Beholding God’s Word- Chris Pixley

This week’s podcast is, “Beholding God’s Word.” This is a sermon preached by Chris Pixley here at GBCB. This audio sermon can also be accessed on the web by following the provided link above.


This sermon, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is: feeds.feedburner.com/CupOfCoffeeTalk.

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the “podcast” heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.


Enjoy!

Wisdom From Above


James 3:13-18Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Over the next week or so I would like to look at this passage and the implications that it has on wisdom. Let me set the stage with this.

Introduction:

Wisdom is something that human beings have put a premium on through out all of history. This is a particularly useful topic for students. They have not lived long, and have not had many opportunities to gain wisdom through experience. Thus, as we talk about wisdom with our students it gives them the opportunity to be ahead of the curve latter in life. Even beyond students it is important to study the topic of wisdom. Solomon, in Proverbs 4:7 wrote, “Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” It is this very topic of wisdom that James focuses on in 3:13-18.

Part of the challenge of talking a lot about wisdom is that you have to define what wisdom is. If we were to go back to the great Greek philosophers we would see that to them wisdom was the possession of knowledge. “But it was the Hebrews who clearly understood that true wisdom was not intellectual, but behavioral. Thus, the biggest fool was one who knew truth and failed to apply it. To the Jews, wisdom was skill in living righteously.1”
As we know from the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon made the subject of wisdom his focus in writing that book. As I have been studying through the book it has become increasingly clear to me that Solomon is trying to point out the futility of man’s wisdom without God. Solomon said to himself,

“ ‘Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”

King Solomon indulged himself in all kinds of experiences and in the end- while acknowledging the benefits of wisdom over folly- his conclusion was that both the wise man and the fool will eventually die.

In 2:24-26 we see that the only source of true, satisfying, enjoyment comes from God.

There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

Solomon knew, from experience, that all the human accomplishments in the world were nothing in comparison with the joy that comes from knowing God. James uses very similar language in his letter. In 1:17 James says that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above…” In our passage, James 3:13-18, we see that James carries this same principle into the realm of wisdom. Ultimately James’ conclusion is that the only true wisdom one can have is from God, and it is demonstrated in the way that you live.

1. MacArthur, J. (1998). James. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.

James 3:9-12


The chief end of man, to borrow from the Westminster divines, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One of the easiest ways that we can do that is through our speech. In verse 9 we see that James’ readers “blessed their Lord and Father.” This would have been very typical for the Jew to whom James was writing. They would have been accustomed to pronouncing a blessing on God at the end of every prayer, saying “Blessed be Thou, O God.” The problem that James had is that with the very same tongue that they blessed God they cursed men. If this is not bad enough we must remember that God has created man in His own Image. We see this back, again, in Genesis 1:26 (It is almost as if James had his Bible open to Genesis 1 when he was writing.) In a round about way James is calling this blasphemy. This should be convicting for all of us, because we are all guilty of this hypocrisy. Even the apostle Peter was guilty of this double-minded type of speech. It Matthew 16:16 we read a wonderful pronouncement of Jesus as “the Christ the Son of the Living God” come from the mouth of Peter. We only have to go as far as Matthew 26:69ff to see Peter denying any association with Christ. This should not be this way! We should not be inconsistent in what we say.James makes one final observation from nature concerning the tongue. The observation is that like produces like. A fresh water spring will not produce salt water; fig tree will not produce olives; nor will a vine produce figs. What is James’ point is saying all of this? When we apply this same principle to the tongue we realize that what comes out of our mouth is what is in our hearts. To use James’ example from verse 9, when we speak hatefully to the people around us it reveals a lack of love for God. In 1 John 4:7-8 we see this same principle at work.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has
been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God,
because God is love.

If we love one another it reveals a heart filled with love for God.In this final thought James, in a very simple fashion, profoundly sums up this entire section on the tongue. This point is this, from a godly (or to use the words from 1:17 “pure religious”) heart will come godly speech. This is a fitting theme for James to have covered here; particularly in light of the them of 2:14ff.

Isn’t it amazing to think that most of our hateful speech is directed at those with whom we have the closest relationship? We are often hateful, rather than loving, to those who we feel the most comfortable around. This should tell us something! It should tell us that when we are so nice to others it is an act and that our true heart is being revealed when we speak hatefully to those closest to us.
If after studying these verses you think that your speech is ok, you may want to think again. I hope that you realize that God is infinitely good, and deserves our infinite adoration. The funny thing about that is that we cannot do anything that is infinitely good. That means that no matter what we do it is not good enough for God, He deserves better. Even when we do what is right with good motives, God still deserves better. This is what makes the Gospel so great. God made an infinitely good sacrifice available through the death of His Son, Christ Jesus.
Sinful speech can set your life on fire, and wreak havoc that could take years to resolve. If you want to protect yourself from the dangers of evil speech then you must fill your heart with God’s word. When you do this God’s word will overflow from your heart out of your mouth.

It is a Girl

You will have to excuse me for my absence yesterday. I had a very important appointment to keep. Yesterday I went with my wife for her 20 week sonogram (if you did not know, she is pregnant). The verdict is in, and yes we are smart enough to actually find out the sex of the baby, it is a Girl.

Apparently this picture to the right proves that it is a girl (notice the arrow).

My wife and I are so very pleased and thankful for what God has given us. It is our eager prayer that God would call our daughter into His Kingdom and make her one of His children.

It is far more important that our daughter has a heavenly Father, than her earthly father.

Galatians 4:4-6
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.


I am very thankful at this point in my life to have the doctrinal convictions that I do. I am very thankful that my child’s salvation is dependent 100% on God Himself. If my daughter is to become a child a God it will not depend upon myself, or my wife to “win her to the Lord.” If my daughter is to become a child of God then it will take the renewing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Even now as we are consumed with the thought of her natural birth, we know that it will take a supernatural re-birth before she can accept Christ.

John 3:5-8
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

This is what is important to me.

Towards Living by Faith- Steve Jaeb

This week’s podcast is, “Towards Living By Faith.” This is a sermon preached by Steve Jaeb here at GBCB. This audio sermon can also be accessed on the web by following the provided link above.


This sermon, along with various other audio resources, will be made available in their entirety without editing. The address for the podcast is: feeds.feedburner.com/CupOfCoffeeTalk.

For those of you who are not in the podcast world it is very simple and I would highly suggest it. First, go online and download a podcasting program. I would highly recommend downloading I-tunes. It is free, and you do not need a mp3 player, only your pc. Once you have downloaded the program of your choice find the “podcast” heading and go from there. Eventually all you will have to do is cut and paste the above address into the appropriate field.

For a more detailed description go here.


Enjoy!

James 3:7-12

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Here we see the previous verse illustrated. In other words this is the evidence of how evil the tongue can be when it is unaffected by God’s grace. The point that these verse make is simply that the tongue is uncontrollable. The tongue is wild, even wilder than the animals that we have dominion over. In verses 9-12 we see the manifestation of this uncontrollable nature of the tongue. We cannot tame the tongue and use it for its highest purpose; which is to glorify God with our speech. Rather, as James points out, we use the same tongue to glorify God and blaspheme Him. This is what we all do with our tongues every day. As I read what James has to say here in these verses I cannot help but think about how ridiculous it is that we cannot control what comes out of our own mouths. God created us in His own image and gave us dominion over His creation, yet because of sin we are unable to control our own tongues. At the though of this we should, to use the words of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:32, be ashamed and confounded by our ways.The first thing that James notes is that all types of creatures are being and have been tamed by the human race. When we read this we should not think that James is saying that all creatures have been tamed and turned into pets. We, from our experience, know that a poodle has not been tamed in the same way that a tiger has. The domestication of every animal on earth is not what James is talking about. If we go back in our Bibles to Genesis 1:29 I think that we will see just what James is talking about.

And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to
everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I
have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

There in Genesis we find a list that is very similar to James’ list; and we see that God has given human beings dominion over His creation. This is what James is talking about here in James 3.
James also does something very interesting in verse 7 when he describes the dominion that man has over animals. He says that the animals are tamed and have been tamed. By choosing to write it in such a way James is emphasizing that not only are people subduing animals, but this is the natural order (state) of how things work.


What is so ironic, and proves the evil nature of the tongue, is that despite the dominion that humans have over creation we can’t even control our own tongues. Because of sin we can control a gigantic elephant, but we cannot control the small tongue. It was in the fall that man lost dominion over the tongue.
Some English translations do not pick up exactly on what James is saying here, but literally he says that no one among men can tame the tongue. It is not so much that the tongue is so powerful that it is intrinsically impossible to tame it. The reality is that we, by our sinful nature, are so weak that we cannot control our tongues. In Ephesians 4:29 we see what the proper, controlled us of the tongue is. If we look back to Ephesians 4:23 we see that the source of this self-control is not self, but the Spirit. Through the Spirit our words can be edifying. Otherwise our words will be a restless evil full of deadly poison.
The word here that is translated as restless in this verse is translated as double-minded in 1:8. In verses 9-12 we see exactly why James would characterize the tongue as restless or double-minded. Some who is unable to control their tongue (with the help of the Spirit) is inconsistent and untrustworthy. On top of this, James says that their speech is full of deadly poison. Literally James says that the poison of the tongue, or evil words, is death-bearing. Whereas we saw in verse 6 that the source of the evil from the tongue was hell; here we see that its result is death. Our evil words carry death into our lives. In Romans 3:13 we see a similar reference to the speech of people. Later in that same chapter (vv. 23ff) we see that the only anti-venom for the poison of our tongues is Christ.

Do I need a doctor’s note?

You will have to be patient with me. This week the Lord has blessed me with a violent stomach bug to help be better understand what my wife is going through during her pregnancy. I should be back in full force next week, maybe weighing a few pounds less.