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Wisdom From Above


"13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We would like to welcome all of our beloved brothers and sisters, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here! I do not believe it was coincidence or mistake. I believe that  God Himself, through His Holy Spirit has brought you here. May you be richly blessed.
Today, we have more knowledge at our fingertips than ever before in human history. We’re literally living in a time when information is exploding and immediately accessible on our phones, tablets or computers and smart watches. I suppose the question on my mind is, though we have a plethora of information and knowledge, are we any wiser? 
Wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing.  A wise person will be knowledgeable, but a knowledgeable person is not necessarily wise. You can build a house with knowledge, but it takes wisdom to build a home. 
A fool is not just someone who is a couple bricks short of a load, the fool is the one who doesn’t follow God’s instruction. Therefore, even among Christians, not all are wise. There is certainly a place for defending the truth, however, there is a right and a wrong way to contend for the truth.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for Your Word for us today. Lord, we know that Your Word is life changing. We are grateful for the clarity which comes to our hearts when we study these wonderful truths. Thank You for the divine wisdom that comes to us in Christ, help us to be as wise as we can be. Thank You for meeting us where we are, we praise You for taking what is sinful, what is unworthy, and giving us the gift of salvation and making us wise. 

Lord, we are so thankful for these hearts You have gathered with us today, we bless You for each of them, and for the fellowship we enjoy together. We pray for those who are not yet in Christ, for those who are self deceived, speak to their hearts today, that they would come to Christ in full repentance.
In His precious name we pray

Today's Message: Wisdom From Above

Wisdom is not something that we should assume that we have. Wisdom is not measured by the number of our degrees but by the faithfulness and humility of our good deeds.  It's not a matter of acquiring truth in lectures, or sermons but in applying the truths that we learn to our lives. 
William Cowper once said "Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more."
It seems as though the more knowledge one acquires, the more proud, confident and self-loving they become  Wisdom, on the other hand, has what knowledge lacks. It is self-awareness and the recognition of its limits, and it is not deceived by the trap of pride. Wisdom is greater and far superior to knowledge, because it considers not only a surplus of information, but implementing that knowledge in a practical way. However, many claim to be wise, to possess wisdom, but is that wisdom of me or of God?
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He asked God for wisdom, and God answered his prayer.  In fact, so much so that he was known for it. If you want to refresh your minds on his story, you can find it in I Kings chapters 3 and 4.
Proverbs 4:7 says "The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding." The Bible is all about us becoming wise and understanding. You and I can become wise by following the admonition of James 1:5, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
Open your Bibles with me to the book of James chapter 3. As we continue in our study of this marvelous epistle, we come to verses 13-18. While most of us will never obtain the wisdom of Solomon, we can learn the same lesson. We too can come to God for wisdom.

I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. James 3:13-18.
 "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." 
The essence of our passage is a comparison between wisdom which is from above, that  which is pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy, and wisdom that comes not from above, but from below, that which is earthly, natural, and demonic. There is a huge difference. And, God wants to us to discern between the two. 
Have you ever noticed, that when you deliver the Word of God, and the conversation becomes heated, a disagreement ensues, and although you are a child of God, you become influenced by your emotions. You later realize that you said things that seemed right at the time, now were wrong? Though something can seem so right at the time, doesn't mean that it is.
Verse 13, "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom." James is saying that if you claim to have wisdom, wisdom that is from above, the burden of proof is with you to verify it. Wisdom is really a spectacular word. The word understanding in the Greek, as a footnote, the only time the word itself is used in the New Testament is here, and it refers to a specialist or a professional who is highly skilled in some area of knowing and doing. The word for wisdom is "sofia." In the Greek, it was used to mean speculative knowledge,
theory, and philosophy. However, the Hebrews infused it with a much deeper meaning, having to do with the ability to apply knowledge to the matter of living life. With that in mind, James is saying "Who among you really is a specialist in the matter of living?"
Cicero said, "Wisdom is the best gift of the gods;it is the mother of all good things. The best and that which generates all of the best." Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and an Academic Skeptic. He is famous for his orations on politics and society, as well as serving as a high-ranking consul. Unfortunately, for him, his opinions on politics were not always popular, and he was ultimately declared a public enemy.  Cicero’s fate was sealed when he began speaking out against Mark Antony, who rose to power following Julius Caesar’s assassination and was executed in 43 B.C.
As believers, God calls us to wisdom, to be as wise as serpents, while being as harmless as doves. James, says that wisdom is made manifest in the way a person conducts himself. You will remember, that in our previous studies, James has been giving us a series of tests. And, all of these are tests of living faith. Tests of trials, temptation, the Word, the needy,  righteous deeds and the tongue and so now we come to the test of wisdom.  Divine wisdom that has been placed into the heart of a person produces a changed life.
In other words, if a person genuinely possess living faith, he will manifest in his life, the wisdom of God. That's the point that James is making. One’s relationship to God is revealed by the kind of wisdom he lives out. To better understand this, we must first realize that we are tripartite beings. In other words, we are made up of three distinct parts: Spirit, soul and body. There are two types of wisdom. One that is earthly, and the other heavenly.  However, only one can be described as true wisdom. James is first dealing with earthly wisdom.
The world is full of it of earthly wisdom. Politics, business, entertainment, social media and technology and unfortunately, it even finds its way into the church. Wisdom that is not from above corresponds to our three parts, spirit, soul and body, because Satan has a wisdom that is designed to appeal to every part of your being. Earthly for the body, sensual for the spirit, and demonic for the spirit. 
In verses 14 through 16, James gives us the characteristics of earthly wisdom. "But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing."
So what James is saying, is let’s look at your life and see who really has divine wisdom. He is speaking to everyone who claims to be wise, and in our world today, that’s a very common claim. I mean to say, that we live in a world where everyone has all the answers, everyone is an expert. Everyone has an opinion about everything. And quite frankly, nobody’s opinion is worth more than anybody else’s opinion.  In our society today, there are no self confessed fools. And, I do not say that facetiously, I say that in truth.

