Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom is key to an intimate relationship with God.
length: 67:07 - taught on Aug, 3 2021
Tuesday August 3, 2021
Wisdom literature: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, are designed to help us cope with our everyday lives. Day-to-day we walk in the realm of marriage, sexuality, work, friendship, money, gathering needs, etc. and they are all important to us.
Why is God always faithful, even in the little things? Why does God have joy always, regardless of what great thing (creation of the universe), or little thing (hearing Christ pray for your current need) He is doing? The answer is the same, as it would be if we were to ask why God does anything - He is what He does, or He does what He is. So He does everything well, righteously, properly, and that’s great for Him, but what about us? He has made us, the new humanity in Christ, of a divine seed or nature, born of God. Don’t every forget grace and mercy and endless forgiveness, but also, don’t forget who you are in Christ. Wisdom is for us, it is a gift to us from Christ who gave us His Holy Spirit as a gift.
We are to do everything, every day, with wisdom. But don’t be afraid. You are forgiven of all sin.
If we cannot manage our day-to-day lives with wisdom, then we will not be able to use His gifts to serve one another.
Some Christians have labelled this struggle to live ethical and wise (which, according to Proverbs, are one and the same) as legalism. They do this out of fear; fear of letting go of the flesh which all of us come to love in a sick way, as a slave learns to love a cruel master who beats him one day and tries to comfort him the next.
A word should be said about assumptions. Before a person takes on any journey that has unknown aspects, he makes assumptions about the journey. Will it be easy or hard, will it take a long or short time, and assumptions about what will be required. We all need to find out what we do assume, and build upon that to what we should assume. Many of our assumptions will be shown to us as false, and all of them will be shown to us as not exactly hitting the mark.
We must understand that we cannot live in intimacy with God if we carry the burden of guilt from our old failures and sins. There is a reason that God tells us that He remembers them no more. Some have taken this as meaning that God doesn’t care if we sin. They know nothing of God and only know themselves, or their old selves. God has wiped out our sin, COL 2:13-15, and He calls for us to joyously walk in His ways and behold His joy and peace. All of us, to different degrees, fear entering it, but we must enter it. Hence, Christ told us not to fear anything in the world, but fear God.
Heb 4: Rest in God. Fear of God. Work His works. God’s word will show our hearts to us. Christ stands ready over our weakness with grace and mercy.
Rest in our relationship with God, fear of not doing so, knowing we did not work for our salvation, nor do we “make” the works set before us to do (EPH 2:10), the Word of God will show us and reveal our true hearts, and Christ stands ready to sympathize with our weakness to do so, and will supply us with grace and mercy. This is all in Heb 4. We have to go for it - to walk in wisdom every day and in everything.
Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
"As I swore in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest,"
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; 5 and again in this passage, "They shall not enter My rest." 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
"Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts."
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
We may thirst for intimate knowledge of God, but we must walk in wisdom if we are to know Him; failing and succeeding, but we must never depart.
God is a person. God has given us persons in our own lives, some of whom we know very well, others we know of but don’t know deeply, and others who are passing acquaintances. A person has to open up their soul, their true and deep desires as well as their emotions, along with what they know and like and value. If they don’t do this, you will never know them. You may open up to them, but if they do not invite you into their own soul (with mankind there is always good and bad), then you won’t know them. Many are very afraid to do this, and the consequence is that they lack true friends throughout their lives. If we are willing, we instinctively know not to do this with everyone, and still, the few that we do, some will reject us, hence the fear. God has invited all mankind to know Him, but it is not academic or intellectual, just as it isn’t with people.
God gives us being, a consciousness, and reveals delightful goodness so that we can intimately know Him.
God gives us being. Extinguish the Absolute Source and Sustainer, and all else falls into falls into the darkness of nonexistence.
God gives us consciousness, which consists of our intrinsic, subjective, introspective, and qualitative personal experiences, which are unique to us and only we know - it is a self distinct from another which we know is another self. We are not machines. We can know another self, the Triune Person of God. Consciousness did develop in us or grow in us like materialists would like the world to believe, but it was given to us by God. You have intent, reason, subjectivity, freedom of choice, which are crucial to relational intimacy. When you pray to God you know that He is hearing you, your self and responding to you alone, and not a collective or a machine. Our consciousness can be a source of great inner pain, anguish, and despair, or it can be a source of bliss when it is placed in the hands of its Creator.
God gives us an understanding of what is good. Christians have traditionally held to the simple equation that what is good is an eternal reality and transcendental truth that is ultimately identical with the very essence of God Himself. God is not someone who happens to be far away in heaven who is the greatest of the good, but goodness is a part of who He is. He is the substance of goodness. He has gifted us with the ability to discover it and walk in it. Intimacy with God is the transcendent good in which we as His creations find our chief and highest purpose, delight, and pursuit. Intimacy with God is ethical. A carnal Christian is fooling himself if he thinks he has an intimate life with God.
Knowing God is an emotional relationship as well as an intellectual and volitional one.
God promises us, that if we want to know Him, we will.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
We must seek Him while at the same time fearing Him.
I love this, because why would seek someone with all of your heart whom you fear and dread? This makes us understand the fear of the Lord a bit more.
Make me know Thy ways, O Lord;
Teach me Thy paths.
5 Lead me in Thy truth and teach me,
For Thou art the God of my salvation;
For Thee I wait all the day.
“Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee”
Wisdom is a gift of the New Covenant:
“And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord”
'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
"So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth."