a Test Series – James 3:13-18
Intro: If we were to recall our upbringing and all the great statement’s that our parents instilled within us, I believe one that would be on the top ten list, would be: DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING? Interestingly enough this is exactly what James wants; he wants the Christian to really understand the wisdom that comes from God and not to depend on man’s wisdom.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
Text: James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Application: True wisdom comes from above!
What is true wisdom? What is so difficult about living a Christian life! Is it really asking too much to have a godly Persona?
In chapter 3 the responsibility of the teacher is woven throughout this text. It is not enough simply to stand before the people and say words; you must have something to say. This is where spiritual wisdom comes in. Knowledge enables us to take things apart, but wisdom enables us to put things together and relate God’s truth to daily life. All of us have heard preachers and teachers who say many good things, but who somehow miss the heart of God’s message and fail to relate truth to everyday life. It is this kind of knowledge without wisdom that James is writing about. He is contrasting true wisdom and false wisdom in three different aspects.
1. Contrast in Origins: Vs. 15, 17a
“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure.”
The true wisdom comes from above, but the false wisdom comes from below. In other words, there is a heavenly wisdom that comes from God, and there is a man-made wisdom that does not come from God. Whatever does not come from God is destined to fail, no matter how successful it may seem at the time.
What is the origin of man’s wisdom? “Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”
The believer has three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. These enemies are suggested by the terms earthly, sensual, and devilish. There is wisdom of this world. Do not confuse the world’s knowledge and the world’s wisdom. Certainly, there is a great deal of knowledge in this world, and we all benefit from it; but there is not much wisdom. The world by its wisdom knew not God, and in its wisdom rejects the very Gospel of God. “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-21
Because the world has turned from God, it has lost its wisdom. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Where Satan successfully deceived Eve, and continuing through the entire Bible, there is a wisdom of Satan at work, fighting against the wisdom of God. Satan convinced Eve that she would be like God. He told her that the tree would make her wise. Ever since that event, people have continued to believe Satan’s lies and have tried to become their own gods. Satan is cunning; he is the old serpent! He has wisdom that will confound and confuse you if you do not know the wisdom of God.
In contrast to the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish, James describes a wisdom that is from above. The first step toward true wisdom is the receiving of Jesus Christ as Saviour. The Word of God is also our wisdom. The Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation”. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” The Holy Spirit of God is “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation”. The origin of true spiritual wisdom is God. To get your wisdom from any other source is to ask for trouble. There is no need to get the counterfeit wisdom of the world, the wisdom that caters to the flesh and accomplishes the work of the devil. Get your wisdom from God! THE WISE UNDERSTAND THIS!
2. Contrast in Operations: Vs. 13-14, 17
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
We have all the key players hear: Envy, strife, boasting, deceit, meekness, purity and peace.
I have already mentioned that the wisdom from above operates in a different way from the wisdom that is earthly, let’s look at the evidence.
Evidences of false wisdom:
Envy: Is our zeal for the Lord spiritual or carnal? Do we rejoice when others succeed, or do we have secret envy (Jealousy) and criticism? Do we feel burdened when others fail, or are we glad? When the wisdom of the world gets into the church, there is a great deal of fleshly promotion and human glorification. Beware!
Strife: Creates a spirit of self-seeking, which leads into division in the church.
Boasting: When God’s wisdom is at work, there is a sense of humility and submission, and you want God to get all the glory. You have no desire to compare yourself with any other Christian; because you see only Christ—and compared with Him, all of us still have a long way to go!
Deceit: Cheating, Dishonesty and Trickery just to mention a few. That sounds like a reality show not a relationship!
Evidences of true spiritual wisdom:
Meekness: Is not weakness; it is power under control. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. Meekness is the right use of power, and wisdom is the right use of knowledge. They go together. The truly wise person will show in his daily life that he is a child of God. Attitude and action go together.
Purity: Indicates the importance of holiness.
Peace: God’s wisdom leads to peace. The church can never have peace by sweeping sins under the rug and pretending they are not there. Man’s wisdom says, Cover up sin! Keep things together! God’s wisdom says, 1 John 1:9!
Mercy: To be full of something means to be controlled by. The person who follows God’s wisdom is controlled by mercy. For a Samaritan to care for a Jewish stranger was an act of mercy. He could gain nothing from it, except the blessing that comes from doing the will of God; and the victim could not pay him back. That is mercy.
Good fruits: People who are faithful are fruitful. God’s wisdom does not make a life empty; it makes it full.
Sincerity: Doesn’t wear a mask! “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12
3. Contrast in Outcomes: Vs. 16, 18
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Origin determines outcome. Worldly wisdom will produce worldly results; spiritual wisdom will give spiritual results.
Worldly wisdom produces trouble; Wrong thinking produces wrong living. One reason the world is in such a mess is because men have refused to accept the wisdom of God.
Confusion sets the stage for every evil work. Evil here means “worthless, of no account.” The most important thing we can do in our local churches is measure our ministries by the Word of God, not by the wisdom of men. The many battles among Christians, the church splits, the absence of purity and peace, all suggest that something is wrong. Perhaps that “something” is the absence of the wisdom of God.
God’s wisdom produces blessing: James returned to that word, fruit. There is a vast difference between man-made results and God-given fruit. Fruit is the product of life, and fruit has in it the seeds for more fruit. Usually it is the seed that is sown, but here it is the fruit that is sown. As we share the fruit of God with others, they are fed and satisfied, and they in turn bear fruit.
The Christian life is a life of sowing and reaping. Every life is a life of sowing and reaping, and we reap just what we sow. The Christian who obeys God’s wisdom sows righteousness, not sin; he sows peace, not war. The life we live enables the Lord to bring righteousness and peace into the lives of others. What we are is what we live, and what we live is what we sow.
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13
Conclusion: The outcome is as simple as deciding who’s wisdom you will chose to act upon; worldly or godly. In my opening remarks to this sermon I alluded to a top ten statement that all of us can relate too, remember what I said? Do you understand what I am saying?
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 (NIV)
Answer to the test: The wise person understands the wisdom from above!
In : Sermon
Tags: "life is a test series" "book of james"
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