Rich Chatfield 5/17/16 Sermon Notes – School of Ministry Calvary Nexus.

Let’s turn to the Book of James Chapter 3. If I were to sum up the entire Book of James for you in one sentence, it would be this, “In your relationship with God, do not be double-minded but be fully submitted to the Wisdom of God in every area of your life.

Intro: The text we are going to focus on this evening is James 3:13 through James  4:10, but before I get the text, I’d like to start out tonight with a story that many of you are familiar with (Alternatively you can read: “Seeking the Favor of the Lord: A Tale of Two Brothers” found at the end of these notes.) from the OT.. Gen 4:2-8

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.


The subject of tonight’s message is: The Wisdom of God

The object of tonight’s message: Knowing and Submitting to the Wisdom of God

It may not be apparent why I started with the story of Cain and Able, but I assure you, you will see later on why the story of Cain and Able is very relevant in what God has to say to each of us this evening concerning His Wisdom.

READ TEXT: Would you stand with me as we read God’s Word together – James 3:13 – 4:17


Chapter 3

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 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Chapter 4

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.



PRAY – “Lord we come before you this evening to open your Word and you have promised to give your wisdom to those who ask it of you and so we do ask that you give us your wisdom so that we may know you better, understand your will for our lives and so we can live the truth in our lives. Bless both the speaker and the listener and it is in your Name we pray Lord Jesus, Amen.

  1. Knowing the Wisdom of God – What is the first thing James wants to teach us about the Wisdom of God? (13 – 18)
    1. (13) Who is wise and understanding among you? (Discussion Question – Criteria) 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.
    2. Wisdom is something that is visible/demonstrated (2 Observations)
      1. (Let them “show it” The idea here being conveyed is what Jesus was saying in the sermon on the mount – “You are the light of the world…that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven Matt 5 14-16).
        1. A good life IS SHOWN
        2. Deeds being done IS SHOWN – That they may “see” your good deeds (Matt 5 14-16)
        3. and glorify who? You? No, glorify God. Humility IS SHOWN
      2. The second thing we see is that you can identify the type, or discern the source of the wisdom being used, by knowing or recognizing the “motivation”. In this case, James identifies “Humility” as the motivation/the attitude in which the deeds are being done… 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show itby their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. And it is implied that the wisdom being spoken of here is the wisdom we will read about in verse 17 below which is the wisdom that is from heaven.
        1. What is important to note here is that the Humility comes “From” the wisdom. What James is saying is that the type of wisdom a person chooses to use will not only determine the outer visual aspects of the deeds being done, it will also determine the attitude of the heart and the mind of why the deeds are being done.

(A show of hands, how many of you think that God is not
only concerned about what we do, but how and why we do it.)

So IF the attitude of the heart and mind is determined by the type of wisdom a person chooses,

  1. So the third thing that James is going to teach us is the different types of wisdom and how we can recognize them. Essentially there is two types:
    1. The wisdom that doesn’t come down from heaven and..
    2. The wisdom that does.
  2. (14-16) The first is the wisdom that doesn’t come down from heaven:
    1. (14) The type of attitudes and motives associated with this wisdom is bitter envy and selfish ambition.
    2. (15) Earthly – The world – 1 John 2:16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
    3. (15) Unspiritual – The flesh Gal5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    4. (15) Demonic – The devil Gen 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. So what wisdom was Adam and Eve choosing?
    5. (16) For where you have envy and selfish ambition,there you find disorder and every evil practice.
  3. (17-18) Second wisdom is the wisdom that comes down from heaven (John 14:26 & 1 Cor 2)
    1. First of all it is pure – It is truth.
    2. peace-loving
    3. considerate
    4. submissive
    5. full of mercy
    6. and good fruit
    7. impartial and sincere

As you look at the list of things which describe the wisdom that comes down from heaven, what should become clear is that they describe Jesus. Who he was and how he acted when lived among us.

