer means that two lives are being lived – God’s and his/her own. • 1. Doubts come in form of thoughts that are in opposition to the Word of God. • 2. Man’s wisdom conforms to the world’s image.
B. Satan uses double mindedness to keep believers bound by relying on their own wisdom. C. Double minded believers are “Christians” in name only, but live to the pattern of Man’s Wisdom. D. Christians can live in a secular and sacred divide where their faith has no relevance outside of church.
III. A CHRIST CENTERED MIND MEANS THERE IS ONLY ONE LIFE BEING LIVED HERE – GOD’S 1. The believer is the temple of God. (I Cor. 3:16) 2. The believer must develop a close relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 15) 3. Our minds must be devoted to Christ wherever we go. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Mark 12:30) 4. Resolve to know nothing but Christ (I Cor. 2:1-2)
The Reflection of Faith A Study of the Book of James Sermon #4 – The Eyes of God James 1:9-12
Principle #1: No matter what the present financial and material circumstances are, the believer is to rejoice in his/her exalted position before God. Jeremiah 9:23-24, Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
In the eyes of this world, anyone who would serve Jesus Christ is both foolish and stupid. • In the eyes of God, anyone who would serve Jesus Christ is both wise and blessed.
Principle #2: No matter what the present financial and material circumstances are, the believer is to walk in humility before God and man. • In the eyes of this world, attaining riches is the means to glorify self. • In the eyes of God, being rich towards Him is a means to glorifying God.
Principle #3: The pursuit of wealth and luxury is a vain desire that has no value in God’s Kingdom. • I Timothy 6:9-10, But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.
1. The pursuit of wealth will eclipse the importance of pursuing godly character. 2. The pursuit of wealth will become the identity of the soul, rather than the pursuit of identifying with Jesus. 3. The pursuit of wealth places trust in man’s wisdom, rather than trusting in God’s provision and faithfulness. 4. The pursuit of wealth will destroy life, where the pursuit of the Lord gives an abundant life.
In the eyes of this world, the pursuit of wealth is great gain. • In the eyes of God, contentment with what one has is great gain.
Principle #4: Enduring trails keeps the believer focused on eternal blessing that only faith can see. • In the eyes of this world, what is most important is the accumulation of possessions and finding happiness. • In the eyes of God, what is most important is spiritual maturity in preparation to stand before Jesus Christ.
Principle #5: The pursuit of living for Christ is a pathway that leads to dignity and honor. • In the eyes of this world, a worthwhile pursuit is for fame and fortune for a moment in time. • In the eyes of God, those that pursue Christ Jesus will have dignity and honor for eternity.
Principle #6: The allotted heavenly inheritance of the saints is a promise from God. • In the eyes of this world, the bigger the square footage of the house the better. • In the eyes of God, the believer is to seek a city whose builder is God.
Principle #7: Love for Jesus Christ will keep our hearts faithfully following him • In the eyes of this world, money is god. • In the eyes of God, Jesus is God.
The Reflection of Faith A Study of the Book of James Sermon #5 – The Downward Path or the Upward Path, Part I James 1:13-18
I. YIELDING TO TEMPTATON IS FOLLOWING A DOWNWARD PATH AWAY FROM GOD WHERE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION AWAIT (v. 13-15). A. Where does temptation come from? B. Who is being tempted? C. How does temptation work? D. What are the consequences of falling into temptation?
A. Where does temptation come from? (v.13) 1. Temptation does not originate with God 2. Temptation originates within evil. The first entity of evil that brings temptation is Satan and his demons. Matthew 4:1-3 (NKJV), Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil….Now when the tempter came to Him [Jesus], he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” I Thessalonians 3:5 (NKJV), For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, least by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
The second entity of evil that brings temptation is the sinful nature that resides in every person. The source of temptation often comes from within his own heart. (v. 14, But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires (NASB: “lusts” and enticed.) Man longs for what is forbidden.
B. Who is being tempted? 1. Jesus Christ was the object of temptation. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV), For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. 2. Humanity is the object of temptation.
C. How does temptation work? Psychosocial stressors • Negativism • Codependency • Disillusionment with others • Inadequate relational and intimacy skills • Unresolved conflicts • Blaming of or by others
Poor time management • Devaluation/rejection • Irresponsible or over-responsible behavior patterns. • Passivity • Phobias • Parenting • Unfavorable comparisons with others. • Sexual dysfunctions
Stress-enhancing values • Physical or emotional abuse • Perfectionism • Unrealistic expectations of others or of one’s self. • Death • Divorce • Stimulus overload • Variety of addictive conditions • Neurotic and psychotic conditions that may be triggers, amplifiers or faulty coping responses to stress • (Ellison, 87) • Source: Ellison, Craig. From Stress To Well-Being: Counseling to Overcome Stress. Ed. Gary R. Collins. Wheaton: Word. 1994
Spiritual stressors • Temptations – the invitation and impulse to choose contrary to God’s laws for living • Trials – some form of suffering or persecution related to one’s faith commitment • Demonization – attempts by satanic forces to influence and control the choices and lives of people. • Persistent turmoil over whether one is truly saved (Ellison, 87) • Source: Ellison, Craig. From Stress To Well-Being: Counseling to Overcome Stress. Ed. Gary R. Collins. Wheaton: Word. 1994
When a person is at their greatest stress point, it is here that Satan attempts to intensify temptation before our eyes and heart. Our sinful nature, or the false-self, deceives us in thinking that we have everything under control.
Temptation causes us to focus on the immediate. Satan and the False-self attempt to convince us to listen to our physical sense. Satan and the False-self are offered quick fixes to solve stress from pain and suffering.
D. What are the consequences of falling into temptation? (v. 14 -15) 1. Sin 2. Death or destruction. Proverbs 11:19, the truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death. Proverbs 14:12,There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Satan’s two primary weapons of temptation • Deception (Jn. 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:140) • Condemnation (Rev. 12:10)
3. Personal characteristics that make us prone to yielding to temptation: • Harmful and sinful Habits • Isolation • Pain avoidance • Deception • Immediacy
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1