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The Wisdom We Need

March 15th, 2020

Minoh International Church
Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso
James 3:13-18 NIV
ヤコブの手紙 3:13-18 JLB

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peace-makers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:13-18

13 良い生き方をする人は、柔和な行いを身につけた、知恵のある賢い人です。 14 しかし、もし自分にねたみや敵対心があるなら、決してその知恵をひけらかしてはいけません。それは偽善です。 15 ねたみや敵対心は、神からの知恵ではなく、この世のものであり、真理に逆らう悪霊から来るものです。 16 ねたみや敵対心のうず巻くところでは、秩序が乱れ、あらゆる悪がはびこっています。 17 しかし、神からの知恵は純粋であり、平和とおだやかなやさしさに満ち、思いやりと良い実に満ちています。 18 また、偏見や偽善がありません。平和をつくる人は、平和の種をまいて、義の実を結ばせるのです。
ヤコブの手紙 3:13-18


James wrote a letter to a group of Jews who had been driven by persecution from their homeland. In it, he explained that trials are inevitable and that they occur for a purpose (James 1:2-4). But, in order for that purpose to be worked out in their lives, it’s important to have wisdom. His advice?

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you
James 1:5

5 神が何を望んでおられるか知りたいなら、遠慮なく、直接尋ねなさい。神は喜んで教えてくださいます。願い求める人には、神はいつでも惜しみなく、あふれるばかりの知恵を授けてくださるからです。そのことで、決してとがめたりはなさいません。
ヤコブの手紙 1:5

The only other time James mentions the word wisdom in his letter is in chapter 3. It begins with a sober warning about becoming teachers, then it discusses the two basic tools all teachers use to communicate truth – the tongue (3:1-12) and their lives (v.13). The remaining verses develop the importance of wisdom in the life of a teacher. He is contrasting true wisdom and false wisdom in three (3) different ways.

  1. They have different ORIGINS – verses 15 & 17a

The true wisdom comes from above, but the false wisdom comes from below. In other words, there is a heavenly wisdom that comes from God, and there’s a man-made wisdom that doesn’t come from God. Whatever does not come from God is destined to fail, no matter how successful it may seem at the time.

The Bible contains many examples of the folly of man’s wisdom. The construction of the Tower of Babel seemed like a wise endeavor, but it ended in failure and confusion (Genesis 11:1-9). In the NT, the Roman centurion, the pilot and the ship’s owner in Acts 27 thought it wise to leave port and set sail for Rome, even though St. Paul disagreed. The storm that followed proved that Paul’s wisdom was better than their common sense. They lived to regret it, but they lived!

What is the origin of man’s wisdom? James writes, “Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (v.15).
では、人間の知恵の源はどこにあるのでしょうか?ヤコブは次の様に書いています。「15 ねたみや敵対心は、神からの知恵ではなく、この世のものであり、真理に逆らう悪霊から来るものです。」

Let’s not confuse the world’s knowledge and the world’s wisdom. Certainly, there’s a great deal of knowledge in this world, and we all benefit from it. BUT, there’s not much wisdom.

The world by its wisdom doesn’t know God and in fact, it rejects the gospel.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 「イエス様は私たちを救うために死んでくださった」ということばが、滅びゆく人々にはどんなに愚かに響くか、私にはよくわかっています。しかし、救われた私たちは、これが神の力そのものであると認めるのです。

コリント人への手紙Ⅰ 1:18

Man’s wisdom comes from reason, while God’s wisdom comes from revelation. Man’s worldly wisdom will come to nothing (1 Corinthians 1:19), while God’s wisdom will endure forever.

In addition, man’s “wisdom” is unspiritual. The main idea seems to be that it originates from man’s nature (Gk., psuche) totally apart from the Spirit of God.

Worst of all, this wisdom is demonic. Satan is deceptive. He has wisdom that will confound and confuse, if we don’t know the wisdom of God.

But, what is the Christian’s wisdom? It all starts with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24 & 30). In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

The Word of God is also our wisdom.

5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Deuteronomy 4:5-6

5 いいですか、これから住もうとしている地へ行ったら、このおきてと定めをきちんと守りなさい。これは主からじきじきに示されたもので、あなたがたに伝えるようにと言われたのです。 6 これを守れば、知恵のある賢明な国民だと評判になるでしょう。回りの国々がこれを知ったら、『イスラエル人ほど賢明な国民はいない』と驚くに違いありません。
申命記 4:5-6

And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15

15 また、小さいころから、自分がどのように聖書を教えられてきたか覚えているでしょう。この聖書こそ、キリスト・イエスを信じることによって救われるための知恵を与えてくれるのです。
テモテへの手紙Ⅱ 3:15

James 1:5 indicates that we find wisdom through believing prayer. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17) and He directs us in wisest paths as we trust the Word and pray.
ヤコブの手紙 1:5 – 5 神が何を望んでおられるか知りたいなら、遠慮なく、直接尋ねなさい。神は喜んで教えてくださいます。願い求める人には、神はいつでも惜しみなく、あふれるばかりの知恵を授けてくださるからです。そのことで、決してとがめたりはなさいません。

The origin of true spiritual wisdom is God. To acquire it from any other source is asking for trouble.

