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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Wisdom from Above

Chris Hodges - Wisdom from Above

Chris Hodges - Wisdom from Above
TOPICS: Wisdom, Direction

Oh, can't tell you how good it is to see all of you here today. Are you glad to be in church, everybody? Yeah. Come on, give Jesus the best handclap of praise. Come on, he gave us another day. Come on, he gave us another day to know him, and to love him. And so good to see you, it really is. So, God bless you, I don't think I'll ever take church for granted again. I mean, just this year, it's just always good to walk out here and there are people. It's just so good to see you. Big hello to not only Grants Mill, but all those that are watching on the other side of the camera, our campuses all across the greater area here.

And we're so glad you're along for the ride. To the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections, I hope you don't get tired of hearing me talk to them and letting you guys know how much we value you. We're in 20 of those locations, God bless you guys today. Yeah, and then a little shout out to our newest campuses at Uptown and in Troy. We had over 700 people in our launch Sunday at Troy last week, and then a bunch of you that are still worshiping at home. We can't wait to have you back here. So, whenever you feel like it's time to get back, we would love to see you here in person. There's nothing like being in the room. But I want us to put our hands together and say a big thank you.

After watching that video of the outreach efforts that our campuses are doing, I just couldn't help but think how much I appreciate the faithful dream teamers who this year have turned every day into a serve day. And we've had all these natural disasters and opportunities to show the love of Jesus to people. And of course, your generosity made it possible. You might not have been there, but you were there. But how about we put our hands together and say a big thank you to the dream team? Come on, you can do better than that. Come on, really show your love. Love every single one of you, so well done. All right, we are in week number six of a nine-part series through the book of James. And today also marks five years that we've been in the year 2020. Can I get an amen, everybody?

All right. So anyway, yeah, so actually I want to talk a little bit about that because this has been a wild year, and that's why we're studying the book of James. James was actually written in a season in the early church's history where they were scattered. They weren't meeting all together. They were undergoing persecution. It was a tough time. And James is kind of known in the New Testament as the most practical book of the Bible to a scattered generation. And Lord knows we've had a year to remember in many ways, and I think this book speaks uniquely to our situation. So, I'm going to pick right up where we left off last week with James chapter 3, so we're in chapter 3, verse 13. It starts with a question, and it just simply says this, "Who is," like I'm trying to find, "who is wise and understanding among you"?

Now, what James is saying here is the value of wisdom during chaos. So that you know how to live your life, you need wisdom. And we're going to find out in a moment this isn't just the experience, this isn't intellect, this isn't knowledge, this is different. This is you respond to chaos in a different way, all right? In fact, the Hebrew word for wise means you have a unique skill for living. And it doesn't even mean like you developed the skills. You even know some things you couldn't have possibly known, God gave them to you, it's wisdom. That's why the book of Proverbs says, "Hey, wisdom is supreme, it's the most important thing, so go get it".

Wisdom will help you in the middle of I don't know what to do to know what to do. Wisdom is why one person is reacting one way. We're all going through the same thing, but they're handling it in one way and another person's handling it in a completely different way. It gives you the mind of God for these chaotic situation. In fact, it goes on, it says this, it says, "You'll know who's wise". In fact, let them show their wisdom by the fact that even though it's scattered, even though it's bad, even though it's chaotic, even though the economy and the civil unrest and the election and the pandemic, they still have a good life. And not only a good life, but they're using even these bad days as a way to show deeds done in humility that comes from, say the last word out loud, that comes from?

Okay, we're going to get some wisdom today. We're going to get some wisdom. And I got to explain this to you, all right? 'Cause you would think wisdom is, all right, but tell me and show me and teach me. And there is a portion of wisdom that I can just pass off to you, you can go home and give it a shot, right? And I'm going to try to get a little bit better. That's not Christianity. I wanted to take just a moment and remind you what Christianity really is. Christianity isn't you becoming a new and improved you because you worked harder, and tried some things, and read some verses, or prayed some prayers, or showed up at Church of the Highlands. No, no, no, Christianity is a transformed life.

