The Humility of Heavenly Wisdom

The Humility of Heavenly Wisdom

Scripture: James 4:10, Deuteronomy 4:6, Psalms 24:3-6
Date: 11/22/2014  Lesson: 8
"Only a person humble, meek, and aware of his or her utter need and dependency is open to grace, to the unmerited favor bestowed upon those who are, in every way, unworthy."

Culture And The Christian (PB) by Joe Crews

Culture And The Christian (PB) by Joe Crews
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Good evening friends. Welcome, again, to Sabbath school study hour. We'd like to welcome you. Thank you for joining us as we continue our study in the book of James. Before we get started, though, we want to invite God's presence to be with us and the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and our minds in this very important study.

So join us now as we begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you for the opportunity to study Your Word together. We invite the Holy Spirit to come and lead our hearts and our minds. This is an important subject so we ask, in a special way, for your presence to be with us. In Jesus' Name, amen.

I'd also like to welcome our local audience here - our Granite Bay church members - this is our Tuesday evening prayer meeting. And thank you for joining us as we're in transition to our new church location and we're here at the Amazing Facts studio, studying our Sabbath school quarterly on the book of James. For those of you who are joining us, if you'd like to follow along with this quarter's study, you can go to the Amazing Facts website or the Granite Bay church website - granitebaysda.org - and you can click on the link that says 'Sabbath school' and you can download the lesson and you can follow along with us. We also have a free offer that we'd like to make available to you, 'compromise, conformity, and courage' - a book written by Pastor Doug Batchelor. If you call our resource number - 866-788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #774.

Again, that number is -788-3966 or 866-study-more and ask for the book 'compromise, conformity, and courage' or offer #774. We'll be happy to send that to you and that goes along with our study for today. So Pastor Doug, with that, we'll invite you to come forward and you will lead out in our study this evening. Thank you Pastor Ross and good evening everybody. It's evening here.

Good morning to many of our class because a lot of people watch these programs in the morning and - then for that matter, all over the world it's at different hours. We're glad you're joining us for our Sabbath school study time. And we're continuing in our study in the book of James and we have a memory verse. The lesson is James - it's lesson #8 and it's - the memory verse is James 4:10 and it's - well, I'll let you all say it with me. You ready? If you've got your lesson open or your Bibles open, here we go.

James 4:10, "humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up." That's right. Some of you it says, 'he will exalt you.' King James/new king James it says, 'he will lift you up.' This lesson is titled 'humility' - 'the humility of heaven' - let me say that again. This lesson is titled 'the humility of heavenly wisdom.' And we're going to have some of you participate in just a moment - in helping us read along. You know, in preparation for this lesson I'm actually, you know, just even teaching and preaching it blesses me because in studying to talk to others, it's not as though I'm one who has arrived. I'm convicted often by the things I prepare in the study time and this lesson that's dealing with pride and humility - I'd read it years before, there's a book that's somewhat of a classic called 'mere Christianity' by c.

s. Lewis and he's got a chapter in there called 'the great sin' and in that chapter, where he deals with the great sin, it's talking about pride. I'll read you one little excerpt from that, "according to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all of that are mere flea bites in comparison. It was through pride the devil became the devil.

Pride leads to every other vice. It is complete anti-God state of mind - it is the complete anti-God state of mind." And, you know, as I was pondering that and considering the lesson, it really is the foundation of just about every other sin because pride really leads to the heart of selfishness. Pride is what turned satan into a devil - or lucifer, I should say, into a devil. He was a good angel. And I don't know if it was John knox - I forget which one of the reformers it was that said, 'you're never more like the devil than when you're proud.

' And you're never more like Jesus than when you're humble because they represent the two polar opposites. Jesus was - he says, 'come unto me...for I am meek and lowly.' Jesus was the exhibit a of humility and so, in this lesson and in a number of places in the book of James he appeals for us to model the characteristics of Christ, which is that of humility. Now, just to start out, I thought it'd be good to look at some of the examples in the Bible that illustrate this point of how dangerous pride is. When Christ first began teaching, in Matthew chapter 5, he talks about the scribes and the pharisees, but it's not restricted to them - it happens in churches all the time, that pray to be seen of men. You pray long prayers thinking that you're going to impress people with how holy you are.

What is the root motive for doing that? Pride. He said that they fast and disfigure their faces so that they look holy and tell everybody they're fasting. What is the motive behind that? Pride. It's, you know, trying to appear religious - this is where it's so dangerous - it's religious pride. And he said that - 'and you blow the trumpet before you make a donation' - you want to make sure that they name a pew or a window or a brick after you because of your donation.

