Summary: Worldly wisdom brings disorder; heavenly wisdom brings peace.

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The Wisdom of Being a Peacemaker

James 3:13-18

Rev. Brian Bill


How many of you watched “Fearless Felix” make a death-defying jump out of a balloon more than 24 miles above the earth last Sunday?

On his way down, he hit speeds of 844 miles per hour, shattering the sound barrier in the process. It took him just over nine minutes to land. After spinning out of control at the beginning of the jump, his landing was picture-perfect. Over the years, he has made over 2,500 jumps. He told reporters afterwards that this was his last one. After doing something like this, there’s probably not much more left to try.

I was struck by what he was thinking about before he jumped. Here’s what he said in an interview: “When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive. Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are.”

While most of us will never have a chance to do what he did, nor would we want to, we can learn the same lesson. When we see how big God is, we can’t help but be humbled. It’s my prayer today that we’ll go up high so that we can see how small we really are.

Last week we learned how to be wise with our words because the tongue has the power to direct, to destroy and to delight. As a way to keep the preaching percolating in our lives, I wonder if anyone would like to share how you were able to put the message into practice this week. In what ways did you encourage someone? How did it feel when someone encouraged you?

The reason I wanted to begin by focusing on how we’re living the sermons is because that’s one of the main themes that Pastor James is teaching us in his letter. If we say we believe it, we better behave accordingly. Our affirmation of faith must be fleshed out in our actions.

We come to a question in James 3:13 that underlines this truth: “Who is wise and understanding among you?”

We have more knowledge at our fingertips today than ever before. A couple years ago Google CEO Eric Schmidt made this statement: “Every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” We’re literally living in a time when information is exploding and immediately accessible on our phones, tablets or computers.

But here’s a question. With all this knowledge and information, do you think we’re any wiser?

The Bible is all about us becoming wise and understanding. How many of you are reading a chapter of Proverbs every day? Proverbs 1:7 gives us the key that unlocks the way to wisdom: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” The main emphasis of the entire Bible is the fear of the Lord. In this verse we see that there are two classes of people: those who fear the Lord, and the fools who do not. The beginning of knowledge refers to its origin or principal part.

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