In the Greek, the word "zēlon" means jealousy and it is different from envy. Envy says, "I should have had that instead of you." Jealousy says, "I should have had that too." Demonic wisdom is always motivated by jealousy. That bring us to the next thing James mentions, which is "selfish ambition"; which means it is motivated by self-interest. It's all about me; what's in it for me?  Envy is the sin of covetousness.  It is the resentful and even hateful dislike of the blessing of another. It violates the tenth commandment. It is the Greek word "eritheía," meaning to act on behalf for one's own gain, regardless of the discord it causes.

That is in contrast to what Scripture teaches, as Christians, which clearly tells us that we are to be looking out for God's interests and the interests of His Kingdom. In fact, in Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

And, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Clearly, Scripture calls us to look out for the interests of others. 

In Matthew chapter 16, I am sure you all remember when Jesus where He was foretelling of  His death and how He would have to suffer at the hands of the chief priests and elders.  In verse 22, "Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." I'm sure to Peter, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. However, what did Jesus do? He rebuked Peter! Verse 23, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." In other words, Peter didn't have the interests of the Kingdom of God at heart. Meekness is the opposite of self promotion and self ambition. For the believer, meekness means to be under the control of God.

In Matthew 5:5, as part of The Beatitudes, Jesus said "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth." So, James is saying that real saving faith is not just your general conduct, it’s not just your specific acts, it's your attitude. If you have saving faith, then your life will be a pattern of revealing that wisdom of God, your deeds will reveal that wisdom of God, and your attitude will reveal that wisdom of God. That's the point he's making. So, again we see that the test of saving faith, is bound up in our conduct and in our attitude.

In order for us to understand the difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man, we need only to go back the Old Testament wisdom literature. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Songs of Solomon. The majority people believe it was penned by Solomon. However, the debate is whether or not he wrote it before he was a true believer in God, before he was truly converted, or after. It may well be that it was written some time before he had come to the fullness of the understanding of the truth of God which changed his life. It could have been in retrospect, as he goes back over the way he used to think. However, it reveals the folly, the uselessness, the senselessness, and the frustration of false human wisdom. I believe that it's really a very fascinating book.

To give you an example of the kind of wisdom found there, look at Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 I said to myself, "Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge." And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain."

This is the wisest man of all time! He not only knows it, he understands it. He set himself up to know not only wisdom but the extravagant madness and foolishness. In other words, I had wisdom, and in order for me to understand what wisdom is, I studied stupidity. That's what he's getting at here. Things are best know by comparison. I set out to know everything that I could know, and all I got was more grief and more pain. 

In chapter 2, he says, still talking to himself, "I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility." If you look around at the world, this is exactly what you see.  They are living for live for pleasure and possessions, they want more money, more degrees, a bigger house, a better car, nicer clothes, yet, none of them get any closer to reality. This is exactly where Solomon was. I believe the fallen world would do well to read this!

Then, in verses 2 and 3, he says "I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives." In other words, he's saying I hit the bottle, while still  having some control over mind.

Verses 4-6, "I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees." I tried it all, in a mad pursuit to fulfill himself. This is typical of human wisdom. Always for self. He is absolutely consumed with himself.

