Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 10/21/18 Wisdom for Relationships-Harvest Time – James 3:13-18
 

We have been talking about relationships and how James 3 helps us to do them right.

          -We started in v. 13 by considering what a “good life” is all about.

                   -It’s about living like Jesus.

                   -How the good deeds of humility come from wisdom.

 
          -The next week we looked at how we “harbor” selfishness in our hearts, and how

 that affects how we think, act, and speak in our relationships.

                   -James doesn’t need to list the deeds of the selfish heart because they

are our natural tongue.

-You and I don’t have to think about how to be selfish,

it just comes natural to us. 

                   -From that we “find” brokenness in our relationships.

                   -One of the best examples of that in the Bible is the family of Jacob.

                             -It’s selfishness from one end to the other and they find

disorder and evil practice in brokenness. 

 
          -Last week we studied the “wisdom from heaven” and identified all the

 characteristics that will be applied out of a pure, selfless heart.

                   “Peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit,

 impartial and sincere.”

          -James lists some of the characteristics of Godly wisdom because they are

 not natural for us.

                   -Being “full of mercy” when you hit me in the face just doesn’t

come natural to me.

                   -So James lists some of those characteristics that the follower of Christ

                             will begin to “put on” because of how Jesus treats them.

                   -Those are all characteristics of God himself. 

 

I invite you to join me in James 3:13-18 this morning. (Pg. 855 – youversion/more/events)

Today, we will finish up this passage by looking at The Harvest

         

READ James 3:13-18

Today our focus moves toward the verse 18.

Let’s break it down.

                                                 “Peacemakers”

-A peacemaker is someone who practices and is currently

practicing peace.

                                                -Peace =  “Shalom” well being, security, wholeness.

-And one who is practicing peace is one who is not just wanting peace,

but is bringing it!  

-Someone who is making peace will be “considerate, submissive, full of mercy,

 good fruit, impartial and sincere” in their relationships.

          -Those are listed in James 3 as coming from “wisdom from above.”

-So as we consider the peacemaker – we are looking at someone who practices the

 wisdom of God by applying these characteristics in their relationships.

-Actually, you can’t have peace without applying these characteristics

          -Try being inconsiderate or with hold mercy from your wife

and see how long the peace lasts!

-As followers of Jesus - we are called to be peacemakers.

                    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

-Our work as ambassadors for Christ is not to condemn sinful people,

but to live out how good God is by applying Godly wisdom.

          -So, peacemaker is someone who is practicing all the rest of these characteristics

of Godly wisdom in their relationships.

 

                                       “Sow in peace”

                                       -Sowing is something I’m doing – I’m not harvesting right now,

I’m sowing.

-It doesn’t matter if the other person is doing it or not.

-It doesn’t matter if the relationship is experiencing it or not.

                                      -It’s something we are doing – we are sowing it into

the relationship.
         
-I love the account of David.

-He could have run his sword through Saul in the cave . . . twice.

-But He practiced peacemaking and all of these characteristics of

God’s wisdom in that cave.

          -He was “considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit,

impartial and sincere.”

                   -He sowed the wisdom of God in the broken relationship with Saul.

                   -Did he harvest the same back? 

          -Jesus sowed peace, which also included all these characteristics.

-He could have tossed in the towel and brought down the angels

to clean house.

-But He came to bring peace between God and us, and that is what He did.

-He was a peacemaker.

-Did He harvest the same?

          -You are I are called to sow in peace – whatever the circumstance.     

Now, because of the “sowing and reaping” principles of

God’s Word, I would expect the rest of the verse to say:

                                                “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of peace.”

                                                          -Plant corn – get corn.

                                                          -Plant peace – get peace.

                                                -But it doesn’t say that – it says:

“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

 
       “Righteousness”
          -Righteousness = morally right.

          -Our culture says that whatever you determine to be right is right for you.

                   -It rejects any outside standard of righteousness.

                   -And we see the failure of that thinking in the public square because

not everybody can be right.

                   -You and I will disagree when I use your car without your permission.

-Who said that you own it if I want it?

          -Since the failure of “moral relativism” is obvious, we try to fix it by public opinion.

                   -As if more people who decide that we can use your car – makes it right.

          -No, the only standard of what is right has to come from outside of us – from our

 Creator and lover of our soul.

          -The Bible’s standard of righteousness doesn’t come from any human standard

of morality, but from the very character of God himself.

                   -Every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, every word – righteous.

          -To be righteous is to be perfect.

          -So when we read the Bible, we see the righteousness of God revealed.

          -We see it in His creating us in the first place – wanting a relationship with us.

          -We see it in his sorrow when we broke that relationship through sin.

          -We see it in his promise to restore that broken relationship.

-We see it in His commands as He reaches back out to help us live

in relationship with Him.

          -We see it in Christ coming to us to bring us peace through the cross.

          -We see it in the resurrection as the perfectly righteous One.

          -We will see it in His coming again to judge the world and in the  

                   “the everlasting blessing of the saved

and the everlasting separation of the lost.”

          -Because God is righteous, He always acts in right relationship with people.

                   -Sometimes in judgment and others times in deliverance, but always right.

          -James 3 helps us to see the foolishness of our selfish wisdom and

the superiority of God’s wisdom.

                   -They are available to us each day.

 

-James contrasts the harvest by the use of the words “have” and “find” in v. 16

“where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find

disorder and every evil practice.”

          -It’s natural for us to have selfish ambition that ends in brokenness.

-We were just walking along, “minding our own business” which is

another way of saying that we are only concerned about ourselves,

          and “walla”, we find brokenness in our relationships.

