James 3
Sermon Bible
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Jam 3:17

I. Revealed truth—the wisdom that is from above—is "first pure, then peaceable." These two constitute a pair; they are connected by a link of peculiar significance and power. God preserves His own purity, and yet lifts the lost into His bosom; the guilty get a tree pardon, and yet the motives which bind them to obedience, instead of being relaxed, are indefinitely strengthened. Revelation is first pure and then peaceable; the Revealer is a just God and Saviour.

II. Revealed truth is gentle and easy to be entreated. This is not the view which springs in nature and prevails in the world. The wisdom that bids an anxious inquirer turn from the Son of God, our Saviour, and pour his confession into a more tender heart, is earthly, sensual, devilish.

III. Revealed truth is full of mercy and good fruits. So far from being in all cases united, these two, in their full dimensions, meet only in the Gospel.

IV. Revealed truth is without partiality and without hypocrisy. It is (1) offered alike to all, and (2) truly offered to each.

W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits, p. 141.

Consider the "wisdom that is from above" in its secondary and subjective aspect, as a lesson printed on the life of believing men by the type of revealed truth, as the image left on human hearts by the seal which came from heaven and pressed them.

I. The new creature, the work of the Spirit in believers, is first pure, then peaceable—(1) in relation to God; (2) in relation to ourselves; (3) in relation to the world around.

II. The new creature is gentle and easy to be entreated. Receiving out of His fulness grace for grace, Christians obtain, among other things, some of the gentleness of Christ. Those who possess any of it long for more. They speak of virtue being its own reward, and this is eminently true of gentleness.

III. The new creature is full of mercy and good fruits. It is a principle of the Gospel that he who gets mercy shows mercy. When a man is full of mercy in this sinning, suffering world, a stream of benevolence will be found flowing in his track all through the wilderness. If the reservoir within his heart be kept constantly charged by union with the upper spring, there need be neither ebbing nor intermission of the current all his days, for opening opportunities everywhere abound.

IV. The new creature is "without partiality and without hypocrisy." (1) Without partiality. It is not the impartiality of indifference, but the impartiality of love. Some people practically discover that to be impartial is an easy attainment. They contrive to care equally for all by caring nothing for any. This is the equality of the grave. Our text describes the impartiality, not of withholding, but of giving. No partiality for persons, peoples, sins. (2) Without hypocrisy. (a) In our intercourse with God; (b) in our intercourse with men. In Christians a likeness to Christ's sincerity has been begun; it is their business to hold fast and press on; it is His prerogative to make the likeness perfect in His own time and by His own power.

W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits, p. 155.

References: Jam 3:17.—Bishop Boyd-Carpenter, Church of England Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 35. Jam 4:1-3.—Homilist, 4th series, vol. i., p. 86. Jam 4:1-14.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 340. Jam 4:2, Jam 4:3.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1682. Jam 4:4-12.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 451. Jam 4:5.—Ibid., vol. iv., p. 332. Jam 4:7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1276. Jam 4:7-10.—Ibid., vol. xxiv., No. 1408; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 82.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

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