James 1:5-6: Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” Verse 5
Teachers often tell their students that ‘the only stupid question is one that wasn’t asked’. God does not expect us to know everything, in fact we will never know everything about God or always know the right decision. But, God does care about us asking and looking for an answer. When we are struggling with what to do or understanding, we should not just pretend to know or hide from looking. We should ask God for wisdom. Firstly, we need to be doing this in prayer, but also by reading our Bibles and asking fellow believers. He does not have a list of criteria to fulfill before you can receive it, you only need to ask.
“My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 [NIV]
If you have time today, read Acts 20:13-38>
The sermon that we’re looking at is Paul’s message to the elders of the Ephesian church. Other sermons we have considered have been aimed at people who didn’t yet believe, but this is a talk aimed at a group of Christian leaders from the city of Ephesus. Paul hadn’t given a great deal of time and effort to the church in Ephesus, he had seen it established and begin to flourish in spite of persecution. He is on his way to Jerusalem and has a stop at the port of Miletus which is near Ephesus, sending word to the Ephesian leaders to visit him for a last meeting.
I wonder if you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve wronged someone and known it. You deliberately did something that you knew would hurt them and that knowledge burdens you. You desperately think of ways in which you could make it up to them. But then they offer you their forgiveness. “What you did was wrong, but I’m not going to hold it against you.” And suddenly the burden is lifted. Being forgiven is the most wonderful thing.
Before we begin, if you have time, do read Acts 2:14-41.
Something Hannah and I do frequently is download sermons from different churches online. It’s a real blessing to hear different people from all over the world teaching God’s word and preaching the good news about Jesus. As I listen I am encouraged, challenged and equipped for living for Jesus today. But what would it be like to listen in to a talk from one of the apostles? How about downloading something from the early church? What an opportunity! That’s what we’ll be doing this week as we look at one of the sermons recorded in the book of Acts.
‘But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord ‘look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount’. Jesus said to him ‘Today salvation has come to this house…’’
Luke 19:8 [NIV]
The crowd saw Zacchaeus as a sinner, he was hated because he had cheated and stolen their money. He oozed a persona of corruption and lies. How could Jesus associate, let alone dine with such a man? If you have time, you can read the whole story in Luke 19 vv. 1-9