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1018. Wisdom from Above

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2021 7:00 pm

1018. Wisdom from Above

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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June 23, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Wisdom from Above,” with a message titled “Wisdom from Above.”

The post 1018. Wisdom from Above appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.


Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior. His intent was to make a school where the focus would be on Christ. So he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Let's listen to today's message from the study series from the book of James called wisdom from above. There's a study booklet available for this series and if you'd like to follow along. You can order printed copy from the website. The Daily for this morning we looking into the third chapter the book of James. As we continue our series on wisdom from above and last week we looked at the question that James asked in verse 13 who is a wise man in. With knowledge among you and James answers his question, he says, well, a wise person demonstrates their wisdom. By the way they live, and by the way they handle their things. Their works and they demonstrate their wisdom by showing a meek and humble spirit.

So this morning we're going to start in verse 14 and today and next week will work through down to verse 18 and today were going to go deeper into the weeds. As James unfolds what this meekness of wisdom. Looks like and he does it with a contrast because he speaks about wisdom that is from above, and then he talks about a wisdom from it.

That is below and so were going to look this morning at the wisdom that is from below, which is the contrast to what heavenly or spiritual wisdom, this meek looks like. And as we read this passage of Scripture this morning, beginning in verse 14, I'd like you to think also about how it is that Paul contrasts the works of the flash with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 because I've already told you that the goal of the Christian life is maturity, but the writers of the New Testament use different words. This to describe it. Peter, for example, talks about being holy in John about loving James about being wise.

And Paul about being Christlike all Christian maturity, but it's a little bit different and so we see will see that this morning. Let's begin reading in verse 14 James says these words. But if you have bitter ending and strife in your hearts lie not in glory, not glory. Not and lie not against the truth.

This wisdom descended not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish firmware, ending in strife is, there is confusion and every evil work in the notice the contrast but the wisdom that is from above is, and then he explains it so is very clear. We have a contrast wisdom from above and he doesn't really say wisdom from a bolo but it's implied in this statement. So the question I'd like to try to begin with this this morning is what he states in verses 14 through 16. He calls wisdom. And when you read that you wonder least. At least you asked the question how can it be. If you have envying and strive how wise is that why we call this wisdom. It doesn't really make a lot of sense. So let's dive into the verses and try to unpack them this morning and then I'd like to try to answer the question at the end. If he calls it a particular wisdom. Why does he use that particular word so let's look at verse 14.

Notice what he says but if you have bitter envying, and strife in your hearts glory not an lie, not against it true that the truth. This wisdom descends not from above. Notice the two words that he uses he talks about envying, and strife. He is describing something that is within the human heart that drives you are motivate you to do what you do. So what is he talking about. He says if there's a bitterness and envy. I strife this is not God's wisdom. This is a different kind of wisdom. The word bitter envying comes from two words. The word bitter, which means something that is obnoxious to the taste buds. In other words you put in your mouth and spit it out. The word in the bear is the idea of a zealousness. It is a craving for something that we don't possess and we react to it. I give you an illustration number of years ago we were holding special revival meetings of the local church up in New Hampshire and on our team that day. At that time we had to use.

We had two young men into young ladies traveling with us and after the service I noticed that the two young ladies in one of the young men got a will docket at the time.

All had a little loaf of banana nut bread and I noticed that the other guy on the felony Peter Blake, who was from Australia. It was our team that Peter did not have any banana nut bread. So apparently a lady in the church gave the two ladies and will some banana nut bread.

Peter didn't get anything so I asked Peter the question is it Peter, why did you not get any banana nut bread. I mean I mean you were mistreated. They got it, but you didn't get it. I said Peter, do you know the difference between envy and and and jealousy.

I said jealousy is upset that you didn't get any banana nut bread and you deserve it because they got it and you want some banana nut bread right now. I said you know what India's inmate is much more diabolical in the says I don't want any banana nut bread, but in your heart you hope that when the bears they get sick to their stomach.

That's the difference in what James is writing about here is essentially within us that this kind of jealousy or this kind of envy is what is the calls of conflicts. The ancient Greeks and the first century Jewish moralists believe that in the was the moral calls of all human problems. Conflicts and violence. In other words, if there's fighting intention going on somebody is jealous the second century moralists. Epictetus said there's an organic relationship between envy and violence.

He stated that Caesar could free people from wars and fightings, but he cannot free people from envy.

