Title: Keys to Wisdom, Part 2
Theme: Grasping the Wisdom of God
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:7-8) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
If Christians would but just take heed to the Biblical principles in seeking God’s perfect will for them and grasp the truths found in today’s message. The church would be seen as a people of God who knows, understands and walks in the wisdom of God.
We serve a God who has resources that never run out. One of those resources that are available to all Christians is wisdom. James wrote, “If any of you should lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) The child of God needs only to ask and then live according to the written Word of God and he can enjoy the benefits of “Walking in the Wisdom of God.”
Proverbs 4:7-8 says, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” James the half brother of Jesus gives us some practical advice and we read it in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
I would propose to you that if Christians would but just take heed to the Biblical principles in seeking God’s perfect will for them and grasp the truths found in today’s message. The church would be seen as a people of God who knows, understands and walks in the wisdom of God.
Just what is in the heart of those who enjoy the benefits of Godly wisdom?
Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the practical ways of seeking and applying the wisdom of God. The Christian who takes Jesus seriously has studied and he has discovered that there are four basic disciplines to making the two master disciplines of hearing and doing a practical part of his Christian walk. They are 1.) Attention. 2.) Meditation. 3.) Obedience and 4.) Endurance. We have already looked at “Attention and Meditation,” today we will come to understand “Obedience and Endurance.” The basic disciplines of “Attention and Meditation” are needed before we can lay down a foundation for wisdom. The basic disciplines of “Obedience and Endurance” are needed so we can express a life of walking in the counsel and wisdom of God.
Every Christian needs the “Basic Discipline of Obedience.”
Every Christian needs the “Basic Discipline of Obedience.” In order to enjoy that abundant life promised in Christ we need not only to seek the wisdom of God, but also have the right heart attitude in obedience to the written word of God.
For example: Suppose there is a Christian who has the character that we can label as “Wild Mind Billy.” He has been convicted of the sin of exaggeration. Billy doesn’t lie about important things like, did he get to work on time or in honesty in financial areas of his life, but he has a way of embellishing the story. Things like if he saw ten turkeys cross the road, by the time he told the story it was a hundred turkeys.
His embellishing has often gotten him into very embarrassing situations and has even hurt the name of Christ and the Holy Spirit has convicted him about this every time he does it. So Billy says to himself, “I must stop this bad habit of embellishing. It always gets me into more trouble than it’s worth. This stretching the truth just ends up making me look like an idiot.”
Let us look at the heart of what Billy is actually saying. His reason for wanting to stop embellishing is so that he will not be embarrassed and look like an idiot. His motives for embellishing were self-centered and his reason for wanting to stop is still self-centeredness. His primary concern is still self-image and he will not be successful very long at stopping his story telling.
The reason he will fail is because he will not have the power of the Holy Ghost to help him overcome as long as he is concerned about his self-image and has no concern about how Jesus feels and about being changed into the image of Christ.
If the child of God is going to enjoy and know the power of God to enable him to obey, he must want to obey because it first, pleases the Lord and second it will show God’s grace upon his life. There must be a personal submission to God, Christ and a longing to have fellowship in the Holy Spirit before any child of God will be able to beat any sin that causes him to miss out of walking in the wisdom of God.
A Christian cannot allow himself to be deceived by the flesh, the world or the devil without showing a great disrespect for the very nature of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Jesus describes Himself as “the way, the truth and the life” in John 14:6. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of truth” in John 14:17.
Therefore, the heart condition to walking in obedience should be for the glory of the Lord, not for us. We should not want to walk in obedience so that we can be seen as someone great or good, but that Christ is working in and through us. So the lost will be encouraged to look to Christ and not to us. Our goal is to please Christ and He will enable us to enjoy the blessing of walking an obedient life to God’s will for us.
Having the right heart will cause you to walk in the joy of obedience and keep you from missing God’s best.