What's at the heart of that? Jesus said, 'when you gift, don't let your - when you give, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does. That would be humility, when you quietly give things away. I read about this billionaire - it was one of the Amazing Facts during our program. I can't remember his name right now, but he had over a billion dollars and he gave away all of it but a couple hundred million dollars and he did it quietly. Without any fanfare, he would secretly go into these institutions - he'd write letters - he'd say, 'here's what I hope you can use this for' - and he just - he said, 'my goal is, I want to provide for my family - what they're going to need - because I want to die without anything left.

' And it was - it's just amazing that he just gave away his wealth and he wanted nobody to know. Matter of fact, for the longest time, people were wondering, 'where's all this money coming from for these projects?' And he would fly coach fare - billionaire - ride the bus and the train. Didn't own a car. Didn't own a home. It's quite a - it's quite a story and - but he didn't want any credit for doing that.

Religious pride - and since we're principally talking to people that are studying a Sabbath school lesson, I thought that's an important context for this. It's just as deadly as any other kind of pride. You know, you see a football player get a touchdown. He does his victory dance. What's behind that? He's stomping around, throwing the ball, and it's just, you know, it's an act of humility? No, it's pride.

But do we have that sometimes, even in the church? Make a donation, blow the trumpet. Say a long prayer, tell everyone we're fasting. Why did the religious leaders crucify Jesus? Because of pride and envy. Even pilate said - the Bible says - he knew that it was for envy that they had brought him to pilate. Envy is really a - it's fallout from pride - being jealous that somebody else is getting the credit that you want.

So pride is really striking at the heart. You can even think of some of the good people in the Bible - good Kings - king uzziah. You read about the history of uzziah, he's the second-longest reigning king in Judea - actually, for all of Israel. I think he reigned fifty-two years. That's a long reign.

Manasseh is the only one that reigned longer. I think that was fifty-five years. Uzziah - good king - he built - the Lord was with him - matter of fact, the record of uzziah says he walked in the commandments according to David, his father - or like David his father. But one day, I don't know what came over him, you know, I guess they say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and when you're king and everyone tells you how wonderful you are because they want favors, it can start to - you can start believing it after awhile. And something possessed him and one day uzziah thought, you know, how come I can't go into the holy place and burn incense like a priest? All of these other pagan nations around me, the Kings also get to act as a priest.

Why don't I get to act like a priest?' - He said - 'I should be a' - who knows what he was thinking? But he took a golden censor in his hand, he threw some incense on the coals and he went in and started to wave it back and forth like a priest. All the priests saw what was happening and like eighty priests got together and they all confronted him and they said, 'your majesty, this is not appropriate. The Scriptures say it is only for The Sons of aaron to do this.' He said, 'I'm the King. I can do what I want.' And they said, 'no.' And he got angry. Why did he get angry? Pride was offended.

He wanted a position above and as he began to argue and say, 'I've got my rights and I should be able to do this' - and who knows what he said? It just says he became enraged. Leprosy broke out on his forehead right at that very moment and it stayed with him until the day he died. What is leprosy a type of in the Bible? Sin. And you're never more like the devil than when you're proud. They chased him out of the sanctuary because he was unclean and he had to finish out his reign living in isolation.

What about king hezekiah? Good king. Who here wouldn't want hezekiah? I mean, he prayed and God slew a whole army. Good king. He prayed and God turned the sun backwards. Didn't just stop it like he did for Joshua, it went backwards.

He was a good king. But when the ambassadors came from Babylon and he said, 'now where are you guys from? Babylon? Wow.' That was the center of learning in the world. 'From Babylon - you've come to me? To learn from me? Wow! Hey, compared to Babylon, I'm a small king. I better impress these guys.' And so instead of telling them about the God they've come to inquire about - the wonder done when the Lord turned the sun back - that's what the Bible says. Instead of talking to them about God - what a wasted missionary opportunity.

He said, 'let me show you my spices. Let me show you my armory. Let me show you my treasures. Let me show you' - and 'my, my, my, me, me, me.' And then Isaiah came and he said, 'these people came to learn about the Lord. What did they see in your house?' He said, 'well, yeah, Babylon.

I showed them everything. They were impressed. You should have seen them. Their eyes sparkled when they saw all my stuff.' And Isaiah said, 'yeah, well here's the rest of the story. Because you were just thinking about yourself' - this is a paraphrase - he said, 'the Babylonians are going to come and they're going to take all the treasures you showed them back to Babylon and they'll take up your sons and make them eunuchs in their palace.

' Daniel, shadrach, meshach and abednego - they were some of the princes of Judea that were taken off. And he was proud of his stuff. I think it was spurgeon that said, 'don't be proud of face or race or place.' - Meaning your position. But stand at the door after a sermon, when you're a pastor, and people say the nicest things. But I have also stood at the door knowing that I preached a terrible sermon and people still said nice things.

