In this sermon, Pastor Neil talks about two kinds of wisdom– the kind that comes from heaven and the kind that comes from the world.  Here are some excerpts:

Two Kinds

In James 3, James describes two kinds of wisdom. One kind is God’s kind. This is the wisdom that comes from heaven (3:16). The other kind, as it says in verse 15, is “earthly, unspiritual, (and) of the devil.” This is the unholy trinity of the world (in its opposition to God), the flesh (with its sinful desires), and the devil that continually wage war against the purposes and plans of God for our lives.

Worldly Wisdom

This worldly kind is bogus wisdom. It is pseudo-wisdom. You don’t have to look very hard to see it in the world today. It’s in the news media social media, in the entertainment world. You can see it in the political world, on both the right and the left and in many who are dismissive of both the right and the left. It is also seen in non-stop self-promotion, virtue-signaling, proud boasting, and distortions of the truth on various sides of the political and social spectrum. As James points out in verses 14-16, whenever you hold onto bitterness, envy, and selfish ambition, you shouldn’t be surprised to see disorder and all kinds of evil breaking out.

Bogus Wisdom

Do you want to know what wisdom is not? It is not mean-spirited ambition, not boasting about how wise you are. It is not twisting facts to suit a chosen narrative. Nor is it trying to look better than others or trying to make others look bad. It is not trying to get the better of others. (Adapted from James 3:14-16, MSG.) This is bogus wisdom.

What does bogus wisdom produce? Bitterness. Resentment. Arrogance. Vengeance. Which too often fuel violence and destruction. Worldly wisdom produces chaos and evil of all kinds. It poisons relationships. It destroys trust.

The Godly Kind

The other kind of wisdom – God’s kind – looks much different. Do you know how you can tell if someone is wise? James says in verse 13 that real wisdom is demonstrated not by what or how much you know or how much you have, but by how you live: by your good life, by your godly conduct, by your good deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. ‘It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts’ (3:13, MSG).

Then, in verse 17, James gives 7 defining characteristics of the wisdom that comes from God: ‘The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive (ESV: open to reason), full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’

Pastor Neil has much more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the entire sermon.

June 7, 2020

James 3:13-18

Dr. Neil Smith

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