Summary: James teaches about wisdom, but first he teaches about what wisdom is not and he gives a list of negative things that Christians must avoid.
1. Open your bibles to James 3:13-16.
2. In this section of scripture James begins a discussion on the subject of wisdom by asking a question.
3. Let’s read the first part of James 3:13a, “Who is wise and understanding among you?”
4. In the second part of verse 13 James makes brief statement pertaining to how wisdom is shown.
5. In the three following verses, verses 14,15&16 states some negative things that do not show Godly wisdom.
6. In this lesson we will primarily discuss the negative things that tell us what wisdom is not.
I. FIRST, JAMES 3:13b TEACHES THAT HEAVENLY WISDOM, FROM GOD, IS SHOWN, NOT JUST BY WHAT WE SAY, BUT IT IS SHOWN BY WHAT WE DO.
1. Let’s read James 3:13b, “Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”
(1) The answer to James’ question, about who is wise, is that the wise person will not necessarily just be saying things that are wise.
(2) But James says the wise Christian and Christian of understanding will show by good conduct works that are done meekly and humbly.
2. This helps to further understand that wisdom is more than just having the correct knowledge. Wisdom is the right or correct application of knowledge.
3. “Works done in meekness of wisdom” will be living a life that shows that the Christian is following the example and pattern that Christ has left for Christians.
(1) “Meekness” comes from a Greek word that horsemen used to use in reference to a well trained horse. One that would obediently respond to the right or left pull of the reins by the rider. A horse that would stop quickly when the rider would pull back on the reins and the bit. A horse that would go when the rider would nudge him with his heels.
A Christian that can be described as “meek” is one that will readily respond to God’s word like a well trained horse responds to the rider.
(2) “Meekness” will also portray character traits of humility. “Meekness” does away with arrogance, haughtiness, bitterness, know-it-all-ism, selfishness and all other actions inconsistent with a Christ like character.
4. In Matt. 11:29 Jesus says, of himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”
(1) Turn to 1 Pet. 2:21-23. Peter teaches that, in everything, Jesus is the perfect pattern to follow. Peter speaks of Jesus controlling his tongue and his emotions. Let’s read 1 Pet. 2:21-23. “21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “ Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
(2) A truly meek and wise person, following the example of Christ, will never cause dissension or trouble in a congregation.
(3) One who is meek, may not be spiritually wise; but one who is wise, will be meek.
(4) We may look at the life of Christ and see how he exhibits perfection in “meekness of wisdom.”
(5) He was not weak; he was not over-bearing; he was not arrogant; he was not
mean-spirited; he was not vengeful; he was not bitter. He was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).
5. Sometimes preachers, teachers, or elders create disharmony within a congregation; sometimes those who are not in a leadership role do so.
(1) The means of this strife might be through the use of harsh or false teaching; it might be through the use of hurtful words, attitudes, and/or actions.
(2) Let’s always be consistent to ask our self the following question: Do we show meekness in our dealings one with another; and, do we avoid an arrogant, proud and
(3) If not, then we are not showing our self an example of the wisdom which is from above”
6. In this first point James emphasizes that a wise person is not just a knowledgeable person, but one who practices wise things.
(1) By a Christian practicing and doing the correct things they demonstrate their wisdom.
(2) Abraham Lincoln correctly said, “a man may fool all the people part of the time and some of the people all of the time, but he will not fool all the people all of the time.”
(3) True wisdom demands consistency in the things that God expects of Christians.
II. SECOND, JAMES 3:14 TEACHES CHRISTIANS TO GUARD AGAINST FOUR THINGS THAT DO NOT DEMONSTRATE WISDOM.
1. Let’s read James 3:14. “14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”