Study # 55
Thesis: True wisdom shows up in the life of a person who demonstrates his confidence that what God says is both true and wise by obeying His instructions.
Introduction: Last week we concluded our study of the first section of chapter 3 where James is dealing with the temptation to find our sense of personal value in the eyes of men. This is a very deceptive temptation in that most of us do not give much thought to where we get our sense of personal worth. Most of us simply react with feelings of pleasure when we are praised by men or with hostility and anger when we are criticized by them. Our reactions reveal where we get our sense of value. It is an insidious temptation to try to find status in religious activities, and it is worse than insidious when that attempt pushes us to seek to be the spokesman for the Truth. James spent his first 13 verses on the problem of those seeking to promote themselves as qualified to teach the Church the Truth of God with a particular focus upon the destructive impact of speech. Right words with wrong motives is highly destructive and not to be admired.
This evening we are going to begin our study of the last section of chapter 3, which continues to address the issue of who ought to be teaching the church. It does this by setting forth a requirement that stands upon those who would be teachers.
October 7, 1998
- I. The Primary Question is Actually a Question of Who is Qualified to Teach the Church.
- A. This is the main issue of the preceding paragraph.
- B. This is the main point of the present paragraph.
- II. The Primary Question is One of Qualifications.
- A. A primary qualification is "wisdom".
- 1. This is not the same thing as mental sharpness.
- a. Intelligence can be measured by many methods, but most of them have to do with how well the brain takes in data and feeds it back.
- b. Sometimes intelligence is measured by how well a person does with logic.
- c. Sometimes intelligence is measured by how skillful a person is with a given task.
- 2. Wisdom, by contrast, has primarily to do with how well decisions bear fruit over the long haul.
- a. This quality has more to do with how well a person hears from God than it does with how well his brain works.
- b. Since only God knows what will actually produce the desired result down the road, only the person who gets his input from God will be able to make decisions that produce good over the long haul.
- c. This does not discount all the factors of intelligence, but it does move them into a servant capacity rather than a leading capacity.
- B. A second primary characteristic is being "knowledgeable".
- 1. The term here does not arise primarily from what most of us call "an education". It arises primarily from being immersed in the activity until the activity has become a part of one's way of looking at things.
- 2. In this requirement, there is no substitute for extended involvement.
- III. The Primary Requirement is Demonstration.
- A. The qualified wise man is one who has a track record of results out of a "good pattern of behavior".
- 1. The term "good" here points to the same basic issue of wisdom--obtaining the desired result over the long haul. [In the parable of the tares, the "good" seed is that which finally shows itself at harvest, and the "bad" seed is not known until the harvest.]
- 2. The track record is established over time.
- B. The qualified wise man is identifiable by reason of his characteristic of "meekness of wisdom".
- 1. This does NOT have much to do with whether a person is abrasive or gentle.
- 2. It has everything to do with where he gets his sense of direction--from divine revelation or human smarts.