And it finally occurred to me that people are just being nice and they just don't know what else to say. You start to believe all that stuff. I think, who was it? Again, it was John knox. Someone said to him, 'pastor knox, you're the best preacher in all of scotland.' He said, 'I know, the devil tells me that all the time.' So after a year, the Bible says in Daniel chapter , verse 30, "the King spake, and said," - he's walking on his balcony overlooking a beautiful sunset glistening off the kingdom of Babylon - which was quite a kingdom - "is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the Kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the King's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, 'o king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the Kingdom is departed from thee." Just that quick he turned into just a raving animal. He dropped to his knees and began to prowl around and people wondered, 'what in the world is wrong with him?' You know, I understand - I think it was king george, during the revolutionary wary, lost his mind.

And they ended up finding it was - well, at least the historians speculate he had some kind of uric acid poisoning or something - it was a rare disease. But he ended up getting his wits back but a long time they tried to hide that the King had lost his mind - king george. And, you know, the orders that he gave his british troops were not very coherent as America, being independent today, is evidence of that. But Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and - talk about putting him out to pasture - they, literally, did. They tried to hide it - I don't know - his cabinet tried to run things for him, but for seven years they kept wondering, 'where'd he go?' How many of you heard in the news today that folks are all speculating what's wrong with the dictator of north korea just suddenly fell off the public scene for six weeks and now he appears - young guy - younger than me - a little bit heavy for his age - hobbling around with a cane and they're thinking - they're just guessing - 'maybe he's got gout.

' - They don't know what it was, but they tried to hide it because it can create instability. So they tried to hide it for Nebuchadnezzar, but what made him lose his mind? Pride. Now we're going to come back to this theme of pride later in our lesson. I just wanted to introduce that - just from bow to stern in the Bible - why did eve eat from the forbidden fruit? The devil said, 'you will' - and what did the devil want? 'Be like the most high. You will be like God.

' And yeah, so all those things. Yeah, that's another good point. The Bible says, "love not the world" - this is 1 John chapter , verse 15 - "neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of The Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of The Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God..." So the pride in the world is the antithesis of what God is. And so, when James is talking about this, he mentions pride and humility quite a bit. It must have been a problem in the church back then. I'm glad we don't have that problem in our church today. Your laugh I'll take as testimony that you know I was being facetious.

Alright, 'the meekness of wisdom.' We're going to ask you to help us with a few verses. Someone look up for me Proverbs , verse 2. Who's going to have that? You'll have that one dick - in just a moment here - and I'm going to read James 3:13. "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom." Now you notice, we're still, little by little, plodding through James and now we're just reading James 3:13 - we're breaking these things down. 'In the meekness of wisdom.

' 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' But here he's connecting meekness with wisdom. How much wiser was Nebuchadnezzar when he had an eruption of pride? Or did he lose all his wisdom? He became an animal. So pride, you know - people make a lot of rash, bad decisions when they're driven by pride. Meekness is a good starting point. Matter of fact, why don't you go ahead and read that verse for us now in Proverbs 27? "Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.

" Now if - now is it ever wrong to compliment somebody? Is it ever wrong? Well, it could be. Does the Bible talk about flattering your neighbor and spreading a net for their feet? It could be. It's not always wrong. I said, 'is it ever wrong?' Trick question, yeah. Somebody said that humility is mind over flatter.

And someone else said, 'compliments are like perfume, sniff but do not swallow.' Because - there's another one. Here - I got one metaphor after another, "many a bee has drowned in its own honey.' Have you ever heard that one? So you don't want to take these things too serious and - it's good, we should show appreciation. We should compliment, but what's the difference between a compliment and flattery? Well, sincerity - motivation. I think sometimes, when someone is flattering another person, they're wanting a favor and they're buttering a person up. They're trying to win some kind of benefit from them.

And anyway - alright, let's move along. We should - in Hebrews 13:7 - I want you to know - we just read James 3:13 - it talks about 'let him show by good conduct, that his works are done in righteousness.' Then you go to Hebrews 13:7 - that word 'conduct' in the Greek, is really talking about a life of wisdom. You know, one of the things I noticed about David - king David - he's actually the only David in the Bible so that's not easy to confuse - when he was living in the palace with Saul and he knew that Saul's temperament was very tenuous, it says, 'he conducted himself wisely.' Why did Saul want to kill David? What started - what triggered the whole thing? Do you remember? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They were coming back from a battle against the philistines and the women used to come out and meet the soldiers when they came back. And they would come out with singing and tambourines and the women were singing a song and Saul liked the first verse.

It said, 'Saul has slain his thousands' - and he took a big chestful of air and lifted his head a little notch and then they - he heard verse 2, 'and David his ten thousands.' From that moment he wanted to kill David. If they had said, 'Saul has killed his thousands and David his hundreds,' he would have been happy. But because they ascribed more victories to David than to - and what they meant was, when David killed Goliath, he sent the whole army running. They were talking about that. That did not set very well, especially with the young ladies singing.

