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Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 3

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 6, 2008

Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 3

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 6, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Super Easy Quiz: 1) Speed limit 50—okay to go 47? 2) Turkey season Oct 1-Dec 2—violation to hunt on Nov 2? 3) Write 8-page paper on 1 US President—permission to write about William Henry Harrison? 4) Highway lanes marked—illegal to change lanes? 5) License at 16—okay at 19? 6) Parents say home at 10:30—in trouble if show up at 10:03?

B.    Nature of good, clear law—includes freedom within limitations! True of God’s laws also.

C.    Two weeks ago: Way of Wisdom: 1) Thoroughly obey God-breathed Scriptures; 2) Wisely use God-given freedom (today); 3) Humbly submit to God-directed plans—trust Him.

D.    Last week: Component 1: if the Bible is clear, just do it. We need to appreciate what the Bible is (revealed moral will of God); consume what it teaches, live what it commands.

II.     Body—Step/component #2: Wisely use God-given freedom

A.    Embrace freedom!

1.     If God’s law is silent, we have freedom.

a)     Freedom is natural part of God’s (good) law—the quiz! Good law includes freedom within healthy limits (free the fish! Sex in marriage!); No moral law=no moral sin; moral freedom to decide—should lead to release us from tension of “perfect will” /accusations from enemy: “You’re missing God’s best…choosing what you want”

b)     Examples (follow along or just make note of references)

(1)  Gen 2:16-17 God’s goodness demonstrated with freedom of choice: “any tree…freely”; single restriction and consequences, but freedom to choose

(2)  Law of Moses: among “clean” animals, Hebrews could freely choose Lev 11:2; Nazarite vow Num 6—strictly voluntary; “Freewill offering” (Lev 22)—voluntary displays of love—read Dt 23:21-23

(3)  NT: Mk 7:18-29; Peter—Ac 11:5-9; Paul (agreement): Meat 1 Cor 10:25-28—liberty! Paul did not say peace/impressions, but “if you wish to go, eat anything” opposed to idol worship, but eating meat at friend’s house is far different than eating meat in pagan temple; hard to know if sacrificed

(4)  Circumcision. Ac 15:1-5—must “Gentiles…them” be circumcised to be good Christians? 6-11 Peter: “believe…faith…grace” No to circumcision—the issue! 12-        29 James agrees—does not require law-keeping for salvation, but not lawless—reaffirms moral law of God (do not participate in idol worship; fornication; eat strangled/blood (pre-dates Law of Moses, still binding))—for salvation? No! vs.21—for witness to Jews! Apostles clear: Law was a “yoke” (10) and circumcision not necessary for salvation; Paul brought this message to Gentiles: 1 Cor 7:18-19—circumcision not necessary, freedom to do so or not

(5)  Giving 2 Cor 9:7—as he has purposed; emphasis on attitude, not act; percentage/amount is a personal decision; David agreed 1 Chron 29:17

(6)  Marriage 1 Cor 7—God-given freedom whether/whom to marry

(7)  1 Cor 6:12—“All things are lawful…” within the moral will of God

2.     If God’s law is silent, don’t add to it. (Quickly)

a)     Many say things like: “NT doesn’t tell us we can use instruments in worship, so it’s wrong to do so.”

b)     1) impossible standard—does not tell us we can use hymnals, electric lighting or microphones either; 2) unless specifically condemned by moral law of God, we have freedom; since instruments are encouraged in OT and in heaven (acc. to Rev.) we have freedom to use instruments—not sin!

B.    Exercise Wisdom!

1.     Freedom is not a license to be foolish. 1 Cor 6:12—entire verse: “All things are lawful for me (within moral will of God—Paul not lawless; rest of ch6), but not all things are profitable. All things lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”

2.     Freedom is an opportunity to exercise wisdom. Choose what is best—expedient.

a)     Not illegal to go 50, but if brake lights/stalled car—slowing down is wise

b)     Not illegal to shoot turkeys, but if crowded or need time with family, wise not to

c)     OK to pick W.H. Harrison, but died less than a month in, may not be wise/too hard

d)     OK to change lanes, but wise to check mirrors, signal; not if car coming fast or icy

e)     OK to get license at 16, but might be wise for some to take time and extra lessons

f)      Not in trouble if home early, but wise to make sure someone’s there to let you in

3.     a. What is wisdom? The ability to see and choose what is best—best goals, best ways of attaining those goals; choosing what will most glorify God and build up people; many will never have wisdom because their focus is on themselves, their own petty goals and dreams rather than the lofty goals God desires us to have

4.     Few examples of wisdom:

a)     The Twelve: Ac 6:2-4 “it is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables” (not “thus saith the Lord”)

b)     Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem: Ac 15:28-29 “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden” cf.v.22; “Holy Spirit” did reveal directly what was “good” to Peter in 10-11; and by signs when Gentiles believed (15:7-11,12,15-18) but the specific decision here in Acts 15 required discussion, debate and application of Scripture to determine what “seemed good”; described as “my judgment” (v.19; no “God spoke to my heart” language)

c)     1 Thes 3:1-2 “we thought it best to be left behind at Athens” (not “God said”)

d)     Phil 2:25-26 “I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus”

e)     1 Cor 16:3-4 “if it is fitting for me to go (to Jerusalem)” (not “if I have peace”)

5.     Again, freedom is not license to be foolish—it comes with responsibility: all these examples show the need to do what is “desirable, good, best, necessary and fitting” Read Eph 5:15-17—wisdom = understanding the (moral/revealed) will of God and not being “foolish…making the most of your time”; recognizing that the moral will of God (Bible) guides not just action, but goals, attitudes as well—so if no direct command or principle, we should embrace/enjoy our freedom, make a wise choice (what “seems desirable, good, best, necessary and fitting”).

6.     b. How do we get wisdom?

a)     Humble attitude: recognizing that only God is wise and anyone who refuses to acknowledge Him and His wisdom is a self-deceived fool (Rm 1:21f); Bible tells us God grants wisdom to those who fear God, humble, teachable, upright and faithful;

b)     Hungry approach (2 weeks ago; don’t write this time): Pro 8:17 “diligently seek” it; never promised direct revelations or impressions; told to 1) ask for it—Solomon; Col 1:9-10 (“filled with knowledge of will…so you may ‘walk’…”); 2) Explore Scripture—Ps 119:97-100 “wiser than enemies…than aged”; 3) Do outside research—Lu 14:28-32 (tower/war), practical wisdom for decision-making; 4) Consult wise counselors—Proverbs 11:14 and 13:20; 5) Learn from life—Heb 5:14 “because of practice…senses trained to discern”

III.   Closing:

A.    Solomon described Wisdom as a woman crying out to us to love her: Close w/ Pro 8:1-21

B.    The way of wisdom: 1) If Bible is clear, just do it; 2) If Bible is silent, Embrace freedom and Exercise wisdom! Next time: Worship service; 20th, the important third component to way of wisdom—let’s pray (help us be humble and satisfy our hunger for wisdom)

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