Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Introduction to Wisdom

Prov. 1:1-7 - wisdom of God handed down to Solomon
Prov. 2:1-6, 9-11 - use diligence in looking for wisdom
Prov. 3:13-18, 4:5-9 - A small sample of what scripture says concerning wisdom!

Is reasonable to say "if any one thing you should seek, pursue in this life.... it's WISDOM! - according to Scripture.

Question:  What about salvation?  holiness?  knowledge?  God?
Answer:  in discovering Wisdom, you discover all of these!!


I.  Common Definition - (ex = Webster)
   1)  knowledge
   2)  ability to discern, have insight
   3)  good sense, good judgment - or any combination of these

II.  Eastern Tradition ADDS a person of knowledge, insight, and judgment - WHO APPLIED these things to practical affairs, everyday living.
Wisdom is more than head knowledge.  It = Right Thinking AND Right Actions

ie:  a person who utilizes knowledge, experience, insight, understanding
WISE MAN = a man skilled at life.
In Eastern Tradition, could glean the most good from life with the least hassle
Could make life work FOR him, not against him.

Example, Illustration:  on one hand, paddling with the current, not against it, yet not going with the current, but using the current to take him where he wanted to go!!!!

III.  Biblical Understanding  (adds a bit more)
Includes:  A) Knowledge of God and God's Will
               B)  fear, reverential awe of God - Prov. 1:7
               C)  A personal trust in God  - FAITH
               D)  the belief that all wisdom originates with God and comes from God.

To be wise in the Biblical sense = to be skilled at living in light of God's revelation and will.  ie:  to Master the Art of Living AS God intends.  Example:  a black belt in life - James 3:13

Note:  the Practical Value of Wisdom (as listed in Scripture)

In Wisdom you'll find:  knowledge, understanding, direction, purpose, insight, goodness, justice, moral rightness, social rightness, personal development, growth, maturity, confidence, inner peace, satisfaction, contentment, wholeness - prosperity of the soul.

A good name (reputation), favor with man, and favor with God

Also, in Wisdom, find GOD - so find eternal life eternal purpose, eternal rewards, eternal relationships.  Prov. 8:32-25, 8:19

Sounds good!! How to Acquire this wisdom???

Acquiring that Wisdom (list only 5 today).
#1.  Recognize Wisdom's Practical Value
Point is not become a SAGE with witty, impressive words!  It = maximize life!
2 ways to do this:  a)  Enjoyment of life (self)
                             b)  Impact  (others) - Make an Eternal difference

#2.  Seek Wisdom.  which is  more than receiving it as it come along.  "SEEK" implies A) intentionality.  Intentionality means B)  effort and C)  continuity - lifelong seeking.
Question:  how much serious seeking do you do???

#3.  Choose Wisdom - because you can find wisdom and still choose not to accept (use) it.  Example:  Solomon's latter years.
Problem of feelings!  "Know what should do, but don't want to!!!!"  Deut. 30:19 - not a one-time decision.  Must choose over and over again.

#4.  Seek God  Job. 28:20-28 - all wisdom comes ultimately from God.

#5.  Embrace Christ - because in Him we find:
                A)  God Incarnate - John 1:14
therefore:  B)  God Manifest - John 1:18 - God revealed, God made clear
In summary:  John 10:10

How it works ... (1) a circle - seek wisdom, leads to God, leads to Christ, leads to wisdom

                          (2)  more than a circle ... a spiral - (spiral up!)   wisdom leads to God, leads to Christ, leads to more wisdom, leads to more knowledge of God, leads to more knowledge of Christ, etc.

There is NO reason for God's people who have served Him for years to not have acquired a great deal of wisdom!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What Should I Do If My Neighbor is a Jerk?

2 weeks ago = "The Christian obligation to your neighbor"
Scripture list = long and clear!!!  - do not defraud neighbor, judge your neighbor's family, do not hate your neighbor in your heart.
So..... Wisdom literature - Prob. 14:21 - not just in your proximity but anyone God brings in to your path.
           Jesus - Matt. 22:37-40 - Good Samaritan
           Apostles - Rom. 15:2

Sermon followed by "Yeah...But!!!:  and "What if..???"   OR
"what if my neighbor is a jerk?!" - and this means not just the person next door or in own community

Answer  1)  these words/rules/laws are numerous & primary.  (therefore, should not be easily dismissed, over-ruled) - Must start here - with the foundation - must love neighbor as self.

BUT  2)  they are not the only rules governing your relationship with your neighbor!!!

Matt. 5:40, 42  (give) yet ..... 5,000 - John 6:26 no refills - not feeding today.
Matt. 5:41  (extra mile, bear with)  yet - Matt. 10:14 - dust (divisive man, pearls before swine) - Jesus never let people walk on Him.  He was in control ALWAYS!!
Matt. 5:39  (turn other cheek) - yet  Rev. 19:11 - Jesus was not a pacifist

Contradictions???  or differing situations???

So.......... What should I do if my neighbor is a Jerk?