  • The Word of God is the Wisdom of God – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
  • He came down from Heaven – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
  • Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father except by me.”
  • Jesus was and is the wisdom that came from heaven, he was the full revelation of God while he dwelt among us.
  • He was the example of what Godly wisdom looked like. Consider the example of godly wisdom that Jesus showed when dealing with the woman caught in adultery.
  • The Holy Spirit is the spirit that God has sent into us, to teach us all things about Christ. John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 If you have the Holy Spirit, then you also have the mind of Christ and can understand what James is saying regarding what kind of wisdom you should be living your life by.
  • In Galatians chapter 5 Paul tells us to live or walk by the Spirit and not by the desires of the flesh. Many do not realize that what James is saying about the two types of wisdom is exactly the same as what Paul is teaching. Both are saying that God is not mocked, people will reap what they sow. – Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. Matt 5
  1. Submitting to God’s Wisdom

In Chapter 4:1-10, James makes an argument or an appeal to the church, the Jewish Christians of the twelve tribes scattered throughout the nations, that the things that are wrong, or that causing problems among them is because they are not using the Wisdom of God but are using the other kind of wisdom that does not come down from heaven. (See the issues and problems James points out in chapters 1,2 & 3 No works, people showing favoritism, teachers who should not be teachers are leading others etc…)

  1. (1&2) What causes fights and quarrels among you? (Rhetorical) Don’t they come from your desires that battle in you?
    1. James is saying judge for yourselves, which wisdom is at play here, the one that is pure, peace-loving and considerate or is it the other wisdom which is comes from envy and selfishness and the fleshly, worldly desires?
    2. James presses his argument further by saying that the reason why we fight, quarrel and kill is because of the envy and selfishness.
      1. You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight
      2. Some may have wondered why it was that I chose the story of Cain and able to begin the sermon and I think you are beginning to understand why.
    3. Consider what Jesus was teaching in the sermon on the mount when he said, ” 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matt 5:21&22)
  2. (3)You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

~In my opinion one of the most misused or taken out of context verses in the whole bible. People often use this verse to say you can’t ask God for a new House or a new fancy car… and while that may be true, it sort of misses the entire deeper point what James is really talking about. So what is James referring here in verses 2 & 3 about asking and receiving?.  James is talking about “wisdom”.

James 1:5 “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.”

You see James is addressing here a much bigger issue here than just asking for a car or house…. He is talking about an entire approach in how we live our lives. Are we using the wisdom of God to guide us in the decisions we make and allow the Wisdom of God to reign and rule in our lives, or are we still using the same old wisdom that we were using before we came to know Christ as our Lord and Savior? The wisdom of the flesh, the old man? And what James is really talking about here is goes directly to the heart of our relationship with Jesus.

That when we took Him as our Savior, we must also take him as our Lord, our King….our Husband. And that we are to submit to His Wisdom. James points out that not only does it cause us to fight and quarrel, it impacts our relationship.

  1. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
    1. James classifies the using of this worldly wisdom over the wisdom of God to be on the same level of betrayal as adultery. This idea of friendliness incorporates (loyalty, like-mindedness, feelings of love).
      1. Adultery is a very close and intimate betrayal between a man and his wife. Adultery happens when either the husband or wife begins to desire someone or something else to fill their needs and wants in the relationship that they swore an oath to be faithful to in having those needs and wants be fulfilled by their spouse only.
      2. Friendship with the world is considered an adulterous betrayal of our relationship to God. Basically it comes down to whom do you love? Do you love the world and the things of this world? Or do you Love God? Because when you choose to chase after the things of this world rather than seek God and His Kingdom 1st, you choosing to live your life by the wisdom that does not come down from heaven and by definition you are not submitted to your Husband Jesus.
      3. This is what Jesus meant in the sermon on the mount in these areas:
        1. Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
        2. Matthew 6:For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
        3. Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
        4. Matthew 6: 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.



  • Consider the feelings of the spouse which has been cheated on.
    1. The righteous jealousy
    2. Sadness and anger
    3. The hurt

As James finishes his argument he tells us that God “jealously longs for the spirit he has cause to dwell in us.” As we examine ourselves this evening and ponder the meaning of God’s word, how much of the wisdom of God is guiding our hearts and minds and reigning in the decisions and actions we take?

Perhaps after hearing God’s Word, you realize like I did that you still have areas in your life which if you were honest would be ashamed to admit are adulterous in your relationship with Jesus, your Savior, Lord and Husband. You realize how faithful He has been to you and how much he truly loves you that he even suffered and died to redeem you and me.