Think with me a moment. What motivated Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery in the what motivated Heyman to kill the Jews in Mordechai in the days of Esther. It was in the what motivated the Pharisees to crucified Jesus. The gospel writer tells us it was in the envy is the source of most human conflicts but notice the second word it strife or selfish ambition.

This is the desire to achieve advancement at the expense of others. So what is envy, envy is self gratification. Something that I want and I'll fight you for selfish ambition is self-glorification in the days of Aristotle. It was considered to be a Grady a greedy, self-seeking politician who pursues political office by unfair me. I mean all you have to do is read the news today and there is political tension and we don't know all the reasons for it, but you can take what James says and if you were a betting person. You could say at the heart of it is envy and selfish ambition is one who thinks of his own personal profit and what is James say he says these people are driven by sinful motives and what is he say they do about it. Look at verse 14 he tells us that bitter envying in your hearts, he says glory not an lie not against the truth that is this idea of glorying is that you are boasting about your superiority and the wisdom of these people means that they're trying to look bit bigger and look better than they really are. And James calls it lying why because it's not true wisdom. As a Christian you have to be discerning in your thoughts that when you look at what James says about a wise person.

He is a meek person in in this case it is the exact opposite. So question the apostle Paul ever speak about in the and strife listen to just a couple of verses that are well-known.

First Corinthians 3. Three pieces for you are yet carnal. For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men. Let me assure question can a Christian be motivated by strife and envy. Absolutely.

Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 115 about some who preach the gospel. He said some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife and some also of goodwill.

Now, I think you would agree with me that someone who is driven by these motives and actions are not wise. Even if you are a Christian so he is telling us. James is telling us that this is the motivation. This is a particular worldly way of thinking and what is the fruit of strife and envy.

Willie tells us what what he says in verse 16 for where envying, and strife is the one follows.

There is confusion and every evil work. In other words, where there's envy and strife there is bad fruit and the bad fruit number one. First of all is confusion the word confusion means to rise up in open defiance of authority with the intention to overthrow it or to act in complete opposition to its demand. In other words, the internal desires for self gratification and self-glorification puts you in conflict with those who are established leaders envy and strife creates disorder rebellion unsettled.

This revolt instability and chaos or to put it in simple terms, lots and lots of drama. How many of you have ever met people who are drama people you ever been around people like that and it seems like they always have a problem.

What what rules the heart wags the time in at the heart. And by the way a Christian can have this heart if he is controlled by envy and strife. There's going to be tension. Listen to the way its use in other places in the Bible.

First Corinthians 1433 for God is not the author of what say it is not the author of confusion.

James writes in chapter 3 of verse eight of the tongue is an unruly evil. Same thing. James 18, a double minded man is unstable. So where there's any and strife. There's confusion the notice.

Secondly, and every evil work if I just simply defined it a whole bunch of bad stuff.

What's the bad stuff. Slander, gossip, disputes, tempers, dissension, suspicion of other people and an unhealthy craving for controversy in been around.

I've been around Christians a long long time and there always seems to be a certain group of people that everywhere they go. There's controversy and there's conflict and and after a while I just come to the conclusion that that if that's the way that you are, then there is something in your heart that is driving. Do churches have an issue with this kind of bad stuff. Listen to what Paul writes in second Corinthians 12 verse 20 he says I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish, and may be found by you to be not what you wish that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance and disturbances and these of the bad effects of wind envy and strife is in the heart so back to our problem. Why does James say this is why it's that doesn't make any sense to me. Well, one of the thing. What is the source of all this if envy and strife produce confusion and every evil work.

What is the source what's, like the foundation for this and this is what James writes about in verse 15 he says this wisdom descendents, not from above, but then he gives three basic sources and you could say he goes from bad to batter the baddest. He starts out first of all, and he says it's earthly what is he mean by earthly he's talking about the natural human way of thinking. In contrast to divine to the divine way of thinking to remember what Isaiah said about the way God thinks. He says his thoughts are not our thoughts, his ways are not our ways. Our natural way of thinking is like what Solomon was writing about in the book of Ecclesiastes who the who he talks a man about the man who had it all wanted ought wanted it all got it all and in the end he wasn't satisfied.

It is the natural way of thinking that shuts God out.