That just right there was a tipping point for him. Why? Pride. How different was the attitude of Saul's son jonathan than his father? Jonathan said, 'David, I know God has chosen you. And even though I'm the crown prince, you're going to be king in my place.' And he said, 'I just hope that you'll not wipe out my family when I'm gone and I'll be there to help you.' And he was sincere - a humble man. And yet he had great victories in battle too.

You ever wonder sometimes, when you go through the Kings of Israel, you get a really bad, wicked king and he has a really good king as a son. And it's like josiah's father was wicked but josiah was good. And then his sons were wicked. And hezekiah was good but manasseh was wicked. Saul was wicked.

Jonathan was good. It kind of goes to show that the sons will not bear the sins for The Fathers and The Fathers for The Sons - mothers/daughters - same thing. Anyway, but Hebrews - I never got to it, sorry. Hebrews uses the same word - "remember those" - this is Hebrews 13:7 - "remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct." Alright now, we're going to have someone read Proverbs 16:19 - you'll have that katrina - just a moment, okay? Speaking about - now we're talking about the meekness of wisdom. Is wisdom different from knowledge? You know, you can have lots of knowledge and there's some people that are geniuses - they'll fall down three times on their way to the piano, but once they get there they just play like a genius.

You might be able to build a car with knowledge. It takes wisdom to know how fast to drive the car. You know what I'm saying? It's different - in Daniel 12:3, notice the use of these words, "those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." How many would agree that we're living in an age that has more knowledge? I mean, you don't have to pull them out right now, but on your smart phones you're able to access the information of the world through Google or yahoo or bing or whatever your favorite search engine happens to be. Can you imagine - just imagine trying to explain that to the apostle Peter as he climbs from his fishing boat 2,000 years ago.

Say, 'yeah, I want to show you something, Peter. Come over here. See this thing? You think it's a shiny rock. It's not. It's called a smart phone.

Let me show you what it can do.' Of course, they wouldn't have had the support network back then, so. But, you know what I'm saying? Just think about the knowledge. I've heard varying statistics that, you know, in the last twenty years the majority of knowledge of all of history can be focused in the just last twenty years and every few years it's doubling. You just think about how - but with all that knowledge, do we still have people that are just blowing each other up in different parts of the world and doing terribly violent things to total strangers? When it comes to wisdom, wisdom'll turn people to righteousness. Knowledge can just be knowing things.

And in the last days people will run to and fro. We're running to and fro faster now than we ever have in the history of man. Knowledge will increase, but not necessarily wisdom. Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. 'Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have nothing to say.

' Someone said, 'he that knows little often repeats it.' You ever read what Solomon says about the wise and the fools? I don't have time to go through all that but, of course, being foolish is something the Bible talks about a lot. Jesus said when we don't have faith we're foolish. 'O fools, slow of heart to believe, all the prophets have spoken: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' Go ahead, read with us - read that next verse for us then. "Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." And this is what James is talking about. By the way, that was Proverbs :19, "an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

" And, you know, these are just some of the - all through Proverbs it talks about having a humble spirit. Now how humble was Solomon? It depends upon what age of his life you're talking about. When Solomon was young, what was his prayer? 'Lord, I'm just a child. I don't know how to go out or come in and here you've made me ruler of this people that's like the sand of the sea. I don't know what I'm doing.

' And because he had a humble heart he said, 'Lord, please give me understanding that I can know the difference between good and evil.' Because he had a humble attitude, God answered his prayer and he gave him all the things that proud people pray for. He gave him riches and glory and all of that. But later in his life, when a prophet came to him and told him he was sinning because he was beginning to let his pagan wives manipulate him and he was putting idols in the temple of the Lord. When the prophet confronted him, Solomon wanted to punish the prophet. His whole attitude changed.

He became proud. His pride was offended. Can you think of other stories in the Bible where a prophet comes to tell the King the truth and the King's pride is offended - he wants to take it out on the prophet? How about jeroboam? You remember when the prophet from judah - it doesn't tell us his name - came to rebuke him for putting up idols - those golden calves - and the King said, 'seize him!' - What happened to his arm? Froze - he couldn't pull it back. It just locked up. And then he said to the prophet, 'please, pray for me.

' His pride was offended that this prophet would have the audacity to tell him the truth in the name of the Lord. And it kind of humbled him them. Do you remember, in the Bible, when micaiah was a prophet? He went and he talked to ahab and jehoshaphat and he said to ahab, 'you're going to die in battle if you go fight at ramoth gilead, because of what you've done to the prophets of God.' Ahab said, 'put him in jail and feed him with the bread of affliction and the water of affliction until I come back in peace.' Why? Pride was offended. Have you ever been offended when somebody told you the truth? You ever have someone say something to you and then they say they're just kidding? Usually they're not kidding when they say that. Isn't that true? And when someone says, 'it's not the money.

