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Wisdom's Warning

Choosing Wisdom  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God sees and knows everything and therefore can and will judge perfectly. I will fear God and keep His commandments.

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Wisdom’s Warning

GWFL

Welcome

Text

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 KJV 1900
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
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Introduction

Solomon Calls for the Dividing of a Child

Now Is the Time to Serve God

Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom. And it involves the theme of judgment. And judgment is an inconvenient topic.
There’s a lot of times that we look at our world as being inconvenient, but truly, we’re living in a time of convenience that’s BEYOND that of the wildest cotton-picking dreams of the generations before us.
You can order your whole Thanksgiving meal - and it’s a pretty good meal, too.
I will NOT fight Black Friday crowds because I am NOT an idiot - the same deals are online.
You can get an online order at your doorstep within a few days.
Hit a traffic jam and aren’t going to be able to get home at a decent hour to make dinner? Get out an app, order ahead… pick it up on the way!
But here’s the deal… we’ve got a problem. With all of these modern conveniences we’ve got going on, we’re having trouble making time for the things that we really need to be doing.
We’ve got devices that provide us access to all the world. You can be connected to all kind of things! And we’ll get so connected to everything, that we’re cut off from family and friends and purpose.
But I’ve worked up a considerable amount of righteous indignation toward what these phones are doing to us. Not just the world, but Apostolics, as well. The thing is, it’s hard to be effective in the spiritual world when your mind is unendingly attached to the social media world.
It’s like this: you simply want to check in on your cousin’s Thanksgiving get-together. A video of their family is there, so you watch it. But then, you can scroll, and you see a video of a cat that someone scares and it does a backflip, next video pops up and it’s a video about the fight going on in Congress (which angers you), next video is a graphic video of a fight on the street with tons of heavy language, and the next is a video of some dogs who are being rescued locally.
Hear me: OUR BRAINS WERE NOT DESIGNED TO PROCESS THIS BOOMERANG OF INFORMATION.
We eventually set our phone down and we’re mentally exhausted. Forget about prayer. That’s out of the question. Our minds can’t as much as think peacefully, not to mention talk to God.
Here’s what I’m calling for: DISCONNECT. It’s not all that different from fasting. And DEVELOP SOME RESISTANCE IN YOU. Resisting connection with the world will open up greater connection to God!
Recommendation: Curiosity Vs. Conviction by Zach Hammond
PAUSE
In this comfortable, user-friendly world, we often think in our minds: “I just don’t have a lot of time for God.” And we’ll even look for a more convenient season to serve Him.
We would make time to seek the face of God, but many of us here feel extremely busy. Despite all those comforts.
We would turn to God, but something else has caught our attention. Well - at least for the next thirty seconds or so. Then it’s on to something else.
In the midst of all of the convenience, I need somebody to realize that NOW IS THE TIME TO SERVE GOD.
PAUSE
Somebody here, what I’m talking about is heavily resonating with your spirit. And you’ve had trouble praying. And you’ve been thinking something’s wrong with you. It’s not. It’s just you’ve got a heavy weight of things and scheduled items on you and it’s time to be released from that.
Lift your hands.
BUSY IS NOT BETTER.

Time Will Eventually Rob Us of Both Opportunity and Strength

I’ll say it again: The time to serve God is now. I’m talking about devotion. Really serving God. It’s a lifestyle.
Someday, age will have pulled us from opportunities and strength that we once had. In Ecclesiastes, the Preacher said:
Ecclesiastes 12:1 NKJV
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:
When we are young, we have to remember our Creator then, because the aging process radically changes our lives later on.
Ecclesiastes 12 is really interesting. It gives us some metaphors to help us understand how our eyes, ears, legs will deteriorate with age. I don’t believe I would recommend sending verses from this chapter in an attempt to encourage someone who is ill or infirm.
But as you read through it, you can see age causes us to stoop over, lose our teeth, and have our vision to fade. It talks about death being nigh.
…and I don’t see anyone running aisles about all that.
But the Preacher, here, was not just trying to warn us about getting old. CONTEXT. He wanted us not to forget God when we are still young. Think about this…
An older person might struggle to hear the sermon, while a young person with perfect hearing will ignore t.
An older person might have a difficult time reading the Word because their eyes are starting to have trouble. And the teenager may just choose to not read it at all.
This chapter (Ecclesiastes 12) also helps us think about eternal things… like returning to our Creator at death. It pushes us to look past the here and now and to prepare for the hereafter.

