Does Not Wisdom Call Out? Pt. 2
Study Guide, July 21, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
As we were saying…perhaps you have heard of some of these pithy quotes: ‘He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.’; ‘God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.’; ‘He who angers you, controls you.’; ‘Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.’; ‘We don’t change the message, the message changes us!’ And that is what we are seeking to have happen as we listen to Wisdom calling out to us from the Scriptures. So let’s return to our study.
Does the word ‘khokma’ ring a bell? That’s the Hebrew word for ‘wisdom’ that we introduced in our last study. And the fascinating thing about it is that ‘khokma’ describes wisdom as a skilled craftsman. And that puts concepts like ‘Discipleship’ in a whole new light, because it pictures the Christian life as one in which we develop skills with which to build our life and to also help others build their lives as well, like a craftsman uses his skills to build valuable works for his use and to assist others also.
Let’s do something fun…I’ll just start the sentence and you finish it. Here we go: “The wise man builds his…house upon the rock”. And: “The foolish man builds his…house upon the sand.” Notice something that is often overlooked in this terrific teaching. Matt 7:24- “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” NASU Let’s stop with that. Of course we know that the ‘rock’ is a reference to Jesus Christ, our Rock and Lord and Savior. So we certainly have to make sure that our life rests securely upon the foundation of the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ. But here’s what we are getting at: The foundation of our salvation is Jesus Christ, yes, but the house is – you! And the Scriptures reveal to us the truly wise man not only builds his house, builds his life upon the Rock of Christ, but he is then very careful to go on building up his house following the instructions of the Rock! Because if we do not carefully build our house according to the instructions of the Rock, then even though we have wisely chosen the right foundation we will have foolishly built our house with the wrong materials. And although our house will stand firm in our ‘great salvation’, it will suffer loss when it comes time for our ‘great evaluation’ before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Notice what Paul says about this: 1 Cor 3:9-15- “And you are a house that belongs to God…The foundation that has already been built is Jesus Christ, and no one can build any other foundation. People can build on that foundation using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw. But the work that each person does will be clearly seen, because the Day will make it plain. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work. If the building they put on the foundation still stands, they will get their reward. But if their building is burned up, they will suffer loss. They will be saved, but it will be like someone escaping from a fire.” ERV What ‘Day’ is the Apostle referring to here? And what kind of evaluation of these building materials is he talking about?
Here’s another question: How much or how often you think about the Judgment Seat of Christ, or about the appointment each one of us has with Jesus when He reviews our life with us to evaluate what we did with our life after we were saved? And another question: Does the Judgment Seat of Christ drive or direct the way in which you are now building your house…or constructing your life? That evaluation is going to reveal specific things about us like; what we did in our lives that honored God, and how much we obeyed His instructions…His Word, and what we did about serving Him, and what we did about blessing others for His sake, and even ‘why’ we did what we did. And of course, the purpose of this testing is to reveal the degree of our faithfulness to Him in this life, which will then determine the degree of our rewards and privileges in our service assignments in the Kingdom of God. Again, most Christians hardly ever think about this Final Evaluation and what it will mean for their experience in the Kingdom of God. But that’s just another example of the fact that we are not ‘wise people’ by nature. We are wise in choosing our foundation, our salvation in Jesus Christ, but many are foolish in how they are going about building their house; building their life. What materials are they using to build their house, build their life?
The point is this: when it comes time for Jesus to inspect our house, will He find that we have built with eternally lasting materials, like the gold, silver, and jewels of obedience and faithfulness and service? Or will He find that we have mostly built our house with the temporal materials of the wood, grass, and straw of disobedience and unfaithfulness and self-will? And of course, those won’t stand the test, and that’s why it’s called ‘loss’. It’s not a loss of salvation, but it is a loss of rewards. Again, our works after we are saved do not affect our ‘destination’ of Heaven, since our salvation is based upon Christ’s saving works for us, but our works do affect our ‘destiny’ in Heaven, since our privileges in Heaven are based upon our service works for Christ after He saved us. Our destination of Heaven is about Christ’s gift to us. Our destiny of service in Heaven is about our works for Christ; our gifts of worship and service for Him. And if you haven’t learned much about this crucial area of teaching on the Judgment Seat of Christ, then spend the rest of your life learning all you can about it, since it will affect your whole experience of eternity.
But again, ‘wisdom’ is directly linked to ‘building’ – directly linked to using the right skills and choosing the right materials in building up your life and in helping others build up their lives as well. And when you consider the fact that the Bible refers to this need for developing wisdom, or these living skills, some 216 times throughout the Scriptures, then we have a pretty good idea of just how much we need to pay attention to it, right? Like we saw in our last study that ‘Wisdom’ is calling out, not only to us, but to the whole world. Why? Because without the ‘wisdom’ of God given to us through the Word of God we are left like sheep without a Shepherd…wandering through life and going astray, as well as being vulnerable to destruction from outside of us and from inside of us. Remember…our main enemy is us…you and me!
