Christ …The Wisdom of God
Who is Wisdom in this text?
John 1:1 (NKJV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 (NKJV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the Word (Logos) from God. He is the unique communication of God to man. He is God robed in human flesh (Jn 1.14). The Word was God (1.1) or more literally, “God was the Word!”
1 John 1:1 (NKJV) — 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—
Revelation 19:13 (NKJV) — 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
To those who are called …Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1.24). Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 1, 8, and 9. Personification is attributing personal qualities and activities to a thing or an abstract concept – in this case wisdom. I believe Christ is throughout the Scripture, but because revelation is progressive, many who have walked before us could not see Him.
I also believe that Christ is personified Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. You may not believe that, but at the very least, you will hopefully see the parallel of wisdom’s call and the gospel’s call in this passage. Some will say that wisdom is referred to in the feminine form (e.g., “She raises her voice, she calls out”). They will then conclude that it cannot refer to Christ. However, the Hebrew noun for wisdom is feminine in form; hence, the translation in our Bibles. That Wisdom refers to Christ in chapter 1 is strengthened by a quick survey of Wisdom’s characteristics in chapter 8:
· Eternal Wisdom (Proverbs 8)
o "The LORD possessed me at the beginning...." (Pr 8.22)
o "The LORD possessed me ...before His works of old" (Pr 8.22)
o "I have been established from everlasting..." (Pr 8.23)
o "I have been established ...from the beginning" (Pr 8.23)
o "I have been established ...before there was ever an earth" (Pr 8.23)
o "When there were no depths I was brought forth..." (Pr 8.24)
o "When there were no fountains abounding with water [I was brought forth]" (Pr 8.24)
o "Before the mountains were settled..." (Pr 8.25)
o "Before the hills, I was brought forth." (Pr 8.25)
o "While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the world" (Pr 8.26)
o Creation marks the beginning of time. Since wisdom existed before time, it is eternal.
o Nothing and no being are eternal apart from God. Only God is infinite, free from the boundaries of time. Therefore, Wisdom refers to God, specifically to Christ.
· Creative Wisdom (Proverbs 8.30)
o "Then I [Wisdom] was beside Him as a master craftsmen; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him" (Pr 8.30).
o "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (Gen 1.1-2). Here, God and the Holy Spirit participate in creation.
o "For by [Jesus Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Col 1.16-17). Here, Jesus Christ participates in creation.
· Lifegiving Wisdom (Proverbs 8.35-36)
o "Whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life..." (Pr 8.35)
o "Those who hate me love death" (Pr 8.36)
o Life is God's gift for believers; death is God's punishment for sin.
o Rejecting wisdom is rejecting life. Rejecting Christ is rejecting life.
· Christ as Personified Wisdom
o YHWH possessed Wisdom at the beginning of His way (Pr 8.22). He possessed Jesus /Wisdom as already owning rather than acquiring Him/Wisdom.
o Wisdom has always been in the presence of God and always the delight of God (Pr 8.30).
Matthew 23:34 (NKJV) — 34 Therefore, indeed, I (Jesus) send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city…
Luke 11:49 (NKJV) — 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’
Proverbs does not present a complete picture of Christ, but it directed the ancient readers to Christ and helped to prepare them for the incarnation when the Word became flesh.
Flow of the Passage:
The day is coming when Wisdom will not answer those who call (1.26-28). Why? Reasons for judgment:
1. Wisdom called and was refused. She stretched out her hand, but no one regarded her (1.24).
2. All of Wisdom’s counsel was disdained. She rebuked, but they would have none of it (1.25).
3. They hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD (1.29).
4. They would have none of Wisdom’s counsel. They despised her every rebuke (1.30).
· The only hope is that the fool might turn from his own way (1.23) and avoid its bitter fruit (1.31).
· Wisdom’s Plea to Three Types of Fools (1.22)
· The Plight of the Fools Who Fail to Listen (1.32)
· Wisdom Calls for Those Who Will Listen (1.20-21, 33)
Paralleling the Call of the Gospel with the Call of Wisdom:
The Ones Invited - all who do not have wisdom (Matt 11); biblical wisdom is the believer's ability to perform God's will, so foolishness is the unbeliever's inability to please God. A wise man is saved; a fool is unsaved. Men do not change themselves in order to receive the gospel; they receive the gospel so that they might be changed.