In verses 7 through 11, "I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun." This guy tried it all, only to find he couldn't satisfy himself.

Go down to verse 17, listen to what he says, "So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind." He had more than anybody else and he hated it all. He hated all the silver; he hated all the animals; he hated all the plants; he hated all the women. he hated it all; he hated every bit of it.

Look at verse 18, "Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me." In other words,  I'm going to die and somebody else is going to get it all. That’s worldly wisdom! Selfishness. He knows the answer’s with God, yet, he wasn’t reaching out to God to take a hold of that answer. You can’t get it from human wisdom, you can't pursue it from the vantage point of the world.

What then is the wisdom that can satisfy the heart of men? The wisdom of God! The wisdom of God always relates to a person's relationship with God. A selfless and humble approach to serving God.

Now, let's turn back to James, verse 17, "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy." This takes us back to chapter 1:17 where we read that "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." In comparison to earthly wisdom, the wisdom from above is first pure. There’s a pure-heartedness in a true believer. Purity speaks of one’s relationship with God and peace-loving characterizes our ability to get along with others.

Next he says the wisdom from above is "peaceable, gentle," It is not creating disorder. It is not self-promoting. It is peace-loving, peace-making. The word gentle is a beautiful word, which is very difficult to translate. In fact, William Barclay said  its the most difficult Greek word of all to translate into the English language. It's the attribute of a redeemed character. Godly wisdom that is humbly patient, it submits to disgrace, mistreatment, persecution with an attitude of humility, with an attitude of kindness rather than hatred. James is saying that Kingdom citizens are that kind of people. They are peaceable and gentle.

Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." If you find that you are always looking for a fight, something is not right with your relation with God. The best thing to do is to make peace with God by putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next he says that one who is characterize with the wisdom of God, is full of mercy. Here, he's speaking about a genuine concern for people who suffer, manifested not only in forgiving people who have wronged you, but reaching out to people with compassion. Worldly wisdom crowns self; heavenly wisdom crucifies self. If you will notice, James is intersecting in every one of these with a Beatitude. Matthew 5:7 says "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

He goes on to say that wisdom from above is "good fruits." Paul tells us in Galatians 5, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." It is also unwavering," this is a person who never vacillates, never making distinctions in persons and never wavering in commitment. This is the sincere, true-hearted, who moves in faithfulness to God. A person who let's their light shine before men, in seeing their good works.

"Without hypocrisy," Here, he is talking about the person who is not phony, not fake, no false pretense, no mask. A hypocrite is pretending to be something that they're not, whereas a person without hypocrisy is genuine. One can really see the difference between earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom by looking at the outcomes, by what they produce.

So when a person who claims true wisdom he has pure motives and behavior that reveals a love for making peace, a humble, patient, non-retaliatory spirit, reasonableness, a willingness to yield in obedience, being merciful, compassionate acts toward others, a variety of righteous deeds that minister spiritual good and benefit to others, an undivided commitment to God’s truth without partiality toward anyone, and all of this is sincere and genuine, James says that person shows that they have the true wisdom. Wisdom from above!

Verse 18 "And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." Here, James equates true wisdom with righteousness. In other words, if the root is right the fruit will be right. He's talking about reaping and sowing. The fruit of righteousness is re-sown in peace by them that are making peace. One righteous act harvested from the field of true wisdom becomes the seed to grow another one. And all of this is done in peace. What a beautiful thought! In other words, James is saying if one claims to be a Christian, then he must be able to prove it by living like a Christian.

Isaiah 32:17 says "And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever." 

In Closing..

When bitterness is allowed to breed, it will always lead to an offspring of antagonism that hurts those around you while simultaneously destroying yourself  You can be sure that it is not of God. Today, everyone seems to be doing what’s right in their own eyes, rather than what is right in the eyes of God.  Authority is not only being questioned, but disobeyed and disdained. Where there is chaos and strife, you will find every evil work.  

People are willing to step on as many as necessary to climb the ladder of success. When light enters a room it dispels the darkness, but itself cannot be influenced by the darkness.  In the same way heavenly wisdom enters this sinful world, but is not affected by it.T he world is looking for peace without righteousness.  However, true peace comes only through righteousness. Righteousness come through faith in God through Jesus Christ.

As believers, we are saved into wisdom, the Word of God then becomes the source of that wisdom. The Holy Spirit, whom indwells in us becomes the teacher of wisdom. Therefore, if we lack wisdom, we only need to ask God. What a beautiful truth! 

God's wisdom is the mark of those people who truly belong to Jesus Christ.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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