So recall that in Proverbs 8 we see, or hear, ‘Wisdom’ calling out to us with this: “Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.” Prov 8:6-7 Wisdom is connected with truth and righteousness. No one who does not love truth nor love righteousness can ever be considered a wise man or wise woman. One of the central measurements of your wisdom is the measure of your morals, for your mental development of wisdom is directly related to your moral development in wisdom; for wisdom is as much ‘moral’ as it is ‘mental’.
For example: Many people are pretty familiar with the proverb that states this: Prov 9:10- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” NASU Even a lot of just religious people who yet do not have a saved relationship with Jesus know of this proverb about the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom. But something that not many people, saved or unsaved, know about what is really involved in fearing the Lord is what is revealed to us in Prov 8:13- “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…” NASU That’s quite a revelation! This is like a formal definition of the fear of the Lord: ‘The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.’ And, you see, this takes us way past just fearing the consequences of evil. Many people fear the consequences of sin, but they don’t really hate the sin itself. But then, that is not really ‘fearing God’, according to the Scriptures. Again, this is going way past fearing the results of sin, for there are many who claim to fear God, but they still seem rather fond of sin. But this is still another indication that they really don’t fear God at all, rather they fear what God might do in relation to the sin they still love. And that is not only deception, that is derangement.
No, what this Proverb reveals about what it really is to ‘fear God’ is when a born again follower of God not only comes alongside of God seeking fellowship with God, but also now takes his or her stand with God, seeking to be in agreement with God against the very things that God is against…or that God hates. To fear God means you choose to feel like God feels about the things God loves and you choose to feel like God feels about the things God hates. And to the degree that you do feel like God feels about the things God loves and hates…that then, is the real measurement of the degree to which you really fear God.
And not only is it the measurement of how much you fear God, it is also the measurement of something else. How fascinating that right in the middle of a praise Psalm of David’s we find him saying this: Ps 97:9-12- “For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods. You who love the Lord, hate evil! …May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise His holy name!” NLT It’s like a call for the way that those who say they love the Lord can demonstrate their love to God: “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” It’s like another measurement of how much we really do love the Lord; for it’s as Spurgeon pointed out: “We cannot love God without hating that which God hates.” And the more that we do love God the more we will hate evil, for evil is everything against what God is – Holy. Plus, we will hate it wherever we find it, even in ourselves. Remember Paul’s words about that? Rom 7:24- “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” NKJV ‘Wretched man?’ The point is, because of our love for God we are taking our stand against sin wherever we find it, even in our old sin nature. And when we find it, because we love our God, we hate the sin. And therefore we don’t just feel remorse about it, we seek to remove it, by the grace of God and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
But still, what both the Psalmist and the Apostle reveal here is that we now have a way to actually measure how much we really do love God; how much we really do fear God, and it’s this: How much do we really love the things God loves and how much do we really hate the things God hates? And that’s the measurement of how much you love and fear God.
Strangely enough, oftentimes even some believers are a bit uncomfortable talking about the fact that there are actually things that God hates. But that’s where we have to adjust our understanding to a Biblical reality instead of being unduly influenced by our culture’s virtual reality. Case in point: In Proverbs 6 God tells us there are seven things in particular that God hates. Notice: Prov 6:16-19- “There are six things which the Lord hates,Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” NASU
These have sometimes been referred to as ‘the seven deadly sins’, as though other sins aren’t deadly. All sin is deadly, as sin is what killed the human spirit in mankind in the first place. But it is important to note that in the list of the sins that God says that He hates, it starts with ‘haughty eyes’ or ‘self-pride’. The eyes are like the window to the heart or soul, and we know that self-pride is like the deepest taproot of sin. Self-pride was the sin in the fall of Satan…so right there we should be really clear about how much we need to resist and root out this sin that is number one on the list of what God hates.
And how utterly bizarre that our culture glories in the sin of ‘self-pride’! And what a clear commentary about how hostile our contemporary culture really is toward the holiness of God. No, for any who wish to become more like God, humility is the virtue that moves you closer to God. Self-pride is becoming more like the one that started the ‘self-pride’ sin in the first place: Satan. He put himself before God, or himself above God. But whenever you put yourself; self importance, self-promotion, self-pride above God, there’s only one way you can go after that; and that is down. God lifts up the humble, but He brings down the proud.
Actually, all the rest of these sins are really the fall-out of this base root of self-pride, each one doing more damage and destruction. And remember, Satan is also called ‘the Destroyer’. So in all of life, people are either becoming more like their Creator, or they are becoming more like the Destroyer; especially in acting on any of these sins in the list of the sins that God says He hates. And while the Creator desires to build up a person’s life and relationships with others, the Destroyer desires to tear down every person’s life and destroy relationships, first with God and then with others. Remember something here: Sin is basically siding with Satan. And there is no gain in that…there is only loss and destruction. There is no ‘win’ in ‘sin’; only loss.
Again, how strange that those who choose to live as they please instead of finding out what is pleasing to God think they are wise when God says something far different. Remember 1 Cor 3:19-20? “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,”He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”And again,“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; He knows they are worthless.” NLT
Next time we’ll consider some evidences of true wisdom; Biblical wisdom.