See Prov 1.22 for 3 of the 5 words for fool in the Proverbs:
Simple Ones - willingly naive; acquires folly by choice (Prv 14.18); lacks understanding (Prv 7.7; 9.4, 16); does not have the sense to avoid trouble (Prv 22.3); easy prey to temptation (Prv 7); yields to the evil doer (Prv 7.10-22)
Simple ones are careless about the danger facing his soul and oblivious to his need.
Many today are oblivious about the need for salvation.
The simple follow the crowd on the broad way to destruction.
Fool - three aspects:
1) Attitude - moral dullness not mental; obstinate (Prv 17.10, 12) and smug; no need to pursue wisdom, knowledge, or understanding (Prv 1.22; 17.16; 18.2); satisfied to trust in his own heart (Prv 28.26); callous (Prv 15.20), arrogant, and careless (Prv 14.16)
2) Speech - talks a lot; it's good not to talk to him (Prv 14.7; 23.9; 26.4); foolishness (Prv 15.2), slander (Prv 10.18), and perversity (Prv 19.1) come out of his mouth; utters whatever worthless thing is on his mind (Prv 26.7, 9; 29.11); causes strife with his speech (Prv 18.6) and his mouth brings him to ruin (Prv 18.7)
3) Behavior - loves to act wickedly (Prv 10.23); displays foolishness openly (Prv 13.16); he repeats the same folly never learning from his mistakes (Prv 26.11); brings grief and sorrow to parents (Prv 10.1; 17.21, 25; 19.13)
· The fool represents men who reject the gospel because they prefer the way of least resistance (the broad way).
· The fool refuses to consider those things that would make him wise to salvation. He is self-satisfied.
· The fool might not care to hear the gospel invitation, but we are commanded to proclaim it.
Scorner - the worst of fools; delights in mockery (Prv 1.22); acts with insolent pride (Prv 21.24); hates correction and will not tolerate authority (Prv 15.12); responds with insult (Prv 9.7-8); will not listen to rebuke (Prv 13.1); wisdom is just about out of reach for the scorner (Prv 14.6); dangerous because he is not satisfied until he influences others to share in his contention, strife, and dishonor (Prv 19.25; 21.1; 22.10); wise men separate from the scorner and people judge him (Prv 19.29; 22.10); he mocks God and God mocks him (Prv 3.34)
· The scorner seems to be helpless humanly speaking. Yet, he still receives an invitation from Wisdom.
· No sinner is beyond hope or reach when it comes to the gospel.
· Do not judge people as beyond the grip of God's grace.
· All must hear the gospel’s invitation.
Three categories of fools represent those who need wisdom and the gospel; varying degree of wickedness but same degree of need.
The Invitation - Guidelines for Witnessing
· Public - "Wisdom calls aloud outside ...in the open squares ...in the chief concourses, at the the openings of the gates in the city" (Prv 1.20-21); open proclamation of wisdom's message (see Acts 26.26). It is done where people gather and where the concourses hustle and bustle. It is done at the gates of the city - where the officials gather and legal/business transactions take place.
· Urgent - "How long?" (Prv 1.22) Fools must put away foolish. Seek the Lord while He may be found (Isa 55.6). Harden not your hearts (Heb 3.7-8; 2 Cor 6.2). The lost must hear urgency in us. If they remain obstinate, they may never hear the gospel's invitation again. What will happen to all of their daily worries and distractions when they die? How long?
· Commanded - "Turn at my rebuke!" says Wisdom. In other words, "Repent and believe in the Gospel!" Acknowledge and confess that all of your righteousnesses are as filthy rags and turn to Christ ...to Wisdom (2 Cor 5.17).
· Rewarded - "I will pour out my Spirit on you." The Spirit of God provides conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. God's Spirit draws the fool and the helpless and he must turn. While the fool cannot rid himself of his folly; he is able to turn and believe. Once he is in Christ, then he begins to work on his foolishness. God saves; man responds to His saving work in faith.
