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James 3:17-18 by Robert Dean
Missing first 10 min. of class
Series:James (1998)
Duration:49 mins 12 secs

Teaching Wisdom to Children; James 3:17-18

 

First ten minutes of this lesson missing from the recording….

 

Cosmic one is characterised by arrogance, by self-absorption. Man asserts his own autonomy; he is the final measure of all truth. Cosmic two promotes antagonism and hatred toward God, hostility to God. It is antagonistic to the plan and purposes of God. This can run the gamut from anything that is religious—and much of religion is antagonistic to God; much of which goes under the guise of Christian religion is antagonistic to biblical Christianity—to anti-religion, atheism, polytheism, pantheism, secular philosophy, secular humanism, existentialism, idealism, all of these basic thought systems are antagonistic to God.

 

From the vantage point of these thought systems and religious systems and philosophical systems Satan seeks to control the thinking of the human race. That is his agenda. Satan has a specific strategy in mind and he seeks to control the thinking of mankind and he does it through these various philosophies and religious systems. He knows, whether we recognize it or not, that we are involved in a war, the stakes are high, and if he wins he controls planet earth. His goal is to prove that he can control planet earth and that he is worthy of the title of the god of this age. He is therefore continuously propagandising the human race with his ideas and concepts about the nature of reality—whether that reality applies to law, to politics, to marriage, to family, to how relationships work, to problem-solving—whatever it may be, Satan has his system in place that looks like it works and is very attractive to us, because remember, we operate on the earth with an enemy within us called the sin nature that is attracted to this cosmic system and that has an affinity to this cosmic system. We don't have to do anything to pick up cosmic thinking, our sin nature is attracted to it like iron filings to a magnet. If we just let it go we are going to naturally suck up cosmic thinking. If we think of truth in the soul like a house, what you have outside the house is a hurricane blowing and all these winds of false doctrines and false ideas are constantly putting pressure on that house, seeking loose spots, cracks and crannies where that wind can drive in and put pressure on your thinking to shape it and mould it in terms of the value systems and ideas of Satan's cosmic system. So this propaganda is constant pressure on the soul. They are things that are very appealing to the sin nature and if we don't know how to answer those things, and if you are picking them up and reading them, then you are constantly being pushed and pressured. The thing is that we are not consciously aware of all the different ways that Satan is trying to shape and mould our thinking. That is why we have to be cognitively aware of what these ideas are around us so that we can spot them and guard against them. We do that through learning doctrine. Doctrine is what gives us the discernment to spot these things.

 

There are certain things that are always going to be prevalent here, either overtly or behind the scenes. There are going to be concepts about the ultimate nature of reality, what is the ultimate reality in the universe. We see this historically. This would include everything from ancient mythology which tried to explain the ultimate forces in the universe from the gods of Olympus to wind, earth, air, fire, etc. This is seen in a lot of science fiction according to the view of the author. Satan is constantly putting pressure on us to try to influence people to think about reality different from the way that God has defined reality.

 

We have examined postmodernism, which is a term to describe modern culture today, and we have seen that the primary cultural thinking from about 1600 to about 1960 would be called modernism. One of the characteristics of modernism was to put a tremendous amount of emphasis on human reason, that ultimately human reason is autonomous or independent and that man on the basis of reason alone can construct a perfect view of reality, and from that view of reality construct a view of the family, a view of the home, a view of law, of nations that will bring order and stability to life, and that if we follow that we can solve the problems of the world. The problem is that more and more philosophers promoted various systems of rationalism and empiricism based on modernism and it always ended up in the fact that you can't really know for sure. If you can't know for sure if there is any meaning in life, any value, then that is very depressive and oppressive. So that gave rise to certain very negative philosophies such as nihilism and existentialism. But man can't live on the basis of this hopelessness, that there really is nothing beyond us, that everything is just raw chance, there is no real basis for eternal value systems, because as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, God has set eternity in man's heart. So there is always this leap of faith, there has got to be something, man yearns for something that gives meaning and value to life. So what has happened in recent years is that man has set up fantasies or a kind of science fiction where there are alternatives universes that provide a whole metaphysical system for explaining reality. Out of these cosmogonies that are presented in these science fiction scenarios are a god, a universe, problem-solving techniques, which are presented in that structure.

 

One of the great areas of marketing for these fantasy stories is children. Children are targeted with this, and parents have a tremendous responsibility to develop a radar screen for their children. They are not born with it, the only thing they are born with is a natural affinity to any system that is anti-God. It is a parent's responsibility to teach them doctrine so that they can erect these radar screens for themselves. Going back to the analogy, there is a war going on. We are right in the middle of the war, in fact our minds are what is at stake. More than that, the mind of our children is what is at stake. Satan is constantly propagandising us and our children. A parent has hopefully been listening to some doctrine for a while and has developed a grid of discernment so that he can filter this stuff. But a child has no such grid. A parent's job is to make sure they develop that grid. 

 

A biblical example of this: Deuteronomy 6. This is Moses' last word to the Israelites before they go into the land. They are going to enter this land that is peopled by the Canaanites who have this vast pantheon of gods and goddesses, an entire cosmogony built on mythological religious belief, and how everything ultimately came from chaos.  This culture of the Israelites is getting ready to invade this fertility religion dominated culture of Canaanites who are by this time the most perverted a people as there could possibly be and God is going to use the Israelites to judge them and wipe their society completely off the face of the earth. They don't do that, but God has a prescription to preserve Israelite society from the propaganda, the thinking of Satan's cosmic thinking at that time which was Canaanite fertility religion. It was based on arrogance and it was antagonistic to God, so we see the twin poles of cosmic thinking evidenced in Baal worship and the fertility worship. So when the Israelites go into the land they are going to come under pressure to be like everybody else and to worship the Baalim and engage in all the fertility cults. We know what happened. They didn't obey God and God judged them many, many times as they got involved in all the phallic worship.

 

But listen to the divine antidote. Deuteronomy 6:4 NASB "Hear, O Israel! The LORD [Yahweh] is our God, the LORD [Yahweh] is one! [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." That implies priority, you are going to make the Lord your God your relationship because love implies a personal relationship. You are going to make your personal relationship with God the highest priority. That principle means to make Bible doctrine the number one priority in your life. This is not just learning it in Bible class, you have to do that to learn it, but the application, letting it reach down inside your soul and transform your thinking. [6] "These words [Bible doctrine], which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart." The heart refers to that innermost part of the thinking in your soul. This is not talking about emotion, it is talking about thought, that your thinking is going to be dominated by this relationship with God and with doctrine. You are constantly going to be thinking doctrine, you are going to let doctrine influence every opinion you have. But to do that you have to know what doctrine says about whatever it is you have an opinion of. Everything has to come under the authority of God's Word. [7] "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." Parents, this is your responsibility: learn doctrine constantly so that it transforms every category of thinking in your mind, and then you take that and your responsibility is to teach that to your children. "…and shall talk of them when you sit in your house." This is not talking about family devotions, this is talking about the fact that when you are sitting around, instead of talking about football you are going to be talking about doctrine in the normal course of life, about how doctrine impacts whatever it is they are engaged in so that they can learn to think about whatever they are doing in life biblically. They are not going to learn it from anybody else, it is your responsibility as a parent to do this. You are providing them that radar screen so that as they grow up they are going to develop discernment to think about life biblically. This is the role that God said that parents had in order to teach the next generation and top protect the next generation in the midst of this pagan environment in the Canaanite culture. The same thing is true for us. Our culture is not much better than the culture that they were in, and if you want to protect your children from the influences of Satan's propaganda then you are the one who is responsible. That means you had better learn what that world system is and you had better learn what doctrine says. That is the most important thing.

 

Listen to some of the things that are said in the Proverbs:

 

Proverbs 22:15 NASB "Foolishness is bound up in the heart [mind] of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him." In the context this is talking about the fact that that in this foolishness the child needs to be disciplined—corporal discipline. Corporal discipline is not abuse, no matter what the liberals want to say. You have to teach values, teach discipline, and control their sin nature in a child. The child's sin nature has a natural affinity to cosmic thinking and it is the parent's job to change that, to teach him wisdom, not foolishness. 

 

Proverbs 14:26 NASB "In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge." Cf. Proverbs 1:7 NASB "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge [wisdom] …" So it is the job of a parent to teach wisdom, divine viewpoint thinking, to children.

 

Proverbs 6:23 "For the commandment [doctrine] is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life."

 

The danger of gradualism, the frog in the pot illustration. A frog is a cold-blooded creature so his body is constantly adjusting to his environment. If you put a frog in a pot of cold water and then turn the burner on low. The water in the pot is going to increase its temperature gradually and the frog will adjust his body temperature gradually to the water. Eventually the water temperature gets to a fatal point. Bu then the frog is anaesthetized and he boils to death. If you put that frog in hot water he will jump out, but if you gradually increase the temperature he adjusts to it until all of a sudden he doesn't realize he is in a danger period. That is what happens to many believers. If we don't put our divine viewpoint filters out there, if we don't look on the radar screen to see where the blips are, and we are constantly being impacted by the propaganda of Satan and we don't exercise discernment, it changes our perception of reality. It is gradualism. This is what happens with our kids. They don't know enough about discernment if they are not taught and they get this propaganda over and over and over again through all kinds of entertainment, toys, movies, television, whatever it may be. This is not to say we should do away with all of these things but as a parent you have to exercise discernment.

 

The role of a parent is to teach a framework of doctrine to his children. You can't let your children grow up to think like the world thinks, you have to offer that protection. This means that you need to learn the Bible. You need to learn to think biblically. That is going beyond the events of the Bible, you need to learn to think biblically or one day you are going to look at your kids and you are not going to know what hit you. You need to learn and study the things that you allow to come into your kids' environment as much as possible. You need to find out what is going on. You need to be looking and asking what kind of things various things promote, what the value systems are, what the ultimate view of reality that is being presented is.