Sermon:† Make the Most of Wisdom
Summary:† True wisdom can† never be gained solely through observation, experience, and age, which amounts to the wisdom of the world.† It is gained through the revelation of God by the Spirit to spiritual people, who are able to appraise all things by the Spirit.
Text:† 1 Cor 2
Scripture Reading:† James 3:13-18
1. The beginning of wisdom is?
a. (Prov 4:7) The beginning of wisdom is, acquire wisdom
b. No!† You don't say?!
c. This is reminder - Wisdom doesn't automatically come with age or experience
i. Some of most unwise and immature are the oldest
ii. Wisdom not happen naturally
iii. Have to be acquired
2. [Instruction manual] Do you know what this is?
a. How many have bypassed this, only to make it harder for yourself?
b. Q: Where do instructions come from?† - Designer, engineers
c. Q: Do you think they know more than you about this?
3. Q: Who is the designer?
a. Prov 8:22 - Wisdom says she is the designer, engineer, architect
i. Before the mountains, sky, sea, sun, etc. she was there
ii. Rain comes down and growth - she designed that!
iii. Gravity, electricity, rotation of earth, seasons - she did that
b. Then she says - "Heed my instruction and be wise"
i. She has given instructions - - including design limitations
ii. ILL: My 67 mustang had only 6 cyl - hype it up with sugar?
iii. ILL: Step rise is 7 inches for staircase.† How about 100 ft?
iv. When you honor design limitations, things go better, you live
c. Wisdoms teaches there is a moral, relational design as well
i. She give instructions about the design
ii. Wisdom - Knowing and honoring that design!
4. What does all of this have to do with 1 Cor 2?
a. 1 Corinthians is all about - - - church problems!
b. Before diving into them, first 4 chapter are all about WISDOM
i. (1:17-18) cleverness/wisdom of speech vs. word of the cross
1. Wisdom of the world vs. foolishness of God
2. Power of the world vs. weakness of God
ii. (1:20) Where is the wise man, scribe, debater, Ö Harvard professor, scientist, Oprah
1. Consider your calling . . . not many of these
2. God chosen the foolish, the weak, the nobodies
3. Wisdom of God is foolishness to the world
c. ILL: Celsus, 2nd century Philospher - Christians are most unprofitable members of society, a miserable bunch of weaklings, - women, children, and slaves, stupid
i. However - these weaklings display the power/wisdom of God
ii. However, these weaklings turned the world upside down
d. (3:18-20) This is theme connected to rest of the book
i. If you think you "wise," need to become foolish to be wise
ii. Problem with Corinthian church - They using worldly wisdom
5. Message for us - Like the Corinthian church, we need to make the most of God's wisdom.† How?
I. (v.1-5) Rest your faith on foolishness of God rather than wisdom of men
A. "Foolishness" is a matter of perspective
1. For a long time, Christianity was not seen as foolish in our culture
2. That is no longer the case
3. Foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men
B. Look at how Paul describes the wisdom of God in his life:
1. Nothing but Jesus and him crucified
a. 1:23 - To the Greeks - foolishness - a scandal
i "Cross" an offensive word, not in polite company
ii A deity on a cross???
iii ILL: Ancient Graffiti - 'Alexamenos worships his God'
b. How can a man/God on a cross be the answer?
2. ILL: Visit to Muslim center in Kansas City, ridiculed Gospel
3. Paul did not try to dress it up, tweek it, etc.
a. Nothing among you but Jesus Christ crucified
b. Not in persuasive words of wisdom - like Oprah
4. He came in weakness and foolishness of God
a. Foolishness of God wiser than men
b. Weakness of God is power
C. ILL:† There have always been those who ridicule the Christian message
1. I was going to give some examples, but that is not necessary
2. You hear it in social media, magazines, literature, movies, news
3. Don't need to dwell on it
D. Q: Do you know why Christ crucified is the wisdom of God?
1. He is the only true solution to our problems
2. We exceeded the design limitation through sin
a. We put sugar in the gas tank and gunked it all up
b. Things are not right in the world
3. The only solution - complete overhaul, a rebuild
a. Jesus cleans out the gunk
b. Jesus remakes us - become a new person
c. How?† He began with the cross
4. No wonder the cross has become the wisdom of God . . .
II. (v.6-13) Recognize wisdom is revealed to us by God
A. Without God, full wisdom inaccessible - regardless of age or experience
1. Rom 1 - Describes pursuit of wisdom without God
2. Professing to be wise, they became fools
B. Where does wisdom come from?
1. (v.10) For to us God revealed them through the Spirit
a. Focus in on the word - "revealed"
b. Wisdom is revealed to us by God
c. Can't get it unless God tells you, and you listen
2. Psalmist wrote about this - Psalm 119
a. V.97 - How I love your Torah, it is my meditation
b. V.98 - Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies
c. V.99 - I have more insight than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation
d. V.100 - I understand more than the aged, because I have observed your precepts
e. V.104 - From your precepts I get understanding
3. Wisdom comes from God's word
a. Psalmist sometimes calls it Torah, testimonies, ordinances, precepts, etc.
b. No one word captures every aspect of God's word
C. ILL: Instruction manual falls short of being a complete illustration
1. Bible has instructions, but it is so much more
2. Tried to think of other illustrations
a. Like a book on the theory of electronics - can understand
b. But it is more - Maybe theory & philosophy of electronics?