' It's usually the money. 'This has nothing to do with the money.' That's not always true, but often it can be true. Well, we're getting more than we paid for now. Let's get back into the lesson. Someone said once, 'wisdom is knowing what to do next.

Skill is knowing how to do it. - You might even say knowledge is knowing how to do it - 'and virtue is doing it.' Alright, let's go to 'two kinds of wisdom.' James 3:15 and 16 and someone's going to be reading Colossians 3:1 and 2 - and who's got that verse next? Oh, okay, I recognize that young lady. Alright, James 3, let's read that. "This wisdom does not descend from above," - he's talking about the wisdom of the world - "but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

" Have you ever heard stories about a church that split? Two different church groups form - I'm not talking about a church plant, I'm talking about a church split. Do you understand the difference? What usually is at the foundation of a church split? Now God has taken some church splits and worked it for good but, you know, more times that not there are two warring factions that are not being led by the Spirit but they're being led by the flesh. In other words, they're just arguing among themselves over some - it may have been architectural plans - I mention that because I know one church, in particular, that when it came to the architectural plans people were so entrenched they had a fight and they split and they ended up with two churches because of that. Some it could be a decorating committee. Do you know what often causes church splits? Nominating committee.

Why do you think? Someone is passed up for a position or they're replaced and they become upset. They start - they get a group together and they say, 'oh, this leadership here, they don't recognize real talent.' Or they may not say it that way. And then they have a breakaway. But what's at the heart of that? Spirit of Christ? Me, me, me. Yeah.

I'm so glad Jesus' disciples never had problems with that. What were the disciples arguing about even up until just before the last supper? Yeah, they - well, James and John came, with the help of a good Jewish mother that went to Jesus and said, 'you know, these sons of mine,' - you know, she was actually a distant relative of Jesus through mary so she was asking for, you know, family favor - 'blood is thicker than water, you know. 'They really ought to be sitting on your right and your left hand.' And then later they argued on the road which of them was the greatest. Now James and John, they were so mad at James and John when that happened. Why do you think the disciples were mad at James and John? Because they thought of it first.

They thought of asking that - they were all thinking it but they thought, 'they actually had the audacity to ask and they got their mother to do it for them.' 'Who could be more qualified than my sons?' Doesn't every mother feel that way? Talking about the disciples. Doesn't that encourage you though? That if Jesus' disciples, that ended up turning the world upside down with the holy spirit, if they had problems with pride - when we look in our hearts and in our mirrors - and I look in the mirror and it lends to humility but - but you know what I'm talking about - and we see - we see these same things in our own hearts. We think, 'how am I ever going to make it? You think, well, Jesus was dealing with the same substance in the disciples. Paul, barnabas - good friends - was there a little church split among them? Mark - John Mark - on one of their missionary endeavors, he just got discouraged and just gave - threw in the towel and walked away and left them. And they really needed his help and then later when they were going to go on another missionary excursion, barnabas said, 'let's bring Mark with us.

' Paul said, 'not on your life. You forgot what happened last time? No, this isn't baseball - three strikes and you're out.' He said, 'once you're out.' Barnabas said, 'give him another chance.' He said, 'no, we can't afford to risk him just walking out on us again and we're going to teach him a lesson.' Who knows, but I bet they said something like that. And it says the contention was so great between them - I'm sure pride had nothing to do with it. Which of them was right? - That they split? And they ended up with two missionary groups. Barnabas went with John Mark - by the way, barnabas was evidently right because later in Paul's writings he said, 'send Mark to me.

He's profitable for me in the Gospel.' But - and then silas went with Paul. So you ended up with two missionary groups. God worked things together for good, but I don't think he wanted them to have that kind of contention. I think there's a lot of, sometimes, unnecessary contention in families. Sometimes in families people say things with a little bit of a cutting edge on their words - little sarcasm - a little bit of a bite.

Why? Someone's been offended and they're just letting you know with their verbiage. 'Well, I can be sharp too.' And all kinds of conflicts come into families because of what? 'I have not been appreciated the way I think I should be appreciated.' 'Man, here he goes on a business trip and while he's gone I fill his car with gas and I wash it.' Every time you leave. 'And he doesn't say anything to thank me.' I wasn't thinking of anyone in particular. Every time you leave. But sometimes those things happen where, you know, we feel like we're not appreciated or we forget to appreciate and people's feelings are hurt.

And - I don't think about us, I was just thinking - now you're going to read your Scripture. Are you ready? Colossians 3:1 and 2, "if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." Now this is a corollary of the verse that we just read in James where it said, 'this wisdom does not - this wisdom does not descend from above' - talking about the sensual wisdom of the world. There's two kinds of wisdom: there's a Godly wisdom and there's a worldly wisdom. And that's what, also, Paul is talking about.

