Wisdom Vindicated by her deeds!
Introduction: There is a story of two men, who, walking together, found a young tree laden with fruit. They both gathered, and satisfied themselves for the present; but one of them took all the remaining fruit and carried it away with him; the other took the tree, and planted it in his own ground, where it prospered and brought forth fruit every year; so that though the former had more at present, yet this had some when he had none.
They who hear the Word, and have large memories and nothing else, may carry away most of the Word at present; yet he that can perhaps but remember little, who carries away the tree, plants the Word in his heart, and obeys it in his life, shall have fruit when the other has none.
The word planted in the heart - It is all about the right kind of wisdom.
Matthew 11:15-19 (NRSV) 15 Let anyone with ears listen! 16 "But to what will I compare this generation It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon';
19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
When looking at His own generation, Jesus asked: "Whereunto [to what] shall I liken this generation?" And the most adequate illustration He could come up with was that of children.
Jesus was saying that His own generation was a childish generation. By childish He meant perverse. His generation was a perverse generation. They turned away from that which was right and good to that which was corruptible.
They acted contrary to the evidence. They were opposed to that which was right, reasonable, and acceptable; and they were obstinate in their opposition. They were just wrong-headed, mindless, and contrary. They did not want the truth, so they made excuses for not receiving the truth.
Jesus had a message for such a childish and perverse generation. As it was then it is now the message is a message for every generation.
Verse 16 - It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 17 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!
Point 1: The illustration is clearly understood.
Children are playing in the market place. A few begin to play wedding music on their pipes and cry out to others, "Let's march and play 'wedding'." The others shout back, "No. We don't want to dance around today."
So the first group, still wanting to play, begins to play funeral music and shout back, "Well, let's play 'funeral'."
"No. We don't want to play funeral either. We don't feel like acting sad."
The generation is contrary, mindless, playful. They are fault-finders who cannot be pleased. They find fault with whatever is suggested. They just cannot accept and be pleased with anything that puts restrictions upon the way that they play.
They find fault with a separatist approach to the gospel, and they also find fault with a sociable approach to the gospel.
They accused John of separation.
John came neither eating nor drinking. He was a separatist. He was from the desert and lived a strict, bare life, being highly disciplined. He did not associate with people or make friends. He just isolated himself and cut himself off from everyone. He withdrew from society. His message was a gospel of repentance and separation from the things of the world. Therefore, he was accused of having a devil, that is, of being mad and insane for choosing to live that way.
In keeping with the prophecies. . . . .Jesus came into the picture. . . .he hung out with some people. . . . they did not like that approach either. . . . .and they accused Jesus of worldliness.
Jesus was the very opposite of John. Jesus lived and preached a gospel of liberty. He ate and associated with the people and shared in their social affairs. He moved among all sorts of people, mixing and making Himself accessible to all no matter how terrible they were thought to be.
Because he hung around with sinful people, He was accused of being a sinner Himself: The talked about Jesus…called him . . . .a glutton, a winebibber, and an immoral friend of the lowest of the low. (It must be remembered that when Jesus moved about in the social areas of society it was for the purpose of witnessing to them, not to be a part of the worldly fellowship.)
Matthew 11:15-19 (NRSV) 15 Let anyone with ears listen! 16 "But to what will I compare this generation?
The childish generation justifies its inconsistencies. John lived and preached a gospel of repentance and separation. Jesus lived and preached a gospel of liberty.
The people were like children: they found fault with both and accepted neither.
Point 2: When you read these passages of scripture- you will see that Jesus speaks on two approaches to righteousness: the separatist approach of John, and the sociable approach of Jesus. The majority of people reject both approaches. They are as children at play, fault-finders who cannot be pleased.
We still have all kinds of children that Jesus is trying to get a message to. . . . .
a) Some are playful. They are having a good time and do not want to be interrupted and bothered. To those at play the Gospel and the Gospel Message are an intrusion. They want to go on doing their own thing.
b) Some children continue to play on mindless and thoughtless. They do not think about the reason and logic behind God's glorious plan in the Messiah. They refuse to face the reality of truth: the evil, sin, and depravity of the world and the existence of a personal God and the desperate need for Him to save the world.
We still have all kinds of children that Jesus is trying to get a message to. . . . .
c) Some are contrary. Their minds are made up. They are not going to listen to any other view. They have their own thoughts about the world and morality, and they are comfortable living as they wish. Therefore, they stubbornly reject any other view, no matter how much life changing, eternity affecting wisdom the other view presented.
Think on John. . . .Think on Jesus. . . .God clearly used both approaches to righteousness. Jesus did not condemn John's approach, and John did not condemn Jesus' approach. They supported each other.
Separate and Social - What a lesson for believers!
There is no room for a judgmental spirit.
Men have different temperaments and need to be approached by different methods!
Point 3: Matthew 11:15-19 (NRSV) 15 Let anyone with ears listen! 16 "But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 17 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
Jesus condemned the attitude of his generation. No matter what he said or did, they took the opposite view. They were cynical and skeptical because he challenged their comfortable, secure, and self-centered lives.
