Summary: In this sermon we examine what James says about our need to have God’s wisdom and ask for it. Then we see how that Solomon did just that and God answered his prayer.
A. This is graduation weekend, and we want to recognize and congratulate all our graduates, both college and high school.
1. Being graduation weekend, it is the perfect time to talk about wisdom.
2. Today as we look at the end of James chapter 3, we will see how that James contrasts two kinds of wisdom, but before we get there, we need to contrast the difference between wisdom and knowledge.
B. Have you ever met any persons who were absolute geniuses? They seem to know everything?
1. If they were on Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, they would walk away winners.
2. But having knowledge is not the same thing as having wisdom, especially God’s kind of wisdom.
C. Let’s test your knowledge for a minute.
1. How long would it take darkness to cover the earth if the sun went out?
a. 4 ½ minutes; 8 1/3 minutes; 25 minutes, 2 hours?
b. Correct answer: 8 1/3 minutes
2. What is the average speed at which a beard grows per year?
a. 3.94 inches; 5.51 inches; 9.45 inches; 13.39 inches
b. Correct answer: 5.51 inches
3. About how many dimples are there on a golf ball?
a. 100; 200; 400; 600
b. Correct answer: 400
4. It is estimated that Americans throw 7 million of these away everyday.
a. pennies; Publishers Clearing House entries; Michael Bolton C.D.s; unused sheets of paper
b. Correct answer: pennies
5. What animal does cashmere come from?
a. bears; whales; sheep; goats
b. Correct answer: goats
D. Even if you answered all those questions correctly because of your knowledge, not because you are a good guesser, that would not guarantee that you are wise. Smart; knowledgeable, yes.
1. Wisdom is more than knowledge.
2. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts; wisdom is the ability to use those facts responsibly.
3. A major problem of our day is that man’s knowledge has surpassed his wisdom.
E. Now let me give you some examples of wisdom from the lips of children.
1. Patrick, age 10: “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
2. Michael, age 14: “When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer him.”
3. Lauren, age 9: “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
4. Joel, age 10: “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”
5. “Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.”
6. “Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.”
7. “Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a Tic Tac.”
8. “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
F. As wise, humorous and helpful as those statements are, they are still not the kind of wisdom that James is encouraging us to receive.
G. As we have been studying from James, we have been talking about developing a faith that works.
1. What he has been saying throughout the book is that real faith makes a difference in our lives.
2. Having real faith is demonstrated in how we stand up under our trials and temptations.
3. Having real faith is demonstrated in doing the Word of God, not just hearing it.
4. Having real faith means valuing all people, and being ready to do something to help those in need.
5. Having real faith means controlling our anger and our tongue.
6. So, it should not surprise us, when James comes to the question of wisdom and asks the question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?”, that he would answer it any other way than “Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.”
I. In verses 13 – 18, James contrasts two kinds of wisdom.
1. James contrasts the ORIGINS of the two kinds of wisdom.
a. Godly wisdom comes from above; it comes from God. But worldly wisdom comes from below; it comes from Satan and is earthly and unspiritual.
2. Next, James contrasts the OPERATIONS of the two kinds of wisdom.
a. Worldly wisdom is characterized by bitter envy, and selfish ambition.
b. Godly wisdom is characterized by being pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit; being impartial and sincere.
c. That is certainly quite a contrast in attitude and behavior, wouldn’t you say?
3. Finally, James contrasts the OUTCOMES of the two kinds of wisdom.
a. Worldly wisdom produces trouble and confusion. It results in disorder and every evil practice.
b. That’s a pretty good commentary on our time, don’t you think?
c. Godly wisdom, on the other hand, produces blessing. It results in a harvest of righteousness.
J. We could spend a lot of time today discussing every one of the things that James lists in these contrasts, and there would be some value in that.