Summary: Wisdom from above is contrasted with wisdom from below...if you are wise show it.


James 3:13-18

I remember what I loved best when I was in elementary school; show and tell. We usually had that at the beginning of the day and anyone in the class could come up front to show something or to tell something. I always loved show and tell because I always had something. I would bring something in like an airplane (they didn’t have 777’s then!) or tell about an experience, like a movie I saw, a visit to the dentist, something I did with my friends. I loved show and tell! Do they do that here in Japan? Once I was in junior high school, show and tell was a thing of the past.

A few weeks ago I shared a message on being doers of God’s word, and not just hearers. I shared how the Bible churches are wonderful at giving information, but it needs to be more than just that. People need to hear God’s word but also be obedient to it. And I shared how a service at a Bible church is always centered around the teaching of the word. There might be a hymn or two, a prayer, and a 50 minute message. Then we pray, sing a hymn and go home. What I didn’t tell you is at Denton Bible Church we also had a sharing service. We took a break after the teaching service and came back for the sharing service. We would have prayer, sing and then anyone in the church could get up and share something. They might share something they had been reading in the Bible the past week. Or they might share and answer to prayer or something God has done in their lives. It could also be a time when someone could ask for prayer. Usually when they did that, someone would pray for them right then and there. This is all based on the concept of body life. Instead of just one pastor ruling the church with an iron hand, the whole church would have a say in a matter.

I enjoyed both the teaching service and the sharing service. Because we were taught God’s word at DBC. Remember the pastor was a Dallas Seminary grad. And he knew the Bible. I guess I liked the sharing service because I always had something to share. For example I once shared about being found guilty for a traffic violation by a judge who told me later he was Jewish. He didn’t like it when I told him I believed in Jesus. I also shared about getting to watch open heart surgery and sharing with the surgeons while they were operating.

There’s an example of show and tell we often overlook. Because it comes down to who you are. And who you are is seen in the way you do show and tell. Can you tell if someone is truly a Christian or not? Come to show and tell. Listen to his or her words and conduct and that will give you an example. James has been talking about use of the tongue; something that is very convicting for us all, especially me because I’m the one giving this message. He gave warnings to those wanting to be teachers because there were many wanting to be teachers. The problem was control of the tongue; something only one person could do. The tongue is a small part of the body, but the most destructive. It can do irreparable damage. Because once you’ve said something, you can’t take it back. And I really believe that what we say is an indication of what is really in our heart. So if you’re married and in a fit of anger say to your husband or wife, “I wish I never married you. That is the biggest mistake I ever made,” be careful. You might have said it in anger, but you might just have expressed what was really in your heart. So be careful. I’m having to work on this myself, but James exhortation we looked at several weeks ago is so important.

James 1:19 ¶ My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

James 1:20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

This chapter might be addressed to teachers but it applies to all of us. Because if you want to be mature it applies for you. If you don’t want to be mature, gomennasai, I’m going to give this message anyway.

I’m sure last week’s message on the tongue might have left you feeling a little gloomy, because James talks about the problem of the tongue but really doesn’t give any advice on overcoming this problem. Let me quote from one of my seminary professors that there are no instant shortcuts to spiritual maturity, or to controlling your tongue, but here are some helps along the way. It comes down to living a life of wisdom. But not just any kind of wisdom as we shall see. It is the wisdom coming from God. Can we know what it looks like? And can we know what it doesn’t look like? Good news, we can because James will describe both.

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