Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.
WITH TRUE WISDOM COMES EVERLASTING LIFE!
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
1 APRIL 1990
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (Isaiah 11:2)
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
This is what happens when a person has truly committed themselves to the Lord.
But this doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit ignore other; to the contrary, He keeps whispering to their soul and spirit, as in the following example of a person who has tried to ignore God.
Why do You keep calling to me?
Why do You keep disturbing me?
Can't You see that I'm doing my own thing?
I'm not hurting anyone. Why do You keep disturbing me?
Is there no place where I can get away from You?
When I turn to leave, You only seem to call out louder.
Will You never cease calling to me?
No matter where I go, You always seem to be there.
Is there no escape from You in this lifetime?
Why do You pursue me so?
... You want me to listen to something?
Does it mean that You'll stop bugging me and sending other people to bug me?
... It's up to me?
... Okay! I'll listen for a little while, but if You keep bugging me, I'll leave.
What do You want me to listen to?
... Proverbs 8?
... Well, okay.
1. Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?
2. On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3. Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:
4. "To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
That's what I've just been telling You.
There's no place to get away from You or the people you have sent after me.
You're not telling me anything new.
5. "O naive ones, discern prudence;
And, O fools, discern wisdom.
Here You go again, trying to attract my attention by insulting me for not listening to You.
What's the matter with my own wisdom?
... It's not really wisdom?
... For You're the source of all wisdom?
I don't understand.
... That's what You've been trying to tell me?
6. "Listen, for I shall speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will produce right things.
7. "For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8. "All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
9. "They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
Why do You keep bugging me, just because I don't agree with You all the time?
I'm successful in what I do.
Doesn't that show that I also know what I'm doing?
10. "Take my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choicest gold.
11. "For wisdom is better than jewels;
And all desirable things can not compare with her.
The world isn't like that.
You have to be tough to succeed.
Don't You know that?
Where do You live, anyway; in some paradise?
12. "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.
Here You go again, ganging up on me!
I've got enough problems in this world.
Can't You see all the things I have to put up with every day?
I have to protect myself.
If I don't do something to the other guy before he does something to me, I'll have nothing and the other guy will have everything.
That's the way it is here.
There's evil everywhere; and if you want to succeed, you have to work within the system.
13. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way,
And the perverted mouth, I hate.
It's good for You to talk; You don't even live here.
How am I going to find another way to deal with these situations?
14. "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.
15. "By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16. "By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.
17. "I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.
18. "Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.
19. "My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield than choicest silver.
20. "I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21. To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.
Do You mean that if I first seek You and wisdom, that I will have more than I have now?
... Not necessarily!
... But I will be happy and content with what I have.
... And I will not be so troubled about the rat-race that's going on around me.
I'll give it a try...
Tell me about yourself.
Where do You come from?
How can I be sure that You have all the answers?
22. "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23."From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
24. "When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.
25. "Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;
26. While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.
27. "When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
28. When he made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,
29. When He set for the sea its boundary,
So that the water should not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
30. Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31. Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.
You haven't sounded like You've been too delighted in me.
... You were?! Why?
... Because I was at least willing to argue with You over things that I didn't understand.
. . . And because I am willing to talk to You now.
But why didn't I understand all this about Your wisdom before?
... Because I was too busy listening to the foolishness of other people’s wisdom, as well as my own.
... Because I didn't take the time to find out if what I was hearing was really the truth according to Your word.
But what was I to do?
Everyone else was doing what I did.
Why didn't you tell me about Your wisdom before?
... You tried, but I didn't give You a chance.
... I kept making up excuses why I didn't have time for You.
... And I didn't stop talking long enough to listen to Your answers.
So, I suppose what You are saying is that You want we to be quiet and listen.
... What do You mean, that was the most intelligent thing I said all morning?
... Okay! Okay! I'll be quiet, and listen.
32."Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
Is this why I'm not seeing many blessings in my life?
... Okay! Okay!
33. "Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
34. "Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
35. "For he who finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord.
36. "But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death."
I don't hate You or Your wisdom.
I was just doing my own thing. I didn't think it really mattered so much.
I don't want to die.
I want to live forever with You.
What do I have to do?
... Just believe in You.
... Just believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father;
… Who died for my sins;
... Who interceded for me in the past, and who intercedes for me now and every time I confess my sins.
... And who is ever faithful, with the Holy Spirit, to guide me in Your heavenly will, and protect me all the days of my life.
That's what I want, Lord!
... Then listen and follow Your word.
I'll really try to do my best, and live in Your will...
And to that, we can all say, Amen!
For that is really all the Lord wants from us.