Having the right heart will cause you to walk in the joy of obedience and keep you from missing God’s best. The Prairie Overcomer ran the true story of an honest, wealthy Christian businessman. The truth in the story was, “I Missed God’s Best.” After the pastor preached a message on obedience, this businessman confessed of missing God’s best for him.
When he was young the Lord had called him into the mission field. So he started working hard and he began to earn money, paying his tithe and living a life worthy of the gospel he proclaimed. He just kept earning more and more money and he decided to stay in the business world. He became rich, had a wonderful wife and family. He owned a huge successful business and a large beautiful home. He had everything money could buy except this, sensing the Lord’s pleasure in what he did with his life.
He wrote, “I have a beautiful home and a lovely wife and children. In my heart, however, there is a deep void. From the world’s view I was successful, from God’s view point I never knew His best for me.”
The Word of God shows the cost of a disobedient heart and the blessings of an obedient heart.
There are two men mentioned in the Word of God that show one, the cost of a disobedient heart and two, the blessings of an obedient heart. The heart of disobedience was found in a king named Saul. This first king of Israel was superb physically, but was lacking in the spiritual qualities necessary to be a successful king.
The primary indicator of Saul’s unsuitability was his repeated failure to obey the Word of God. (1 Samuel 13, 15) Had Saul demonstrated his willingness to submit himself to a “theocratic authority structure” he would have confirmed his suitability to be king. (Who’s Who in the Bible)
In Gilgal, Saul was to wait for the Prophet Samuel to arrive. When Samuel was slow in coming, Saul proceeded to offer pre-battle sacrifices in Samuel’s absence. After hearing Saul’s excuses, Samuel told King Saul that he had acted foolishly and that his kingdom would not endure. (1 Samuel 13:13) (Who’s Who in the Bible)
Just as 1 Samuel 13 records Saul’s unauthorized sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15 records Saul’s intention to offer another unauthorized sacrifice. When Saul was sent by God, through the words of the Prophet Samuel, to go and completely destroy the Amalekites and to destroy everything that belonged to them, the Bible says, “Saul… spared [the king of the Amalekites], the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good. These [King Saul and his army] were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15: 9) (The Expositors Bible Commentary)
The Hebrew verb for, “unwilling” is specifically linked with the sin of rebellion in Deuteronomy 1:26. Saul’s specific deeds of disobedience were but symptomatic of his fundamental inability to accommodate himself to the necessary requirements of theocratic kingship. In short, they were symptomatic of his lack of faith in God. The Bible says that God told Samuel, “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1 Samuel 15:11) (Who’ Who in the Bible)
In contrast is King David whose life bears out the correlation between humility, obedience and God’s goodness. Although his human nature caused him to suffer the consequences of sin on several occasions, his heart attitude was one of repentance. The Lord’s chastisements brought a spirit of brokenness in the heart of David, thus, David came to trust and recognize God’s hand in all his life. David writes, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3) David also wrote, “…To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble…” (2 Samuel 22:2-3a)
King David, the man who sinned greatly before the Lord had a heart of repentance and he longed to walk in obedience before his God. The Bibles says, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'” (Acts 13:22) God blessed David’s heart by giving him protection, provision and the blessing of a family line that goes to Jesus Christ whose kingdom will last forever and is still growing.
God promises to show His love to thousands of generations of those who obey His commands. (Exodus 20:4) For those who show more than just partial obedience God blesses them and their labors for years and years to come.
When Adoniram Judson graduated from seminary he received a call from a fashionable church in Boston. He was given the opportunity to be assistant pastor. Everyone congratulated him. His mother and sister were so excited. They knew that he could live with them and fulfill his calling at the same time.
The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that his work was beyond the seas. To work in Boston, even if it is in the ministry would be only partial obedience. Even though it caused him great struggle with his family and with those who wanted him to work in Boston, he still followed his instruction from the Lord.
It is my understanding that the fashionable church in Boston still stands, doing a work with the Lord, however, the churches that the Lord had established through Adoniram in Burma had gained fifty thousand converts, and the influence of his obedient life is still having a positive effect on missions today.