c. But more - Maybe theory, philosophy, & creator of electric
D. Nothing is quite like the Bible - in a class all its own
1. 1 Pet 2:2 - Like a newborn baby, long for pure milk of the word so that you can grow
a. Not just growth in academic knowledge
b. Personal, emotional, spiritual growth
c. Maturity, character
2. To grow in wisdom - need an appetite for God's word, like baby
III. (v.14-16) Recognize God's wisdom is only accessible to the spiritual
A. If you are not spiritual, then God's wisdom will be nonsense
1. Whether for the guru, sage, professor, scientist, journalist, or the Oprah groupie
2. The unspiritual/natural man rejects it
B. Q: What does "spiritual" mean?
1. People throw that word around - "I am spiritual, not religious"
2. Bible describes to us what it means
a. Rom 8:7 - If not have the Spirit, you are in the flesh and are not capable of pleasing God
b. Rom 8:13 - By the Spirit, put to death deeds of the flesh
c. 2 Thess 2:13 - Sanctified by the Spirit - devoted to God
d. 1 Cor 12 - By the Spirit, baptized into one body, church
e. Gal 5:22 - If spiritual, then will display fruit of Spirit
f. Eph 4:30 - Do not grieve the Spirit - by disobedience
3. To be spiritual is to think & walk in harmony with God
4. When walk in faithfulness to God, then you are spiritual and God's wisdom is accessible
C. ILL:† Reminds me of when I twisted my ankle
1. Pain, could not function, crutches, electric wheelchair in stor
2. Had to wear a boot, immobile
3. Wisdom is like that useless leg for the unspiritual man
4. Prov 26:7 - Like the legs which are useless to the lame, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools
D. God's wisdom is not accessible to anyone
1. It is accessible only to those who walk in harmony with God
2. Q: Am I in the word? Faithful? walking according to the Spirit?
IV. Q: Am I applying God's wisdom, or worldly wisdom?
A. Remember - Root of the problem of Corinthians
1. They needed to become fools to be wise
2. They were not operating from God's wisdom
3. 3:1 - They were not "spiritual" and were immature
B. Go over the chapters - Compare God's wisdom to worldly wisdom:
1. Chap 5 - Acceptance and tolerance
a. Worldly wisdom - Tolerance and acceptance if not harm
b. Godly wisdom - deliver to Satan to save their soul, prevent leaven growing
2. Chap 6 - Disputes among brethren
a. Worldly wisdom - Sue, go to court
b. Godly wisdom - Elder as arbiter, turn the other cheek
c. ILL:† Steve Saint did not shoot his gun at Waodani
3. Chap 7 - Marriage and Divorce
a. Worldly wisdom - You need to be fulfilled, Not pleased, get divorced
b. Godly wisdom
i Your body belongs to your spouse
ii Donít get divorced - if separate-single or reconcile
c. ILL: Michelle & Ben - separate for many years, no divorce
4. Chap 8-9 - On freedom and rights
a. Worldly wisdom - You have your rights, insist on them
b. Godly wisdom - Give up rights to avoid brother stumbling, For unbeliever, become all things to all men
5. Chap 10 - On participation
a. Godly wisdom - Don't participate in idolatry, flee
6. Chap 11 - Men are men, women are women
7. Chap 12 - Everyone important in the body, more honor to lacking
8. Chap 13 - Greatest is love, properly defines
9. Chap 14 - There is no competition in the body, focus on edifying others, not puffing self up
a. ILL:† Medal system for LTC - Not compete against others
b. God not judge us based on others, but a standard
c. Same with LTC
d. It is a ministry of encouragement
10. Chap 15 - First importance is the Gospel
a. All rule authority power abolished
b. Includes the wisdom of the world - God will destroy it
c. We look forward to next life
C. ILL:† Can think of other examples and stories:
1. Love enemies, pray for persecutors
a. Family reunion - Met Minnie - Struggling with relationships
i Wanted to talk - had been abused growing up
ii We talked about forgiveness - my cousin objected
iii Could never forgive something like that
b. Valerie and siblings, abusive father
i Mother in hospital, he showed up!
ii Asked - Bible says forgive, or God not forgive.† How?
a) Start by praying for him, and saying it
b) Eventually courage to see him nursing home
c) Started to spend more and more time
iii He died a year later
iv Went to funeral, someone else preached it
a) Siblings seething if nice things were said
b) Valerie, on the other hand, wrote a poem - About all the years the lost because of ugliness, and how they were able to find beauty again
2. ILL:† Principle about putting God before wealth - Justin Wells
a. Preached a sermon, made him miserable
i Good paying Job at Vermont Yankee, armed guard
ii Hours not at home or at church, what to do?
iii Decided to start by praying
b. Two weeks later - Got together again - Job offer
i Working construction for father's company
ii Same pay, but no benefits
iii Balked - But is this God's answer?
iv Pray some more
c. Put in notice at Vermont Yankee, went to new job
d. A year later - Best decision ever made
i Good for his relationship with God and family
ii Not as much money, but had enough
e. When do things God's way - things usually work better
3. ILL:† Principle of Turning the Other Cheek - Nate Saint
a. Did not shoot the Waodani, even though had gun
b. Told Steve - They not ready to meet God, I am, can't shoot
c. Result - Huge number of the tribe converted
D. You may be able to think of other examples of God's wisdom applied
1. But you get the point
2. Ask - Is this God's wisdom, according to his word, or worldly wisdom?
a. How you respond to your wife, husband, kids, parents
b. How you deal with co-workers, neighbors
c. How you deal with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
1. Make the most of wisdom - For us, it begins with Christ crucified (inv)
2. There is more than one kind of wisdom in the world - from above & below
3. Scripture Reading reminded of this (James 3:13-18)