What I mean by that is that God will do some things in you where you won't even recognize you. He'll teach you things, do things in you. He doesn't just put up a set of rules and say, "All right, try to become more religious, and follow these, and see if this will help". No, no, no, if any man be in Christ, a Christian, they're a brand new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are brand new. You got to understand that. Like let me say it this way, he'll turn you into someone you won't even recognize. I don't recognize me. By the way, I don't consider to be perfect or have it all together. God's still doing a work inside of me, but I'm not who I was before I found Christ, I'm telling you that. Before Christ, I was beat up, bullied, I was shy. In fact, even when I got to college at LSU, some of you know this, my sophomore year, I was an accounting major, thank God I got delivered from accounting. Can I get an amen, everybody?

And so, but my second year, sophomore year, I had to take a speech class that I failed because I was too shy to get in front of the 30 people in my room right there. How many of y'all know God's done a little bit of a work on the inside of me, right? I mean, look, all right? And I'm serious, no, I'm very, very serious. He'll make you better. But I had somebody say, "Well, you guys just think y'all are better than everybody else". No, no, no, no, God doesn't make me better than everyone else, he makes me better than me, he changes me. So reason why I'm telling you that is we're going to get some wisdom, and I don't want you doing it just in your mind. We're going to get some wisdom, and I want you to make room in your heart for God to transform your heart, for you to say, "God, I would love for you to write these principles on the inside of me".

Now, if you don't, if you don't do this, you'll get what everybody else is getting. In fact, the next verse describes it. If you don't get wisdom, if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, don't boast about it. In other words, don't think, "Well, I think I know the right way to do this thing". No, no, no, "Such wisdom does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic". James is kind of blunt. He just said it's just earthly, you're trying the earth way, you're not using spiritual things, you're using emotional and mental things. And then it's just flat out demonic, it doesn't work.

In fact, I love saying this, it doesn't even have to convince you that this is right. You'll discover that it doesn't work. I never feel the pressure to convince people that God is real and that way doesn't work. Go try it. You'll be back, right? No, I'm saying just, 'cause it doesn't work. You'll find yourself in this condition, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, the world's way, there you find a life that is full of disorder". So, I'm dedicating this message today to everyone whose life this year has been full of disorder and every evil practice. So, you haven't... again, we've all gone through the same thing, but we're all responding to it differently. Could it be that wisdom is what's on the other side of it? This has been a tough year for me, I'll just be honest with you.

And I never like to really, I don't like to share my personal struggles or issues 'cause I don't want to play on your emotions. And I don't think anything that I go through is anything more than anybody else does. I just have a stage, right? I get a mic, so I get to talk about it. But I don't ever want you to think that I think, "Man, this year has been tough. Y'all pray for your pastor. You know, your pastor needs your prayers". No, I'm okay, I'm doing fine. But I mean, I've had everything we've all been through, and then I've had a few things that nobody else has been through, you know? And I'm sure you have your list of what we've all been through, and the then the things that have happened that are uniquely to you. And I think that's true of all of us. But I mean, I've had some crazy things.

And you know, with I've had, we've had, my brother and my sister have had to deal with our mom this year, who's struggling in her health and trying to make some decisions. And I'm going to tell you, it's one of the toughest things I've ever been through in my life. And we've had some shifts on my team and just, I mean, there have been some things that like, "Wow, I don't... how do I lead? Lord, how do I lead a church during a pandemic? What do you..." Like there's not a playbook for this. There wasn't somebody else, there's not a seminar, like, "Oh yeah, back in 1987, here's what we did". Like we don't know. So, what do you do? The question is, what do you do? And the Bible tells us if you lack wisdom, this was from chapter 1, ask God. Did you know that you can get in touch to a resource, a heavenly wealth of wisdom that will teach you things you did not know?

