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332:  The Deeper Things of God

332: The Deeper Things of God

You know, there’s more to our life in Christ than most of us realize.  And that’s because most of us are satisfied and content with far less than what God has planned for us.  Consider one of the primary purposes of acquiring wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (why) to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles – Proverbs 1:5-6.

The climax, the zenith of wisdom is to be able to understand an “enigma” (or, a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand, also a riddle, a symbol or parable, a discourse requiring an interpretation) and the words of the wise and their “riddles” (or, difficult questions, perplexing sayings, statements with double meanings, or dark or obscure utterances).  It is the ability to comprehend the deep, dark sayings of the Lord. The hidden truths, the obscure meanings of His Words.

Yes, that is our inheritance in Him via His wisdom.  So how are you doing in the wisdom arena?  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study of Proverbs 1:5-6.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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I’m No Longer a Slave to Fear

I’m No Longer a Slave to Fear

This is one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen in a long time.  For some reason, it moves me everytime I watch it.  And I hope it will do the same for you.

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Enjoy and be blessed.

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Four Verbs, Part One

Four Verbs, Part One

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
Proverbs 1:2-4

As we dig deeper into the Proverbs we quickly come across a few arresting verbs: know, perceive, receive, and give.  And, of course, we see the corresponding nouns associated with each of these verbs. In Proverbs 1:2-4 we find:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity
To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Notice, if you will, the natural progression of action.  To know, then to perceive something, then to choose to personally receive and embrace what we now know and perceive, and finally to share, to give what we have now received to someone else.

But what does it mean to perceive something or someone, maybe a new truth or a deeper understanding of a known truth?  And how does someone then receive that true or understanding to themselves that they have just perceived?  What does that process look like?  And how does that exchange actually happen?  And finally, ultimately, to whom do we give what we have received? And what specifically do we give them?

The answer is found in the nouns connected with our actions, our verbs.

But let’s begin by looking at the four verbs.


To Know

From our previous studies we determined that to “know” (yada) means we are “to know something in a completed sense, to know everything and to know fully, to learn to know; it means to know by intimate experience or expression; to choose, to approve, to love, to embrace, to desire, to place one’s favor upon.”  It’s a deeply personal kind of knowledge forged by one’s choice, affection, conviction and experience.  And Proverbs 1:2 says we are to “know” (yada) in an intimate, personal way, both “wisdom and instruction”— wisdom being more than the raw accumulation of facts but the ability to properly apply those facts and convictions, reinforced by our choices and experiences, in order to determine what is the right and God-honoring course of action.  And instruction is defined as “correction, discipline, and chastening, as a loving father disciplines his own son.”

In essence, God has provided for us in His Son both the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:30) and the steady hand of correction and discipline to make sure we know (yada) God’s Word and how to apply what we know (yada) in our everyday choices that will either bring Him glory or disrepute.  Therefore, if you find yourself convicted and troubled by the words you read, rejoice!— for that’s God’s very intention.  After all, the Lord only chastises those He loves as a father disciplines his own son.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; (why) for whom the LORD loves He corrects, (to what extent) just as a father the son in whom he delights (Prov. 3:11-12).


To Perceive

Next, we are to “the words of understanding” (Prov. 1:2).  To perceive (biyn) is “to discern, to observe, to have insight into, to consider diligently.”  It involves more than mere head knowledge.  To perceive is to have a truth suddenly become alive and real to you.  It’s like our blinders are removed or the fog clears and we can see God’s Word, the “words of understanding” clearly, and then exclaim, “Geez, it was right before my eyes all the time and I just didn’t see it.  How could I have been so blind?”

And what do we now see with 20/20 vision?  The “words of understanding” or literally the “words of comprehension, discernment, righteous actions with a strong moral and religious connotation.”  In other words, we now see clearly the holiness of God.  We comprehend our sinfulness and God’s perfection and His wonderful gift of grace.  By virtue of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we now have discernment to be able to choose what is “true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy” (Phil. 4:8) and not follow our lusts or waste our lives living for the things that won’t last.  And we can now clearly choose to ” walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

What a blessing it is to be able to perceive the things of God and then have the freedom and ability to choose to follow Him, no matter what.


To Receive

But knowing, even to the point of having an “a-ha” moment when you perceive, deep down, something overwhelming and potentially life-changing, is not enough.  You have to then choose to receive, or “to take in, to lay hold of, to seize, to get or fetch, to acquire by any means possible” what you now comprehend in a deeper fashion.  Just knowing truth won’t cut it, you have to voluntarily choose to move from where you are to where the truth takes you.  You have to open up yourself, make yourself vulnerable, humble yourself, and receive the “instruction (or, discipline, correction, chastening) of wisdom” (Prov. 1:3).

It’s like salvation.  Just knowing facts about Jesus won’t bring you into eternal fellowship with Him.  You must receive Him into your life on His terms, which are all or nothing.  You must die, you must be crucified with Him, and He must live within you and through you (Gal. 2:20).  You must follow His path, the narrow gate, and not the wide road of your own choosing (Matt. 7:13-14).  He must be Lord, and not just your personal Savior that you can call on whenever you need Him to get you out of a jam (Rom. 10:9).  He is not your co-pilot, He is God Almighty, Creator of all, and Sovereign in all things.

If just knowing were enough Satan would spend eternity in heaven.  After all, he knows as fact what we believe on faith.  He knows Jesus died and was raised from the dead.  He was there, he saw, and trembled.  But Satan refuses to do the one thing that comes with receiving Jesus on His terms, and that is to bow his knee in submission to Christ and declare Him as Lord (Phil. 2:9-11).  And this is all part of receiving Christ on His terms.

But what do we receive when we receive the “instruction of wisdom”?  Solomon begins to expand our understanding of all that comes with God’s wisdom by using the terms, “justice, judgment, and equity.”

Justice is defined as “righteousness, or what is right, just or normal” with God.  It means having a “right relation to an ethical or legal standard, to be right or straight.”  In essence, it’s understanding the commands and laws of God and then choosing to align our life, both internal and external, to be in obedience to the Word of God.  It’s the desire, and the ability to now choose to serve Christ and not our flesh or the god of this fallen world.  And this ability to live according to our new nature found in Christ is just another gift given us by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17).

Remember the words of Jesus: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).  Great question.  Because now, through the Holy Spirit we have the ability, the freedom, and the power to choose to obey Christ.  We can live, as the Proverbs promise, a life of justice, being in a “right relation” to the commands and person of Christ.  All we have to do is choose what is right, choose the straight and narrow path.  And it’s just that simple.

Hard?  You bet.  But simple, nonetheless.

Next, we choose to receive in our lives the instruction, correction, and discipline of judgment.  This word denotes the “act of deciding a legal case in a court or in litigation before judges.”  It deals with the “ability to make a correct judgment on human actions.”

Whoa.  Hold on right there.  One of the sincerely held convictions of our fallen, politically correct culture is to not judge.  You don’t judge me and I won’t judge you.  It’s the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” mantra”  In fact, these words of Jesus, taken totally out of context, are proclaimed as absolute truth by those who reject the rest of His words as truth: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).

So how can a Believer receive the “instruction of judgment” and still find favor in the eyes of the world?  You can’t.  Get used to it and resolve yourself to a life of turmoil and tribulation and persecution if you choose to live in the center of His will.  In fact, embrace the trials you’ll face.  Why?  Because Jesus promised great blessings to those who suffer persecution for His name sake.  Remember?  “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:12).

Plus, we’re promised “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).  There’s no way around it.  It’s a given.  Done deal.  The only way to escape persecution is to not desire to live Godly in Christ, which produces it’s own set of horrific consequences.  Trust me, you don’t want to go down that path.

So with wisdom comes the ability to see what is right and wrong, good and evil, true and false.  The “instruction of judgment” means being able to discern genuineness from hypocrisy, good fruit from bad fruit, true prophets from false prophets, in others as well as within ourselves (Matt. 7:15-20).  And, as you would imagine, this aspect of wisdom can bring with it the unintended consequences of being called judgmental, unloving, a hater, bigoted, narrow-minded, and much more.  Hence, the warning from Jesus about suffering persecution for His name’s sake.

Finally, we receive in wisdom, in Christ, the “instruction of equity.” But what does equity mean?  Equity is defined as “evenness, fairness, uprightness, straightness, smoothness, and points to what is just, correct, right and fair in speech or actions” (Isa. 33:15).  It’s dealing with others as you would have them deal with you (Luke 6:21).  It’s being fair, honest, noble, and upright in everything. In a word, it’s the overflow of a life found “in Christ”.


To Give

But what about the fourth verb?  What about the command to give?

That’s a rather complex subject dealing with what we’re to give and to whom?  And that’s a topic we’ll look at next time in Four Verbs, Part Two.

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Getting Serious

1.  Where are you in the process of obtaining wisdom?
2.  Have you passed from simply knowing (yada) to now perceiving something deeper in the Word of God?
3.  Has God begun to speak to you in a personal, profound way through His Word and the Holy Spirit?  Have you ever had a rhema, a word from Him meant only for you?  And if so, when was that?  And what did He say?
4.  Do you remember when you received Jesus as Lord?  What was that like?  And what has your life with Him been like since that momentous day?
5.  On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate God’s wisdom in your life right now and in your decision making process? What was it yesterday? Are you growing in the wisdom of God? Is He more real to you today than in the past? And, if not, why not?


Next Step Challenge

Since receiving the wisdom of God is tied to receiving Christ Jesus as Lord and the Holy Spirit coming as the guarantee of your future inheritance in Him (Eph. 1:3-4), write down your salvation experience.  Include the time when you knew regeneration took place and your life was now hid in Him (Col. 3:3).  Include also your spiritual journey since salvation.

What have you learned from your walk with Him about wisdom?  Have you personally experienced the process outlined in Proverbs 1:1-4 about knowing, perceiving, and receiving?  What was that like?  What was the actual context in which God revealed to you His wisdom?  What was the outcome of that encounter?

And if you haven’t experienced any of this with the Lord, why?  Is the problem with Him?  Does He show favoritism or partiality and is withholding something from you that He’s freely giving to others?

Or is the problem you?  And, if so, that’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?

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How to Become a “Wise Guy”

How to Become a “Wise Guy”

To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding.
Proverbs 1:2

In Proverbs 1:2 we’ve discovered one of the great goals of the book of Proverbs is to allow us to know, in an intimate and experiential sense, both wisdom and instruction.  We’ve already looked at what the word know means in this passage in yesterday’s post.  But what about wisdom?  And instruction?

Wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, or the quality of being wise.  It’s the ability to discern or judge what is right, true, and lasting.”  Wisdom is not the mere accumulation of facts about someone or something, it’s the ability to properly apply those facts in a given situation to determine the right and God-honoring outcome.  Wisdom is manifested when a person can see the circumstances they face and match them with truth they know, God’s Word, and then plot a course of action based on the truth and not on the urgency of the situation.

Instruction, surprisingly, is not primarily defined as teaching or exhortation, as we would expect.  Instruction (muwcar) is defined as discipline, chastening, and correction, with the imagery of a father disciplining his son.  So the book of Proverbs is designed to help us know (yada) by doing, to learn by experience, in an intimate, personal way, the ability to discern what is right, true, and lasting versus choosing the cheap trinkets and toys our culture offers.  And we are to learn the wisdom of God by discipline, correction and chastening.  After all, the Lord disciplines the ones He loves (Heb. 12:6).


How to Get Wisdom

And that’s a question we all ask, isn’t it?  How do we get wisdom?  There are several verses that speak to this desire.  The most well-known is found in James:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

As we can see, wisdom is given to anyone who asks, just as long as they ask in faith.  For if they doubt when they ask, they shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Why?  Because they are “double-minded” and “unstable” in all their ways.

So let me get this straight.  All we have to do is ask for wisdom, for God’s wisdom— like something He possesses within Himself, as a part of Himself— and He will lavishly give His wisdom to us, to anyone for that matter, just as long as we ask in faith, without doubting.  And why would God do that?  Is it because He has a great desire for us to be wise?  Or, maybe He wants His church and His children to be known as the wisest in all the land and show the world what it looks like to belong to Him?  Or again, maybe He doesn’t relish the idea of His children struggling to make sense of the fallen world He placed us in?

But that can’t be true.  Why?  Because the Lord tells us a few verses earlier to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” that we obviously didn’t have the wisdom to see or avoid in the first place (James 1:2).  Plus, the word fall implies stepping into a hole we either didn’t know to look out for or we weren’t wise enough to step over.

Talk about not having wisdom.  Also, if it’s really just that easy, then what’s the point of the book of Proverbs?  If all we have to do is pray and the wisdom update is automatically downloaded, why would we need the instruction manual?  Can we really become Yoda by just asking?


Wisdom is Found in Just One Man

But if we keep looking for the true meaning of wisdom in His Word, we will soon find ourselves walking through the pages of 1 Corinthians and find:

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).

