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5. People arenít going to want to hear about the marvelous light until you show them youíre out of the darkness.
Transition: Not only does James tell us to let our wisdom show, but he also tell us...
II. We Should Stay Away From False Wisdom (14-16)
A. Bitter Envying and Strife
1. In verses 14-16 James tells us about false wisdom as opposed to true wisdom.
2. In verse 14 he says "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."
a. Apparently some of Jamesís readers were harboring "bitter envy and selfish ambition" in their hearts. - Expositorís Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM
b. The opposite of the meekness of wisdom is bitter envy and selfish ambition.
c. If these things characterize us, though we may boast of our wisdom, our whole life is a denial of the truth revealed in Jesus.
3. Illustration: Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a sportsman with a bow and arrow and said to him, "I wish you would bring down that eagle up there." The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the jealous eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow was shot, but it didnít quite reach the rival bird because he was flying too high. The first eagle pulled out another feather, then another--until he had lost so many that he himself couldnít fly. The archer took advantage of the situation, turned around, and killed the helpless bird. Moody made this application: if you are envious of others, the one you will hurt the most by your actions will be yourself.
4. Not only were the ones James spoke of full of envy and selfishness, but they were boasting about it.
5. What kind of wisdom is filled with all kinds of evil and then brags about it? False wisdom!
a. It is a counterfeit wisdom.
b. It is as worthless a plug nickel.
c. You canít use it, count on it, or bank on it.
B. Not From Above
1. James says that this kind of wisdom "descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish."
a. Itís not from heaven but from earth.
b. 1 Cor. 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
2. This kind of wisdom is not spiritual but "sensual" or unspiritual.
a. This is "behavior which is typical of human nature, in contrast with that which is under the control of Godís Spirit" óLouw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. Instead of being from God it is contrary to Him.
3. If it contrary to God then it can only mean one thing; it is from the devil. James makes this clear by saying "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. "
a. Where ever you find this kind of wisdom at work you will find the devil at work.
b. You will find sowing division and arguing.
c. You will find causing bitter feelings and anger.
d. 1 Cor. 3:3 For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
Transition: Stay away from this kind of wisdom for it will only leave you empty. Therefore...
III. We Should Seek True Wisdom (17-18)
A. Wisdom From Above
1. Fortunately for us, James gives us some helpful hints as how to distinguish
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