"Ask God, who gives generously wisdom," skill for living, "without finding faults". Say amen right there. I mean, if he made that the condition, all of us would be dumber than a stump. Isn't that right, everybody? But he'll even get it to you without looking at your track record. "And it will be given to you". And that's what we're going to do today. Today, I'm going to challenge some of our worldly way of thinking and allow God to imprint into our lives and our hearts wisdom that comes from heaven. I need a wisdom, I need a skill for living, especially in a year that is as challenging as this one, so let's finish the verses. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven," this is the next verse in the text, "is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere".

And then it has a little twist of an ending that I'll explain at the end of the message. "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness". So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go back through that list of the six things that define what God's wisdom looks like, and I want you to do the two things. I want you to learn it, but I want you to let it get impressed upon your heart and let our lives be transformed by it, amen everybody, you got it? All right, so if you're a notetaker, jot these down.

Number one, the wise have a pure heart. So, remember he says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all". So, don't even try to put it somewhere on the list, it has to be first. It's first of all pure. In fact, I want to say it this way, if you don't do the first one, you can't get the next five. That everything stems from, do you have a heart that you've allowed God to purify?

Now, let me explain what it's not. Purification doesn't mean perfection. You're never going to be able to attain that. Purity's an attitude that says, "God, I don't like being this way, and I want what you want, and I want to be like you". And that's why the psalmist David said, "Create in me a clean heart. Would you keep doing your work"? Romans says it this way, that the godly hate what is evil and they cling to what is good. I'm not even saying that it's not a struggle from time to time. I'm just saying they love purity. In fact, here is the result, watch this in Titus, "Everything," so the rest of everything, everything on the list, "everything is pure when your hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving because their minds and their consciences are corrupted".

Now, this is actually describing the process of salvation, that when God touches your life, what he does is he purifies your heart. He turns you into a person that has a love for good. In fact, one place in 1 John, it says that he so transforms our heart that the rules or the laws of God are no longer a burden, they're a desire. So, you're not even saying like, "Wow God, really? I have to stop that, I have to do that"? You're like you have a desire to want to do that to love God. And that's why Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart". These are the actual Christians. These are who Christians are. They have a pure heart.

So, here's the question, and that is, what does an impure heart look like? Well, let's ask the question of what impure means. When something is pure, so if you have pure gold, that means it's without contamination, it doesn't have other elements in it. So, it can even be 99% or it can be 100%, but it's not pure unless all of the foreign elements are out. What does pure water look like? They take out the foreign elements. We actually added just recently a water purification system to our house. And it's amazing 'cause the water tastes completely different. It's making me think, "My God, what was in there all this time, right? What was I drinking"? And he's saying this is what this means. It means that you, you're asking God, "God, are there any contaminants in me"?

In fact, next week, we'll get to some of these verses. But in chapter 4, James says, "You adulterous people". Now, don't get offended by that. That is very strong language, I'll give you that, but when he says you're adulterous, what is an adulterer? An adulterer is someone who's married, but has a little something going on on the side. And I wonder how many of us are going to heaven, we love God, but we got a little something going on on the side. And he says, "If you're adulterous, don't you know that that friendship with the world means you're creating an enmity or a separation from God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world actually will become," you're not there yet, but if you don't address the contaminants, "you'll become an enemy with God".

And I think it's just worth asking the question, if we're going to be able to handle the crazy year that we're experiencing and beyond, and that is am I unwise in the fact that I'm allowing some impure things in my life? I think we have to grapple with that. I don't think we grapple enough with the question of, "God, should I be watching this? Should I be listening to this"? And by the way, you don't need me telling you what you should be doing. You have a Holy Spirit who's happy to show you and convict you of those things, right? I was having a discussion with a high school student here at our church, and they asked, so I don't usually insert myself unless I'm asked. But if I'm asked, here we go, all right?

