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Wisdom From Above

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Wisdom From Above

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Wisdom From Above

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Wisdom is more than just “sayings”, it is a way of life that gives a person wisdom.

Transcript

[Gerald Seelig] During the time pictured by these Feast days, we were told that we will be a kingdom of priests. Part of that responsibility will be teachers of the way, the way of life that we each seek on a daily basis. And today, I would like us to look at one specific area that we must be praying for and growing in today, so we can teach it tomorrow and the 1,000-year period, which, of course, is pictured by this Feast of Tabernacles. Proverbs 2:6 Proverbs 2:6For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.
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says, “The Lord gives wisdom.” Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings and thoughts, they are words to live by.

But I want to consider James, the book of James today, what he wrote in his powerful letter for his time, for our time, and in the future. I look at James in a way as being a New Testament book of Proverbs. If you go back and you read the Proverbs, it’s like point-counterpoint, James, in many ways, writes exactly the same way, point-counterpoint. In James 3, James 3, he mentions seven specific points about the wisdom from above. These words are for us today as we continue to build our relationships with each other as we’re doing here, the Feast, and understand the way much better and be able to build a big greater relationship with God the Father, and Jesus Christ, and the saints.

But it also we will need to teach these things to those entering the millennium after the return of Jesus Christ. How can we teach it if we don’t know it? We’ve got to know it. It’s got to become part of us. Please turn, if you would, to James 3. Let’s seek a greater understanding as to what the apostle James wrote here is basically one scripture, but we’re going to start out in verse 13. It is interesting to note that Martin Luther called this epistle, or letter, a book of straw. When it is so powerfully packed with how Christians must live their lives, it is anything but a letter of straw, an epistle of straw.

James 3, let’s look at point, and then we will look at the counterpoint, verse 13, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him also show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but it is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.” Point. Verse 17, then he says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” That’s his counterpoint.

So, the first quality James mentioned is pure. We’re going to look at these words and look beyond just those specific words and see what it is that James was really saying. The word means clean, pure means clean, implying innocent, modest, chaste. But notice what James says here. “The wisdom from above,” he says, “is first pure.” The word James uses, refers to, is a compound Greek word and means indeed or truly first or foremost, wisdom is foremost pure. It is clean.

Therefore, purity, chaste, clean, innocence, and modesty are the foremost qualities of wisdom that we should pray for, and that we should be seeking. Barnes’ Notes says the following, “The influence on the person to make one upright, sincere, candid, holy.” The word used is that which would be applied to one who is innocent. The meaning here is that the first and immediate effect of wisdom is to purify the heart, to make the person upright, inoffensive, and good. To be pure is to be upright, to be inoffensive, to be good. Look at 1 John 3:2-3 1 John 3:2-3 [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. [3] And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
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, “Beloved, now we are children of God.” You and I sitting here, we’ve been called, we’ve been chosen, we are in that family, we are the children of God. And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

“Everyone who has this hope,” we’ve heard about hope, “has this hope in Him, purifies himself just as He, Jesus Christ, is pure.” We are to be purifying ourselves, cleansing ourselves, making ourselves innocent before God and before man. To have this knowledge begins to give us wisdom as we seek to be pure. This is a step-by-step process. We have to build upon what is here.

2 Corinthians 11:2 2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
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, the apostle Paul writing just one passage here, one scripture. Paul writing here to Corinth, and Corinth was a pretty messed up church. But he loved them very much. We can be pretty messed up too, you know? But let’s look at verse 2 for 2 Corinthians 11, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy,” Paul writes, “for I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Jesus Christ is going to be married to a chaste, a pure, and innocent virgin. That is the church. And brethren, we are the church, we make up its members, we are the members of that church. And the very next quality that James mentioned, in the counterpoint to what we shouldn’t be, the very next quality of Godly wisdom is peaceable.

