Who Is Wise and Understanding?

Text: James 3:13-18


I.         The Bible speaks of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom

            A.        Knowledge are the many facts about life and the world we live in.

            B.        Understanding is the ability to take several facts and combine them to arrive at new information.

            C.        Wisdom is knowing when information ought to be applied to different situations.

            D.        James 3:13

                        1.         James tells us that wisdom is demonstrated by good conduct

                                    a.         Like faith, it is not proved by mere words - James 2:18

                                    b.         Or like the proof of salvation - Philippians 1:27-28

                        2.         It is also shown by the manner of application - the meekness of wisdom

                                    a.         Meekness is devoid of selfish motives. A meek person is solely concerned about others and gives no thought for himself.

                                    b.         True wisdom looks for the best solution for others.

                                    c.         Earthly wisdom looks for solutions that benefits the speaker or that harms the listener - James 3:14-16

                        3.         Characteristics of true wisdom - James 3:17-18

II.        Traits of the Wise

            A.        A wise man seeks counsel

                        1.         As we pointed out, a earthly wisdom is focused on self. Thus we should not be surprised that a fool thinks that his ideas are best - Proverbs 12:15

                                    a.         Man cannot direct his own steps - Jeremiah 10:23

                        2.         If we are going to find the best solution, we must seek the possibilities, especially considering the ones we might not have thought of ourselves.

                                    a.         A wise man learns and increases his understanding - Proverbs 1:5

                        3.         But any old counsel is not good. We want counsel from people knowledgeable in that field.

                                    a.         I’m not going to ask my mechanic about my leak in my home’s roof.

                                    b.         My doctor might not be the best person to ask about why my car is idling roughly

                                    c.         Psalm 1:1 - Don’t follow the advice of the wicked

                        4.         The greatest source of wisdom is God - Proverbs 9:9-11

                        5.         The surest councils are God’s - Proverbs 19:20-21

            B.        A wise man controls what he says

                        1.         The more you say, the more often you will be wrong - Proverbs 10:19

                        2.         The fool vents all his feelings - Proverbs 29:11

                        3.         A perfect (mature) man shows self-control by mouth control - James 3:2

                        4.         We should be slow to speak - James 1:19-20

                        5.         Proverbs 17:27-28 - Not everything needs to be said and wisdom is shown in selecting when to say something

                        6.         God will judge us by our words, so act accordingly - Matthew 12:37

            C.        A wise man stays away from evil

                        1.         How often I have heard people stray into sin saying “I didn’t think it would hurt.”

                                    a.         So often sin begins by walking along the edges.

                                    b.         Or, intending to do one thing, but soon finding yourself doing the wrong thing.

                        2.         Proverbs 14:16 - A wise man fears sin and avoids it, knowing how powerful the lure of sin can be.

                        3.         Proverbs 22:3 - He looks at the potential consequences

                        4.         Test everything - I Thessalonians 5:21-22

            D.        A wise man makes plans in advance

                        1.         The wisdom in ants is preparation for evil days - Proverbs 6:6-11

                        2.         The wise son prepares in advance of his need - Proverbs 10:5

                        3.         The difference between the wise and foolish man was the forethought given to bad times - Matthew 7:24-27

                        4.         Listening to God gives us the information we need in advance - II Peter 1:3

III.       Wisdom, true wisdom, is learned from God

            A.        The world cannot produce true wisdom - I Corinthians 1:20-21

                        1.         But that is because the source of true wisdom is greater - I Corinthians 1:25

                        2.         The result is something unexpected by the world - I Corinthians 1:27-31

            B.        It is seen in how it is used and what it creates in people - James 3:17-18

            C.        It starts when a person yields himself to God’s teachings. Not in just hearing, but actually applying it in his life - James 1:21-25

            D.        Will you apply the word of God to your life? Will you become a child of God?

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