We have been looking at a powerful little letter that speaks directly to heart of a professing believer. There is no beating around the bush…he gets right to the point and the concerns that face the Christian faith. We have seen……
- Count it all joy when you face trials…..no excuses.
- Loving God even your trial and circumstance
- The importance of the sufficiency of Scripture in the Christian's life
- The vital importance of being doers of the word…practical Christian living.
- Not to show favoritism towards others, for we are all equal in our sins
- Faith without active works is dead……“you will see my faith by my works"
- How the tongue could be used for both good and evil.
We come to a portion of this letter that speaks about wisdom [worldly] that leads to……Destruction….deception and death…..which ultimately resides in Hell with Satan and his fallen angels. Where do you go…or where do you turn to in order to find wisdom understanding? The Spiritual status of your life will dictate your answer! God or this world? As John MacArthur says "the kind of wisdom a person possesses will be revealed by the kind of life he or she lives". Remember what Solomon said in 1 Kings 3:7-10 “Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.”There is something we need to understand! The unsaved masses seek the world for help and wisdom, where the Christian seeks His kingdom and His righteousness to find wisdom. Let me explain.....….turn to Psalm 1 This is a person who seeks after true wisdom, who will delight themselves in the precepts found in scripture. Again I will say again and again “this book is sufficient in every aspect for your life.” You have a chose to make! …….Do I want to listen to God or to the Post Modern thinker?
Listen to some of the so called wisdom of this world! The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. Albert Einstein said this about the wisdom of God "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish." Sigmund Freud who declared that “religion is the universal obsessional neurosis [a mild psychiatric disorder] of humanity.” SEE! True wisdom only comes from God. Sadly these highly educated men didn’t realize their lost state…………So when fallible man or women fail you! God won’t. He is faithful! Job said “God is wise in heart and mighty in strength..” Job 9:4, in Psalm 104:24 says “O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all….” Solomon wrote “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Prov 1:7. Jeremiah said “For among all the wise men of the nations, And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You.” Jer 10:7. Paul said to the church “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col 2:3.
Almighty God is our source of wisdom! Let me ask you…….who would rather listen to? A man who says we’re a product of our society? A man who says we’re no different than animals? Or a man who claims we can find wisdom on our own? Because every one of those men who believe this are absolutely wrong! I’m not a product of my upbringing……. I’m a sinner saved by sovereign grace. I’m not an animal……..I’m created in the image of God. I’m not able to do my own strength….….apart from Him I can do nothing. Do you see what James is telling us this morning? Look at the opening remarks in (v13) “Who is wise and understanding among you?” which gives the idea that James is saying if there is any among you……..to step forward and identify themselves. Who is wise in this age or any age for that matter? There are a lot of knowledgeable people but it doesn't mean there wise. See knowledge helps us to break things down but wisdom helps us to put all the pieces together properly. There is only one Source of true wisdom and that is found in the God breathed scriptures. See James begins this portion with the negative
PURE WISDOM CANNOT BE FOUND IN THE WORLD (V13- V16)
James gives us 3 characteristics of False Wisdom
“Earthly Wisdom” limited to the present material world, by definition it is restricted to things that man can theorize, discover, and accomplish by himself
- Selfish ambition
- Self interest
- Basically looking out for number 1
“Natural Wisdom” sensual, fleshly, it relates only to the fallen, unredeemed man, corrupted by the fall and separated from God. It originates in the natural man and is a product of Satan. 1Cor 1:18-21 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT." 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? 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.”
“Demonic Wisdom” its root source is Satan himself, working through his demonic fallen angels, who rebelled with him against God in ages past. 2Cor 11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
James gives us the outcome of earthly wisdom (v15)
“full of Disorder” instability, a state of confusion, disturbance, and disarray.
“Every Evil thing” worthless, it means vile and contemptible, it goes nowhere! It says one thing, but means another and it leads to destruction.
Sadly though as Jesus said “many go in by it” Matt 7:13 James makes it very clear if we have any of these characteristics in our lives, this wisdom is not from our Heavenly Sovereign Lord, but Earthy which is evil, sensual and Demonic.
PURE WISDOM IS FOUND ONLY FROM ABOVE (v17-v18)
James gives us 7 characteristics of True Wisdom
Heavenly wisdom is Peaceable it’s someone who displays humility.
Heavenly wisdom is Gentle it’s fair, moderate, forbearing, courteous and considerate. “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,” 2 Tim 2:24
Heavenly wisdom is Reasonable it’s willing to yield without bitterness or disputing, it’s teachable, compliant and not stubborn with the desire to understand.
Heavenly wisdom is Full of Mercy the evidence of saving faith and transformed life through the gospel of Christ.
Heavenly wisdom is Full of Good Fruits which refers to every sort of good work or deed. Again this goes back to what James said earlier about faith and works James 2:14-20
Heavenly wisdom is Unwavering it’s not to be parted or divided, therefore without doubt, wavering, inconsistency, treating everyone equal without favoritism. Again this also goes back to what James said in James 2:1-9
Heavenly wisdom is Without Hypocrisy it’s without malice, deceit, envy, and slander.
These are the characteristics of heavenly wisdom and the results of this true wisdom brings about (v18) A “Fruit” baring harvest! Godly wisdom produces a continuing cycle of righteousness, which is planted and harvested in the life of the believer. This brings about a “Peaceful righteousness!” A harmonious relationship between the Lord and His faithful servants……you and me! So who are we going to seek?...................Who are you going to seek? This self-seeking world that is selfishness, immoral, corrupt, spiritually bankrupt? Or are we going to seek the wisdom that flows down freely from Heaven which is pure, holy, perfect, gentle, merciful and most of all peaceable? Remember as John Calvin said “…man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.” Seek Him…..cast your burdens upon Him…..rest in Him…..mediate on His word……and you will grow in grace………you will grow in His wisdom! Why? The bible says so and that’s good enough for me, you…..because His word is sufficient! Herman Bavinck said “faith is concentrated on the historic realities of redemption and results in trust that these historic acts are God’s saving acts for us. It is the same Spirit that inspired the apostolic witness that now seals the truth of that witness in believers’ hearts. Christians submit to Scripture because they believe it is a divine word, a word from God…. The authority of Scripture, accepted in Spirit-inspired faith, is a powerful self-asserted authority. We believe it because God said it, and God’s speaking is the final ground of our faith. There is no power in the world comparable to that of Scripture.” As Jesus said in Matt 7:24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:” The only wisdom that is pure, gentle, peaceable, and full of God's truth and mercy to His created called out ones. You and me!