1. Subjects previously covered in our study of James include "facing temptations" (1:2-18),
"hearing and doing the Word" (1:19-27), "respect of persons" (2:1-13), "faith and works" (2:14-26),
"a warning for teachers" (3:1), and "the use of the tongue" (3:2-12).
2. In James 3:13-18, two kinds of wisdom are contrasted.
3. As we study these verses, let us keep in mind that peace and unity are very important in the church
(John 17:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:13b).
a. Peace and unity do not exist by accident.
b. Certain things must be done, and certain things must be avoided.
1) (vs.2-12) The use of the tongue will affect peace and unity.
2) (vs.13-18) The kind of wisdom that is possessed will affect peace and unity.
I. (vs.13-14) OUR ACTIONS DEMONSTRATE THE KIND OF WISDOM WE POSSESS
A. (Matthew 7:20) Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
1. Jesus indicated that false teachers can be detected by the fruit that they bear.
2. In a similar way we show by our actions the kind of wisdom we possess.
B. (vs.13) A child of God who is wise and endued with knowledge will "show out of a good
conversation his works with meekness of wisdom."
1. His "conversation" [manner of life, behavior] will be in harmony with God's will.
2. His works will demonstrate his wisdom.
C. (vs.14) However, the heart may be filled with bitter envying [jealousy] and strife.
1. A person like this should not glory because he possesses these traits.
2. Also, he should not lie against the truth by pretending to be a follower of Christ -- he is nothing
more than a hypocrite.
D. To help us understand James' lesson, let us examine the disciples before Jesus was crucified.
1. They were often concerned about who was the greatest (Matthew 18:1; 20:25-28).
2. They even discussed this when Jesus ate His final meal with them (Luke 22:24).
3. Their real problem was that they possessed the wrong kind of wisdom.
II. (vs.15-16) THE WRONG KIND OF WISDOM
A. This is the kind of wisdom mentioned in vs.14.
B. Its source is identified.
1. It does not descend from above.
2. It is "earthly" [worldly].
C. It is described as being "sensual" and "devilish."
D. This kind of wisdom produces confusion and every evil work instead of peace and unity.
E. The church in Corinth was plagued by this kind of wisdom.
1. The Lord wanted this church to be united (1 Corinthians 1:10).
2. However, it was divided (vs.11-12).
3. The problem is identified in 1 Corinthians 3:3 -- its members were "carnal" [worldly].
4. Pursuing the right kind of wisdom will eliminate this problem.
III. (vs.17-18) THE RIGHT KIND OF WISDOM
A. This is the kind of wisdom mentioned in vs.13.
B. Its source is identified -- it comes from above (1:5).
C. The wisdom that comes from God is described as being pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be
entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
D. This kind of wisdom produces the fruit of righteousness.
1. The Bible addresses these matters many times (Galatians 5:15; Ephesians 4:31-32).
2. To motivate us to heed these warnings and instructions, let us remember that:
a. God hates those who sow discord (Proverbs 6:19)
b. God will richly bless peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).