The church that is obedient to her calling will find the wisdom of God for the present and for her future work with the Lord. Their work will reach out to many beyond their church walls.
Those who walk in the way of wisdom know very well that Biblical obedience is not just compliance to some abstract law or rule. It is being submissive to the Person of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9) as He has revealed God’s will to them. It involves saying no to the flesh, the world and the devil and yes to the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no one on this earth who said it more wonderfully and truthfully than Dr. Jim Berg, “There are only two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self.”
Endurance is continued obedience to God even under pressure or heavy persecution
Once a Christian understands the basic discipline of “obedience” he needs to apply “endurance.” Endurance is continued obedience to God even under pressure or heavy persecution. This is the very endurance found in the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
It must be realized there is a difference between endurance of someone who says, “I will see this through because I believe this is important,” and someone who says, “I will see this through because I am in submission to My God, my Lord Jesus Christ, and by the strength of the Holy Spirit.”
This endurance is birthed not from just a head full of Bible passages and Scriptural principles, but from having a mind and heart that are set on things above, and not on this earth. In setting rules for Holy living, Paul writes; “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above. Set your minds on things above and not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
It is a Christ-like endurance that the writer of the Book of Hebrews calls Christians to so they can “Walk in the Wisdom of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 says; “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross…” (NAS) The word “endurance” (hypomone) as it is used here refers to the endurance that is needed for a lifelong, long-distance race.” (Word Meanings in the New Testament) The practical application is a determination that is unhurried and goes steadily on and refuses to be deflected. Satan’s and the world’s obstacles do not turn this man away from his God-given vision. Discouragements do not take this man’s hope away. He has a steadfast endurance that carries on until the end.
The key to success in the Christian life is the same as it was for Christ and the heroes of our faith. Spiritual success is found in the ability to endure. In Hebrews 12:3 we see that we are to, “Consider [Christ] who endured such opposition from sinful men…” Why, “…so [we] will not grow weary and lose heart.” If there is one character flaw that we should be without, it would be that we are quitters. A Christian should never quit. We are admonished, over and over again to endure, to stay in the fight to the very end, through finding strength in Christ.
As we look back at all the heroes mentioned in chapter 11, we note that they too were people who were able to endure to the end. Note what the Bible says about Moses in Hebrews 11:27, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.”
The Bible says a good deal about Moses’ relationship with the Lord. Exodus 33:11 says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” This close walk with God sustained Moses through all the difficult days that came upon him. (The Expositors Bible Commentary) Moses was an exalted servant by his special relationship with the LORD. (Numbers 12:6-8, Deuteronomy 34:10-12, Who’s Who in the Bible) Moses relationship with the LORD was one of friendship and confidence. (Who’s Who in the Bible)
Relationship with the Lord is what enables the child of God to endure through the hardships and trials that can come upon a Christian as he serves Jesus, thus, allowing them to enjoy all the victories that come while serving in the Lord’s army. Just like Moses, the obedient children of God have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Thru the Bible; Matthew Henry Commentary; The Pulpit Commentary) There are four points worth considering as Christ who as a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
One, Jesus comes nearer to us than any friend or brother can. A human brother can draw very near to us in his knowledge of us and in sympathy toward us; but not as Christ can and does. Jesus has perfect knowledge of us regarding our hope and fears, of our struggles and our sorrows, of our aspirations and the endeavors that God has placed before us.
Two, Jesus is always the same to us; our best friend cannot be the same all the time because he has that sinful nature. We will never find Jesus too occupied to hear us, or indisposed to sympathize with us or unable to aid us. He is ever ready to receive and bless us.
Three, Jesus’ patience is inexhaustible. Because we still wrestle that sinful nature, we still say and do things that cause our best brother to become weary “in patience” with us. We cannot weary Christ, even when we do that which is sinful and hurtful to him, at that moment of repentance He is ready to welcome and restore us.