There’s a whole lot more to this word than just when you read it at first glance. In other words, seeking peace, always desiring peace. So being firstly pure will lead us to being peaceable with all people, it should do that. This word actually implies... listen to this word actually implies producing good health and being beneficial to others. This is outward-looking. It is producing love and it is producing wisdom. Peace produces good health. When you have peace in the land, there is prosperity, right? There is health. Hebrews 12:11 Hebrews 12:11Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
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, Paul writing here says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present,” Mr. Regoord mentioned sometimes we are chastened, “but grievous, nevertheless afterwards, yet yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

You understand what that’s saying? When we are chastened, we have to be trained by it. It has to train us, we have to learn what it is that God is teaching us. And by that, we receive the peace that God has for us. When a tree produces fruit, think about this, it is in general, not for the benefit of the tree. It doesn’t benefit the tree. It benefits you and me. It’s for the benefit of the animals, the birds. The tree doesn’t get very much from it. Our fruit is the same way, it should be a benefit to others, giving out, showing love. And this peaceable fruit of righteousness is to produce good health, and as I said, be beneficial to others. This is outward-looking, it is producing love and it is producing wisdom. James goes on to mention the next quality of that wisdom, which is from above is that of being gentle, gentle. The Greek word implies moderation, patient, equitable, fair, and forbearing. Forbearing meaning to put up with, bear with, endure, or suffer. Jesus Christ endured and suffered, set us as an example. We too are to seek to be gentle. Be forbearing. Consider what the apostle Peter wrote if you would, turn to 1 Peter 3, we will start in verse 8.

“Finally,” Peter writes, “all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil,” oh, it’s so hard to do, “or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” And he continues in verse 13, “And who is he who will harm you if you have become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’s sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Be gentle toward others, growing in that, not forbearing, not seeking to, “I’ll get you back.” That is not God’s way. God will take care of the vengeance if He desires to do so. That is His call. That is His right. Wisdom is developed in us as we seek to be gentle, patient, and enduring. Then we read that wisdom is easy to be entreated. A better rendition would be compliant, approachable, or cooperative, not competitive. Wisdom from above is not competitive. You see, in competition somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose. We’re to be cooperative.

Barnes’ Notes states that the Greek word used means “easily persuaded, compliant.” Of course, this refers only to cases where it is right and proper to be easily persuaded and complying. It cannot refer to things which are in themselves wrong. The sense is that one who is under the influence of the wisdom, which is from above is not a stiff, stern, obstinate, unyielding person. This person does not take a position and then hold it, whether right or wrong. But as one who is ready to yield when truth requires him or her to do it, and who is willing to sacrifice one’s own convenience for the good of others, being willing to sacrifice for the good of others.

Acts 17, a familiar passage, and you can turn there if you wish, but Acts 17:10 Acts 17:10And the brothers immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
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through 12, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out where these things were so. Therefore,” it says, “many believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.” You see Bereans were compliant and easily intreated, but we cannot swallow every new thing that comes along, right? No, what we hear, it has to be judged against the Holy Scriptures, the Bible that is in your lap, it has to be judged against that. But if it’s there and you read it and you see the truth, we have to be compliant. We have to be gentle and accepting.

The next point that James mentions is full of, or overflowing with, mercy and good fruit. The word mercy comes from tender and is the outward manifestation of pity or being full of compassion. Barnes’ Notes states merciful, disposed to show compassion to others. This is the quality of wisdom that is from above that makes us like God, who is the Father of mercies. You see that in Matthew 5:7 Matthew 5:7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
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, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And it says also, “full of good fruit, or beneficial works or deeds, the fruits of good living, just, benevolent and with kindly actions toward others. Not just having these qualities,” James says, “we must be full of good fruits, we must be full of mercy.”

Those good fruits chief of which is what? Is love. James then says that wisdom from above, Godly wisdom is without partiality. Barnes’ Notes says that this Greek word means not to be distinguished. Here, it may mean either of the following things. A, making no distinction, that is, in the treatment of others or impartial towards them, or B, without strife. The first meaning suggested seems best to say that the wisdom which is from above makes us impartial in our treatment of others. That is, we are not influenced by a regard to dress, rank, or station. But we are disposed to do equal justice to all and to show kindness to all. Peter in Acts 10:34 Acts 10:34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
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says, “God is no respecter of persons.”