Too often we justify our inconsistencies because listening to God may require us to change the way we live.
My Bible tells me - Verse 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
Point 4: Though that generation was not happy with anything, the wisdom of the approach of both John and Jesus would be proved right by the results, namely, that many people would be brought into the kingdom.
God’s wisdom is wiser than human prejudice and is justified (vindicated) by the very actions which this generation despised.
There is such a thing as true and false wisdom. . . . .. Even if you defend your religion, if you do not have within you some John and some Jesus, then you are false in your profession and you lie against the truth.
Point 5: False wisdom fools you into thinking that you know. . . .
Characteristics of False Wisdom: 1. Bitter envying (James 3:14,16). 2. Strife in the heart (James 3:14,16) 3. Glory in profession (James 3:14) 4. Earthly, having this life only in view (James 3:15) 5. Sensual, living only to satisfy the animal appetites (James 3:15) 6. Devilish, inspired by demons (James 3:15) 7. Confusion (James 3:16) 8. Every evil work (James 3:16)
False wisdom fools you into thinking that you know. . . . Real wisdom teaches!
Real Wisdom Is the Fear of God
Conclusion: One of God's desires for mankind is that people learn and develop practical wisdom, so that they might live intelligently and honestly. In this way their lives will be useful, bringing pleasure to God and benefits to themselves and others (Prov 1:2-7; 2:7-11; Eph 5:15-16).
Real Wisdom is Practical and God-centered
The wisdom that the Bible encourages is concerned with the practical affairs of everyday living rather than with philosophical theories. People live in a real world and have to deal with real people (Deut 1:13-15; 34:9; 1 Kings 3:9; Acts 6:3; 7:10). The basis of that wisdom, however, is not human cleverness but obedient reverence for God. God is the source of true wisdom and he gives it to those who seek it (Prov 1:7; 2:6; 9:10; Dan 2:20; Rom 16:27; 1 Cor 1:30; James 1:5-8).
This godly wisdom is available to all who are prepared to leave the ignorance of their self-centered ways and accept it from God (Prov 1:20-23; 8:1-6; 9:1-6). Godly wisdom, will enable belivers to overcome the temptations of life (Prov 6:23-27). But if we refuse it, we will inevitably bring upon ourselves disappointment, shame and unfulfillment (Prov 1:20,24-26; 5:11-13; 7:1-23; Eccles 10:1-3).
verse 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
The wisdom of God in salvation was expressed in Jesus Christ, both in his life and in his death (Matt 12:42; 13:54; 1 Cor 1:23-24,30; Col 2:3). Again the wisdom was concerned not with philosophical notions but with practical action.
Jesus died for sinful people so that they might be saved.
To those who refuse to believe, salvation through Jesus' death on the cross seems foolish. Actually, they are the ones who are foolish, for they reject what God in his wisdom has done, and try by their own misguided wisdom to save themselves (1 Cor 1:18-25). People may think they are wise, but they must humble themselves and trust in God's wisdom if they are to be saved (1 Cor 3:18-20).
Once people have repented and believed, they must make every effort to learn more of God. Then they will begin to grow in true wisdom. This wisdom is not the proud and worldly type that prevents people from trusting in God, but is a new wisdom based on the character of God who gives it (1 Cor 2:6-7; Eph 5:15; Col 1:28).
Only as believers increase in the knowledge of God and his Word can their wisdom develop and be of use to God, to themselves and to others (Ps 90:12; Dan 12:3; Eph 1:9,17-19; Col 1:9-10; 3:16).
Wisdom begins when we ask God to be our supply.
Wisdom is thinking and living as God designed us to live. Solomon asked for wisdom, not wealth, but God gave him riches and long life as well. While God does not promise riches to those who follow him, he gives us what we need if we put his kingdom, his interests, and his principles first (Matthew 6:31-33).
Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge to everyday life. Wisdom is both the ability to discern what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge.
We become wise by studying and applying God's Word. God's Word makes us wise—wiser than our enemies and wiser than any so called teachers who ignore it.
True wisdom goes beyond simply gathering knowledge; it is applying knowledge in a life-changing way. Intelligent or experienced people are not necessarily wise.
Wisdom comes from applying God's Word to our life.
The wisdom God offers in his Word is practical wisdom and it must be applied to life.
To walk safely in the woods at night, we need a light so we don't trip over tree roots or fall into holes.
In this life, we daily walk through a dark forest of evil. But if we are wise, the Bible can be our light to show us the way ahead so we won't stumble as we walk. It reveals the entangling roots the trip up so many of us, the Bible in its wisdom reveals the roots of false values and false philosophies.
Study the Bible, so you will be able to see your way clearly enough to stay on the right path.
Trust in God—he will make you truly wise.
In this age of information, knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce.
Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. The foundation of knowledge is to fear the Lord—to honor and respect God, to live in awe of his power, and to obey his Word.
Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes, and your actions.
Let Us Pray.