So, he was asking me about video games. "Pastor Christ, PC, what do you think about all these video games"? It was like, "Well, tell me what you're doing". "I like those war ones, shooting, you know, killing and stuff". And I said, "How many people do you end up killing in one session of video"? "Oh, hundreds". He says, "But PC, really seriously it's just a game, it doesn't bother me. I can do it and it doesn't bother me". I said, "You're making my point. It doesn't bother you. It should be bothering you". Like if you're chopping the head off of a 100 people a minute, that ought to bother you a little bit. Maybe you've become desensitized to something that we just now call fun. Are y'all hearing me, everybody? Or take movies' example. I mean, just what... you know, there's just a little skin in it. It's just a little bit. It kind of comes and goes.

The rest of the movie is really good, I promise you, it's really good. Reminds me of the story of the kid who knew his mom did not like movies that had anything bad in it, and he wanted to have his friends over to watch this movie. And so, he's trying to convince his mom to allow them to watch this R-rated movie. He said, "Mom, just there's one bad part. It goes by really fast, it's just a little bit. You hardly even know it's there. In fact, most of my friends have already seen it. Mom, can I please have them over? Can we please watch this"? She said, "Yes, yes you can". She says, "In fact, I'll even make your favorite brownies to eat while you're watching the movie". He said, "Would you"?

And so, while they're down there in the basement watching the moving, she starts whipping up the brownies and decides to go outside, where the family pet, little Dachshund named Ginger does her business and just grabs just a little bit, not much, just a little bit. Just you can hardly notice it, just a little bit. Came and threw it in the batter and baked those puppies off. And then, "Hey, I've got some brownies for you. And I'm just letting you know, there's not much in here at all, you probably won't even taste it, it's hardly in here, but I've just got just a little bit".

How many of y'all know a little poop goes a long way? Isn't that right, everybody? And yes, I said that in church. And I'm telling you something, a little poop goes a long way in your life too. The Bible says, "Come close to God," this is James chapter 4, "and God will come close to you. So, he's willing to reconcile all this, but we need to wash our hands, purify our hearts. For our loyalty, I love this line, has been divided between God and the world". Now again, I'm not going to tell you what that is. I'm just going to ask you to ask yourself this question, how much of the world should I allow in my life? And I just think it's a great question you need to ask if you're going to be wise. And God's people said a good amen or oh me, one of them, all right.

Okay, all right, here's the second one. And that is the wise, they love peace. They love peace. They don't love contention. I think this generation argues for sport now. We've put it on like, "rah rah rah rah. Rah rah rah rah. Rah rah rah rah". You watch the news, it's like they're just trying to find as polar sides as possible and just, and to the person trying to moderate it just shuts it all down. And then Lord help us if we get on social media, make one comment. It could be, "Boy, that flower is a beautiful blue flower". "That's not blue, rah rah rah". Like are you serious? And I think we've become contrarian, argumentative. And I think it's gotten into church too. And I'm telling you, you can't be wise and love to argue.

The wisdom that comes from heaven loves peace. In fact, human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. A wise man controls their temper. He knows that anger causes a bunch of mistakes. I'll give you another one, it's the mark of a person who's wise with good character to actually avert a quarrel, but fools pick fights. Stop, don't get involved in all that. I'm telling you, it's not wise. It's not wise. "Well, here's what I think".

I actually made a list, this is what I do when I prepare messages like this. I actually ask myself the question how I need to change in all of these. And I decided when I was building this point, I thought, I just actually started thinking through the current conflicts that I have in my life currently and in the past. And I found a common denominator in all the fights that I've been in. I was there for all of them. And I just thought, "You know what? Maybe it's me. Maybe I should have never engaged in it in the first place. Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to argue with that person". I'm telling you, it's important. If you're going to be a person who wants to navigate through this season that we call 2020 and all the chaos, I'm telling you, we need to love peace.