Any views life in terms of just the here and now earthly notice number two essential the word here for sensual is the word from which we get the word psychology and the idea of the word sensual is the opposite of spiritual. The Greek word for spiritual is new mama or Newmont to close the word for sensual is Suki Coates, the Sue K or the soul and essentially what he's talking about is someone who is controlled by his own inner desires and appetites. This is what's driving him is the opposite of someone who is spiritual because a person who is spiritual is not guided by his feelings in his emotions but he is guided by truth that is under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

The natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him. The Bible says in Jude 19.

It is these who cause division worldly people devoid of the spirit and the word worldly.

There is the word for sensual so people that are driven by envy and strife at the foundation. They are earthly they are sensual and then notice the last one is the word devilish. What is that me word here is for the word of demons or unclean spirits, and he saying that either we act. We act like demons or we are being inspired by demons and James did tax the work of Satan through his demonic forces who comes in any tries to corrupt the harmony and the life of the church with jealousy faction and pride. And so James is pulling back the layers, confusion, bad stuff because of jealousy and selfish ambition, and at the very heart of it is the human natural way of thinking that is demonic in its orientation. So here's a question. Do you know anybody in the Bible who thought this way you know anybody whom Jesus said your thinking this way will who in the Bible where Jesus said to him and called him Satan's name is what his name was Peter. Yeah, remember the story Mark chapter 8 the disciples are with Jesus and Peter just made this huge confession that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. And right after that what Jesus did, he began to tell his disciples I'm to go to Jerusalem I'm on the road to Jerusalem to go there and I'm going to be executed. I'm going to be crucified and then I'm going to rise from the dead, and how did Peter respond. What was a natural response. Peter is a well what why wait a minute you can't do that and he tried to get in Jesus's way and what did Jesus say to the apostle Peter, who just made this huge confession he said that the behind me what you say Satan now was Peter demon possessed no but the way that he was thinking was a demonic way of thinking he was thinking as one who was trying to preserve himself.

He was thinking about himself. He was self-centered, self gratifying self glorifying. It was about self and that's when Jesus said if anybody would come after me, let him deny himself, the pathway to write thinking is not self gratification itself. Denial.

So let's go back to the question why in the world does James say this wisdom, let's go back and think about what's the goal for believers in the book of James is that you and I would become wise. Wisdom involves connecting life to the purposes of God what is God doing wisdom is becoming skillful and righteous living and making right decisions. Wisdom shows itself in a meek and humble spirit and James is showing us the exact opposite of the wisdom of God. He showing us the wisdom of the world.

Is this not what Peter Hughley Paul wrote about in first Corinthians 1 when he talked about the cross. The cross is the wisdom of God, because on that cross, Jesus went and died for our sins and rose from the dead, and it didn't make sense to the world but it is God's wisdom God works, not through strength but through weakness. The way up is the way down the way of the resurrection is through the crucifixion God brings glory out of suffering and so the war in the wisdom of God is in contrast to the wisdom of the world because the wisdom of the world is about pride and self exaltation in your own human strength and James is calling it wisdom because this is the way the natural world thinks this is what they see as legit. This is what they boast about, but a Christian who is controlled by the wisdom of God is one who is humble and meek and committed to the Lord and follows God in obedience. Someone asked you a question. What are you going to live for what's in your heart what's in your heart is Christ on the throne of your heart. Have you crucified your own envy and selfish ambition have you laid it at the foot of the cross and if you said God I want to be like you and I want to serve you and I want to do exactly what you did and that is you came to give your life for others that my friend is wisdom from above. Father, we thank you this morning for your wonderful word.

Oh Lord, help us to be counterculture people by living our lives for that which is eternal in Jesus name, amen.

You've been listening to a sermon from the book of James by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.

For more information on Dr. Pettit series, visit our where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled wisdom from above, I'd like to thank you for listening to the daily hope that you enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and encouragement to you. We are living in very unusual times with the covert, 19 virus. This is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follows up on these other things that we have it be and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and does see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first class education in God in the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace is a go out and serve in local churches not only hear the United States, but our students are globally and demand Christ centered servants who were trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening and encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's word. God bless you these daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and its radio ministry.

If you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word would you consider sending us a special financial gift today. You can easily do that through the website.

The and then click on the give button on the homepage. We'd also love to hear about how this program is helping your Christian walk, please send us your feedback using the contact button at the bottom of the website the or you can call us at 800-252-6363 I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. I'd like to invite you to attend one of our summer camps for both middle and high schoolers be GU has over 50 camps to choose from. So there is one for you.

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