Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wit or Wisdom – A sermon developed by Dr. Terry Dorsett based on James 3:13-18

Verse 13 - Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom's gentleness.
  • Many people think they are wise, smart, savvy, and intelligent, but the lives they live do not demonstrate that.
  • What is real wisdom?
  • Wisdom is seeing the world as God’s see it.
  • Wisdom allows us to correctly apply the scriptures to everyday life.
  • Wisdom is not simply an idea, or a concept, but it is a way of life.
  • People who hope to be wise must show their wisdom in how they live.
Verse 14 - But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't brag and lie in defiance of the truth.
  • Some people have become “successful” by walking over other people.
  • They may think they have wisdom, but instead they just have selfish ambition.
  • If we have become successful through selfish ambition, it is not something we should be bragging about.
Verse 15 - Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
  • The “wisdom” that comes from selfish ambition is NOT from God.
  • This corrupted wisdom is sensual.
  • Sensual means controlled by the appetites and desires of the body. It is often used in relation to sex, but does not always mean that.
  • This corrupted wisdom is also demonic.
  • Demonic means that it is fueled by Satan and his army of demons.
  • We are sometimes attacked by one of Satan’s demons who put crazy ideas into our heads that sound good.
Verse 16 - For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.
  • Corrupted wisdom that is driven by selfish ambition causes disorder.
  • Disorder simply means chaos and confusion.
  • Satan likes it when the lives of Christians are filled with chaos and confusion because it distracts us.
  • Corrupted wisdom that is driven by selfish ambition produces evil.
  • Evil is the absence of good.
  • When we allow evil actions into our lives, NO GOOD will come from it.
  • Sometimes the results look good in the short term, but that is an illusion.
The World’s Wit says:
Look out for number one. or Me first.
God’s Wisdom says:
Luke 9:22 - Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

The World’s Wit says:
I don’t get mad, I get even. (or ahead!)
God’s Wisdom says:
Matthew 5:43 - Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you.

The World’s Wit says:
Renew your spirit!
God’s Wisdom says:
Psalm 23:2-3 - He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

The World’s Wit says:
Get all you can, can all you get and then sit on your can.
God’s Wisdom says:
Matthew 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The World’s Wit says:
The one who dies with the most toys wins.
God’s Wisdom says:
1 Timothy 6:6-8 - But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

Verse 17 - But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.
  • True wisdom comes from God.
  • True wisdom is pure, which means holy, or completely right.
  • It is impossible for us to have such wisdom unless it comes from God.
  • True wisdom is also peace-loving.
  • This means that it seeks to create peace in situations instead of strife.
  • Wise people do not seek, enjoy or become involved in “drama.”
  • True wisdom is gentle.
  • This means that is does not force its ideas on others.
  • God’s Word has a lot to say about many issues, but God does not force it on others.
  • A wise person knows how to share an important idea with someone, and then be quiet and let the Spirit work.
  • Gentleness is not weakness, it is strength under control.
  • True wisdom is compliant.
  • This means that it follows the rules.
  • Wise people understand that they are not above the rules. They follow them, even when they do not like them.
  • True wisdom is full of mercy.
  • Mercy means not giving a person the punishment they deserve.
  • A wise person knows how to use mercy as a teaching technique to others.
  • True wisdom is full of good fruits.
  • This means that many good things come out of a lifestyle full of wisdom.
  • There is not just ONE good result of wisdom, but many good results.
  • True wisdom does not show favoritism.
  • James talked about this in chapter 2.
  • A wise person treats everyone the same no matter their race, economic or social status. Everyone has value.
  • True wisdom does not display hypocrisy.
  • This does not mean that a wise person is perfect. It just means that he or she admits their mistakes and corrects them.
Verse 18 - And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
  • People who are wise tend to also be righteous.
  • Righteous means doing the right thing.
  • When people are wise and do the right thing, it produces peace.
  • Peace includes: spiritual peace, emotional peace, and relational peace.

• Many people consider themselves “wise” by the world’s standards, but they seldom are.
• True wisdom comes from God, and other types of wisdom will only lead to disorder.
• When we live out the principles of godly wisdom, we find real peace.


  1. Chris Beltrami, Barre, VTMay 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    there are peace makers and there are troublemakers. i have been both ... but i sure do try to be a peace maker.

  2. Angie Simpson Isabelle, Barre, VTMay 3, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I like this.

  3. Frank Rothe, Newbury, VTMay 4, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I like this.

  4. John Marotta, Northfield, VTMay 4, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    I like this. I'm coming tonight to youth group.