James series – “The Litmus Test for life”
James 3:13, 17-18
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Not only does a test-passing wisdom have roots, and attributes but also:
- FRUITS 3:18
Test-passing wisdom produces the good fruit of righteousness. Last week we saw in Galatians 5 the rotten fruit that comes from test-failing wisdom and today as we go back to Galatians 5 to see what the fruit of righteousness looks like in Galatians 5:22-23. I want you to notice something that doesn’t come across very well in English translation. In the original Greek the word fruit is singular, which means its one fruit. Unfortunately because we think of it as the fruits instead of the fruit of the Spirit, we paint the picture that you can have the fruit of love without having the fruit of longsuffering or joy or gentleness. But the fruit of the Spirit is one fruit that manifests itself in all those different ways. When we are full of the Spirit we stop esteeming self and start esteeming the Savior. We produce righteous fruit not rotten fruit. The fruit of righteousness that James talks about and Paul lists in Galatians is the same fruit that Jesus says we are to hunger for in His Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. What you hunger for determines what you feed on which results in what fills you. When you are filled with God’s fruit an amazing thing happens. You don’t just produce fruit you plant it. When you bear that fruit of test-passing wisdom you plant it in fields of peace. And what does that do? Instead of it just benefiting the few who look at it or eat it. It benefits multitudes. Righteous fruit is planted in fields of peace which causes it to grow and bear even more righteous fruit. Then that fruit is planted and bears more and more and more and more. James is saying that the fruit of one truly wise person can be the seed for an entire harvest of wisdom. One person with a pure heart. One person who is empty of themselves because they are full of the Spirit. One person whose fruit of righteousness is sown in peace can change their family. Can change their church, their community, their county, their country, can change the world. You don’t think you can do much for the kingdom of God? Try Him. Hunger and thirst for righteousness. Seek God’s wisdom from above like a drowning man seeks air. How do you do that? First you have to have a pure heart. And the only way to have a pure heart is for Jesus to give you a new one. Give Him your old and sinful heart this morning. Turn away from it and take the new heart He died to give you. You have to have a pure heart and you have to have a Spirit-filled heart. Your heart can’t be full of yourself and the Holy Spirit at the same time. Are you full of yourself or full of the Spirit this morning? Jesus wants you to be empty of yourself and will fill you with His Spirit this morning if you ask Him. You have to have a pure heart, you have to be full of the Holy Spirit and you have to sow the righteous fruit He gives you. Are you sowing your fruit in fields of peace this morning? A peacemaker doesn’t just let the fruit hang on the vine, they plant it into other people, it’s called investing. When it comes to peace there are 3 types of people: Peace-breakers, Peace-fakers and Peace-makers
- Peace breakers are those who go out of their way to cause conflict. We live in a world of peace-breakers, in fact in all the years of recorded history, the world has only been at peace just 8% of the time. Worldly peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload.
- Peace-fakers. Jesus didn’t call us to be peace-keepers, but peace-makers. Some of us are predisposed to have peace at any cost in an effort to avoid conflict with someone. Often this is just pretend peace, as tensions go underground and come back again because they were never dealt with.
- Peace-maker. It’s much easier to either break the peace or fake the peace than it is to make peace in the midst of conflict.
God gives us His fruit for the benefit of the whole field, the whole body, His church. He wants you to plant it in order that there might be a rich and bountiful harvest. What are you doing with it? Why did Solomon want wisdom, because he saw his position as one who was called to serve God’s people, and in order to serve well he needed wisdom. He wanted wisdom not for self but for service. Today we want wisdom so we can profit and be wealthy, but wisdom is not about worldly wealth and riches it’s about being rich relationally. Are you focused on profit or people? Do you desire wisdom for self or for service? The goal is not to benefit self but to bless those we serve and give the glory to God. Going back to the original question, If God granted you one wish, like He did Solomon, what would you ask for? The way we answer that question will tell you a lot about your heart.