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Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 3b

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 20, 2008

Discovering God’s Will: Practicing Wisdom, Part 3

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   July 20, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Solomon 20-year-old kid; his giant-killer, legendary, man-after-God’s-heart father David now dead; kingdom went through turmoil over who would be on throne; smoke cleared and Solomon was king; big decisions to make; what next? 1 Ki 3:5-9; later—Pro 8:11

B.    Is wisdom really that valuable? Does our culture value it? Do you?

C.    Last time (2 wks ago)—Step/component #2: Wisely use God-given freedom:

1.     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?

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

3.     The way of wisdom: 1) If Bible (law) is clear, just do it; 2) If Bible is silent, Embrace freedom and Exercise wisdom!

4.     A. Embrace freedom!

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

b)     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”

c)     Examples: Gen 2:16-17 “any tree…freely”; Law of Moses (Nazarite vow voluntary, Freewill offering, etc); NT: Jesus declared all foods clean; Peter (Ac 11:5-9) & Paul (1 Cor 10:25-28, etc.) agreed; Circumcision, Giving, Marriage—freedom! 1 Cor 6:12—“All things are lawful…” within the moral will of God

d)     2. If God’s law is silent, don’t add to it. Freedom, not law (legalism!)!!

5.     B. Exercise Wisdom!

a)     1. Freedom is not a license to be foolish. 1 Cor 6:12—entire verse: “All things are lawful for me (within moral will—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.”

b)     2. Freedom is an opportunity to exercise wisdom. Choose what is best—expedient: Not illegal to go 50, but if brake lights/stalled car—slowing down is wise; Not illegal to shoot turkeys on 11/2, but if crowded or need time with family, wise not to; OK to pick W.H. Harrison, but died less than a month in, may not be wise/too hard; OK to change lanes, but wise to check mirrors, signal; not if car coming fast or icy; OK to get license at 16, but might be wise for some to take time and extra lessons; Not in trouble if home early, but wise to see if someone home

II.     Body (pick it up here) Remember: 2nd component—wisely use God-given freedom

A.    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 (Jn 17:1-4; 1 Cor 10:31) and build up people (Eph 4:16); many will never have wisdom because their focus is on themselves or worldly pursuits, their own goals/dreams/comfort/power/prestige rather than the lofty goals God desires us to have (Eph 5:1-2"22-33; Mt 6:33; Solomon asked for the sake of the kingdom).

B.    Few NT examples of Apostles using wisdom in decision-making:

1.     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”)

2.     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)

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

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

5.     1 Cor 16:3-4 “if it is fitting for me to go (to Jerusalem)” (not “if I have peace”)

C.    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”). Not ignoring God’s sovereignty—next week (if Lord wills)!

D.    b. How do we get wisdom?

1.     Humble attitude:

a)     recognizing that only God is wise—Is 40:28; Rm 16:14

b)     anyone who refuses to acknowledge Him/His wisdom is a fool (Rm 1:21f);

c)     Bible tells us God grants wisdom to those who fear God, humble (Pr 11:2; 15:33), teachable (Pr 9:9; 15:31; 19:20), upright and faithful (Jms 1:5-8);

2.     Hungry approach (few weeks ago; review): Pro 8:17 “diligently seek” it; never promised direct revelations or impressions; told to…

a)     Ask for it—Solomon; Col 1:9-10 (Paul prayed “filled with knowledge of will”);

b)     Explore Scripture—Ps 119:97-100 “wiser than enemies…than aged”;

c)     Do research—Lu 14:28-32 (tower/war), practical wisdom for decision-making;

d)     Consult wise counselors—Proverbs 11:14 and 13:20;

e)     Learn from life—Heb 5:14 “because of practice…senses trained to discern”

III.   Closing:

A.    1 Ki 3:10-15; 4:29-34—Solomon’s foolishness is another story/another day; but as a young, new king he demonstrated the importance and value of wisdom—as well as the fact that God desires to give us His wisdom for life.

B.    Next time: the important third component to this way of wisdom

C.    Let’s pray (help us be humble and satisfy our hunger for wisdom)

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