Summary: 5th in a series of sermons on James dealing with the characteristics of a fool.
“Characteristics of a Fool”
Trials stand as the primary test to affirm the reality and stability of our trust in God.
James addresses genuine faith’s response to trials in verse 2-18.
I. Faith’s response to trials 1:2-18
Instruction #1 : Consider it all joy when encountering trials
Insight: Knowing that testing produces endurance.
Instruction #2: Continue enduring
Insight: knowing that endurance produces maturity and stability
Instruction #3: Confidently ask God for wisdom
Knowing God gives without skimping or scolding to those confidently asking
Knowing God gives nothing to those doubting.
We need wisdom to face the various trials we encounter in a devil-driven world. We either live by the advice of this devil-directed and energized world or we live by God’s determined way of living for His children as revealed in the Bible.
Wisdom is the thought process which directs life’s choices and way of living. Satan suggests a belief system that produces a harvest of godless living. God proclaims a belief system that produces a harvest of right living. There is man’s way of thinking and doing things which God calls foolish. There is God’s way of thinking and doing things which man calls foolish.
I presented numerous verses that identified the ultimate source of wisdom.
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:28
Right thinking and right living equals true wisdom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:10
Satan tried to convince Eve that she could become wise apart from God. She could acquire wisdom from the fruit rather than the Root. God’s wisdom comes from God to those who seek Him. Only those renewed in the core of their being can discern God’s wisdom. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Christ became to us wisdom from God.
Today we stand in front of God’s mirror to try to detect any signs of foolishness. There are nearly 200 references to the fool or foolishness. From those verses I want to discover a profile of the fool. I don’t intend to label anyone a fool but hope we might avoid becoming one or acting like one by understanding the characteristics of a fool spelled out in the Scriptures. Scripture “outs” foolish behavior and foolish believing (thinking). Foolish behavior flows from foolish believing (thinking). Since the core of wisdom has to do with intimate connection to the God of wisdom, it seems logical to assume that the core of foolishness has to do with an ignorance of God and His ways. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the absence of the fear of the Lord is the lack of wisdom.
1. Foolish people fail to continually cultivate dynamic relationship with God.
The Fool ignores or rejects relationship with God.
Fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One birth wisdom or the right kind of thinking that produces the right kind of living.
Paul described mankind’s descent into foolishness in Romans 1.
The first stage involved suppressing the clear evidence to God’s existence.
Suppress the Truth
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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.
The Second stage involved a rejection of God’s authority over them.
Reject the Truth
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him,
Rejecting God distorted cognitive abilities.
but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools
The third stage involved trading the immortal God for the mortal beings.
Exchange the truth
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
The focus became humanism where MAN became the measure of all things.
Casting off all divine moral code resulted in behavior without divine restraint. God allowed them to descend into destructive moral decay.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.