So, "Well, I'm trying to resolve this conflict". I'm for conflict resolution. I'm encouraging you to do it. But it's not always possible to resolve it because it requires both parties to play along. I'm encouraging you to do conflict resolution, but there is one higher than that that is actually wise, and it's called conflict revolution. And it just simply says, "God, if they won't change, change me". In fact, conflict cannot continue without my participation. And I'm telling you if you want to be wise, don't engage in the fight. Boy, this is good preaching. I tell you what, it is. It'll help you, all right? If you won't amen me, I will amen myself, all right?

Here's the third one, I love this one, and that is the wise consider it. It says, "The wisdom that comes from heaven is considerate". Do you know what the definition of considerate is? They consider it. I know, I get paid to do this for you. Aren't you glad I'm here? Put those cookies on the bottom shelf so everybody can have one, right? Yeah, no, I'm very serious. They consider it. In other words, they don't think, they always know. They make an attempt to understand. In fact, the first verse that we started off with, the question of the day: who is wise and understanding? In fact, you can't separate wisdom from understanding. These are people who just say, "Hmm, I've never thought about it that way".

I think we need more of that in our politics, I think we need more of that in our jobs, I think we need more of that in our homes, I think we need more of this in our marriages. "Ho, hmm, I don't really see it that way. But let me think about that for a little while. Let me be considerate by considering it". This is really good. In fact, Paul was settling a fight between two groups of Christians in Romans 15, and one had a stronger conviction about something than the other group, and his response was, "We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about that issue". Like if that's not a big deal to you, it is for them. We must not live our lives just to please ourselves. Like you don't get the luxury like, "I don't care what you think, this is what I think, and I think I'm right". No, "We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn't love to please himself".

A few months ago, I talked to us about how important it is, especially in this culture, to like stop and listen to somebody else's journey, and understand their struggle, and lament, and show some love. Like we all need to do this. And by the way, I have continued. I regularly now schedule appointments with people just to understand their journey. I'm even embarrassed to admit this. I set an appointment recently with a pastor who he pastors one of the largest churches in this city. He's a true gatekeeper of our city. And 20 years I've been here and we've never met. And I thought, "What a tragedy".

And so, I set up a lunch appointment in my office so we could just have a quiet, private lunch together. And I was just so honored. Of course, when he came in, he thought there might be some kind of agenda, and I said, "This is going to surprise you, but I have no other agenda". Said, "I just want to know you, and I want to hear the long version of your story. I just want to know you". I'm embarrassed, I actually repented, I said, "I'm so sorry that we've both been in this city this long and I've never made one attempt to just get to know you".

Y'all, we spent two and a half hours together. We have become fast friends. I mean, in fact, we text each other two or three times a week like teenagers. Like, "Hey, what's up? What you doing today"? I mean, like, "Love you, got your back". And we made a pact when we left that room that says we would never let a negative word come out of our mouth for each other. And if anybody ever brought up something negative to us, we defend each other like, "Bro, I got you. I got you". That's called consideration. And I learned things, I learned things like, "Wow, I didn't know. I didn't know that's been your experience. I didn't know that's how this felt for you. This helps me". Had my friend John Maxwell say it this way, "Give your thoughts a break. You already think them".

Number four, I'm just helping us with some wisdom. I promise you, your life will be better if we would just do these simple things out of God's Word. The wise take it one step further from consideration and it says they're submissive. Now, that's actually not the best English translation because the word in the Greek means you're willing to yield. You're willing to go, "Wait a minute, you're right. Oh my goodness, that is the best way to do this". And I think a lot of us, especially in places of authority, dads, I'm talking to dads, talking to pastors, I'm talking about to husbands, talking about you moms to your children. I mean, it's just wise to say, "Wow, I didn't know that's what it was like for you". "Oh no, you know what? More I think about it, you're right".

