Summary: What kind of wisdom passes the test of faith? The kind of wisdom that James describes as only coming from above.
1. Roots of test-passing wisdom (17a)
2. Attributes of test-passing wisdom (17b)
3. Fruits of test-passing wisdom (18)
Who is a wise man? What is wisdom? It’s interesting that two people who are known for their wisdom asked that very same question. Solomon did. In Ecclesiastes 8:1 he asked, “Who is as the wise man and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing?” Another person who asked that question is the great Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates was the teacher of Plato who was the teacher of Aristotle, who are known as the greatest philosophers of the western world. Socrates spent his whole life on a quest for wisdom. His quest looked a lot like Solomon’s, but unlike Solomon, Socrates died without finding it. At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon found true wisdom in the only place it can be found—in the Word of God. Socrates didn’t acknowledge the Word of God, so he never found what he spent his whole life looking for. But that didn’t stop people from coming to him looking for wisdom. A story is told of an arrogant young man who came to Socrates looking for wisdom. Socrates took him out to the sea and led him chest-deep into the water. Then he asked him, “What do you want?” The young man said, “Wisdom, oh wise Socrates.” So, Socrates proceeded to push him under the water. After about 30 seconds, he let the boy up and asked him again, “What do you want?” The young man sputtered, “Wisdom oh great and wise Socrates.” Socrates pushed him under water again. 30 seconds passed, 35, 40. Then he let him up. “What do you want?” This time the boy was gasping and choking. But between breaths, he managed to get out, “Wisdom, oh great and…” This time he didn’t even finish his sentence before Socrates dunked him. 30, 40, 50, 55, one full minute later, Socrates finally let him up. “What do you want?” “Air! I need air!” That was the lesson. Socrates told him, “When you desire wisdom as much as you just desired air, then you will have it.” Think about that for a second. Air is something you don’t pay a whole lot of attention to until you don’t have it. But when you don’t have it, it is the only thing you can think about. If you’ve ever gotten hit in the stomach and gotten the wind knocked out of you, you know what I’m talking about. This morning, we’re continuing what we started last week. We’re looking at James’ fifth test to determine whether our faith is real or not. This fifth test is the wisdom test. Last week when we looked at verses 14-16, we saw what test-failing wisdom looks like. We saw the roots, attributes and fruits of test-failing wisdom. That’s not the kind of wisdom we want, is it? We want the kind of wisdom that passes the test of faith. The kind of wisdom that demonstrates true belief in Jesus Christ. The kind of wisdom that shows the world what saving faith really looks like. That’s the kind of wisdom I want each of us to have this morning. I don’t want any one to leave this place without real, test-passing wisdom. In order to do that, we’re going to see what real test-passing wisdom looks like. We’re going to look at the roots, attributes and fruits of test-passing wisdom. First let’s look at the roots. Look with me at the first part of verse 17: