Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Well Rounded Christian

Wisdom:  knowledge, insight, discernment, judgment (good sense)

Eastern Tradition = all of the above plus application of these thing - action/lifestyle

Biblical tradition (wisdom) - according to God's Word, will, design

Therefore;  conclusion = Wisdom should lead to a well rounded believer
Definition - 1)  Prov. 28:25
                  2)  balanced (function in all areas)

Christian Faith involves HEAD  HEART  HANDS
Balanced = functioning in all three areas

HEAD = knowledge, understanding, intellect.
to be a good Christian you must know some things.

HEART = Affections (feelings).  Do you care for, are you fond of, inclined toward, devoted to, desire (have passion)?
To be a good Christian you mus feel, have a heart for some things.

HANDS = Actions, deeds, lifestyle.  To be a good Christian, you mus do (and NOT do) some things.

Christian Faith = not just one of these but = a combo of these - well-rounded

Health is determined, measured by these 3.

I.  HEAD:  Faith requires knowledge - Rom. 10:14  From just scriptures in Romans:
Rom. 2:2, 3:19, 5:2-3, 6:5-6, 8-10, Rom. 7:14, Rom. 8:22, 28, Rom. 6:3, 16, Rom. 11:2  - "we know", or "you know" or don't you know".
These phrases used 140 times in the New Testament - this is knowledge
Heb. 6:1 - ...on to maturity"

What's the Remedy?  2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2:15
Note:  Bible is not the only source of knowledge.  BUT, it is the primary source and final authority "for faith and practice" - ie.  what we do.

II.  HEART:  affections, fondness, devotion.  First and Greatest Commandment?  LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart.......
Contrast:  James 2:15 - is more than just head knowledge.
Love for God includes a love for the things of God - His Word, His people, His church, His mission.

Remedy?  compare to a Blended Family - 1) choose to love  2) act according to that choice, 3) spend time with, 4) verbally affirm
We can learn to love!!!

III.  HANDS = 1) doing, acting, responding, serving
           AND     2) avoiding, denying, tuning away from
James 2:14, 26   ( James 3:13)

REMEDY?  Do what you KNOW to do!!!

1)  You are more likely to tend toward one of these (natural, temperament, giftedness)

2)  Recognize that your way is not the right way, the only way, the Best way.  It is ONE way.  (example:  Spiritual Pathways)

3)  Examine yourself!

4)  Develop what's lacking - "well-rounded")

ADDITIONAL NOTE!!   Example =  the 4-H Pledge

The difference = your health is measured by your head, heart, hands

The parallel =   Example:  "FOR my club, community country (world)."

The "for":  should develop spiritual heath for own good, benefit, however, we ultimately are to do so for others!!  Can't do what are called to do without developing self.

The two greatest commandments = Love the Lord, thy God,.....  and Love your neighbor as yourself!  Where is LOVE YOURSELF???

We are to do it #1 for Christ
                      #2 For His Kingdom (church)
                      #3  for His sheep!  His people!  ie:  others

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Wisdom of God

Paul makes a distinction between Man's wisdom and God's wisdom.

Man's Wisdom = knowledge, insight, discernment, and understanding that is achievable by man's efforts!! (attainable, accessible through natural means)

God's Wisdom = knowledge, insights, etc. which cannot be attained or achieved by man's efforts - nature, intellect, etc.  But, which are only attained, acquired through REVELATION from God to man.

The focus of God's wisdom is primarily directed toward life's most important and most difficult questions/ issues:  origin of life, destiny, purpose, our current standing (state) with God, our future ( and * final) state  (after life), *particularly "our salvation".
These cannot be found out by natural wisdom of man, but must be revealed by God.

Note:  Paul is not knocking wisdom (generally).  Paul is not knocking Man's wisdom - examples:  business, economics, science, medicine, astronomy, anatomy, etc.
Paul is knocking the Notion that man's wisdom is sufficient (in and of itself) to answer life's most important questions. (and greatest mysteries)  There is a limit to our wisdom unless we receive revelation from God.
Example:  Jesus - Matt. 16:26

1 Cor. 1:18-31, 2:1-16, 3:18-20

#1.  There is a distinction between man's wisdom and God's wisdom.  Not that there is anything wrong with man's reasoning, wisdom, but that you think have figured out God and how to get to him on your own.

#2.  God's wisdom focuses primarily on life's biggest (most important) issues.  Especially SALVATION!  ie:  right standing with God.

#3,  Man's wisdom is insufficient to answer these questions:  
The wisdom to address these issues comes through REVELATION!!  in the form of:
     A.  the written Word - which = former revelations accumulated, acquired, written down  (external, objective) as revealed to men and women by God.  2 Tim. 3:14-15   Includes Revelations by Jesus  - John 1:18
     B.  The Holy Spirit - 1 Cor. 2:9-10, 12
Compare:  Matt. 16:17    (Note:  Deut. 29:29 )

#4.  This is foolishness to many - will be called a hater.  But to us?  1 Cor. 1:22-24  - compare to:  Rom. 1:16

#5.  If a man wishes to be truly wise, he must accept this "foolishness" - 1 Cor. 3:18

#6.  We are to accept/embrace this foolishness.  We are also to share this foolishness.  1 Cor. 1:21  (Rom. 10:13-14)

Point = God works through the foolish gospel message.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"The Portrait of a Fool"

Continuing study of Wisdom.
1)  Common definition = knowledge, insight, discernment, good sense, good judgment.
2)  Eastern tradition (from which Scripture comes) adds one who applies these things to practical (everyday) living.  Right thinking AND right acting!! - "skilled at life"
3)  Biblical View = adds to Eastern tradition - one who does this according to God's word, will, revelation.
head => heart => hands according to God's will

IF all Wisdom finds it's source in God, THEN the wise man seeks, follows obeys HIM.

Question:  What's the opposite of "wise man"?  Answer = Fool - Proverbs = Wisdom literature.  Only find two kinds of people - wise and fool.   No middle of the road.

Biblical definition:  A fool is not stupid, ignorant, unlearned.
                             A fool = one who had disdain of God's laws (and disdain for the morals and ethics set forth in God's laws) ie:  the way we are to live and not live.

A fool is not one who doesn't know right and wrong (should and shouldn't do)
A fool is one who knows but chooses to ignore, deny what he knows.

A fool is not one who is intellectually deficient
A fool is one who is morally deficient

Because in Biblical understanding, what's right is also good - beneficial, helpful, conducive to proper living and well being.  The wise man chooses that.
Thus, what's wrong is detrimental to life and well being, and only a fool would choose that.  Is a practical outcome issue.

Have looked at "The Portrait of a Fool" (from Proverbs) in the past.  Today ... a shortened version.

1st. note the difference in being a fool and acting like a fool - example - Solomon in his latter years.  Chose to ignore the wisdom he had been given.
The point of Proverbs is not to show you to be a fool, but to help you SEE and SHUN foolish behavior!

I.  The fool ignores truth, despises correction and hates rebuke.
Prov. 12:1 = without moral character & uninterested in being taught.
the fool is NOT unlearned but = unconcerned!!  Therefore, he despises correction!  Prov. 1:7, 15:5
Contrast the wise man - Prov. 12:15, 13:10, 15:31-32  listens to, considers what others think.

II.  The fool is self-confident, proud and wise in his own eyes  - Prov. 3:7
On one hand, there is a place for pride, self confidence.  However, this is beyond healthy!!!  Rom. 12:3

EXAMPLE:  Study Sheet:

Almost all drivers consider themselves better than the average driver.

70% of High School students described themselves as above average leaders.

(1977)  94% of college professors believe their teaching skills are above average.

Called illusory superiority, or pseudo-exceptionalism - most prevalent in North America (US & Canada)

Studies shown the most incompetent are the most likely to overestimate their skills!!!

Compare:  Ace performers are the most apt to under-rate themselves.  (exception = people depressed, anxiety)
North Americans = Kings and queens of overestimation!!

Why:  (examples:)  got Bachelor's Degree - thought I knew everything
                            got Master's Degree - thought I knew nothing
                            got PHD - not only did I know nothing, realized nobody knew anything!!

 Quote:  "I wish I could buy him for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth!!"
Prov. 28:26, Prov. 26:12 - why no hope?  Because, cannot be corrected.
Therefore, cannot be improved.  Therefore, continues in his error.  Prov. 26:11

Above = 2 primary traits of the fool.  Now, consider one more.

III.  The Fool (practically, everyday living sense) denies God
Psm. 14:1 - not a verbal denial, but a practical denial.

Not that "no God exists", but = "no God involved!!  concerned!!
Therefore, are no boundaries, no judgments, NO WORRIES!!! - Prov. 14:16

IF it is wise to consider man's counsel, how much wiser is it to consider God's counsel???

We have 1) the external, objective counsel - HIS WORD
AND 2) the internal, subjective counsel - HOLY SPIRIT
The wise person pays attention to both.

Closing:  Prov. 4:5-9
We as Americans should give serious, serious consideration to these words.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Some Lessons and Insights from the Life of Solomon

Prov. 1:1-7
Wisdom has a very prominent place in Scripture!  Is highly extolled.   Could reasonably say "if any one thing we should seek/pursue in life ... that one thing would be wisdom!!"

Questions:  What about God?  Salvation?  Holiness?  etc.
Answer:   true wisdom will take you there!  to all of these!!

Last time, looked at three definitions of Wisdom:

#1.  Common definition - knowledge, insight, discernment, good sense, good judgment

#2.  Eastern Tradition (where the Bible was written) - ADDS - one who applies these things to practical affairs, everyday living.
Wisdom is more than head knowledge = right thinking AND right Actions  (acting)
So ---- one who is skilled at gleaning the most and best from life has this kind of wisdom.

#3.  Biblical view - goes 1 step further.  Includes knowledge of God, Fear of God, Trust in God, and, therefore, living according to God's will, design, intent.
Because:  Wisdom originates with God - Who is the beginning of everything.
                Wisdom emanates from God.

Therefore:  we won't have true wisdom (full wisdom) apart from
   A.  the Recognition of Him
   B.  a Relationship with Him

Hence:  Prov. 9:10 - reverential fear of the Lord

Having said that, we find ourselves in a quandary concerning King Solomon!!
1 Kings 3:4-15 - followed by stories of his wisdom --> wealth --> fame

BUT  1 Kings 10:23-24, 1 Kings 11:1-11 - end of his reign

Question:  How Could he?  Why would he?

So - today - Some Lessons and Insights from the Life of Solomon

#1.  God is pleased with a heart that seeks wisdom. - example:  Solomon in many scriptures,  but many scriptures use "heart of wisdom"
Psm. 37:30-31, 51:6, 90:12
Point = it's more than seeking.  It = attitude, motivation behind seeking!!  Must check out the motive for seeking wisdom.

#2.  God grants wisdom to the true seeker (personally) - James 1:5.  This may not be equal wisdom, but will be sufficient wisdom, ie.  sufficient to the task, calling, day - 2 Cor. 12:9

#3.  Wisdom must also be chosen (selected, accepted, received, embraced)
Illustration:  ask God for Wisdom in a matter, He answers, grants insight,  BUT = opposite of what you wanted to hear, do!!!
Solomon had free will just like we do.
Options:  1)  act according to the wisdom received
               2)  refuse to see it, accept it, admit it - Rom. 1:21-22
               3)  see, admit, and still not respond to it.  example:  Solomon.  Solomon was NOT a fool, but he
acted foolishly.  Are not necessarily a fool because act foolishly.  We all have these options before us.


Wisdom is not always the easiest road (or the preferred road, the most comfortable road, most convenient road.  May be a difficult road.

Wisdom is not always the most immediately satisfying road.  Where does it say if we follow God's wisdom, will be happy, satisfied, content immediately.

BUT, Wisdom is always the best road, the most beneficial road. 

Having said that, note:
The practice of Biblical wisdom necessitates FAITH!!  Heb. 11:1  believing what we can't see and don't feel!!

For the Christian, wisdom includes  1)  Faith in God  AND   2)  Faith in Christ  - 1 Cor. 1:30  The ladder, staircase to God = Christ.