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Oct 21, 2018

Everyday faith will keep us together

Everyday faith will keep us together

Passage: James 3:13-18

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Everyday Faith: A study in the book of James

Category: Faith

There is no community free of conflict--even in that community which has found its central hope and humility in the person of Jesus. The conduct of our mouths (3:1-12) and our conduct in disagreements (4:1-12) rest squarely on our appeal to that wisdom grounded in our understanding of God (even more than in our tried and tested experience). So much that feels so natural threatens the peace of a community--a peace in which we find both strength and hope. Let’s listen to James identify the hope, the threat, and the path to peace.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text:  Matthew 5:9
Call To Worship:  Psalm 100
Sermon Title:  Everyday faith will keep us together
Central Text:      James 3:13-18
Response: Communion
Confession of Sin:  (see below)
Assurance of Pardon:  Ephesians 1:7-10
Benediction:     Hebrews 13:20-21
Post-Service Text:  James 3:17-18

10.21.18 Sermon Notes


Queen of Katwe - Good Enough


Pre-Service Text: Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Call To Worship: Psalm 100
LEADER: 1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

ALL: 3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

LEADER: 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

ALL: 5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Central Text: James 3:13-18

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Confession of Sin:
LEADER: O King and Father, your Son died and was raised up in power.
Now enable us to die to our sin in repentance so we may rise to
new life in Him. We confess to you:

ALL: Lord, though you should guide us, we inform ourselves;
though you should rule us, we control ourselves;
though you should fulfill us, we console ourselves.
We think your truth too high, your will too hard,
your power too remote, your love too free. But they are not!
And without them, we are of all people most miserable.
Now heal our confused minds with your word,
heal our divided wills with your law,
heal our troubled consciences with your love,
heal our anxious hearts with your presence,
all for the sake of your Son,
who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Ephesians 1:7-10
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Benediction: Hebrews 13:20-21
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: James 3:17-18
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Related Scripture

Job 28:12-28
Proverbs 3:17
Proverbs 11:2
Matthew 5:9
Matthew 11:29
Matthew 21:43
Romans 5:1-2
Galatians 5:22-23
Philippians 4:6-7
2 Corinthians 13:11

Discussion Questions & Applications:


  1. A personal question, we know--but what is a relationship you once had that is now estranged? What led to it? Was one of you mainly responsible for its deterioration, or was it a shared set of errors? Was there anything you can see now that might’ve held the relationship together?
  2. What is that “meekness of wisdom” James speaks of in verse 13? How, if at all, did your study of the word “meekness” (or the sermon) change your sense of its meaning from a timidity or tentativeness to something else--something greater? Why do you think James puts an emphasis on it?


  3. In what arenas of culture, or even in your own experience, do you witness a kind of this-worldly “wisdom” that esteems the kind of ambition and boastfulness James warns of here? Why has that wisdom persisted and to many paid off? Where is that wisdom’s flaw(s)?


  4. How does the Gospel answer that version of wisdom James warns of? In other words, what truths does the Gospel proclaim that answer the impulses that lead us to walk in that this-worldly wisdom? How does it answer “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition” with a promise that makes those habits of the heart seem pointless?

  5. Why would the characteristics of this meekness of wisdom from above outlined in verse 17 serve to restore or preserve peace between individuals or within a community?


  6. What would be required of those who wish to “make peace” so that a harvest of righteousness might be sown (and shown) in a community who then lives in (greater, but not perfect) peace?



  • If the biblical story does not control our thinking, then we will be swept into the story that the world tells about itself. Lesslie Newbigin
  • . . .we care more about looking good than about truly being good. . . .people are obsessed with their reputations.
    Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind
  • This philosophical dispute is not new. There have always been some people who thought we need hierarchical structures to keep us safe and others who thought we need to be emancipated from oppressive structures so we can be free. What is new is how cultish this dispute has become. . . .There’s little evidence of individual thought, just cult conformity.
    David Brooks
  • It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.   - Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters
  • Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. -
  • I suppose we’ve all had the experience of being around people who line up pretty closely with our own beliefs, but hold those beliefs in such a way — arrogantly, perhaps, or with contempt for others — that make them a pain to be around. Conversely, we’ve spent time among people who don’t agree with us about all that many core beliefs, but are warm and generous and enjoyable company. . . .  There’s little doubt in my mind that the second kind of group is better for thinking and better for the health of my soul. - Alan Jacobs
  • By its very nature, Christian leadership involves extolling the glory and beauty of God above all else.  - Tim Keller


  • The Rich White Civil War,” an op-ed by David Brooks that illustrates a kind of natural “wisdom” that would seem to be overriding our ability to be “open to reason” as verse 17 speaks of
  • True Wisdom,” a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson
  • Envious Men,” a sermon transcript of Jonathan Edward’s discourse on James 3:16

Related Media:

InView Media 10.21.18 Album