Now, what does this mean?  Exactly what it says.  Jesus, by His own doing, has literally become for us the “wisdom from God.”  So when we see Jesus we see, in perfect clarity, all the “wisdom from God.”  If we want to know (yada) the “wisdom from God” all we need to do is know (yada) the Son of God.  Since Jesus has “become for us wisdom for God” we need only to look and learn from Him to have that wondrous wisdom.  Don’t you see?  If we want more wisdom, we must seek and ask for more of Jesus.

The answer for our lack of wisdom is more Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus.

So when James speaks of asking God for wisdom and knowing God gives “liberally and without reproach” to all who ask, He just may be speaking of the wisdom found in Jesus.  Or, he may just be speaking about Jesus Himself.

Consider this:

If any of you lacks wisdom (what Jesus literally became for us), let him ask God (for more of Jesus, for the revelation of Jesus, to receive Jesus) who gives (Jesus) to all (“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden” – Matt. 11:28) liberally and without reproach (there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus – Rom. 8:1), and it will be given to him (to make us complete in Christ – Col. 2:10).

After all, Jesus has become for us “wisdom from God — and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).  Jesus is all in all.


To Know Wisdom is to Know Jesus

When Proverbs 1 states the main purpose of the book is for us to know (yada) wisdom, we’re also talking about knowing Jesus and the life in Christ and how to live in Him in a practical, hands-on, everyday sense.  Proverbs gives us instruction on Godly living, and examples on how to put into practice the wisdom found in Christ.  After all, He’s our perfect example, tested and tempted in every way we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Just think, when we want to know how to respond to someone who verbally attacks our loved ones, what do we do?  We look to Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), and see how He responded in the same situation.  We see His perfect example and, like true disciples, follow Him.  He becomes for us the “wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1:30).  When our rights are violated and we scream for justice or vengeance, what should we do?  We look to Jesus to see how He responded in the same situation.  And we do what He did.  We learn from Him.  We learn His wisdom by learning more about Him, walking with Him, and choosing to live like Him.

This is what it means to know (yada) wisdom and instruction.  It means to know (yada) Jesus (wisdom) and to be disciplined (instruction), or disciples of His.  And the answer to our lack of wisdom is, as always, our lack of Jesus.

And the reason for the Proverbs?  Simply this, to give us hands on examples of how Jesus would handle a situation that wasn’t recorded in the Bible.  For example, how would Jesus handle sexual temptation?  Or was He even tempted in that way?

But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how the Proverbs complete the life of Christ not recorded for us in the Gospels.

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Getting Serious

1. What does it mean for you, in a practical sense, to see Jesus as the wisdom from God (Col. 1:30)?
2. Do you have the wisdom of God? How would you know?
3. Since instruction in our passage primarily means discipline, how disciplined are you in your walk with Christ? Do you have daily time with Him? When? Where? And how long?
4. Can you remember an example of God giving you His wisdom at just the right time? What was that experience like? How often does it happen?
5. On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate God’s wisdom in your life and in your decision making process? What was it three months ago? One year ago? Are you growing in His wisdom or are you stagnated?


Next Step Challenge

Take a Bible Concordance or an online source like www.blueletterbible.com and do a search of the word wisdom in both the Old and the New Testament. Write down at least 20 passages that speak to you personally. Do you see any difference between the description of wisdom in the Old versus the New Testament? And, if so, what are those differences?

Why did you choose the 20 passages that you did? What has the Lord shown you through your word search and those 20 passages?

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320:  How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

320: How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

In his book, The Baptism With the Holy Spirit, RA Torrey reveals a Scriptural path of seven simple steps anyone can follow to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  All seven steps are found or implied from Acts 2:38.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The steps include:

  1. You must be saved.  Truly saved.
  2. You must renounce all sin.
  3. You must be baptised.
  4. You must live a life of obedience.
  5. You must have a desire, a thirst for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  6. You must ask.
  7. You must ask in faith and believe.

Do you want to know more about the abundant spiritual life and the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit?  If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

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Podcast 306:  Does God Really Keep People From Believing in Him?

Podcast 306: Does God Really Keep People From Believing in Him?

When Jesus begins to close His public ministry He makes a statement that, if not understood correctly, casts the Father in the light of a cruel taskmaster, a petty ruler, or a cold, cynical, calculating Nazi.  But when this same statement of Jesus is understood properly, in context, it shows the breathtaking love and grace of the Father in a way that will astound each of us.

We find the controversial statement in John 12:39-40:

Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

“He (God) has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, (why) lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I (God) should heal them.”

Does this really mean what it says?  Does God really harden people’s heart so they can’t believe in Him?  Yes.  And no.  But you’ll have to keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study on John 12:37-50.

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