Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 5 - wisdom is revealed by good behavior, nothing need be said.

Class Outline:

Title: Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 5 - wisdom is revealed by good behavior, nothing need be said.  


Bitterness is associated with the spoken words from a man whose heart is rotten.


JAM 3:9 With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;


JAM 3:10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.


"curse" - kataraomai = from the word for "down"; to wish evil against a person, to wish them down.


The Bible points out that when we curse any man, we are cursing God.


James simply states, “It ought not be this way.” This is not so much an appeal to the logic of it, but more so to the fact that such stupidity and sin should not exist in the church, where truth and light have entered through the person of Christ.


JAM 3:11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?


The Greek word reveals the fountain to be a spring that gurgles out of the earth through an opening. It is either fresh or bitter. It cannot be both.


Here we find the Greek word for “bitter.” The fountain is the mouth. What will flow from it, bitterness or blessing?


JAM 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh.


JAM 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.


The query is issued and intended as a call for self-examination. Who is wise and understanding among you?


In other words, don’t say that you know this while you keep on cursing others, judging, maligning, and in the case of the unprepared teacher, while you keep attempting to teach God’s word in the hope of being admired.


If you know and understand a truth, you don’t have to say a thing, just live in that truth and your conduct will witness of it at the proper time.


If someone has wisdom he will have works and excellent behavior. That's not legalism. He would not perform his works to only be noticed by men if he was a wise and understanding (Greek: expert in skill) person, for that would only qualify him with those who want to teach for recognition. It is just the natural outflow of the wise as a stream of sweet water must necessarily nourish its surroundings.


1PE 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


1PE 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,


1PE 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;


1PE 1:16 because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."


1PE 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers [attacks on Christianity in general], they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.


The word "visitation" is the noun also translated overseer or pastor, and here it refers to God becoming the overseer of the unbeliever who believes in the gospel. The point is that the excellent or beautiful behavior of the Christian reflects Christ's gospel to the lost unbeliever who then believes in the gospel and God becomes their Shepherd and they are found. They will glorify God, not the Christian, for the witness of the Christian.


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1PE 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,


1PE 3:2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.


This one has a tendency to naturally be put aside by Christian wives with badly behaving husbands.


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1PE 3:13 And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?


1PE 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,


1PE 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;


1PE 3:16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.


1PE 3:17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.


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JAM 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.


The fool, the ignorant, the novice will nourish nothing and only desire to nourish himself. He is the brackish spring. To drink of it is poison.


Action and not words are the true test of wisdom and understanding.


In the Greek culture, wisdom had to do with a high degree of abstract, philosophical knowledge, but in Jewish thinking, wisdom dealt with practical, moral insight based upon the knowledge of God and His word. James is obviously using the word in the Jewish context.


JAM 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition (faction or selfish interests) in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.


The body of Christ is a product of the truth. We are a product of the gospel of Christ. If we live contrary to the gospel, the exact opposite of which is bitterness, jealousy, and selfishness, then we lie against that which has made us.


Don’t lie to yourself. If bitter jealousy and selfish ambition is in your heart then acknowledge it. Acknowledge it to yourself and before God, as His son, you will be acknowledging it to Him. The point is to not be these things. The point is to be wise and understanding.


If we are not wise and understanding then we will be bitterly jealous and selfishly ambitious. This is the choice.


The command is to not do it, and if you are doing it, to stop doing it. There is no need for psychological evaluation. If you are pursuing things ambitiously and selfishly, then stop. Look at what you do in light of God's word and plan and you will be wise and then you'll be able to pursue that which God has called you to, for you will see in His way.


The command is to not be it - simple. Stop being arrogant and stop lying against the truth, to others and to yourself.


The word for jealousy, zelos, is where we get our word zeal. Like in English, the Greek word is used in both a positive and negative way in the Bible. Zeal married to bitterness is obviously zeal for the wrong thing, which thing is clearly shown to be only for personal ends, selfish ambition.


If what you want, are zealous for, makes you bitter, how big of a fool are you? Things ought not be this way. The believer has God, and available with Him, wisdom, power, and understanding.


JAM 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.


This emphasizes verse 6:

JAM 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.


The words of the world are the same words that we use, but with different definitions, different combinations, and for different purposes. It is a web of lies mixed with truth only intended to deceive. It is demonic.


JAM 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.


JAM 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.


JAM 3:18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.


We see so clearly in this passage what damage can be done by a bitter soul.