He says, 'if you've been raised with Christ, seek those things that are above.' You know, most of the time, in our spirit, we can just tell. Right now we're - by the time this program airs it might be over, but we're in the midst of election season and I believe everyone should be patriotic. It's good to vote. Vote your conscience. But let's face it, sometimes you almost have to hold your nose and vote and when you listen to the ads that are constantly lambasting each other and - and you wonder and - boy, but the wisdom that goes into some of the political jostling - I mean, they get the best minds in the world.

Is that divine wisdom or is it worldly wisdom? Are they clever, shrewd, sharp, evil? All at the same time. So there's an earthly wisdom and then there's a heavenly wisdom. You know, to be a good peacemaker, it takes wisdom, but it's a different kind of wisdom that's from above. This is where James is highlighting. Jesus talks about this wisdom that comes from above.

John 3 - we all know this - John :3 - I'll read through verse 7. This is when nicodemus came to Christ. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.' Nicodemus said to him, 'how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?'" - Of course there's a little sarcasm there - "Jesus answered, 'most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'you must be born again.

'" I've heard it said before and I've probably repeated it several times, 'if you're only born once you will die twice - second death. If you're born twice, you only die once.' You might not die at all if you're alive when Jesus comes, right? You need to be born again. The second birth, which brings about the Spiritual life in the soul. And this is that wisdom that is from above that Jesus talks about. And where does the wisdom come from? From the fear of the Lord.

The Bible also tells us that comes from the word of the Lord. Now I'm jumping back to Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 4, verses 5 and 6, Moses - this is the last sermon of Moses, is what Deuteronomy is. He says, "surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statues, and say, 'surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

'" Where does this wisdom come from? It says, 'when you follow the statutes that I've given you even other nations will say this is a wise and understanding people.' Can I just, since we're talking about politics, I'll just put in my two cents - and it's just happening so fast. While I believe America was founded with the principle of separation of church and state - meaning that it was the intention of the founders that there was never to be a denomination or church, like they had in england, that ran the state - or like they had in rome. It was never intended by the founders - you can read their language - to mean that our nation was not to be governed by biblical morals. That's right. And because people have taken that too far, now it seems like they're changing everything.

We were once - I'm still not planning on moving - but we were once a nation that all the other nations wanted to be like because it said, 'where do you find such a wise nation?' Because biblical principles were the foundation of our government. And, you know, these were the principles that - in providence Rhode Island - I started with. When - was it roger williams? He said, 'we are to follow the last six commandments in our government.' Rather, I'm sorry - yeah, beginning with 'honor your father and your mother' - he says, 'no country can survive that does not recognize the last six commandments. We will let every man decide for himself how to apply the first four. We will not tell you what God to worship.

We will not tell you when to worship him. We will not tell you who he is. Everyone is free to determine that. But you cannot survive civilly if you don't respect the last six. When the government takes away parental rights, when we stop respecting the institution of marriage or say that marriage can be between any number of people of any gender or comingle it any way, that's - then you stop being that nation that other nations will look at and say, 'what a wise and understanding people.

' And that's a real concern of mine because I just - it seems like some of these fundamental principles that were the foundation of the country - this divine wisdom that we once had - is just like falling like dominoes. And a country can not long survive that does that. Anyway, alright, getting back to - now I'm off my soapbox, but it felt good. Someone's going to read Galatians 5:17 - just a minute - would that be you, candace, since you're holding the mic? Okay, I'm going to read first, James 4:1, "where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?" Now when he says 'desire for pleasures' - he's not just talking about central desires, he's talking about just the selfish earthly desires and that could be pride, it could be attention. And it's just, you know, our - our selfish - selfishness.

And these are all so - you've got two fruits that it talks about there in Galatians and you've got the fruits of the flesh and the fruits of the spirit and they're just - they're opposites from each other and they - it's like there's that war. Paul talks about the war between the Spirit and the flesh. We are not to be carnally minded, we are to be spiritually minded. That's Romans chapter 8 - talks about that. Alright, go ahead, read for us Galatians 5:17.

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." So he recognized that there is this battle between these two forces that we all have inside, between the Spirit and the flesh. I feel it every day. Unless I consciously pray for God's Spirit and the Spirit is present to guide me in my thinking, my thinking will be selfish. It's just like a compass needle. You can move a compass needle but it takes an outside force.

Let to itself it's going to point to the same direction every time. And unless we have the holy spirit giving us the mind of Christ, we will naturally interpret everything that happens around us in a selfish way. It is not normal for a baby to be loving. Have you noticed that babies are born - they're cute. God makes them cute because if they weren't cute, they wouldn't last long.

They're cute but they are extremely selfish, right? And you have to teach them to love. It comes more naturally for some than others. If you overindulge them, you end up with a selfish monster. That's right, they think the whole world revolves around them. When they're little it's all about me, me, me.

