God's Wisdom vs Earthly Wisdom

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http://empoweredbiblestudy.blogspot.com Having focused on the difference between a true saving faith and a false faith, James now advances to a series of descriptions of contrasting the wisdom of God with earthly wisdom.

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God's Wisdom vs Earthly Wisdom

  1. 1. Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:FacebookTwitterGodTubeYouTubeSlideshare 1
  2. 2. God’s Wisdom vs. Earthly Wisdom James 3:13-18Welcome to Empowered Bible Study Ministries as we continue our study on the bookof James.You know, as you read the book of James, you can clearly see that James has a heartfor his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.That, it is not enough to just say you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, butthat we, as Christians; as followers of Jesus Christ, are to Mature in our Christianwalk, meaning we are to show our faith in our walk.Last week we began James 3 as we saw that our speech and our conduct areevidence as to if we have the true saving faith or false faith. We saw that if Christ istruly in our hearts, then our speech and deeds would prove it.Matthew 12:34 "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." NKJVHaving focused on the difference between a true saving faith and a false faith, Jamesnow advances, in the last six verses, to a series of descriptions of contrasting thewisdom of God with earthly wisdom.Gods wisdom helps to lead us on the right path. True wisdom is from God and whenwe seek God and live our lives for Him, the world sees a difference.I like how the Tyndale Bible Dictionary described wisdom: "Wisdom was sought not for its own sake but always for its application to the meaning of life, because life—like wisdom—was Gods gift. This emphasis in Hebrew wisdom meant that the virtues of the wise man or woman were never described in intellectual terms alone; they were those whose lives were characterized by understanding, patience, diligence, trustworthiness, self- control, modesty, and similar virtues. In a word, the wise man was the God- fearing man; his wisdom lay not just in a static attitude of reverence but rather in the conscious development of the mind toward wisdom in the context of godly living."We can see how this fits right along with James teaching that our lives should showevidence of Christ living in us, right.Let’s read James 3:13-18 as we look at the contrast between God’s wisdom andEarthly wisdom: 2
  3. 3. James 3:13-18 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by goodconduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.*But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lieagainst the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly,sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evilthing are there* 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing toyield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Nowthe fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (NKJV)So James sets the stage by posing a challenge to those who were considered wiseamong his audience.Again he says "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by goodconduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom."The Greek word for wise (sophia) means skillfulWhereas the Greek word for understanding means expert, skillful, or experienced.So James is exhorting those who claim the status of being wise, skillful andexperienced to display their virtues in their behavior. Sounds familiar doesnt it.James continually tells us to walk the talk.Remember back in James 2:18:James 2:18 "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me yourfaith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (NKJV)*The word show is the same word used in verse 13. Note the words let him showcomes from one Greek word: (deixatō); meaning living a life, to prove, or to reveal. Inother words, Walking the Talk!James firmly declares that only good conduct reflects true wisdom and practicalunderstanding.This is the only tangible proof that one is wise or has understanding. Such conductresults only from having the fear of the Lord in your heart.Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understandinghave all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever." NKJVTime and time again we are reminded that the Christian life is not idle, ladies, weneed to be living a life that is pleasing to God. We are to be a walking example forothers to come to know our Savior. 3
  4. 4. As we saw in James 1:22 that we are to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” NKJVMy friend, James in Chapter three requires us to show wisdom and understanding inaction rather than in words only.True wisdom is from God and will be revealed through our conduct, through the waywe live.*Job 28:28 "And to man He said, "Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and todepart from evil is understanding." NKJVAs I said before, there were a lot of false teachers during this time period and soJames in these verses wants us to know what true wisdom means.What he gives over the next few verses is more a description than a definition ofwisdom.In fact, he has been describing it all along, with his talk of believing God, relying onGods goodness, doing what Gods word says and living the righteous life that Goddesires. Now he will label this as wisdom and describe it further as a humblesubmissiveness to God which results in a life of goodness, purity and peace towardother people. (IVP)So there is a False Wisdom (Earthly Wisdom) which James discusses in:James 3:14-16 "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do notboast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but isearthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion andevery evil thing are there." NKJVAnd there is a True Wisdom (Which is from God) which James discusses inJames 3:17-18 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable,gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and withouthypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who makepeace." (NKJV)So lets look at what characteristic attitudes James shows us that are the evidence offalse wisdom and true wisdom?James begins by telling us in James 3:13 "...Let him show by good conduct that hisworks are done in the meekness of wisdom"The Greek word for meekness is actually gentleness or humility. 4