If God is speaking to your heart this morning, and there are areas of your life you want to get right with God… James says the way to do that is to humble ourselves before the Lord and He will lift us up.

In verses 7-10 James is all about the appropriate response when we find ourselves living our lives outside of our holy union in Christ. The idea is not to be proud of our sin or that He gives us more grace to cover our sin, but rather we should be sad and sorrowful over our sin.

As I conclude this evening, let us read 7-10 together and understand that what James is telling us here to do, which is turn our “laughter to mourning”, he is talking about repentance. In fact I would go so far to be bold in saying that 7-10 is in my opinion the best step by step description of what repentance is suppose to look like.

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Let’s pray:

God, we come to you to confess and repent from using wisdom which does not come from you. That we have allowed our own desires and pride to place you second in areas of our lives rather than in first where you belong. We are sorry Lord of any pain this has caused you. We ask for your wisdom to live our lives, to walk by your Spirit and not according to the flesh. Now that we have heard your Word oh Lord, we now want to commit our lives to you and to live as wise and understanding servants. Help us to not be double minded, but with the mind of Christ seek you first. In Jesus Name, Amen“.




1 Cor 2

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness,and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[d]

But we have the mind of Christ.



Seeking the Favor of the Lord: A Tale of Two Brothers
Written by: Rich Chatfield


This is story about a young man name Cain and his younger brother Able. They grew up together on a farm and both did their share in helping out. Since Cain was the oldest, he took on the responsibility of the fields for it was hard work, day in and day out and it was important. Cain would often tease his little brother for having it easy watching the animals stand around and eat all day. He would say, “One day perhaps when you grow up to be a man like me, you will get a real job working in the fields.” On the whole their story isn’t much different than countless others brothers who grow up together. They go fishing, and hunting, compete to see who could skip a rock across the pond the most times and would be there from one another.

One day as Cain was bringing in the harvest that was especially abundant that year, Cain gave thought to God and how God blessed the harvest and the fruit of his labor so he wanted to give something back to God, some kind of offering to show his appreciation to God. So he took a portion of the harvest and set it aside and began to prepare it. Later that day Able comes by to see the harvest and sees his brother creating a stack over here from the other and being the little curious brother he asked Cain, “whatcha doing? What’s this?” Cain explained to Able what he was doing and Able thought, you know that is a good idea. I’m going to prepare an offering for the Lord too…

That night the Lord came and Cain rushed out to meet him. Cain welcomed him and said I am so glad you have come I have something special for you. Come see. Cain was full of excitement. He had put so much effort, so much work and he just knew that as soon as the Lord saw his offering, he would please with him. He’d finally be acknowledged for the hard work he does for everyone. He would finally get the respect he deserved. Just about that time the Lord felt a tug at his robe and he turn to see Able holding a tray. The Lord said hello Able whatcha got there? Well Sir, I heard that you were coming and though I don’t have very much to give, I wanted to give you something to show you how much you mean to me. Here are some portions of the firstborn of my flock. I offer it with a grateful heart to you Lord that you might be pleased and know I love you.

So there the Lord stood with the two brothers each making an offering. The Lord could see each of the brother’s heart. He looked with favor on Able and on his offering, but he did not look with favor on Cain or on his offering.

So the Lord blessed Able, but when Cain offered to load up his offering onto the Lord cart, the Lord stopped him. “I don’t need or want it. You keep it Cain. As a reward for all your hard work.”

Cain couldn’t believe what he was hearing, and at first his face was downcast as he stared at the ground in disbelief and sadness. He looked at his younger brother and was envious that he had received the Lord’s favor and blessing. He thought to himself, it should have been me, not him. Then slowly his sadness turned to anger as his hands clinched in anger.

The next day the Lord departed early and Cain woke up his brother… “Get up, I want you to come help me in the field today…” Able sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes and then got up and followed his brother Cain out to help him in the field.


3 thoughts on “Sermon Notes – The Wisdom of God

  1. Rich Chatfield Post author

    Please submit your feedback and comments to me here. I cannot promise to display them publicly, but I will receive them via email and will reply as appropriate. Thank you for visiting and hope you were blessed and your faith challenged.

  2. Mo

    Praise the Lord for James and praise the Lord for Richard James. I thank Jesus for speaking to you and you for Sharing with us.

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