I remember there's a song we sang in cradle roll, 'Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me.' Fortunately, he also - there's another verse that says, 'he also loves people like you, you, you.' Isn't that right? That first part comes really easy for the little kids. James 4 - still reading - now we're reading James 4, verse 2 - we just read James 4, verse 1, "you lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not" - boy, how did he ever get elected to office in the church, talking to members like that? - "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know" - now was he saying that everybody in the church was committing adultery? Or do you think that he was also talking about what was happening on the inside? The pure in heart will see God. Adultery, Jesus made it clear, is not just the act, it can be the attitude. He said, and - one more thing, while we're on that subject - adultery in the Hebrew mind, they remember the book of Hosea. There's a spiritual adultery, not just thinking it carnally, but against God, when we're - when a Christian is thinking, 'how much do I have to give up to get into heaven? How much of the world can I still have and manage to squeeze in the gates? That is thinking like the world.

That's not motivated by love for God. That's really a kind of spiritual adultery. Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife, 'can we negotiate a little bit?' There you're standing before the pastor. You're about to get married. Let's put it in that context.

And you say - pastor comes to the part where he says, 'forsaking all others, keep yourself solely unto him or her. 'Wait can I just go on a couple of dates a month with the old girlfriend? Just a date - just dinner.' When you start thinking like that, would the bride-to-be say, 'wait a second now, I might have the wrong guy?' - Wouldn't you? You'd think something is wrong in the heart. And so when we say, 'Lord, you know, I want to go to heaven but I really like the devil too. I really like the world too.' That's the kind of adultery that, I think, James is talking about here. Alright, "do you not know friendship with the world" - that's what he's talking about - "is enmity with God?" Where do you see that word 'enmity?' Genesis 3 - is it verse 15? Yeah, where it says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman.

" The woman is a symbol there of the church, right? "Between thy seed and her seed." And you've got the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. That enmity means polar opposites - there's a resistance. You ever trying and push the same end of two magnets together and they just - pffft - that's what's going on between these forces of light and darkness - good and evil - in the world. "Whoever wants to be the friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Wow, I read that and I don't know about you - I mean, God so loved the world he wants to save the people of the world. But sometimes we love the stuff in the world.

And we want to be as comfortable as we can be in this world and still get into heaven, right? We want to be as liked as we can be in this world and still get into heaven. But friendship with the world, Jesus said, 'woe unto you when all men speak well of you.' And so it's really hard to live a Godly life and please everybody. Usually when you do that you'll end up pleasing nobody. Alright, let's go - talking about friendship with the world, and I just read that verse in James - that's under that section there. Jeremiah makes an interesting statement in chapter 2, verse 2, "go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, 'thus says the Lord: 'I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.

'" You know what he's almost saying? It sounds like Revelation, where Jesus said to the church of ephesus - who knows where I'm going? 'You've lost your first love.' God is saying to Israel, 'you know, before we came into the promised land' - that generation that entered the promised land, they were pretty faithful, for the most part, and so 'you were willing to follow me through the desert and you had that first love. You were rejoicing when I brought you out of Egypt.' He said, 'I don't know what happened but now it's like, 'oh, jehovah? We still have to serve jehovah?' But that was the selfishness in their hearts. Alright, let's go under - I'm looking at the clock - I want to try and get a number of other thoughts in here before we run out of time - still dealing with pride and humility - James 4:7. Now this is just one of the great verses. You - you should have, at least part of this, memorized.

"Therefore, submit to God" - here's a formula for success right here - "submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." That right there should be underlined. Every time you draw near to God, whether it's coming to a prayer meeting, when you go to church, you go to an evangelistic meeting, when you go in your closet and you read your Bible - or your office or wherever it happens to be, and you are drawing near to God, God always sees you drawing near and, like The Father of the prodigal, as soon as he saw his son coming home, he ran to meet him. When God sees us making an effort to draw near to him, he will respond - he loves us. He's waiting for us to reach out to him.

You reach out to him, he reaches out to you. What a great promise. 'Draw near to God, he'll draw near' - you notice it says 'resist the devil, he'll flee from you.' It might not be first resistance or second resistance, you keep resisting - Jesus had three temptations and then the devil left him, right? So you might get a little blitzkrieg of temptation that comes - hold firm. He gets tired. The devil has no patience.

He gets tired and he goes and regroups. 'Resist the devil and he'll flee from you.' What great promises - "cleanse your hands, you sinners" cleanse them from what? Sin? - "Purify your hearts, you double-minded." - Any of you ever feel double minded? You love the Lord but you love yourself and you love the world but you love the church. And we all feel a little schizophrenic, don't we? If you're honest with me, you're here - the very fact you're here is evidence of your being a little spiritually bipolar - maybe I shouldn't say it that way - because we were all lost in the world but we weren't satisfied and we said, 'I want the Lord.' But you probably also still feel the tug of the world because there's still a devil. If you feel no tug then something's wrong - of the world. Because being a Christian, you are going against the wind.