  5. 5. Let him show is a Greek imperative mode - meaning that this is a commandSo James is commanding us to show good conduct that our works are done in thehumility of wisdom.James then describes in verses 14-16 the characteristic attitudes of false wisdom.We can understand why bitter envy and selfish ambition are the characteristicattitudes for a false wisdom because they are the opposite of the humility entailed inadmitting your need and relying on God for the wisdom that you lack.Envy reveals a motive of jealousy, selfish ambition exposes the sinful desire forpersonal glory.The wisdom of the world exalts man and says Promote Yourself and robs God of Hisglory.1 Corinthians 1:31 That as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."NKJVWe are not to be self-seeking or envious as it says in Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing bedone through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteemothers better than himself." NKJVJames goes on to say "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and everyevil thing are there"This wisdom that causes confusion and every evil thing is from Satan. Dont bedeceived by it. Satan will try to tell you hey you deserve that promotion and put allkinds of thoughts in your head, but remember everything we do, everything we are, isfrom God.If God wants you to have a promotion, then you will have it. If it is not in His plan, thenHe has something that is better for you." Dont fall into Satans trap.In Verses seventeen through eighteen James gives us the characteristic attitudes ofTrue Wisdom from God.James 3:17-18 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable,gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and withouthypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who makepeace." (NKJV)Notice James says the wisdom that is from above is FIRST PURE.James is deliberateto state a foremost characteristic of the wisdom from above is first of all pure andonly then the other qualities. 5
  6. 6. His term pure speaks of holiness and provides the immediate contrast to every evilpractice.’ God is holy; therefore, the wisdom from above is pure.Then James continues to name the other characteristics: peaceable, gentle, willingto yield, and full of mercy and good fruits.These characteristics show a person who cares for others, it is a picture of humilityput into practice.Mans wisdom leads to competition, Gods wisdom leads to peace.We must be gentle and forbearing in dealing with people. The last thing that we mustdo is to criticize, condemn, censor, neglect, and ignore people. We must reach out tothe world with the gospel, and must treat people with a loving gentleness.Full of mercy reminds us of James urging to be merciful in James 2:13 "For judgmentis without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs overjudgment.".Good Fruits: People who are faithful are fruitful. If you are truly living your life forGod, your life will bear the fruit to prove it.The last two characteristics listed in verse seventeen are without partiality andwithout hypocrisy.We are not to show partiality or favoritism to anyone nor are we to be hypocrites. Weare to practice what we preach; we are to walk the talk.Then James concludes in verse eighteen:James 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who makepeace." (NKJV)The Christian life is about sowing and reaping, we reap what we sow. A farmercannot expect to receive a harvest if he doesnt plant the seed.If we live in Gods wisdom, we sow righteousness and peace, and we reap Godsblessing.Wisdom is a promised result in the life of a maturing Christian who seeks it.James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberallyand without reproach, and it will be given to him.” NKJVA mature Christian who seeks Gods wisdom will have a consistent testimony that iswholesome and edifying. My friend, Satan will try to whisper the worlds wisdom in 6
  7. 7. your ear and make it sound very appealing. But remember you have the Spirit of theLiving God living inside you as a perpetual resource in your daily life to help youovercome Satan’s temptations.Paul said in Galatians 5:16 "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill thelust of the flesh.” NKJVJames is describing for us the mature Christian whose wisdom is from above, whoserighteous living remains pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful, impartial, and nothypocritical.Such a believer is not self-serving but fruitful, reflecting a stable living testament tothe Lord Jesus Christ.If our individual lives could reflect these characteristics, then we would be able topenetrate this worlds darkness with the light of Christ. We can be a beacon to thosewhose lives have been wrecked on the shores of sin, failure, and disappointment.Since true wisdom comes from outside ourselves and from God himself, we have toexamine where our reliance is placed. Do we Fully Rely on God?It makes sense of what James has prescribed for a life of faith. It requires an activeprayer life - to ask for wisdom as James 1:5 commands.It requires a conscious dependence on God in the humility prescribed in James 3:13.You can have all the head knowledge you want, but you have to have Gods wisdom tobe able to use that knowledge correctly. It is said that knowledge enables us to takethings apart, but wisdom enables us to put things together and relate Gods truth todaily lifeLets seek Gods wisdom and continue to grow in our Christian walk.I have enjoyed studying God’s word with you and look forward to being with youagain as we continue our study on the Book of James.Until then,God blessTo view this study and archives on the book of James go to:http://thestudyofthebookofjames.blogspot.com/For other Bible studies and inspirational articles go to:Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:Facebook; Twitter; GodTube; YouTube; Slideshare 7

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