Summary: Looking at how worldly wisdom has inched its way into what we consider to be normal and Godly.
A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of he parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped.
The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped.
The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!
Or did you hear about a small storeowner was being pressured to sell his store to the owners of a large department store who had bought every building on the block, except his. Frustrated by the man’s refusal to sell, they eventually opened their huge store on either side of the small one, with a big banner running from one side to the other, proclaiming in huge letters "GRAND OPENING." (Sermon central/Paul Decker)
Feeling equally frustrated, the small storeowner did finally outsmart the large department store. Below the grand opening sign, across the front of his small store, the man put up a small banner over his door: "MAIN ENTRANCE." (Sermon central/Paul Decker)
This morning we are going to look at wisdom. This is our 7th sermon on the Book of James. Next week Advent begins and we will pick up James again in the New Year. This morning, like I said we are looking at wisdom and I will be reading James 3:13-18:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
In our passage this morning we are told there are 2 types of wisdom. First we have a heavenly wisdom and then there is an earthly wisdom which is a skewed wisdom or no wisdom at all.
So often Christians can get caught up in what we think is godly wisdom, but the truth is that earthly wisdom has crept in and take the place of Godly wisdom in our lives. It has become the norm. We need to be seeking out Godly wisdom in our lives. This passage talks about Heavenly wisdom and one might think that wisdom is only available when we get to heaven, but we should be praying heaven to come down to us and fill our souls with wisdom.
I. Godly Wisdom
We celebrate wisdom in our culture and we look to the wise. We ourselves want to be wise in our decisions so that we make the right decisions and handle things the right way. James is trying to point us to the right kind of wisdom.
Wisdom that comes from God first and foremost will be found in His Word. It may also be from a friend that is in tune with the Holy Spirit or may come to us in times of solitude with God. Wherever the wisdom comes from it must not be contradictory to Scripture.
I think sometimes next to Scripture, children have the most wise, humble and honest advice for us. When a teacher asked her grade 3’s for good advice this is what she heard.
- “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
- “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.”
- “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
- “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
- “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
- “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
- “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.” And
- “Never try to baptize a cat.”
Like I said next to Scripture these kids will hit it on the nail every time. Scripture gives us so much wisdom, heavenly wisdom. In fact Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs of Solomon are considered Wisdom literature or the wisdom books by scholars when they categorize Scripture in headings.