This means that Godly wisdom also does not respect one person over another with regard to position, popularity, race, gender, nationality, and wealth, or the lack thereof. James condemns that, condemns partiality as well in this in the second chapter, turn over to James 2:1 James 2:1My brothers, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
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, this is not the only place that we could look at, there are many other places in the Old and the New Testament that decry partiality. James 2:1 James 2:1My brothers, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
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, “My brethren, do not hold of the faith our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, and fine apparel, and there should also come in poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’” you stand at the back of the room, “have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my brethren,” he says, “My beloved brethren, has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God which He promised to those who love Him?” He’s talking about you and me, poor. We came in with those filthy clothes on. Did we want to be judged with partiality by Jesus Christ? I don’t think so.

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that the noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” That’s a mouthful. James is saying to be growing in wisdom, Godly wisdom from above, we cannot be showing partiality. But you know, there can be partiality as well when you look down at someone who has wealth because you do not have what they have. It’s a two-way street. You can look down on things people that you feel are beneath you, but then you can also do the opposite to someone that you think is above you, and you show partiality against them.

And then James concludes with this, “wisdom from above is without hypocrisy.” In other words, Godly wisdom is unfeigned, meaning sincere or genuine, not giving a false appearance. So easy to do. You can put on a mask, put on a face, the wisdom that is from above from God the Father is sincere. There is no disguise or mask assumed or needed. It has nothing of its own of which to be ashamed and which needs to be concealed. Without hypocrisy is being sincere, uncontrived, wholehearted, and true in every sense of that word. We are to be true.

It says God’s Word is true. And if we are going to follow God’s word, we too have to be true, not hypocritical. 1 Peter 1:22 1 Peter 1:22Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:
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, he says, “Since you have purified your souls,” already that’s pure, “in obeying the truth to the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” With sincere and unfeigned love and with a pure heart. Starting with the beginning of what James said and the end of what James says is what the wisdom from above is. Then we read in verse 18. James didn’t stop there in verse 17. Then we read in verse 18 of James 3. And it’s the counterpoint to what we read in verse 13 through 15, excuse me, 14, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

What we have here, combined with what we see in verse 17, is like reading the last six verses of the beatitudes in Matthew 5 starting at verse 7. Turn over there. Turn over to Matthew 5. And look at what James has written here, and what Jesus Christ said, as He gave His sermon there on the mount and He started off with what we call the beatitudes. Verse 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

What we have here is a recap of the wisdom from above. We see mercy. We see a pure heart, being a peacemaker, that is loving peace and the loving with an unfeigned or sincere love for everyone, no matter what they do to us. They can’t do to us anything more than what was done to our savior Jesus Christ. Being a peacemaker is very important to God. What you have in James 3 the beginning where I started, you have those who are sowing corruption. James says we must sow peace so that peace will then abound, will grow. Colossians 3:12 Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
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, in closing here. Let’s look at Colossians 3.

We’re going to start in verse 12, Colossians 3:12 Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
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, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, humility, that is, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” That’s what we have to be sowing. “And let the peace of God, therefore, rule in your hearts, to which you are also called in one body and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

The wisdom from above, my friends, is a way of life. It is not just a set of words on a paper, it is a way of life. It is the way to eternal life. And we all must seek today in every day, to put that in our hearts, to make it part of us. James is just emphasizing being peacemakers in a different way for the emphasis to what Jesus Christ stated here in the beatitudes, as we just read. We must make peace by sowing these points of wisdom in our lives. And then, that is, what does that do? That grows up and it’s actually for the benefit of others. That fruit that is produced gives off to others. We must make peace by sowing these points of wisdom in our lives. Let us with a sincere and pure heart pray for and seek that wisdom from above. To have that wisdom, to teach it to others, we have to be what James admonishes us here in James 3. We’re not going to be able to teach it if it’s not part of us. We have to know that wisdom from above. I pray we all grow in that wisdom from above, it is a way of life and it is the way to life.