Posts Tagged ‘guidance’

The Spirit, Truth, Reason and Wisdom

July 15, 2020

These are challenging times.  As people who seek to follow Christ it is good to have some idea of how He will guide us.

I.  The Spirit:  Acts 26:11-14

And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

This is a part of  Paul’s defense that he made before King Agrippa.  This portion tells of his remarkable encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  I find the reference to kicking against the goads to be of particular interest.  Paul loved God.  He was well educated in the scriptures.  I fully believe that prior to this encounter the Holy Spirit had already been speaking to his heart.  He was not listening so God used more drastic measures.

The Holy Spirit will guide us, but we have to be willing to listen.  The only correct response to the direction of the Holy Spirit is to say “Yes, Lord”.  Sometimes, when we are not listening God will allow our circumstances to become uncomfortable to the point that we will turn to Him.  Of course, not every problem arises because we are not listening to God, but it is a good place to start.

II.  Truth and Reason:  Acts 26:24-25

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.

This is another excerpt from Paul’s defense.  I very much appreciate the appeal to truth and reason.

Truth can sometimes be hard to verify.  Some things are clear and obvious, but other things are far less certain.  God can help us to know the truth, at least in some things.

Reason is a god-given gift.  Christians can, and should, use reason in their thinking.  However, we need to be aware of its limitations.

III.  Wisdom:

A.  Worldly Wisdom:  Proverbs 14:12*

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

If we leave God out of our lives, we are still able to do many things well, but we must be careful because we have serious limitations.

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

B.  Godly Wisdom  James 1:5*

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.

When we are seeking truth we should ask God to help us.  He knows the truth.  He also knows the future.  If we ask Him for wisdom about what is true or what we should do, He will guide us.

James 3:13-17

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and [a]self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

There is a difference between godly wisdom and the wisdom of the world.  Let us seek to be people that are Spirit-led, that are guided by truth, reason and godly wisdom.

 

These are the sermon notes from 7/12/20.  All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any ads that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

If you want to view this message as it was preached, you may view it at:    https://www.facebook.com/116005455113481/videos/919770565159042

  • *  These verses are this weeks memory verses.

 

 

The Plumb Line

March 18, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 3/17.

Introduction:  My father was very gifted at working with his hands.  He added on to, or remodeled, the houses that we lived in, and the stores that they owned.  The only time that I remember him hiring someone to work on the property was when he was adding on to the kitchen, which included a room in the basement.  He hired a man to lay the cinder blocks for the foundation.  When I asked him about it he replied that the foundation was too important, and that he had too little experience.  A foundation that was not square and plumb would create numerous problems.

I.  The Plumb Line:  Amos 7:7-9

Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

And I said, “A plumb line.”

Then the Lord said:

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore.
The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

Israel was like a wall that was crooked.  God was going to tear down, and rebuild.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we took the plumb line of God’s Word and applied it to our lives.  Would we need to be straightened out, or completely rebuilt?

II.  Judging Ourselves:  I Corinthians 11:31

 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

The question is ” How do we judge ourselves?”

A.  Do we believe in Jesus?  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the cornerstone, the starting point.  If we do not believe in Jesus then nothing else really matters.  Faith in Jesus is where we must begin.

B.  Do we love God?  Matthew 22:36-38

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.

God should be the most important thing in our lives.  If there is anything else that is more important to us, then we need to change our attitude.

C.  Do we love our neighbor?  Matthew 39-40

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are to love everyone, not just our family and friends, not just our fellow believers, not just the nice people, or people like ourselves; we are to love everyone, because God loves everyone.

D.  Have we forgiven others? Matthew 6:14-15

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we do not forgive others we are poisoning our own lives.  Unforgiveness will create bitterness, which leads to anger and hatred.  It will affect our relationships with others and according to the verses that we have read, will nullify our own salvation.  It is very serious.

We may not feel like forgiving a person.  We can make a conscious choice, by an act of our will, to declare that we do forgive them.  Then we should pray for them.  We may need to do this daily for a while.  In time, our hearts will be healed, our emotions will change and we can move on.

E.  Are we keeping the commandments? I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Which commandments?  The Bible contains direction for our lives.  We should be reading, and studying the scriptures, and applying them to our lives.  The Holy Spirit will give us understanding and strength to apply the Word to our lives.  It is an ongoing process.

F.  Have we taken up our cross?  Matthew 16:24-27

  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Have we given our lives to Christ?  Are we doing what He wants us to be doing?  Are we in the place that He wants us to be?  Are we open to change?  Have we asked God to guide our steps?

If we ask God to guide us then it is up to Him to direct us.  In the absence of clear communication, we can do what we think is best, God’s Word to guide us.  The important thing is that we have offered our lives to God, and asked for His direction.

III.  Discipline:  I Corinthians 9:27

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Hold the plumb line of God’s word to your lives.  Ask God for the wisdom to know what needs to be changed.  Ask God for the strength to change what needs to change.  God loves us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us the way that He found us.

Conclusion:  Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;