by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 59 November 4, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Wisdom that comes from God through men is characterized by seven key qualities which begin and end with proper motives.
Introduction:In our study of true wisdom, we have seen that James says that the truly wise are those who have rejected the motive of self-exaltation. All of the words of the self-exalting are corrupted by that motive so that no matter how true or false the actual words are, the wisdom is corrupted and is, therefore, demonic.
This evening we are going to look into James' characterization of the true wisdom that God gives from heaven through teachers that He has gifted for teaching and given to the Church. Interestingly, the characterization has seven parts, and it begins and ends with a focus upon the necessity for the absence of self-exaltation.
I. The "Purity" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. Without a context, "pure" is too relative a term to have any comprehensible meaning.
1. The word itself carries the meaning of being in the condition of being prepared to enter the presence of God because of the ABSENCE of disqualifying defects.
2. In use, the word zeroes in on particulars...
a. 2 Corinthians 11:2 -- a "pure" virgin--in context means a virgin who has undivided loyalties.
b. 1 Peter 3:2 -- "chaste conversation"--in context means a wife who refuses to be a nag, boss, or rebel.
B. The context of James 3 is the teachers and their motivations for teaching in the Church.
1. Purity, in this context, means having no commitment to use the teaching office as a way to exalt oneself.
2. The issue here is motivation...and purity from false motives in the realm of status.
C. This is THE PRIMARY characteristic of wisdom from above.
II. The "Peaceableness" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. Peaceable has to do with the desire to either establish or maintain peace between two or more persons.
1. This quality has very limited application to the teacher and his relationship to the world.
2. This quality also has somewhat limited application to the teacher and his relationship to the Church.
3. The fundamental arena of peace is between God and men and only secondarily between men and men.
B. Peaceable has to do with two critical issues: 1) the agenda of God; and 2) the method of the pursuit of the agenda.
1. The assumption here is that the omniscience-based wisdom of God is unimpeachable.
2. There is no hint of any kind of compromise between men in order to get along with each other, or any kind of compromise by God in order to accommodate man's foolishness.
C. The peaceableness of heavenly wisdom is the accuracy of the doctrine that will lead a man into peace with God and enable him to walk in the peace of God.
III. The "Gentleness" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. The term translated "gentle" introduces the consideration of four matters.
1. The first matter is the circumstances which are subject to the agenda and method of God.
2. The second is the agenda of God.
3. The third is the methodology of God.
4. The fourth is the presence of usable assets within the circumstances.
B. A "gentle" teacher is one who insists that each pull his/her own weight inasmuch as is possible.
IV. The "Reasonableness" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. This term addresses the basic willingness of a person to embrace heaven's agendas and methods.
B. A person who is reasonable will be quick to see the truth of divine instruction and to yield to its demands.
V. The "Fullness" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. In respect to mercy...
1. Mercy has to do with the desire to mitigate the self-inflicted afflictions of sinners.
2. Mitigating self-inflicted afflictions has primarily to do with teaching sinners how to resist temptation...because once done, the harvest is coming.
3. Mitigating self-inflicted afflictions has secondarily to do with getting under the burden of the repentant and helping them get through the harvest.
B. In respect to good fruits...
1. Fruit is always defined by the nature of the tree.
2. The "tree" in this case is the human instrument of the divine outpouring of wisdom.
3. Good fruits are truthful doctrines.
VI. The "Unwavering" of Heavenly Wisdom.
a. This term addresses the issue of whether one permits the influx of a thousand qualifications.
B. The wise takes God's words and applies them without allowing all the questions to dissuade him.
VII. The "Unhypocriticalness" of Heavenly Wisdom.
A. Hypocrisy is the hiddenness of motives that are denied by the overt actions.
B. Heavenly wisdom makes no secret of the intentions that drive the instruction.