The General Epistle of James (Part 4)

vs. 5-8. A. Having encouraged the believers to expect and bear patiently the pressures that might challenge their stedfastness of faith, James points them to wisdom. 1. wisdom: Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, esp. in practical affairs. 2. Obviously, strength is needed to bear something. NEH 4:10; ROM 15:1. 3. Wisdom accords with and increases strength. PRO 24:5; ECC 7:19. 4. Those who are filled with God's wisdom are thus “...Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (COL 1:9-11). 5. The wicked rich who might well be clinging to old notions that material wealth is a security against trouble were missing the reality. JAM 5:1-6 c/w PSA 73:3-12. a. The rich think their wealth is their defence. PRO 18:11. b. They are seldom short of “friends.” PRO 14:20. c. They can buy judgment. MIC 3:8-12. James 8-24-14 Page 7 d. They can buy the best of anything and hire the best for anything. e. But their riches profit not in the day of wrath. PRO 11:4 c/w 2CH 16:12. (1) How many wealthy people would have given their entire fortune for deliverance from sickness or death? (2) If all a man has is material wealth in such times, he has not much. f. Money is a defence but it pales in comparison to wisdom. ECC 7:12; PRO 16:16. g. How many have had wealth but no wisdom?! It is well said that a fool and his money are soon parted. PRO 20:21; 13:11. 6. Wisdom, not wealth, brings life to its fullest potential. PRO 4:7-13. a. As the believer grows in God's wisdom, he sees the bigger picture of the divers temptations of this world into which he falls: the patient perfecting of his faith to be rewarded at Christ's coming. 1PE 1:7. b. He sees Jesus Christ “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (COL 3:3) as the supreme model of living godly, suffering patiently and winning. c. He learns to “Rejoice in the Lord alway...” (PHIL 4:4) and so builds strength since “...the joy of the LORD is your strength” (NEH 8:10). d. He is increasingly able to be a good example to the less wise, harmlessly. JAM 3:13; MAT 10:16. e. It is the faithful and wise servant that excels. MAT 24:45. B. Mind some observations about v. 5. 1. Some believers may lack wisdom but it is not necessarily an irremediable condition. 2. There is a resource of wisdom available: God. JAM 1:17. a. God has recorded this wisdom in the Scriptures. PSA 19:7. b. The Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation. 2TI 3:15. 3. God is ready and willing to give this wisdom indiscriminately and liberally (bountifully, freely, generously). 1KI 3:5-13 c/w PSA 84:11; PSA 81:10. 4. This wisdom is given upon asking, a conditional giving. MAT 7:7 c/w JAM 4:2. 5. God is not going to be upset because you have had to ask for wisdom. JER 33:2-3. 6. This wisdom SHALL be given because God is faithful (JAM 1:17) but: a. there are qualifications. vs. 6-8. b. it is not implied that it happens all at once. PRO 4:18. 7. When under pressure, pray for wisdom, get into God's word and hear it preached. a. You will find the words of comfort and hope you need to bear up under trial. (1) Maybe you have suffered a great injustice for doing good but you remember how Joseph held faithful until God exalted him. GEN 45:5-8 c/w ISA 66:5. (2) Perhaps God allowed a tragedy in your life but you remember Job's resolve under pressure to trust God and he was eventually exalted. JOB 13:15; JOB 42:12 c/w JAM 5:11. b. The Lord Jesus in His agonies clung to God's words and commended His spirit in trust to the Father. ACT 2:25-28; LUK 23:46. 8. This heavenly wisdom consists of elements that make for a settled soul and a robust church. JAM 3:17. C. Only those who ask in faith without any wavering will receive this wisdom. vs. 6-8 c/w MAR 11:23-24; 1JO 5:14-15. 1. If one does not believe in God's existence, he is worse off than a devil (JAM 2:19) and wasting his time. HEB 11:6. a. Creation, revelation, reason and experience confirm God's existence. ROM 1:18-20. James 8-24-14 Page 8 b. If you are weak in the knowledge of the proofs of God's existence, this does not mean that you are denying His existence. Make inquiry of someone who knows these proofs and familiarize yourself with them. 2. waverer: One who wavers; one who is undecided or vacillates in opinion or choice; one who falters in allegiance.... a. The Greek underlying “nothing wavering” (v. 6) is translated “doubting nothing” in ACT 10:20. b. Doubting is the antithesis of believing. ROM 14:22-23. c. When Israel out of fear and self-interest doubted that God would honor His promise to give them Canaan, they were charged with unbelief and despising the reward. PSA 106:24. (1) If you doubt that God is going to give you wisdom according to His promise when you ask and study, you are essentially despising the reward of wisdom. (2) Don't then be surprised if wisdom eludes you (PRO 14:6 c/w 2TI 3:7): “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (v. 7). (3) Don't then be surprised if you do not process a trial of faith correctly and so abandon the faith under pressure. MAT 13:20-21. 3. The waverer is described as a “...double minded man...” (v. 8). a. double-minded: Having two 'minds'; undecided or wavering in mind. b. He can't decide if God is or is not, whether God will honor His promises or not, whether submission to His will is worth it or not. c. He is unlike Abraham who in the face of the impossible “...staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith...” (ROM 4:17-21). d. Underlying this condition is a heart in need of purification: there is a sin problem that needs to be addressed. JAM 4:7-8. e. The double minded man is unstable in all his ways, and the unstable man will not excel. GEN 49:4. (1) The instability will manifest itself in every facet of his Christian experience. (2) He will be as shifting as “...a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (v. 6), “...given to change...” (PRO 24:21). (3) He will not be a compass but a weathervane. EPH 4:14 c/w 2CO 11:3-4. (4) Satan beguiles unstable souls. 2PE 2:14. 4. This speaks to the importance of being established / stablished in the faith. ACT 16:5; COL 2:7; JAM 5:8. a. There come various times when we are called upon to cease from halting between two opinions. 1KI 18:21. b. establish: To render stable or firm....To confirm, settle (what is weak or wavering). c. Satan will do everything possible to con you into not trusting God to honor His word. (1) Counter those tempting doubts with “It is written...” as did Jesus. MAT 4:4. (2) “God said it; I believe it; that settles it!” d. We are to strive to be stedfast and unmoveable (1CO 15:58) in our faith in God because He is faithful that promised. HEB 10:23. e. It is in continued stedfastness that we are assured of being partakers of Christ. HEB 3:14.
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