«Sermon outline and notes: © Dr. Stephen Felker, Pastor Swift Creek Baptist Church.com, 18510 Branders Bridge Rd., Colonial Heights, VA 23834 ...»
So do you have peaceful relationships, or are you often involved in turmoil? Only those who are peaceable, gentle, meek, & willing to yield are truly wise. Though worldly wisdom says that you get ahead & get what you want through selfish ambition, assertiveness, and fighting your way to the top, you only end up with conflict & turmoil. But the meek are truly wise, for Jesus said in Mt. 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” He also said in Mt.
5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Wise people seek the blessing of God.
There’s another primary way that godly wisdom manifests itself. It will cause you to
C. Practical Concern for Others – Toward the end of v.17 James says that true wisdom will cause you to be “full of mercy and good fruits.” Earlier it was taught that true faith clothes the naked and feeds the hungry (2:14ff). Here our writer teaches that true wisdom also concerns itself with practical things. It changes the life and produces good works to the glory of God. For
example, wisdom will cause you to be:
1. Merciful - You see, real wisdom never thinks of itself. It is always thinking of others. When you see someone who is suffering & in need, wisdom will cause you to have compassion on them, & help them. But what does the wisdom of the world say? It says that you have to look out for #1, put yourself first, etc. Why give of your time & money to help someone else?
2. Good Fruits - “Good (agathos) fruits” probably speaks of kind actions, helpful deeds, prompted by compassion and mercy. Such wisdom leads us to do helpful deeds.
Our Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates the meaning of good deeds prompted by mercy (Lk. 10:25-37 - briefly tell story).
So how wise are you? Can you point to good works in your life? You are wise to extend mercy, for Jesus said in Mt. 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” A selfcentered life is a foolish life. A life that gives is a life that is blessed. Jesus said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom….” D. Without Partiality4 (v.17b) - True wisdom is impartial and without prejudice. This would follow what James said in the first part of chapter 2, where the verb form of this word is used in v.4. Man’s wisdom teaches you to be partial toward influential people. But the one with godly wisdom sees no one as rich or poor, black or white, but all people are the same at the foot of the cross.
Finally, godly wisdom will cause you to live:
E. Without Hypocrisy5 - Godly wisdom is sincere, genuine, and unpretentious. There is no sham in the life of a wise man. There is not an ounce of insincerity in his body. The world says you have to put on a mask, and hide who you really are if you are going to get ahead. Fool The Greek word adiakritos can mean “without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty.” It can be translated “unwavering” (compare the verb form of this word in 1:6). In such a case it would refer to decisiveness. When you have God’s wisdom, you need not waver; you can be decisive. A wise man has convictions. He is not like a reed driven by the wind. While wisdom leads us to yield when we are wrong, it also causes us to be decisive about what is right.
There is a play on words in Greek. James says that true wisdom is adiakritos and anupokritos.
your boss. Fool your girlfriend if you’re going to get what you want. But true wisdom will cause you to be authentic.
Conclusion: So how do you measure up to the life of wisdom found in v.17? Can you tell from that Scripture passage that you still need true wisdom from God? If so, how do you get such
godly wisdom? First of all:
1. Enter into a Right Relationship with God - Prov. 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Since God is the source of true wisdom, you must look to Him for wisdom. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” In 1 Cor. 1:24 Paul called Jesus “the wisdom of God.” In Col. 2:3 Paul said that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” So knowing Jesus, & having Him in your heart is the first step toward having God’s wisdom. When you receive Jesus Christ, you receive the Holy Spirit, who is called “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17). He is our teacher (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27).
2. Pray for Wisdom - James 1:5 tells us how to get wisdom, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” God will keep His promise to give you wisdom if you look to Him & pray.
3. Study Scripture - Man’s wisdom comes from reason & experience, while God’s wisdom comes from revelation. In Luke 11:49 Jesus called God’s Word the “wisdom of God.” The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom. The Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15), and wise in many other ways.
4. Learn from Godly Believers – Prov. 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel….” So don’t look to the world for wisdom. Look to God. Pray. Study the Scriptures. You can reject the pathway of fools, and be blessed as you gain wisdom from God!
Sources: John Macarthur, Jr., Wisdom in Action: Study Notes on Ephesians 5:15-17; James 3:13-18 (Panorama City, CA: Word of Grace Communications, 1988); James Merritt, notes from his sermon, “Living in the Light of Wisdom”; Larry Pierce, Online Bible [CD-ROM] (Ontario: Timnathserah Inc., 1996); George Sweeting, How to Solve Conflicts: A Practical Study of the Book of James (Chicago: Moody Press, 1973); Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Mature: James (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1978); Curtis Vaughan, James: A Study Guide Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969). Other sources listed in the footnotes. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982).
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© Dr. Stephen Felker. These notes may be used and even shared for personal study or ministry, but not for commercial purposes. The author credits the sources listed above and footnotes for much of the content. Since Dr.
Felker’s sermons are generally preached without notes, the “live” recording of this sermon will be more completely in the author’s own words. To obtain an audio recording of this message, you may send $2 for each CD ordered, plus $2 shipping & handling for each order mailed in. Up to 2 messages come on each CD. Make checks payable to Swift Creek Baptist Church, P.O. Box 235, Colonial Heights, VA 23834. His email address is