Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Book of James – Part 8: True Wisdom

The Book of James – Part 8:
True Wisdom
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

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There are only kinds of wisdom in this’s wisdom and God’s wisdom.

Many times people claim to be living for God, they claim they love God and are living a pleasing life for Him, while actually living in their wisdom, and the only person they are trying to please in life is himself or herself.

A few weeks ago, I spoke about motivations...and how the scripture tells us that God HAS to be our motivation in our faith and works, or our “deeds” are worthless and our faith is dad.  If your motivation is not God, then it is self.

The same rule applies to wisdom.  If our wisdom is not God’s, then it is mans, and absolutely worthless.

Today’s scripture asks you to place yourself under the microscope, and see whether the wisdom you live your life by, and base your decisions on is Godly, or worldly.

Which wisdom do you live by?

Part 1 - Faith and Wisdom
Part 2 - Poverty and Riches
Part 3 - Endurance
Part 4 - Christian Living
Part 5 - Brotherly Love
Part 6 - Faith and Works
Part 7 - Taming of the Shrewd

Part 8 - True Wisdom


James 3:13-18 Two Kinds of Wisdom
 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.


a.      Two Wisdoms
                                                             i.      James exposes that there are two wisdoms in operation

                                                          ii.      One is God’s wisdom, the other man’s wisdom.
1.      Jesus says you cannot serve both.  To follow one, you must turn from the other. 

2.      Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

3.      Ask yourself right now, do you base your decisions in life on what God wants, or what YOU want? 
a.      Is it money over morality?
b.     Or as God wants it, morality over money?
c.      How do you make your choices in life?

4.      16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” - Matthew 19:15-17

a.      “I have kept all the commandments, what do I still lack?”
                                                                                                                                     i.      He recognized that although he lived what he considered to be a good life, keeping the commandments the best he knew how, he did not yet have eternal life.

b.     What did Jesus tell the rich young man?
                                                                                                                                     i.      “If you want to be perfect (rightly handling the Word of God), go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

                                                                                                                                  ii.      Remember the sermon last week about being perfect in the eyes of God??
1.       James tells us in verse 2, “If any man offend NOT in the word, he is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”

2.      Perfection in God’s eyes is rightly handling the Word of God.

                                                                                                                               iii.      Jesus tells the rich young man here, the reason he has not yet gained eternal life was that he was NOT rightly handling the Word of God.
1.      It was obvious to Jesus that in this rich young man’s life, he was choosing the love of MONEY over rightly handling the Word of God. (Like prosperity preachers USING God’s Holy Word to milk those seeking God)

a.      They love to quote “Don’t rob God of tithes and offerings” while forgetting “Do not be lovers of money”, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. - Matthew 23:14

2.      So Jesus challenged the rich man’s morality, telling him to RIGHTLY handle the Word of God, and choose MORALITY over his money, by selling his possessions and give to the poor...ONLY THEN could he follow Jesus.

3.      To this...the scripture says, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

4.      He chose his money over morality...and because of this, he did not rightly understand, nor live God’s Word, and could NOT follow Jesus or obtain eternal life.  His riches remained on earth, and he had no home or place in heaven because of following his earthly wisdom.

b.     Proof of Godly Wisdom
                                                             i.      How do you know which wisdom you are living by?

                                                          ii.      The scriptures say you can tell by this;
1.      Are you choosing money over morality?

2.      or is your life a reflection of what God’s Word teaches?

3.      Are your deeds done in humility?

4.      or are they for selfish motivation such as, praise, accolades, attention, pride, so YOU feel good?

                                                       iii.      If you live by God’s Wisdom, you will put OTHERS before yourself, as Jesus said, and your deeds will be done with the right motivation, to please God and for no other reason.

a.      We can read in the scriptures here about how to recognize worldly wisdom as well.
1.      If you harbor bitter envy (jealousy, greed, desire, resentment)

2.      Selfish ambition (motivation) for your deeds

3.      boasting (bragging, proud, conceited, full of yourself, vain, self-important, self-centered)

2.      Where you have these things (earthly wisdom), you will find disorder, and every evil practice.

c.      Time to Change Your Focus!
                                                             i.      Do not be like the rich young man who gave up his eternal home because he chose money over morality!
1.      It is time to take your attention and focus off yourself and put it on Jesus!

2.      Essentially, selfish people are worshipping themselves!

3.      You become your own false idol, making yourself your god when you put yourself before God and His wisdom!

a.      To ask the question of wisdom, you in turn must examine the way you live, and the decisions you make

                                                             i.      Wisdom that does come down from heaven is;
1.      pure - clean and wholesome

2.      peace-loving - (long for, love, desire, seek PEACE) not aggressive or troublemaking

3.      considerate - putting others before yourself (true biblical love)

4.      submissive - to God and others as instructed in the Word of God - “Submit to one another out of reverence for the Lord”

5.      full of mercy - So you may receive mercy

6.      good fruit - motivated by pleasing and serving God, not for recognition, praise, accolades, back-pats, high-fives, attention, etc...

7.      impartial - treating all others the same, not based on their income, name, possessions, where they come from, etc...

8.      sincere - If it is not from the heart, it is not real...and it too is worthless!  Sincere is truth and honesty in love.

a.      Some do not like coming to me because they know, though in love, they will get the truth, and not everyone wants to hear the truth.

b.      In fact, we have on more than one occasion people leave the church because they received the truth in love rather than what they wanted to hear.

c.      You have to ask yourself, if God does, is, or works in your ways is He even God?

d.     Some don’t want God, they want an all-powerful Genie to do their bidding in the form of a prayer.

                                                          ii.      When instructed by God, Able obeyed and Cain “did things his way” and expect God to bless it.
1.      When Cain was corrected by God for his disobedience, he became angry.
2.      He was jealous of Abel’s relationship with God (which he too could obtain through obedience), but refused to submit to God
3.      Cain’s jealousy caused him to blame (it is always someone else’s fault when we sin...right?)
4.      His anger, jealousy, blame, this sin when un-confessed, and he did not repent, and it grew into another sin, murder of his brother.
5.      All because he chose earthly wisdom over godly instruction.

b.     Another sign of heavenly wisdom is you are Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of RIGHTEOUSNESS.


Are you making decisions in this life based on worldly wisdom like the rich man who refused to listen to Jesus?  or are you living a life of decisions based on rightly handling the Word of God?

The rich young man sacrificed God’s wisdom, and turned away from Jesus’ instruction, and lost his eternal life for the love of his money.

God calls us to live in His wisdom, His instruction above all other.

Choose morality over money...chose God above all else.

Doing this, Jesus says you will gain the eternal life you seek.  And as we read in James today, you will reap a harvest of RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is required for your salvation.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

Want to hear the audio to this sermon?   

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