Summary: Many consider themselves wise, but just Who is their source?
#October 28, 2012
Text: James 3:13-18
Title: James Part 6 – The Source of Your Wisdom
Last Sunday at our evening service I continued with our James series and I spoke to you about controlling your tongue – saying the same things that God says about you and about your relationships with others. James tells us that a little spark can set a whole forest on fire. Your tongue does damage when not controlled.
This morning we continue with the words of James the brother of Jesus and again he focuses on both relationships and your own spirituality. This week the focus is on wisdom.
There is a great debate that could be held on the topic of wisdom. Some mistakenly see wisdom as the same thing as knowledge. We all know a lot of educated people with plenty of knowledge that do not have wisdom. At the same time we say that many do not have educational knowledge and yet have common sense and we equate that with wisdom.
But what does the bible say about wisdom? Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…
That really gives us an indication of what true wisdom is doesn’t it?
The question goes out to you today – What or Who is the source of your wisdom?
Read James 3:13-18
I believe this is God's Word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
And I appropriate it to my life today…
I. THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD… 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. Verse 13 is a transitional sentence that connects what follows with what was before. The previous section in James was about the words you speak and how your words should be lived out in your life and not just spoken. So with that in mind James asks the question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” And this is where we need to stop and define wisdom. This is what Miriam Webster’s online dictionary says, a: accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight c : good sense : judgment. Here is the problem that arises when we look at yourself as being wise. We use the wrong standard. In 1 Corinthians 1 Paul addressed this very subject in his letter to a church that was full of “wise” people. 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Paul’s point, as is James’, is that human wisdom cannot save you. Human wisdom confuses and destroys because what people in the world consider wise will not lead them to Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul continues, 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. In verse 13, how does James say that our wisdom becomes evident? It is by our actions. So now we see that there are at least three things that James associates with our actions. 1) our faith… 2:26, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. 2) our words… 3:2, We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3) and now, our wisdom… Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Let’s look at what James says results from human wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. If we stop and look at a couple of words in the original language we get some new insight to what James means. “bitter envy” means, poisonous jealousy. What is translated as selfish ambition speaks of a self-seeking attitude bent on gaining approval for oneself. And whom is James writing to here? He is writing to the church – to Christians! It appears that some in the church were priding themselves in their zeal for what they considered “truth” and in their defense of that truth were in fact denying the truth they were defending. In other words, they were boasting that they wanted the best for the church and by creating division they were in fact harming the church. There have been those who have approached me about the operation of the gifts of the Spirit in the church, questioning the motives of those who are being used by God in the gifts. As a matter of fact, one person who no longer attends here said that they thought that tongues and interpretation were scripted because it was the same people most of the time. I want you to understand something; when people are being used by the Spirit do you honestly think that they are doing so in order to draw attention to themselves? When there is a message in tongues and interpretation do you really think that those who are gifted aren’t hearing from the Spirit of God? Or is there jealousy among you that some are being used by God and you aren’t? I’m just asking questions here… Do you think that others are overcome by the Spirit and begin to laugh in the Spirit are doing so for their own benefit? I have friend who is a former pastor who told me that in a church he pastured that it was the same three people being used in tongues and interpretation and prophecy nearly every week and that he told them that he thought it was not from the Spirit. My question to him was this, “Is anyone else in the church willing to be used in the gifts?” “No!” Well then that is probably why those people were being used. No one else was willing to flow in the gifts. Do any of us think that we are wiser than others when it comes to the gifts? Do any of us think that we know, better than anyone else, what is best for this church? 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. Well isn’t that kind of harsh? Only if it is hitting home to someone! It’s the word of God given to you for a purpose. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Do you think that James wrote this because he had a bone to pick with someone? No, he heard from the Holy Spirit and wrote what the church needed to hear. There was a division in the church caused by those who thought they had wisdom, but it was not wisdom from God. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.