The Bible says fools think their own way is right, but the wise, they listen. I had this dream. I watch the news, and then I have to get off the news for a while. And then I watch the news 'cause I really, it's interesting to me, I love history and I love just watching people work through issues, but then it just exhausts the fire out of me, you know? And it's especially interesting to me whenever they get in some type of debate that you know that there's really a better way than the other. So, it's not like, "Well, this is my opinion and this is yours," and they both work. Like you know, you know one of them's got to be better and work better than the other, but never have I ever seen one of these debates and then one of the ones, as they go through the debate and both points are getting thrown out there that one of them goes, "Wait a minute, that is right. You know what? I've changed my mind. We're doing it, I'm going to do it that way".

Wouldn't you love our politicians to do that? Wouldn't you love our leaders, wouldn't you love people to go, "Wait a minute, that is a better way"? Boy, that may never happen on those news channels, and certainly it probably will never happen in DC, but let it happen out of the people of God who are wise, we have a wisdom from above. So, I'm asking myself this question, am I, am I reasonable? Can I be reasoned with? It's a mark of wisdom. Here's the fifth one, I love this one, the wise minimize people's mistakes. He says it this way, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is full of mercy". "You know what? That was horrible what you did, but I'm going to forgive you. I'm going to let you off the hook. You know what? I'm going to give you another chance to get that right. You know what? I'm going to let it go".

Come on, I think there's a song, let it go, let it go. Some of y'all need to let it go. Just full of mercy. "But PC, they did it again". I know, let it go. "But they did it a third time". I know, let it go. "But they did it a fourth time". Okay, well, this time let it go. Okay, if that's not a good enough motivation for you, I bet this next verse is. It is for me. I don't have very many qualities, honestly, God's still doing a work on the inside of me. There is one I really do not struggle with. I don't mind telling you I'm good at this. I do not hold grudges. You can't keep me offended. I can get offended and be over it in a minute. I promise, just I do not hold it, and it's because of this next verse. And we're going to back up a chapter now in James chapter 2. "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged".

So, in other words, whatever measure you're holding someone to, back at you. And for me, I can't afford. I have too much that needs to be forgiven by God to hold anything against anybody. Can I get a better amen out there? Don't act so holy out there, all right. Don't leave me hanging up here by myself, all right? "Because judgement without mercy is going to be shown to anyone who's not been merciful". That's a powerful line. That's a life verse. And then it says, "Mercy, it triumphs over judgement".

Just when in doubt, forgive them. "But I think you got it wrong". Yeah, but I'd rather stand before God having loved too much than having judged too harshly. I'm serious, I just, it reminds me of the story of the grandma and grandpa who were celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the grandchildren were there. They said, "Grandma, grandma, grandma". Said, "What's the secret to 50 years of happy marriage"? And she says, "You know, when we first got married, I decided to make a list of grandpa's ten biggest faults and just overlook them". And they thought, "Wow, that's great". What word... I would love to know what the ten were. She goes, "You know, I never got around to writing them down. So, every time he did something, I just said 'Well, lucky for him, that's one of them.'"

Your life would be so much better. Your life would be so much better. There would be no disorder, there would be no evil practice if we could just learn how to minimize. Don't rub it in, rub it out. Let it go, let it go. Here we go. I love this question, what do I need to stop bringing up? Would you grapple with this today please? Like what do I need to just stop bringing that up? Let it go. Here's number six and that is the wise are authentic. He ends with this very interesting two words, "impartial" and "sincere". Both those words come from the word "hypocrite" in the Greek. By the way, a hypocrite's not just a word, it's actually a character, it actually has a historical background. A hypocrite is actually an actor in the Greek theatre. And even though there might be a dozen roles, there could be only three actors or actresses, and so they'd play multiple roles by playing different masks.

So, they'd come in and be this character, but then grab a different mask and be this character. And the Bible says, "Don't be that". This is interesting too 'cause we're living in a masked world right now. And I understand why we're wearing the physical ones, but I'm telling you, look in my eyes, you better be careful of wearing them around your heart. Like if you're the only one who's holding on to the things that only you know, you're not in a safe place. You cannot be wise and hide at the same time. You can't get alone in your thoughts. Some of you out there are alone in your thoughts and it's just not wise. And the devil will expose it and hurt you. And I'm not saying you have to tell me or a lot of people, you just need to have someone.

That's what I love about our groups. We're a church of small groups. We're in week six of groups. We're halfway through the semester and it's about the time where you should probably tell someone in your group, "Hey, guess what? Help me with this. No one knows that I'm smiling, but I'm really..." And I'm asking you the question today, what are you hiding? What am I hiding? 'Cause you can't hide and be wise at the same time. So, let me close. Remember I told you there was that interesting last verse there? I actually spent over an hour in prayer and in Bible study looking up Greek words, just like I don't understand how you could do all these wisdom verses and end with this. And it made me ask this question, why does God want us wise? Why? What's the... just to be wise? No, no, no, it's in that last verse. Here's how it goes. Peacemakers who, notice the language, sow.

So, you're offering it to others. "In peace reap a harvest of righteousness". So, I looked up this word in the original language of the New Testament, which is Greek, you're never going to believe what it means. It means a bringer of national tranquility. Did you know that God wants you wise so that you can walk out of this place and infect the world with peace? That just your response to what everybody else is going through too is different enough where they go, "Wow". And you sow it.

Can I bless you today? Can I encourage you to leave from this place as a wise person? You didn't just learn it in your head, you let it be written on your heart. And then please go out here as agents of change until we meet again next Sunday, sowing peace. And the result is going to be national tranquility. We're looking to the wrong people to solve our problems. The church of the living God, we're supposed to be sowers of peace. And it's on us if we'll let God make us wise, amen. You got it, you got it.

So Father, I'm asking for a blessing over every person, that you'll just like put wisdom in us. God, not just in our heads, we're not just going to try harder, I want to be transformed. God, I'm asking you, Lord, to put inside of me the spirit of a pure heart. God, that you put inside of me submission, willing to yield. God, honest and sincere, full of mercy, we just let it go. God, make us wise, I pray, so that we can sow peace every place we go.

I want you to keep your heads bowed, your eyes closed just for a moment. And I want to go back to that very first one, wisdom is first of all pure. And if you're here today, you say, "Chris, my heart is so contaminated". And you just want to repent. You may be a Christian, you're saying, "I just got to get some things right with God. I need to let him know I'm so sorry". And ask God, are you ready for this? In a moment, God will skim those contaminants out of your heart and you'll feel it. I'm telling you, you'll feel it. You'll feel clean, you'll feel no shame, guilt-free, forgiving. I think it's the best feeling in the world to know that my sins are forgiven, that you cannot get that without Jesus.

Jesus is the only one who ever paid for man's sins. He is the only way to the Father. And you say, "Chris, but how do I get in on that deal"? Very simple, give him the control of your life. The Bible calls it make him Lord. And that simply means you're going to follow him, you're going to follow his way. You're going to put him as the priority relationship on the list of relationships that are over your heart. For some of you, you've never done that before. And you've been religious, been at church, but you've never been transformed, born again. And you're one simple, heartfelt prayer away from that becoming a reality.

Now, I'm going to pray it, and if you want this to be your prayer, just join me in your heart, or you can whisper it right there where you are. We're not going to make you stand up, come down to the front, but you can pray this, just you and God right there. And then after I say amen, I'll give it to the campuses. Here we go, you ready? If you're praying, pray with me. Say:

Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to pay for all the things that I did, my sin. And today, I come to you, I repent. I ask you to forgive me and to clean my heart. I declare that Jesus is my Lord. I give Jesus the control of my life.

In fact, I want you to make this declaration, any Christian in this room can make it. I think it's healthy for all of us to do this at least once a week.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe he died and rose again. And today, I put my faith in him. In Jesus's name I pray, amen and amen.

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