Proverbs 1.24-25 provides proof positive that the fool is without excuse. He has heard the invitation and refused to heed. Rejecting wisdom/salvation is the height of folly. Rejecting grace for justice is beyond comprehension. Either the fool recognizes his need of truth or he bows the knee before Christ when it is too late (Phil 2.10).
Too late! They will call on Wisdom, but He will not answer; they will seek Christ diligently, but they will not find Him (Prv 1.28). Turning from Christ to complacency leads to destruction, but security and safety belong to those who listen to Him (Prv 1.32-33).
Your eternal state rests in how you respond to Christ. This should convince you of the urgency of the Gospel message. Irreversible consequences await the fool after physical death. On the other side is eternal death. That is why if we truly love sinners, we will confront them with this sense of urgency.
Receive God's Gracious Invitation
· Not only to the simple ones but to those who love simplicity; not only to the ignorant but to those who hate knowledge; not only to the irreligious but to those who scorn religion.
· Turn at my rebuke.
· Do not justify your actions, extenuate your guilt, or defend the indefensible! Turn, turn from it without delay!
· You cannot overcome the corruption of your heart. You cannot find a self-remedy for sin. Therefore, God will pour out His Spirit to both save and sanctify you. But God will not always strive with man...
Receive God's Righteous Wrath
· Anyone who scorns God and His invitation of grace will receive what they've been working toward - eternal condemnation.
· How zealous we are to get the word out! Fulfilling the Great Commission ...Keeping the Great Commandments. But our zeal and earnest desire for souls has left us in a dry place of late. We long for the refreshing rain of conversions. Oh that people would come to Christ ... come to wisdom!
· Not unlike the weeping prophet's day: "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you!" (Jer 44.16)
· If they persist in their unbelief, God will not be mocked. The day of grace is fast becoming a day of judgment. The sinner thinks he'll be fine - he's so confident that it shakes us to our cores. But the hour is fast approaching.
· What will the world do for you at the Great White Throne? How pleasurable will houses, lands, silver, and gold be in the day of God's wrath? How impressed will you be with all you've sown when you finally have to reap your whirlwind? You will be silent and you will obey when Wisdom cries out in that day: Depart from Me; I never knew you! Eternal suffering and pain will be yours. No water to cool your tongue and no one to take away the utter sense of loneliness that you will experience in that day!
1. Think of all of those who have died yet in their sins. Now think of the longsuffering of God that lead us to repentance. Let us praise God for His goodness in saving us.
2. Think of God who is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Now think of the fact that He will by no means clear the guilty. Fear God for His coming wrath.
Transition to the Lord’s Supper: Those of us who are no longer dead in sins have come to repentance. We no longer fear the coming wrath of God. Why is that? We owe this confidence to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Tonight remember the Lord’s death.
Read Matthew 26.17-29.
· Jesus would be crucified after this evening meal with His apostles. He did not want them to forget what He was about to do for them and for those of us who followed them.
· As often as we eat this bread and drink from this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. We remember Jesus. He is mindful of us …in our midst at this very moment. He comes to us and manifests Himself to us in a way that the world cannot know.
1. Jesus simply took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to His disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” The bread does not become the body of Christ. The juice is not literally the blood of Christ nor does it become the blood of Christ. Jesus said that He was the Bread of Life and the True Vine. We understand the imagery. It is the same with these elements.
2. What we do is simply obedience in proclaiming the Lord’s death till He comes. As a proclamation, the Lord’s Supper is a picture of the sacrifice we believe Christ made for us …on our behalf. But we do not think of Jesus as dead, but as alive!
a. I must be a believer. Relying upon the death, burial and resurrection for my eternal life.
b. I must be living a life of obedience so far as I know. Short accounts.
c. I am willing to do His will.
d. My relationships are right within my home and church.
e. I partake not to please others or because of some kind of pressure I feel; but rather, because of my desire to please God and Christ.
f. Failing to examine myself is to eat and drink condemnation to myself.