Does Not Wisdom Call Out? Pt. 4
Study Guide , August 11, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
A question was asked to people of different age groups to give an example of what they had learned over the years. One person age 52 said: “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” Another person age 82 said: “I’ve learned that even when I have pains…I don’t have to be one!” This one was clever from a 46 year old: “I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.” And this little person age 7 said: “I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.” And how about this one from a 15 year old: “I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.” And then one more from a 92 year old who said: “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”
We all still have a lot to learn, and thankfully, the Lord loves teaching His people. And when His people have a desire to learn, then God is also please to grant them wisdom, or the skills by which they can apply what they have learned. So let’s continue our journey of learning more about this discipline of wisdom since we are assembled here this morning as God’s church. Actually, there are some wise ways to think about a ‘church assembly’, too. It’s like a hospital for sinners, a training camp for soldiers, a worship gathering for believers, a service facility for ministry…and a church assembly is also a ‘learning center for disciples’. The very word ‘Disciple’ itself means: ‘A learner’. Learning is to be a continual activity and reality in each of our lives. And the Scriptures link genuine learning to godly wisdom. And the gaining of godly wisdom is really to be the goal of whatever it is that we are learning.
All right, but when it comes to acquiring wisdom there are first a couple of critical steps. And one is that in order to have wisdom in the present you have to give God your future. And similarly, in order to count on having wisdom in your future you have to give God your present. The point we’re trying to make is this: The amount of wisdom that you will acquire for living is directly connected with how much of your life or how much of yourself that you have given to God today and how much of your plans that you have committed to God for tomorrow. And the point within that point is this: If you are with-holding any part of your present from God’s rule or with-holding any part of your plans for your future from God’s rule, well then, to that degree, and more, wisdom is being and will be withheld from you.
Do you remember this principle from what Jesus said? It’s one of the most important things we are to understand about genuine learning. Luke 8:18- “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” NASU Remember, we previously pointed out that wisdom and understanding are conditional. And they are conditional in the sense that they are linked to how intentional we are about it all. They are conditioned upon what we intend to do with what God enables us to learn. In other words, our intention to practice what God enables us to learn is directly related to what God will actually enable us to learn. So here’s the deal: When we hear God’s Word and hear God’s truths taught without intending to then act on what we have heard, then we won’t understand even what we think we know, nor will we have the spiritual strength to apply the power of those truths.
We could say it’s like having spiritual atrophy. Muscle atrophy is when there is disuse of a muscle or muscle group. When the muscles are no longer in use, they slowly become weaker, and even begin to shrink. We see this normally in the case of an accident where an arm or leg has been in a cast for a long period of time. Fortunately, this atrophy can be reversed when the muscles become active again. On the other hand, if the disuse continues there can be a permanent loss of skeletal muscle fibers, and when that happens there may be a need for surgery and a full rehabilitation plan. Either way, the thing is, whatever muscular strength the person once had is no longer there, even if the person thinks it’s still there.
Do you see how similar this is to the spiritual atrophy that Jesus describes? If a believer doesn’t act on spiritual truths, then they set this spiritual atrophy or spiritual weakening into motion; a weakening of understanding, a weakening of discernment, and especially a weakening of wisdom, or a weakening of the skills to make godly decisions and do godly actions.
Do you remember what James said about wisdom? James 1:5-8- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” NKJV
On the one hand, this passage is very encouraging. It assures us that our God is a generous God, and God is more than willing to grant us wisdom. Thank you Lord! But on the other hand, this passage is very specific about one particular caution. And that is what? Right: ‘Watch your loyalty!’ That’s what the ‘doubting’ refers to here…divided loyalty. You do not want your loyalty to become divided between God and this world. For that is like being double-minded. And a double-minded anything is a real problem.
Even the Psalmist had to get his mind right in order to unite these divided forces going on within him. He put it this way: Ps 86:11-12- “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.” NASU There it is again…intention and commitment. But it was also a call for help. We are similarly to call upon God for help to unite our divided heart. For our hearts are so easily pulled or tossed by the waves and winds of the world, as James put it.
That’s another quality and evidence of wisdom…wisdom is not divided in loyalty to God. Wisdom is united in both loyalty and purpose. Wisdom is focused not on whatever is temporarily pleasing, but on what is eternally productive. And the amazing thing about that is if whatever we are doing is, in fact, eternally productive, as we stated before, it will also be presently constructive; as in – fulfilling, satisfying, and even pleasing and soul gratifying.