I Will Serve God Now

But that sort of hard reality about aging and life is needed. We need to understand that IT’S BETTER TO SERVE GOD NOW.
And not just make that decision out of fear. We should serve God willingly and faithfully instead of thinking of salvation as a fire insurance policy that will deliver us from the flames of Hell. I mean, that’s part of it. But fearing and remembering Him is far more important than being afraid of dying.
And having that fear of the Lord will help us to keep His commandments. Respect the Lord and His ways, and you’ll prosper.
So there’s a good balance to have: a healthy appreciation that there is an end to this life, plus a strong faith in the Lord who has gone to prepare a place for us.
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God Will Righteously Judge Every Work

So… what comes with this end-of-life view, is something that is a reality that is coming… and that’s Judgment Day. It’s when the Lord will review our lives.
And this reality should help us to have fear of the Lord and to prepare for the future.
There is that line that has become so popular… so popular that people have gotten it tattooed on their arms and stickered on the back of their trucks. For the person who is knowingly doing wrong, they will say it: “Only god can judge me.”
And they are correct. And that should make them very afraid. But they are only thinking in this moment. They don’t have an eternal mentality that what they are saying is 1000% correct.
We need an eternal mindset. I don’t just pray and read my Bible so that I can get this little nugget that’s encouraging in my situation or get this revelation. I’m thankful for all of that. But I’m talking to Him and reading His Word because I love Him and I want to get to know Him, because I’m going to rule and reign with Him one day!

Every Secret Will Be Revealed and Every Word Judged

But this Judgment thing is very real. And it seems very scary to us because all our unrepented secrets are going to be revealed. Every word spoken being evaluated.
There’s a lot of people who greatly desire privacy that are going to find out that they won’t be hiding anything from the judgment of God.
Jesus gave the warning about secrets being revealed:
Luke 8:17 KJV 1900
17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
And He elaborated a bit more in Luke 12:3
Luke 12:3 KJV 1900
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
No one will escape their words. Don’t get all too uptight about what that person comments. If they don’t turn, it’ll be judged accordingly.
Do you know that even NASA and other science organizations know that words last forever? Because they’ll often pick up decades-old radio or TV broadcasts from space. So here’s a thought: even the wide universe can’t keep words from returning home to roost.
We’ve got to measure our words before they get measured on the Lord’s scales.
Now, every one of us have spoken words we regret. Scripture says God will judge us for every wrong word we have spoken. Those idle words follow us to Judgment.
Matthew 12:36 NKJV
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
But really, that’s just the beginning of the problems. The other issue is the fact that we don’t always examine our words like we should.
Proverbs 16:2 NKJV
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Those words might seem right in our eyes at the moment, but God is our Judge. And His scales are perfect.

I Will Align My Words, Actions, and Motives to God’s Word

So, given the seriousness of this Judgment Day business, we have to make a commitment to align our words, actions, and motives with God’s Word.
I like that word, align. That’s what I’m trying to do - align!
I’ve got to whip my mouth into shape! My actions! My thoughts! My motives! And if I’ll speak the Word of God and live by it, it’ll help me live a better life.
The Word will cause you to weigh your actions. When we’re tempted to do something wrong, the Spirit brings a verse of Scripture to our mind to send us in the right way.
And God never meant to stop us from doing anything at all - He just wants our actions to be in sync with His Word and wisdom.
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Our Highest Priority Is To Fear God and Keep His Commandments

