“Two Types of Wisdom”
Our text this Sunday, James 3:13–18, can be described as a tale of two cities. One city draws on worldly wisdom that is marked by jealousy, deception, and strife that leads to a life of chaos. The other is built on wisdom from God that is marked by purity, mercy, and good fruit that leads to a life of peace. Which city will we live in? Will we live in the city built by godly wisdom that leads to life, or will we give ourselves over to the city built on the sinking sand of earthly wisdom that leads to death?
James opened his letter by encouraging us to seek godly wisdom (James 1:5) and he assures us that God is willing to give it generously to all who ask for it with sincere faith. That’s my hope this week as we look at this text, that God would give us wisdom from above so that we might sow a harvest of righteousness by our lives.
Finally, remember that on this first Sunday we will receive the Lord’s Supper together as a faith family. Lately before communion Sundays I’ve been reading this exhortation from Thomas Cranmer, a leader in the English Reformation in the 1500s, to prepare my heart for the Table. I’ve included it below for your encouragement and reflection as well.
See you Sunday!
A Communion Exhortation
Adapted from Thomas Cranmer
Having in mind, therefore, his great love for us, and in obedience to his command, his Church renders to Almighty God our heavenly Father never-ending thanks for the creation of the world, for his continual providence over us, for his love for all mankind, and for the redemption of the world by our Savior Christ, who took upon himself our flesh, and humbled himself even to death on the cross, that he might make us the children of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and exalt us to everlasting life.
But if we are to share rightly in the celebration of those holy mysteries, and be nourished by that spiritual food, we must remember the dignity of the ordinance. I therefore call upon you to consider how the Apostle Paul exhorts all persons to prepare themselves carefully before eating of that bread and drinking of that cup.
For, as the benefit is great, if with repentant hearts and living faith we receive the bread and cup, so is the danger great, if we receive it improperly, not recognizing the Lord’s Body. Judge yourselves, therefore, lest you be judged by the Lord.
Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God's commandments, that you may perceive wherein you have offended in what you have done or left undone, whether in thought, word, or deed. And acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life, being ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly food.
And if, in your preparation, you need help and counsel, then go and open your grief to a wise and understanding brother or sister, and confess your sins, receive spiritual counsel and advice; to the removal of scruple and doubt, the assurance of pardon, and the strengthening of your faith.
To Christ our Lord who loves us, and washed us in his own blood, and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father, to him be glory in the Church evermore. Through him let us offer continually the sacrifice of praise, which is our duty and service, and, with faith in him, come boldly before the throne of grace and humbly confess our sins to Almighty God.