So again, remember the importance of ‘intention’ in connection with wisdom – for what you intend to do with wisdom will determine the degree of wisdom you will be given.
But we should also point out another thing about wisdom is that, as we previously saw, wisdom is calling out to everyone in the world to respond to it; all people are commanded to respond to wisdom…to respond to the wisdom of God. And yet we know that so many of the world are not heeding this call. But as Paul put it – ‘They are without excuse for doing so.’ Notice: Rom 1:18-20- “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” NASU
God has made it clear to the world that He is God, Creator, Lord, and Savior. He has imprinted His law in people’s hearts and impressed this knowledge upon people’s conscience. And so a lack of people’s understanding about everything from Creation to Salvation is not because they have not heard; it’s because they have not listened…not listened with a repentant heart and a receptive mind. And since they have not listened with a repentant heart and a receptive mind that’s why their knowledge has become genuine foolishness instead of true wisdom. That’s why those who ignore the Creator then default to the falsehoods of Evolution when trying to explain the natural world around us. That’s why those who reject that Jesus is who He said He is: the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then deny that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. And so they default to the lies of false religions. That’s why those who reject the rule of God in their lives embrace immorality in their lives, even though they claim to use the Bible as their guide. They default to following their own reasoning, which is simply the foolishness of this world. They are resisting or refusing to listen to God with a repentant heart and a receptive mind.
Remember Jesus said: Luke 6:46-47- “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like… “ NASU And then Jesus went on to tell about building of your life either on the rock of truth or on the sand of falsehoods. So again, remember that the revelation given to us in the Bible is as much intentional as it is informational. Let me say that again: ‘The revelation given to us in the Bible is as much intentional as it is informational.’ Even understanding the Bible is conditioned upon if the information given is being received with the intention of living it out. If it’s not, then wisdom has just been canceled out.
Many religious leaders who have not in repentance and faith become ‘born again’ are really not Scripture teachers; they are Scripture twisters. Since they have not bowed before the authority of the Scriptures they then bend and twist the Scriptures as though they had the authority to teach others what others should believe or do, or can believe and do based upon their own faulty human reasoning instead of divine revelation. But they are just teaching further falsehoods.
Remember, Jesus spoke to this issue as well when He said in Mark 7:6-9- “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.’ Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition. Then He said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.” NLT
And this understanding helps us understand a lot of other things, too. Like, many wonder why even in Christendom that there can be so many different interpretations about the issues of life, especially about the value issues…the moral issues of life. Well, Back to the fact that the Bible is conditional. For one thing, the Apostle Paul revealed to us that unless one has the Spirit of God indwelling him, which occurs through being spiritually ‘born again’, then this person can’t understand the Scriptures, even if they think they do. Now, yes, without being born again people can understand things like; the history in the Scriptures, and the commandments in the Scriptures, and the warnings in the Scriptures, and the Gospel in the Scriptures: their need to repent and trust in the Messiah as Savior. Remember, Paul said that everyone is without excuse for not understanding these realities. But when it comes to understanding things like; the character of God, and the plans of God, and the marvelous ways and workings of God with His children and the glories of the world to come, and such…well, these things are only understood by those who have received the Spirit of God into their lives.
Look at 1 Cor 2:12-16- “And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For,“Who can know the Lord ‘s thoughts?Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” NLT Or, we have the indwelling Spirit of Christ now within us, helping us understand these wonderful spiritual realities.
So again, this revelation explains a lot! For even those in some religious circles or some religious centers, some religious cemeteries…or seminaries…unless these teachers have been ‘born again’ they do not have the Spirit of Christ indwelling them, and therefore what they teach others concerning what they think is wisdom, is actually just more human foolishness. And whatever they teach about the Bible is just more twisting of the Bible; twisting it into further falsehoods about God and further falsehoods about how to have a relationship with God and further falsehoods about this world and further falsehoods about the world to come.
So when it comes to genuine wisdom, wisdom is first calling out for all to become spiritually ‘Born again’. And then wisdom is calling out those who are ‘Born again’ to daily bow to the Lordship of the One who spiritually birthed them. And to the degree that we do this day by day, this will determine how much of our life was lived wisely or lived foolishly. And of course, that will also determine the degree of our inheritance rewards that we will experience in our life without end in the Kingdom of God.