Summary: James presents the many postive characterics of wisdom, such as purity, gentleness, easy to talk to, merciful among other things.
1. Open your bibles to James 3:13 & then to verses 17&18.
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 our last lesson we discussed verses 13-16. Those verses primarily give the negative answer to the question. They tell us who is not wise and understanding.
5. In this lesson we will discuss the positive characteristics of wisdom. However, before we look at those positive characteristics we want to discuss a few general facts about wisdom.
6. Wisdom is defined as making the correct application of knowledge.
(1) For a Christian to show wisdom they must go to God’s word for the correct knowledge.
(2) They must continually study and restudy and keep God’s word fresh in their minds.
(3) In James 1:5-8 Christians are told that they are to pray for wisdom. This passage also tells Christians that their prayers must show faith and not doubt toward God answering their prayers. Let’s read James 1:5-8. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
(4) Turn to Matt. 6:11. Here, Jesus tells his followers to pray for God to give them their daily bread, which is figurative, and in reference to all of our daily necessities. Let’s read this phrase from Matt. 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread”. But how is God going to give Christians their daily bread and/or their daily necessities?
(5) The farmer prays for his “daily bread”, but he also plows the field, sows the seed, reaps the crop, grinds the grain and then it is at the stores for others to buy. Wives and mothers cook and bake this for food and nourishment for our bodies. God gives man his daily bread, but man must do his part.
7. James 1:5-8 and Matt. 6:11 help us to understand that the bible never speaks of a direct spiritual I. V. attatched to the soul or to the brain so that our prayers will bring supernatural or miraculous wisdom into our minds.
8. The bible helps us to understand that wisdom for the Christian is somewhat like the process the Christian goes through in receiving his daily necessities. We pray, but we also study and keep the knowledge of God’s word fresh in our minds so that we have opportunity to make wise decisions.
9. Christians that put forth these kinds of efforts will show that they have wisdom and a clear understanding of the way God wants them to live.
10. Let’s begin to read and discuss the specific character traits that Christians must demonstrate for them to be showing wisdom and understanding.
I. FIRST, JAMES 3:17a, SAYS “BUT THE WISDOM THAT IS FROM ABOVE IS FIRST PURE”.
1. The Greek word for “pure” refers to being free of contamination or defilement. It comes from a form of the same Greek word that the word “holy” come from.
2. The person who is pure in heart is sincere. He is seeking with all his might to do what God wants him to do. He is motivated by love for God and his fellowman.
3. Turn to Hebrews 12:14. This passage is teaching that if one is not striving to turn away from the influences of the world, sensuality and the demons, as mentioned in James 3:15, there is no way that God will approve of them. Let’s read Heb. 12:14. “14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness [holiness is from the Greek word that could be translated purity], without which no one will see the Lord:.”
4. Turn to Matt. 5:8. Here, Jesus tells us the “pure in heart” will have the opportunity to see God. Let’s read Matt. 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”
5. Turn to Rev. 21:27. This passage teaches that only those who live pure lives will make it to heaven. Let’s read Rev. 21:27, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
6. The verses that we have discussed help us to understand that purity will be found in those who sincerely love God and their fellow man and who sincerely are making preparation to go to heaven.