-Almost like we were around people and then found ourselves with a cold.

“Where did that come from – I don’t deserve this!”

-That brokenness that we find is contrasted with the harvest of righteousness

that is raised with Godly wisdom.

          -And raising up a righteous crop is hard work.

          -Preparing the soil of our hearts, planting good seed, weeding out our selfish

 desires and replacing it with a love for God and others,

 all in hopes of a righteous harvest.
 

          -Now you might be thinking, PJ, I don’t want righteousness, I want peace in my

 relationship or I want the other person to respect me, or love me.

          -But that desire (although not sinful) will become sinful as we demand those

things from others.

     -Not a perfect analogy, but it’s kind of like going fishing and getting skunked.

                   -I try to convince myself that it’s not about the fish,

but about the experience.

                   -Well, that’s a lie – it’s about the fish – I went to catch fish and the other

stuff adds to that experience, not the other way around.

          -Let’s be honest - we sow peace because we want peace.

-We want the other person to also desire peace and we move to

connect in peace.

                   -When it doesn’t happen, our hearts are revealed in frustration and anger

and if we are not very careful, we will turn and begin to apply

worldly wisdom right at that point.

-God has a different harvest for us – a better one.

-James is saying that we need to continue sowing and nurturing peace,

not to harvest peace, but to become more like Jesus.

          -Our joy comes from pleasing our Savior.

                   -We can’t control the circumstances, but we can always please Him. 

-As we work to do that (and it is work because it doesn’t come naturally to us)

God surprises us with something so much better,

we get more of Him!

          -As I ask often – If everything was stripped away and all you have is God,

isn’t He enough?

          -God is not the consolation prize when we don’t get peace

– He is the whole enchilada – the reason for our existence.

 

 

    Now, how do we do find the strength to do that?

                                       -Where do we find the strength to continue to nurture that

harvest?

                                       -We lean into the Gospel.

                                       -The Good News is that God has provided His righteousness for

us.

                                       -Through faith in Jesus’ death, our sin is cleansed and we are

made righteous.

                             II Cor. 5:21

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him

we might become the righteousness of God.”

                             -Now, I don’t know if you grasp the significance of that or not, but it

is the most amazing and wonderful thing that could ever be.

 
 

          -On the cross, Jesus, who was pure and holy, was made to be sin,

You and I, who are defiled and sinful, are made to be righteous.

                   -Because of what Jesus did for us, we are treated as if we fulfilled all the

                             Law of God perfectly – righteousness has come to us in Christ.

       -God pressed the reset button.

-He has restored the broken relationship by wisdom that is foreign to us.

          -If that doesn’t get you up in the morning – something is wrong.

 

          -Another way we lean into the Gospel is to understand what God is doing.

          -God is still working in us to make us more like His Son, and he is using this

 difficult relationship to do that.

          -So, in the practice of our lives, you and I are working to live out what God

has already done for us in Christ.

          -James is telling us here that by putting on the wisdom of God in our relationships,

we will live righteously (or like Christ) in them.

-That means that even in our worst relationships, we are to putting on Godly

wisdom, and when we do, we will harvest the righteousness of God even if the relationship doesn’t get better.

-In my garden, I work the soil, plant seeds, tend the plants, and harvest fruit.

                   -But that is not the end of the cycle, inside that fruit are seeds that

 get planted for the next season.

                   -Those seeds get planted, tended, harvested, and re-sown the next year.

                   -It’s an endless cycle of sowing and reaping.

          -That is the idea of this conclusion to the passage.

              -Let’s say that I have one corn seed.
                   -I plant it and care for it.

                   -At the end of the season, I harvest 2 ears of corn from that one seed.

                   -I now have hundreds of seeds.

                             - I eat some and next spring plant the rest.

                   -I now have a small field of corn growing with a harvest measured in

bushels of corn.

                   -The next year, after the summer is over, my corn is measured by the ton.

                   -Now I have enough to feed myself, my neighbors,

and many Doritoes are made.

          -That is the idea behind this verse – planting peace and the rest of the list of

Godly wisdom will raise a huge harvest of righteousness that become God’s character in you – and then are constantly replanted back into relationships and even greater harvests.

 
                             STORY

Now, we have been using the story of a family that came to me with lots of brokenness.

                             -They had planted worldly wisdom of selfish ambition and they found

themselves broken.        

                             -The parents came to me and wanted me to fix it by siding with them

and telling their daughter that she was wrong in marrying this man who didn’t measure up to their standard.

                    -That standard boiled down to . . . 

their daughter had gone to college and he didn’t.

          -We started with their hearts and relationship with God.

          -And as we cleaned up some wrong Theology and ideas about how the Gospel applies

                   to their relationships, we got to the Godly wisdom of James 3.

         -They began to harvest righteousness as the Gospel began to have more

functional control in how they lived in their marriage and at church

and at work.

          -Over the time we came alongside them, nothing had changed with their daughter,

but they began to raise up a great harvest in their lives

and their other children.

          -They eventually graduated from our counsel and we prayed for them and their

 daughter and sent them out with a renewed desire to please Christ.

          -I haven’t seen them in a few years, but the other day I saw a picture on facebook

that made me rejoice in God’s goodness – there they were,

 holding their new grandson.

          -Yes, they missed the opportunity to walk their daughter down the isle,

and lots of other things along the way, but as they have applied Godly wisdom, they were now pleasing Christ,

                   and God honored that by restoring the relationship.

 
                   God’s wisdom has won the day!

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