#1.  Understand Agape (love) = God's love - almost exclusively used in the New Testament
This does not mean a warm fuzzy feeling, but = to value and to Act accordingly.  Ex. 23:4-5
Not about emotions and feelings.  Example: Good Samaritan.  Neighbor is made in God's image, Christ died for him.   As per John 3:16
THEN - stick with the simple, clear, basics!!

#2.  Strive for peace. (which is more than prefer, desire, hope for) - As long as neighbor is willing to leave in peace, leave it alone!!!   Heb. 12:14,  -  Rom. 12:18 = You are Christian.  Act like it!!
Add:  A)  Avoid trouble when possible and B)  Control YOUR tongue!!!
James 1:19-20 - Most times when we're angry, doesn't bring about righteous behavior.
Matt. 5:9 - Peacemaker 

#3.  Practice humility - Humility says A)  You are NOT the most important
                                                        B)  You are NOT always right.  ie:  in conclusion and in action!  Sometimes You're the Jerk!!!!
Phil. 2: 3-4

#4. Pray for your neighbor  (can't get around this one!!) - Matt. 5:43-48 - Could change the situation, Neighbor, YOU!!!

#5.  Do Not retaliate - Rom. 12:17-21, 1 Pet. 3:9 - answering insult with insult - no room for this in Christian life.

Then what??  If none of this fixes?  solves?  satisfies?

Turn to...........
1)  Sanctified Common Sense
Which = A.  Use your head (not your heart!!) - When are mad, not thinking, but feeling.
              B.  In light of Scripture!!! - Matt. 10:16 - be shrewd but innocent

2)  Broader Scriptural Principles
Example:  sanctity of human life  vs. neighbor with wild gun or sex offender.  Look at greater principles that are scriptural.

3)  Civil Authorities - example:  Paul - appeal to his Roman citizenship - Acts 22 and Acts 25
He called out his civil rights.

4)  The LORD Jesus 
? is He on the Throne?
 If you look in the Scripture, but don't like the answer, then -- Are you willing to do as He directs?
THIS is the bottom line!!
There is no where else to go!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Christian Obligation to the State

Touchstone verse:  Luke 12:48 (much given = much required)
Past weeks = "Christian obligation" to spouse, family, neighbor

Today:  The Christian Obligation to the State
Rom. 13:1-7     1 Pet. 2:13-17 - the writers of these epistles were not naive as to what was coming in the way of regulations, persecutions, oppression, etc.  They lived in hard times.
We have been blessed here in the USA - BIG time - freedoms, monetary blessings, etc.

In that Scriptural view - the Christian obligation that comes with the blessings  (to the state) includes:

I.  Submit - yourselves to authorities.
Augustine (4th century) - "government is a necessary evil";  "government is necessary because of evil"

ie:  Government is necessary to 1) combat evil, and,  2)  to enforce good.
Therefore government was instituted by God FOR good!  Rom. 13:2  He knows man's need.

On one hand, the state is NOT Lord, therefore there IS a point of necessary Civil Disobedience.  (is a point where might have to say, will disobey the state in order to obey the Lord)
However, the weight of scripture stresses CIVIL OBEDIENCE!!  There are always, "yeah buts.." but most will not bear up under scripture.

Why??  1) fear of punishment - Rom. 13:4
             2)  for conscience' sake - Rom. 13:5 - IF Jesus is LORD, AND He says "obey", then we should OBEY!!  Com. Eph. 5:21  (out of "reverence") (because I've asked you to)

             3)  for the sake of Christian witness - 1 Pet. 2:13, 15
God's will = A) we be model citizens
                   B) that we advertise His grace by our behavior, our response to the state.
                  C)  for the sake of the Kingdom!!!

Therefore I - "Submit"

II.  Do What is Right.  Rom. 13:3  1 Pet. 2:14
*for the Christian, this is more than what's legal  (prescribed by law).  As Christians, we are to go beyond obedience.
Example:  Matt. 17:24-27 with Matt. 5:41 - so not to offend

For the Christian = 1)obey   2) go beyond obey  3) disobey only when absolutely necessary!!! 
State:  "do not injure your neighbor"
Christ:  "love your neighbor"           Matt. 5:43-48

III.  Pay your dues - Rom. 13:6-7
Compare  Matt. 22:17, 19-21 with Rom. 13:8 - go beyond the basic requirements

IV.  Pray for those in authority over you.  - whether they are in your political camp or not.
1 Tim. 2:1-3, 4
(question:  what if Christians prayed as much as complained???)

V.  Seek the good of the nation - compare Jer. 28:1, 4-7
Example:  Daniel served in a pagan land as an exile for 50+ years.

USA = democracy - therefore we have the privilege of "standing against".  Let's give equal time to "standing for" something as well.

Phil. 3:17-21 - focus = vs. 20 - our citizenship is in heaven!!  The increases our obligation to the state!!

We must decide if we will obey self or obey Scripture.
Now, vs. 20 with Phil. 4:1