Summary: Wisdom is the one thing you can sincerely ask God for and His answer is always yes! THE PRIORITY, PRODUCT, AND POWER OF WISDOM. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

Are You Wiser Than a 5th Grader?

II Chronicles 1:7-12; James 3:13-17

The popular TV game show is a misnomer, because it doesn’t really test ‘smarts’, but ‘knowledge.’ It should be called “Are You More Knowledgeable than a 5th Grader?”! They haven’t found anyone who was yet, and sadly, it’s almost as hard to find Christians these days w/ much Bible knowledge and God given’ll find an elementary level in many cases. We need to make disciples, and be disciples!

God gave Solomon the equivalent of a blank check, and he did the honorable thing…he didn’t ask selfishly, but spiritually. God said, to reward this desire, I’m gonna give you what you asked for, and what you didn’t ask for!

Solomon became both the wisest and the wealthiest in the world.

Our world today suffers the most serious lack of wisdom of all of human history / foolishness rampant / destruction of lives.

I. The Priority of Wisdom (Proverbs 4:7, James 3:13)

Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Principal=main thing / top priority…we need wisdom more than a good job / strength and health / anything!…it’s the principal thing!

James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Notice: James doesn’t ask, who is a rich man? / popular / educated…

A. Wisdom is greater than monetary power. (Proverbs 3:13-16)

Proverbs 3:13-16

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. [14] For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. [15] She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. [16] Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Ill.—Armored truck goes by, everyone looks/ponders…we examine the guards/guns/procedures they follow…because everyone wants money…it’s a very “principal” thing to us! Well, if there were a truck full of wisdom going down the road, I wonder how many guards it would need? How many would concoct a plan to storm that truck and try to make off w/ it all?

Hear this: It is a great day in a Christian’s life when he begins to want wisdom more than anything else.

This was Solomon’s day…he did just that, and God honored that!

B. Wisdom is greater than military power. (Eccl. 9:16-18)

Eccles. 9:16-18

Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. [17] The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. [18] Wisdom is better than weapons of war…

We’re in a war on terror. And what we need in the Pentagon is wisdom / oval office / congress / all of military and law enforcement…

Would to God that every pastor would make this a daily prayer—a prayer for wisdom…

Every deacon / church leader / parent

C. Wisdom is greater than mental power. (Proverbs 4:4-9)

Proverbs 4:4-9

He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. [5] Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. [6] Forsake her (wisdom) not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. [7] Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. [8] Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. [9] She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Back to James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

We’re comparing wisdom w/ knowledge, and wisdom always comes first…knowledge is important, but it always failed if not linked to wisdom! For wisdom gives you the ability to rightly apply the knowledge you have been given. And knowledge is worthless and even dangerous w/out wisdom holding its hand, guiding it in the right direction.

There’s a big difference between being smart and being wise.

Joke: 4 guys in airplane—pilot, scientist, elderly preacher, Boy Scout

Developed plane trouble…pilot said we’re gonna have to jump out…problem is there’s only 3 parachutes.

Pilot said: the Air Force has spent many thousands of $ training me, so I have to live—grabbed parachute and jumped out.

Scientist said, I have the highest IQ here, 4 PhD’s, I’m probably the smartest man in the world, so the world needs me—and he jumped

Elderly preacher looked at Boy Scout and said son, I’ve lived a long life, you have all your life ahead of you, please take the last chute and jump.

Boy Scout said, no, that’s not necessary...we can both live.

“How’s that possible?”

‘Cuz the smartest man in the world just jumped out wearing my backpack!

You can have knowledge w/out wisdom, but a man of wisdom WILL get knowledge!

Great definition of wisdom: “The ability to apply Bible truths to all of life’s situations.”

You can’t apply truth you haven’t learned, so you have to study.

2 Tim. 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Joke—young preacher stood up and said, I don’t have to study, when I stand up to preach, God will put the words in my mouth.

His professor came to him w/ a preaching opportunity… “Will you study?” “I don’t have to”, he said cockily. “Ok, here’s the address.” “Sir, that’s in the Mexican part of town, they only speak Spanish”… “If God can put the words in your mouth, He can do it in Spanish!”

Lesson is, there’s no excuse for spiritual ignorance…spiritual wisdom is preached here several times a week, great truths, life-changing material. There’s more access to good books, seminars, internet mat’l than ever before! We need to fill our minds w/ knowledge and then ask God for the wisdom to apply it!

Here’s the difference between the 2:

Knowledge is learned, but wisdom is given.

This is why James said in James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

[the one prayer God always says yes to]

Unless you’re not saved—until then, you don’t have one bit of wisdom, for more than once the Bible says:

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…

II. The Product of Wisdom

A. Wisdom produces goodness [in your life] . (James 3:13)

James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Goodness is a by-product of wisdom…it results from it.

We think of Confucius, always spouting off words of wisdom [man who live in glass house dress in basement! / stand on toilet be high on pot / stand close to back of gar get exhausted!]

But true wisdom shows up more in our walk than in our talk! [More in what we do than what we say]

The opposite of a wise man is a fool…

Eccles. 5:3

… a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

Proverbs 10:19

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Fools tend to talk too much / say all they’re thinking…but a wise person listens more than they speak…why? Because you can’t learn anything when you’re talking! I’m doing all the talking right now so what does that make me? Well, the Bible talks about the foolishness of preaching!

Poem: A wise old owl sat in an oak, the more he saw, the less he spoke

The less he spoke, the more he heard, let’s imitate that wise old bird!

So, wisdom will show up more in your works than in your words.

B. Wisdom produces gentleness. (James 3:13)

James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness [gentleness] of wisdom.

Meekness=power under control. Meekness isn’t weakness…Jesus was meek. You can be the boss but you don’t have to throw your weight around / have it all your way.

Here’s the opposite in the next verse:

James 3:14

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

We’re finding a division between Godly wisdom and man’s wisdom:

James 3:15

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Let’s take a quick walk thru the Bible and see what it says about man’s wisdom:

Proverbs 3:7

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 16:25

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 28:11

The rich man is wise in his own conceit;

Eccles. 10:3

Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

Isaiah 5:21

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isaiah 29:14

… the wisdom of the wise men shall perish…

Jeremiah 8:8-9

How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us?…The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?

Matthew 11:25

Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Romans 1:22

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…

1 Cor. 1:25

… the foolishness of God is wiser than men…

1 Cor. 2:1, 4-5, 13-14

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. [4] And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: [5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Cor. 3:18-19

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

But a true, Godly wisdom will result in goodness, gentleness…

III. The Power of Wisdom (James 3:17)

James 3:17

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

A. Wisdom overcomes sin . [first pure] Because wisdom helps you have eyes to see the price tag on sin! [to Christ / to us]… “be sure your sin will find you out” / “pleasure in sin for a season”

B. Wisdom overcomes strife . [then peaceable] You’re either a peacemaker or a troublemaker.

C. Wisdom overcomes stubbornness. [Wisdom recognizes the time to stand and the time to be flexible.]

D. Wisdom overcomes selfishness . [easily intreated / not all about them]

E. Wisdom overcomes snobbishness. [without partiality—understands the ground is level at the cross! / understands the church is no place for cliques, that everybody is somebody and nobody is anybody…it’s all about God!]

F. Wisdom overcomes shams . [without hypocrisy…wisdom will help you be real!]

Many Christians are like hollow logs…appear sturdy and solid, but step on them and you find there’s not much inside…sin has been eating at them from the inside out as they have tried to appear wise outwardly but lack true, inner, Godly wisdom.

Proverbs 18:1

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.