Summary: Our Christian faith is to be lived out in our daily behavior
James 3: 13 -- 18
Our Christian faith is to be lived out in our daily behavior. Our theme for this year is John 13: 34 -- 35. We are to be a show so Christian. The Bible talks about a know so salvation. The little book of first John is written to help us know that believers do have eternal life. So John says we can know that we are saved. James tells us we ought to have a show so salvation. James is saying don’t just talk about salvation faith, show it to me. Make it a matter of works as well as words.
Now, you do know that what you believe will impact how you behave don’t you? Everyday of our lives we ought to be a living testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We ought to be telling people that Jesus changes lives and improves behavior. So, James is saying if you are wise then you will demonstrate that you are wise by an attractive good life.
James, in our text this morning is contrasting two kinds of wisdom. In verse 17, he says the wisdom that is from above. That is one kind of wisdom. In verse 15, he says a wisdom that descends not from above. There is a heavenly wisdom. There is an earthly wisdom. There is a divine wisdom and there is also a devilish wisdom. James is going to show us how to tell the difference between the two.
The way James does this isn’t at all unusual for James. He introduces to us two individuals. There is Mr. wise and Mr. Otherwise. Let’s talk about MR. OTHERWISE first.
Mr. otherwise has a wisdom that doesn’t come from heaven. Look at verses 14 and 15. Listen carefully here folks. James is moving into our hearts. He is getting into the motives of our life. The motives of our lives determines what we do. Jesus had a lot to say about the heart. Jesus said as a man thinks in his heart so is he. James is talking about Mr. otherwise -- a wisdom from down below. Mr. otherwise has motives which derive from problems on the inside. Look at those problems in verse 14. These are inside problems. Problems with the heart.
Envy and strife. The word envy could be translated jealous. Have you ever been jealous of anybody? Are you jealous of anyone this morning? Then there is envy, a problem with the heart.
Strife means selfish ambition. Strife is the desire to promote self. You will be seeing a perfect example of strife in the presidential chase. They want to promote themselves so bad that they are willing to do anything necessary to be elected. Even if that is to put down the other person. Is there strife in your life? There is something wrong with the heart.
Now listen! Here is a person with jealousy in his heart -- the demotion of someone else. But he has strife in his heart -- the promotion of himself. He is trying to drag others down and trying to lift himself up. No wonder he is a mess. That kind of wisdom is not from above but a devilish wisdom. Mr. otherwise makes his decisions on the basis of earthly considerations. Does that speak to your heart?
Now here is a danger. You let Mr. otherwise become a deacon, teacher or hold some office in church. It may be the main thing to him is how the finances are going. He is looking at things with an earthly point of view. He is not concerned about how many people are getting saved. He isn’t concerned about how many lives Jesus is putting back together. His only concern is how the finances are going.
I am tired of talking about Mr. otherwise. To be honest, he is so depressing to talk to and to even talk about. Let’s talk about MR. WISE. I love to talk to him and about him. Mr. wise usually don’t have a lot to say. He just sort of moves among us and never tells us how wise he really it’s.
Look at verse 17. The wisdom from above is pure and peaceable. They go together. They do what they do out of their love for Jesus and love for a lost world. You know why they sing? Because they love Jesus. You know why they visit? They love Jesus. They study their Bible and pray because they love Jesus. They are so easy to get along with. Mr. our Mrs. wise is the real thing.
Let me just close this up. When I see the difference between the wisdom from below and the wisdom from above, I look at my life. I often see too much wisdom from below and not enough wisdom from above. Then I say:, Lord let me have more of your wisdom and less of this world’s wisdom.