Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God wants to help us: 1. Defeat worldly wisdom. 2. Develop Godly wisdom. 3. Demonstrate Godly wisdom.

Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Part 8: The Godly Wisdom We Need

James 3:13-18

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - April 1, 2012

*James 1:5 gives us one of the most practical promises in the Bible: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

*This great promise of wisdom is important to us all, because all of us need wisdom. We all need God’s kind of wisdom. And the Lord wants us to help us get it. James shows us how.

1. First: God wants to help us defeat worldly wisdom.

*Worldly wisdom is something that we all have to overcome, because all wisdom is not from above. James helps us see this starting in vs. 13, where he asks Christians:

13. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

14. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.

*The “self-seeking” he mentions in vs. 14 is “strife” in the KJV. -- It means a contentious heart, somebody looking for a fight, politicking in a bad way.

-It’s a factional spirit, seeking to jockey for position.

-It leads to doing things with an ulterior motive, even by conspiracy and deceit.

*And starting in vs. 15, James says:

15. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

16. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.

*All wisdom is not from above, and we must overcome the worldly wisdom in our hearts. In this chapter, James has just finished giving us the example of the evil that can come from our tongue. Please look back up at vs. 2-6, where James said:

2. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

3. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.

4. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

5. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

6. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

*Our tongues produce all kinds of evil misery, when they are led by the ungodly wisdom in our hearts. And unfortunately, we are all born with this sinful, selfish, worldly wisdom.

*Sometimes Mary and I like to watch “The Family Feud.” -- Once they had a question about little babies: What are the first words that little babies learn?

-Top 4 answers on the board: #1 was “Mama,” #2 was “Dada.” The 4th answer was “baba” for “bottle.”

*Guess what the #3 answer was. It was “NO!” One of the first words babies ever learn is, “No.” Why? -- Because we are all born with a selfish streak of stubbornness. We need to face up to this truth, and it should be obvious, because it shows up in the things we say.

*How big is this problem? -- So big that it is impossible for us to fix it on our own.

-As James said in vs. 7&8:

7. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.

8. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

*No man can tame the tongue. And we will never overcome the evil in our hearts without the help of Almighty God.

-But God wants to help us defeat worldly wisdom.

2. He also wants to help us develop Godly wisdom.

*In vs. 17 James gives us an amazing description of Godly wisdom. Here James said: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

[1] In this one verse God gives us 8 key characteristics of Godly wisdom, and the first characteristic is purity.

*As James said in vs. 17, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure. . .” This word “pure” comes from the same root-word as “holy.” So Godly wisdom is clean, innocent, modest, holy, pure. A.T. Robertson tells us it means “pure from fault, not half-good and half-bad...” (1)

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