Becoming more like Jesus - lessons from James
Amidst controversy about Mark Driscoll's teaching style and recent discoveries about underhand tactics used to promote his latest book, his church - Mars Hill in Seattle, Washington - is continuing its series on the book of James.
Entitled 'James: Jesus' bold little brother', the four month series of sermons focus on the Messiah's younger brother; "the teacher, preacher and writer".
"His family's testimony is incredibly helpful and insightful as we learn about this man, the most important man in the history of the world, the most significant man in the history of the world, the most worshipped man in the history of the world, Jesus Christ," explained Driscoll in his opening sermon on January.
So far, he has explored the turnaround in faith that Jesus' family experienced. "His family did not originally initially believe his claims to be God. They had resistance to it. They were concerned for him," Driscoll says, though they later came to worship him as the son of God.
Talks have also included discussions on how to be a devoted student of God, honouring him in our daily lives and extending grace to one another.
Last week's sermon was entitled 'Jesus' wisdom, your wisdom', perhaps apt given Driscoll's recent letter to his Mars Hill congregation, in which he apologises for his behaviour and "young angry prophet" attitude, and explains the need for "wise counsel" in church leadership.
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Pastor Dave Bruskas gave this sermon, choosing to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom, and quoting Driscoll's earlier words: "Knowledge is knowing the truth; wisdom is knowing what to do with it. Knowledge is theoretical; wisdom is practical. Knowledge is truthful; wisdom is useful."
Bruskas explained that through Jesus we are made holy, and his wisdom is therefore made available to us.
"You need to know, right in this minute, no matter what you've done, as a follower, as a Christian, as one who's been declared righteous, God looks at you from heaven, and he sees you through the lens and the perfection of Jesus. You're in Christ...And the rest of the Christian life is living practically out that righteousness that's already ours," he declared.
"That's what the wisdom of Jesus brings about in our life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We become people in everyday life who think, feel, speak, and act like Jesus. And it's as if the seeds have been planted, and through Jesus' wisdom, they flourish, and this harvest of righteousness defines the church. I want that more than anything else."
The series can be followed here, or through #BoldJames on Twitter.