Being a Christian you're swimming against the current and you're going to meet that resistance. You're going to feel double minded. "Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves" - aren't you glad the verse doesn't end that way? It just says, "let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." Wow, doesn't the Bible say we should have joy? This is kind of talking about repentance - that there needs to be a humbling of yourself - "humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up." He doesn't leave you in the clouds. He doesn't leave you in the gloom.

He says, 'don't be joyful about being lost. Humble yourself about your sins. Repent of your sins. Turn from your sins and then God'll lift you up and give you the real joy. It's not the joy that Solomon talks about when people go to the house of feasting instead of the house of mourning.

He says, 'you're better off in the house of mourning than the house of worldly feasting' - because people forget. There, again, you have the word 'humble.' 'Blessed are the meek for' - what? - 'They'll inherit' - matter of fact, who has psalm 37:11? I'm going to have you read that in just a minute. Matter of fact - you guys - I'll let them get ready. I want you to read that next because of the verse I just quoted. You ready for that? Hold.

Hold. Just about ready. Thumbs up. Alright, go ahead. "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

" So when Jesus says, in Matthew, 'blessed are the meek for they'll inherit the earth,' who is he quoting? He's quoting from David, assuming this is a psalm of David. Ten percent of everything Jesus said was quoting the old testament. When the - when Jesus said, 'man will not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' Do you know that part of that verse says that God allowed you to go into the wilderness that he might humble you and teach you that man does not live by bread alone but' - by even that very verse, Jesus quoted to the devil. You know, I read stories in the Bible about pride and humility and I'm amazed at how powerful humility is, but humility is something you must choose. The Bible says 'you humble yourself.

' When God forces a person - you can't force a person really, to be humble. God can make a person go through a humiliating experience, but you still don't have to be humble. I've seen people that have just been so embarrassed, but instead of humbling themselves, they just harden their hearts. Here's from testimonies 9, verse - good reason to practice the things James was talking about, "if we would humble ourselves before the Lord and be kind and courteous and tender hearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one." If we would humble ourselves before the Lord. 'If my people, who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray and seek my face" - draw near to me, I'll draw near to you - "turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven.

I will forgive their sin." - That was a pre-requisite for forgiveness, humble yourself and he will lift you up. 'Cleanse your hands, you sinners.' Going back to James, "I will forgive their sin and heal their land." God can't forgive and heal us until we humble ourselves. In the Bible, you can even find wicked Kings, like ahab - after ahab killed naboth - or actually his wife did the dirty work but he was an accomplice - and Elijah confronted him. Ahab realized that Elijah was right and he humbled himself. This is ahab that had done all kinds of terrible things.

They said he was a terrible king. Listen to what the Bible says - God is speaking, he's talking to Elijah - God says, "see how ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring the calamity in his days, but in his son's days." Because he humbled himself. Chronicles 32:26, "then hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of hezekiah." Because he humbled himself. Chronicles 12:6, "so the leaders of Israel and the King humbled themselves; and they said, 'the Lord is righteous.' Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to shemaiah saying, 'they have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance.'" Wow, that's a powerful lesson, don't you think? We need to humble ourselves and I just read this and as I went through the study - no, there's much more - let me read you one more thing and we'll close with this. "The evil that led to Peter's fall, that shut the pharisee out from communion with God, is proving the ruin of thousands today.

There is nothing so offensive to God, nothing so dangerous to the human soul as pride and self-sufficiency. Of all sins, it is the most hopeless and incurable." That's from 'Christ's object lessons' page 154. You know, if there's the single thing we should pray for, it's the mind of Christ. Jesus, who laid aside his throne, the one who humbled himself the most is going to be exalted the most. That's Jesus - made himself of no reputation but took upon himself the form of a servant - and that's the Spirit and mind that we all need.

Don't forget we have a free offer and it's that book called 'compromise, conformity, and courage' and we'll send it to you just for asking. Call 866-788-3966 - that's -study-more. We'll send you this free book and make sure that you read it and then show it to your friends. God bless you, friends, until we study again next week. Every day we make hundreds of decisions.

Sometimes these choices are mundane - what will you have for breakfast? Or what will you wear for work? But sometimes these decisions can have an eternal impact, like when you set up an estate plan that supports God's work. We need to move quickly, friends, to ensure as many souls as possible have the opportunity to make decisions for Christ. And when you choose to include your evangelism values in your estate plan today, Amazing Facts can do even more to expand God's kingdom through your faithful stewardship. I'd like to offer you a free gift entitled, 'provide and protect' which is a tremendous resource telling about life and death decisions connected with your estate plan. Contact our planned giving department at 800-436-2695 or visit 'enduringlegacy.org' and you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your house is in order.

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