Summary: There are really only two kinds of wisdom. Which kind do you have?
ATTENTION: Charles Steinmetz designed the generators for Henry Ford’s automobile plants. One day those generators ground to a halt. Not one of Ford’s engineers could get them up and running again. Ford contacted Steinmetz, who came, tinkered awhile, and threw the switch. The entire operation jolted back to life. A short while later, a bill from Steinmetz arrived on Ford’s desk in the amount of $10,000. Ford was outraged and demanded an itemization of the charge. Steinmetz replied: "For tinkering: $10. For knowing where to tinker: $9,990."
NEED: James tells us that those who are truly wise
reveal their wisdom by the things they do.
TEXTUAL IDEA: James’ readers were challenged to
evaluate their understandings of what it
meant to be wise according to God’s
standards and see how they compared.
SERMON IDEA: As we look at how the world’s
wisdom compares with God’s wisdom, we
can make an informed decision about how
to live our lives.
TRANSITION: This passage contrasts three areas of
wisdom that is from God and wisdom that is
from the world.
DIVISION ONE: Motives – what drives wisdom
- worldly wisdom: bitter envy, strife
- godly wisdom: purity (lit. holiness)
- jealousy, divisiveness
- ambition, self promotion.
- holiness: being like God
- no self-seeking.
DIVISION TWO: Characteristics – what describes
wisdom (vv. 15, 17b)
- earthly (world), sensual (flesh), devilish (devil)
- peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy, full of good fruit, without partiality, without hypocrisy.
- exact opposites
- each produces works, but of very different kinds.
- Actions speak louder than words
- Talk is cheap.
DIVISION THREE: Results – what defines wisdom
- confusion and every evil work
- fruit of righteousness, peace
- one is worthless, the other is priceless.
- the work of the church cannot progress without the practice of Godly wisdom.
- it not only makes the individual right with God, it makes the church effective in the world.
CONCLUSION: A confession without practice is
worthless. Truly wise people do wise things.
Jesus said it best, “By their fruits you will
know them” (Matt. 7:20).
APPLICATION: What are you doing for the good of
the body of Christ? Are you demonstrating
godly wisdom by the things that you do?
Do your actions match your words? It is one
thing to say that you love Jesus, but it is
entirely something else to prove it.