  1. They are different in OPERATIONS – verses 3:13-14, 17

In contrast to divine wisdom, which is characterized by a changed and controlled life, James reveals the marks of “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” wisdom.

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 

James 3:14

14 しかし、もし自分にねたみや敵対心があるなら、決してその知恵をひけらかしてはいけません。それは偽善です。

ヤコブの手紙 3:14

He talks about bitter envy and selfish ambition. People often confuse envy with its evil twin jealousy. What’s the difference? Envy begins with empty hands and mourns for what it doesn’t have. Jealousy begins with full hands but is threatened by the thought of losing what it possesses. James is saying that an unwise person is someone who tends to be suspicious, resistant, and prone to rivalry.

Another mark is selfish ambition. It is the desire to be seen, quoted, and respected (Matthew 23:1-7). It’s a motive that drives people to push themselves to the top.

James exhorts his readers to root out these hidden motives. He challenges them to confront themselves, in effect saying, “If this is down deep in your heart , don’t keep on as if there’s nothing wrong. Face it, deal with it as sin, confess it and seek God’s wisdom.”

He denounces boasting and denial of the truth. In ancient times, the arrogance pictured here is like one who boasted about gaining superiority or advantage through dishonest means. On the other hand, the natural inclination of human wisdom is not simply to ignore or avoid the truth; it is to lie against it. In short, defiance of the truth!

When a life is out of step with Scripture, there will eventually be a manipulation of the truth to justify following a path different from God’s. The result is self-deception.

What a relief it is to turn to the evidence of true spiritual wisdom!

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 
James 3:17

17 しかし、神からの知恵は純粋であり、平和とおだやかなやさしさに満ち、思いやりと良い実に満ちています。
ヤコブの手紙 3:17

Purity indicates the importance of holiness. It means “freedom from defilement, without contamination, clean.” God’s wisdom leads to purity of life. Man’s wisdom leads to sin.

Peace-loving. Clearly, we are prone to quarrel by nature. But when wisdom from above fills our hearts, a peaceable nature blossoms, one that helps heal relationships rather than tear them apart.

Telemachus was a monk who lived in the 4th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery. He put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting and killing each other in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus.  He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar. We die for Caesar” and he thought, “This isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said “In the name of Christ, refrain.” The crowd protested and began to shout, “Run him through, Run him through.” A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the back of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand. He got up and ran back and again said, “In the name of Christ, refrain.” The crowd continued to chant, “Run him through.” One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monk’s stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time he gasped out, “In the name of Christ refrain.” A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena. It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.

Being considerate is another indication of godly wisdom. Someone describes it as “sweet reasonableness.” It is the ability to extend to others the kindly consideration we would wish to receive ourselves.

Being submissive is easy to live with and work with. Man’s wisdom makes a person hard and stubborn. The compliant person is willing to hear all sides of a question, but doesn’t compromise his own convictions. He can disagree without being disagreeable. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is a willingness to listen, think, pray and obey whatever God reveals.

Full of mercy and good fruit refers to an attitude of compassion which is expressed through actions that demonstrate mercy. In the 1st century, the word mercy was commonly used to describe people’s feelings toward someone who had suffered unjustly. In the NT, however, this same word is used several times to describe the attitude of a believer should have toward those who suffer due to problems they have caused themselves. Surprised?!

Being impartial and sincere. James already dealt about the issue of partiality in chapter 2. It is worth remembering that he is not condemning the kind of discernment that comes from a thorough understanding of another’s character. What godly wisdom avoids is our tendency to be prejudiced toward others because of superficial judgments based on outward appearance.

Sincerity is never two-faced or deceptive. It is completely and simply honest. I wonder about honne (real intention, true opinion) and tatemae (appearance for appearance’s sake).

  1. They have different OUTCOMES – verses 16 & 18

Origin determines outcome. Worldly wisdom will produce worldly results; spiritual wisdom will give spiritual results.

Worldly wisdom produces trouble.

16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
James 3:16

16 ねたみや敵対心のうず巻くところでは、秩序が乱れ、あらゆる悪がはびこっています
ヤコブの手紙 3:16

Godly wisdom produces blessing.

18 Peace-makers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:18

18 また、偏見や偽善がありません。平和をつくる人は、平和の種をまいて、義の実を結ばせるのです。

ヤコブの手紙 3:18

The Christian life is a life of sowing and reaping. The believer who obeys God’s wisdom sows righteousness, not sin, and peace, not war. The life we live enables the Lord to bring righteousness and peace into the lives of others.


I’ve never been to a real desert. The closest that I’ve been to is in Tottori, the Tottori sand dunes. My family went there in summer — not the best timing. As you can expect, the place is barren.

But as rain gives life to the desert, so can God cultivate a garden of divine wisdom in us through the living water of His Holy Spirit. That’s the kind of wisdom that we all need. We need God’s wisdom as we live our lives during this trying time.

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.
Proverbs 3:13

13-15 善悪の区別がつき、正しい判断力と英知を持った人は、大金持ちよりも幸せです。高価な宝石も、このような知恵に比べたら
箴言 知恵の泉 3:13-15