Four, Jesus lives forever, where our brother cannot. Even the best of friends have been unable to be a help to each other for some reason or another. These four truths are what the heroes of faith found comfort, strength and stability in, which empowered them with endurance to see their God-given task through.
In regards to the enterprise of taking the people out of Egypt, Moses had endurance to see his task through and yes it took some endurance. But that endurance came from a faith that was deep in his heart, about all that God had told him. Exodus chapter 3 tells of the call of Moses and the Lord even told him ahead of time that he would be with Him as he went forth to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of Pharaoh. (Exodus 3: 12)
Just as Moses was commissioned to go and prepare God’s people to see God free them from bondage out of the slavery to Pharaoh, Christians are commissioned to go in Christ’s Name and share about the freedom from the bondage of flesh, the world and the devil. Go tell that Jesus is the deliverer and when He sets them free they will be free indeed. (John 8:36) As a matter of fact just as Moses was sent under the authority of God, Christians are under the authority of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Great Commission and Jesus said, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Christians should have no trouble enduring through everything God has called them to do, for just as God had spoken to Moses directly, they have the authority of the written Word of God, which came to them from men who wrote and spoke as the Holy Spirit moved them. In other words it is “Yes and Amen” for us! (John 14:17,18; Galatians 2:20; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Thru the Bible)
Moses was also assured that the Elders of Israel would listen to him, (Exodus 3:18) just as Christians are assured that there will be a harvest from their labors in the Lord. (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Luke 8:15)
God gave Moses some detailed results of what He was going to do in Egypt (Exodus 3:19-22) just as God wrote through the Apostle Peter to tell us what He is doing in this present time and that He is raising up a chosen people who are called out of the darkness of sin into His life of righteousness. (1 Peter 2:5-9)
Christians need to endure through their callings just as Moses did. In Exodus chapter 5 we see that when Moses told Pharaoh to let God’s people go, that Pharaoh rejected God’s directions and he even put more hardship upon the Israelites. The people didn’t like Moses after that and as a matter of fact they hoped God would judge him. (Exodus 5:21) Moses did not leave but did what all Christians should do if they want to endure through their calling. He prayed to God. (Exodus 5:22)
God did what He would do for all who would beseech Him in prayer and that was He encouraged Moses. (Exodus 6:1) God gave Moses more authority and appointed Aaron to speak for Moses to Pharaoh, when Moses thought he did not have the necessary skills. (Exodus 7:1-2)
Moses had to endure through more. As a matter of fact the Lord told Moses that He was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart, (Exodus 7:3; 9:12) that Pharaoh had an unyielding heart. (Exodus 7:14) We read that even after God answered yes to prayers Pharaoh harden his own heart. (Exodus 8:15) The Bible says that even some of Pharaoh’s officials hardened their own hearts. (Exodus 9:35) God showed His miraculous hand working and yet even those who saw the miracles hardened their own hearts or God was hardening hearts because that was what they wanted.
The fact is no matter what ministry you are called into. It may be while raising your children, in the work place and even in the church. There are going to be seasons that God is doing a work all around you before the eyes of people who can clearly see God doing something, yet people are going to continue to harden their hearts. You can set down with them and show them in God’s Word what His vision for you and them is and it won’t soften their hearts. Their hearts are going to be hardened and you had better be like Moses, who had a heart that endured, so you and the people who believe in you can see God’s mighty deliverance. Just as Moses saw when he took the people out of Egypt and across the Red Sea.
Moses had obedience and endurance, which opened the door for him to see a great number of people to be delivered out of the bandage of slavery. Christians who have an obedient walk with Jesus know the joy of endurance and they will see the Lord do the miraculous, which is deliver sinners out of the bondage of the flesh, the bondage of the world and from the lies of the devil.
In Closing: All Christians can have a walk with the Lord as Moses did through a heart that gives attention to God’s call, that meditates upon what God’s Word says, that is obedient to what the Lord says to do and endures to the end.
Let us Pray!!!!!