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June 12, 2016

"WISDOM FROM ABOVE"

TEXT: James 3:  13-18
READING:
 Proverbs 4: 1-27

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SUBJ: The wisdom to be sought after by true believers in that it is modeled for us in the life and manner of Christ Jesus our Lord and the things which proceed from it as most valuable.

AIM: That we may realize the benefits of such wisdom as God gives as a precious possession that is most profitable to us and those with whom we have to do.

INTR: This book is most practical in the matters of the heart and life in that it calls us to engage the gospel principles to which we are set forth by Christ and in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1. It is not a book of mere rules; it is rather those living things given to us in a manner in which we may relate in that they have immediate transfer to those about us.
2. In his most direct approach, James leaves no doubt in that he brings intensity and conclusion to the contrary things in order to exemplify those things which are desired.
3. Having addresses at length the dangers of the unruly tongue and the graphic conclusions (see vv. 8-12) concerning it, he proceeds to the matter of the heart. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. Psalms 49:3

THESIS: True wisdom (the right use of knowledge) is personified in Christ and so it is in truly seeking Him we may realize the fruits of righteousness reaped in our own hearts and in benefits to others as well.

I. A question of identity (v. 13)
1. This rhetorical question sets the stage for that which is to follow.
1) It is to be noted that many claims may be made to knowledge and wisdom that are betrayed by the actions.
2) These are things that are generally recognized by all but the one making the claim.
2. It is first to be recognized that in either case one is endued (given a particular quality or ability) with that which shows forth in his character.
3. There is an inherent claim where one thinks himself to be have knowledge and such is sure to be tested: (the following is suggested by Kistemaker
1) There is examination – who is among you indicating that this is for us and not the world at large.
2) There must be demonstration (show it) – True wisdom is rare and where it exists needs to be displayed in a God honoring and Christ imitating life.
3) There is to be affirmation – As in “action speaks louder than words.”
4. True wisdom produces meekness!

II. The wisdom of the world (vv. 14-16)
1. The potential to bitterness and strife appears attended with a stern admonition
1) The you is plural, so he is addressing a people and not just an individual – a cultural context.
2) Like that which is to be desired, it is such untoward character abides in the heart
3) And in fact many take great pride in being outspoken and contentious in that they think it to promote their image among men.
4) Self-glorying and lying against the truth seem to go hand in hand.
2. Such wisdom has no heavenly connection but is known by its origin:
1) Earthly in that it stands in direct contrast to that which is from above
2) Sensual in that it pertains to the corrupted senses and is thus in opposition to that which is spiritual – it appeals to the desires of the flesh and the mind in a worldly context.
3) Devilish in that such a person is living a lie the connection with the father of the lie – in his most direct manner James declares that such is of the devil.
3. The end result is found to be in direct and distinct contrast to the order of God

III. True wisdom from above (vv. 17-18)
1. The simple truth is that true wisdom has its origin in Jesus Christ our Lord in that it displays the essence of who He is in the person possessing it.
2. It is a gift from God and therefore there is found no cause for boasting: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5.
3. The characterizations of wisdom:
1) Pure – reflective of the purity and holiness of God – And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 John 3:3
2) The next of these are express a proper attitude
i. Peaceable
ii. Gentle
iii. Approachable
3) The next speaks of action:
i. Full of mercy and
ii. Good fruits
4) The rest of judgment:
i. Impartial
ii. Without hypocrisy
4. And so James concludes with the obvious and delightful outcome to righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – characteristics of the Kingdom of God.
1) See He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:6
2) As in prayer and all spiritual activity, the first fruits are to the ones so engages and so we are reminded: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
3) And: And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17