Summary: James speaks of two sets of attitudes. One focuses on negative attitudes and the other positive attitudes. One leads us to experiencing the Spirit in our choices and values of life while the other leads to bondage from our choices and values in life.
Series: Experience the Spirit
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his£ faith.
7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Summary: In verse 2-8 we see the Apostle Paul here telling us how we need to transform our minds and our attitudes about life if we want to be spiritually mature. It compares to what the Apostle James says in chapter of his Epistle about listening to wisdom from below or wisdom from above.
Theme: The Body of Christ needs to learn to experience the Spirit in their everyday lives so that they grow spiritually. We can learn to experience true spirituality as we see the Spirit at work in our daily lives and activities.
As we learn to recognize the Spirit and embrace His Spirit spiritual growth will take place in our lives.
Sermon: Experience the Spirit through wisdom
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace–loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Thesis: James speaks of two sets of attitudes. One focuses on negative attitudes and the other positive attitudes. One leads us to experiencing the Spirit in our choices and values of life while the other leads to bondage from our choices and values in life.
We have in this passage, James comparing two lifestyles one he calls a lifestyle based on "wisdom from above" and the other a lifestyle based on "wisdom from below." Vs. 14-16 speaks of wisdom from below or earthly wisdom and Vs. 17-18 speaks of wisdom from above which is from heaven.
Guernesey states this about the text, "We have found James’ description of the two sets of values very helpful in pinpointing the kind of values, attitudes, and behavior that make for healthy lives and relationships."
I add that gaining wisdom from above will help us experience the Spirit while taking wisdom from below will lead us away from experiencing the Spirit. One leads to spiritual maturity the other leads to spiritual bondage.
The Two Lifestyles one focused on experiencing the Spirit the other one based on grieving the Spirit.
I. A lifestyle based on "wisdom from below" does not bring spiritual maturity.
a. Earthbound values (A mind set)
A. James speaks here in 3:15 that "wisdom from below" is a value system that is "earthly", "Unspiritual", and "devilish."
1. Earthly is a word designated to mean standards of this earthly realm.
a. This mind set is one that is based on the value of: "Let’s do it to them before they do it to us." It represents the survival of the fittest mind set.
b. It’s also expressed in "Win at all costs", "I will have the last word", etc.
c. This basic attitude or mind set sees life as a struggle. You really cannot trust the other person to want what’s best for you. In other words, you have to look out for number one, yourself, because no one else will. It’s a mindset that says they are out to get me.