And this all even involves aligning our priorities. You can find yourself going the wrong way just because of your priorities, you know?
You can do a little self-examination and find out that we’re putting the pursuit of wealth, job satisfaction, pleasure… above the Lord.
Take, for instance, a wealthy man who likes to fish on Sundays in his sweet new boat. but then you’ve got a poor man who will deliberately miss services fishing on the bank with a beat-up rod and reel. Both are failing to please God, with priorities out of line.
We have to prioritize His commandments. You know, there are some who will go even further… quoting verses from the Bible, and blatantly disobeying the Word of God they say they obey.
But Good has not called me to give lip service to His commandments. Obedience is required.
It’s like this:
When Blake and I were younger, we had a knack for getting into trouble. I remember once we drew all over our bedroom wall. I had seen those mouse holes in the cartoons (you know, the one’s at the bottom of walls - ya’ll have seen Tom and Jerry). And I thought, you know, I’ve not seen any of those in our house, and… I’d like to have one. I’m really not sure if it was me or him who actually did it. Mother was none too happy about that little beauty.
But, just imagine (for a hypothetical), that when she walked in, we were still drawing on the wall. And she says, “Stop drawing on the wall. We don’t do that in this house.” And I kept on drawing… and even turned to Blake while I kept drawing, and said, “Hey brother! She says, ‘Stop drawing on the wall.’ And ‘We don’t do that in this house.’”
I would’ve had to have gotten skin graphs for my hind quarters.
I wonder what God thinks when we do Him the same way?
“Well, only God can judge me!”
Yeah, and should you continue in sin that grace should abound? God forbid!
Listen, I am thankful for every time I have gotten to hear the Word of God. And you and I have been privileged to hear it presented first class and under the unction of the Spirit around here… but if I’ve heard it, I have not done enough!
Even if I receive the Word with gladness, more is required!
Obedience is required.
“Well how do I do that???” Obedience is practical application of the Word of God. That’s why it is SO IMPORTANT that we have a response when the Word goes forth. It’s necessary.
I need to be thinking, “How do I need to change or apply this to my life?”

Our Greatest Obligation in Life is to God

I’m going to keep that posture of obedience, because my greatest obligation in life is to God.
If we’re going to talk about priorities, we should have no greater commitment or obligation in life than to love God and keep His commandments.
It’s not always sin that gets in our way, sometimes we let life itself prevent us from doing the right thing. Normal, everyday life. Yes, we’ve got to work to provide for our families (Scripture declares that obligation in 2 Thessalonians 3:10.). But we can’t allow making a living to prevent us from living for God.
There was a man one time who testified of the great new job that God had given him at the car plant. The pay and the benefits were good for them, but the hours were long and hard. And this man soon found himself missing multiple services and lots of family events. He went to his pastor, seeking advice. But rather than telling the man exactly how he should proceed, the man of God looked him in the eyes and said, “You know what you need to do.”
Knowing in his heart that the pastor had read the situation perfectly, the man resigned the job and started his own business. And the pay was less, but the rewards of time spent with God and family more than made up the difference. If you asked him today if he would go back to his old job, he would quickly tell you that it’s not even in the realm of possibility.
And some might wonder if and why would the Lord give him the high-paying job in the first place… but the man knows the reason. The Lord wanted him to more fully appreciate his walk with God and his relationship with his wife and children.
No job is worth the loss of our relationship with God or our loved ones.

I Will Fear God and Keep His Commandments

And so what needs to fall into the very top of our priorities is fearing God and keeping His commandments.
The reverence and awe wee feel for the Lord can’t be shorted by the conveniences of life or the busyness we keep. God shouldn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle. If we fear God, we will make time for Him, and we will keep His commandments.
That fear of the Lord should go beyond just having respect for God. We should be motivated to foster a love for Him in our hearts. We started out walking with Him and felt a strong connection to Him when we first received the Spirit, but we have to recognize that every relationship requires consistent nurturing.

Conclusion

Internalizing the Message

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