Sermon: Leadership Pt. 3

Written by Timothy

Leadership, Part 3
year 2000

We will talk about how to never be taken in by anyone who is a false teacher. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do we want to not be taken in?” Most people really do want to be taken in by something other than the gospel. This is the danger that lives within everybody. No matter who you hang around or what quality of church you go to, there’s always the danger of false brothers. In the following scripture Paul talked about the things in his life that show he was a servant of God.

2 Corinthians 11:26- I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.

Most of us are not on guard enough with the people that we meet. We tend to accept anybody who says they are a Christian, yet there’s a very grave danger that we will be deceived not only by leadership, but also by people who claim to be Christians but are not. So we will find out how we can never be taken in. If I really am a bad person or cult leader, these will be the keys for you to decide if that’s true.

First we have to start with Gods’ promise that it is possible to get to a place where you are not taken in by people. First Peter talks about the fact that we escape the corruption of the world by claiming the promises of God and walking in them. So we have to believe and know that God will guide, direct, and deliver us from everyone who is false.

Proverbs 2:7- He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

He has victory already prepared in advance for you. You will gain the victory over everybody who is false or anything false that comes your way. He’s a shield. He will keep you from going down the wrong paths. He will stop false brothers from getting to you. That shield will protect you in every fashion. The key here is who does Proverbs say he holds victory for?

Proverbs 2:7- He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

Is it for people who just claim faith or read the Bible? Is it for people who find a book that speaks evil of another group? No, he holds victory in store for those who are upright. We have to become an upright people. He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless people who live their Christian life step by step in such a way that it makes them blameless. Then they can claim the victory and the promise. The problem is, most people want to claim that God will protect them or somehow they can seek the truth without having a life that is blameless. We have to do what scripture says, “Aim for perfection.” Most people are content to live their Christian life, so if they just get close to the cross, they are OK. But Paul said we are to aim for perfection.

Proverbs 2:8- for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

In every way and every fashion it says that those whose walk is blameless, those who are doing the right thing in God can claim the victory and can be sure that God will give them the victory. We are already seeing a small reason why we are taken in. Our walk is not blameless. There is something wrong in our conscience. There’s something wrong in our heart. That’s the reason we are taken in. I guarantee you that no matter how evil a man is, if your walk is blameless, God will see to it that you gain the victory. You will either escape the situation or see clearly who that man is, no matter how well oiled his words are. The problem is when I am taken in and I get deceived, there is something in my walk that is amiss and there’s something wrong in my heart that must be changed.

All of this comes down to fellowship. Most people have the attitude that the way they want to escape false teachers is to go off by themselves and hear from God what the truth is. I know a lot of people who are really deceived by a man and that man is themselves. They are by themselves in their own little Christian world trying to hear from God, and they are being taken in by their own words and their own life. We have to realize that those who love the truth will automatically come into fellowship with one another. They need each other.

1 John 1:2- The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

This is talking about Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:3- We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

We are proclaiming the truth and holding up the life of Jesus Christ for the purpose of fellowship. We are not just trying to save you or make you a Christian. We are not trying to win you to our church. Fellowship is what motivates us. For someone to say they are just trying to seek God and then move away from fellowshipping, shows that they are beginning to follow themselves. Who a man fellowships with tells me everything about his walk and tells me a lot of things about his heart. If he can tolerate wicked men and people who claim to be Christians but are not, it shows that his life is also unreliable and unholy. Those who are blameless and seeking to be blameless only want to associate with other people who are seeking the same thing. Whereas the wicked do not want to hang around those who seek to be blameless because their goals are totally the opposite. One person wants to try to compromise all the sin that he can. The other one wants to call everything sin that is sin so he can repent. Those two people cannot fellowship with one another. Paul said he preached the truth so they could fellowship in the truth.

1 John 1:3- We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

So when I come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will automatically put within me a desire for fellowship. I know some people right now who heard the message of the cross, and they immediately began to long for fellowship. They kept saying, “Who can I fellowship with,” and that longing to be with other people is a very strong desire among those who are seeking the truth. The wicked cling together and so do the righteous.

1 John 1:4- We write this to make our joy complete.

It’s in the context of fellowship that our joy is complete.

1 John 1:5- This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.


We are talking about a special kind of fellowship that most of us have never experienced. Think of the fellowship that you have most of the time. You have your own little part of your life that you can keep secluded from other individuals. But this is a fellowship where you come into the light and everything is revealed. The love is rich and the righteousness is also rich.

1 John 1:6- If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

How do we know if a man is living a lie or not? What is the immediate result? What is the fruit that shows a man is really walking in the light? The fact that he says he’s seeking God by himself or the fact that he’s hanging around with hypocrites? What shows a man to be living the truth?

1 John 1:7- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Fellowship. It’s as simple as that. When people run away from the fellowship, they are running away from Jesus Christ. You can’t run away to darkness and claim to be following God.

1 John 1:7- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

In what context is the blood of Jesus Christ active? When does the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse? Where does he say the blood gets its power, love, and life? The life is in the blood. It’s in the context of fellowship. If we want to be protected, guarded, and shielded, we have to begin to fellowship in the light. If you have nobody you can fellowship with then pray for one other person to start with. Ask God to bring one other individual who is willing to walk in the light with you and begin there.

The first thing we have to understand about this whole issue of how to never be taken in by a man, is that God has determined to mix the guidance of his Holy Spirit with men who will also share that truth.

Acts 8:26- Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”

God will use a man to teach. There’s nothing wrong with learning scripture from a man. Now our pride may not want that at first. We may want to go back into the prayer closet and say, “Oh, I heard from the Lord and he taught me. You didn’t show me anything.” But that’s not how God has chosen to work. He chose to use men to preach the gospel. Goodness, it would have been a lot quicker for God to just announce it in the sky. He doesn’t have to use men. It would have been more effective to just put a billboard up in the sky rather than to depend on Tim Williams to go out and preach the gospel.

Acts 8:27-29- So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Everything comes from the Lord. What if Philip had gone up to the Ethiopian eunuch and the man said, “I don’t want to hear from you. I’m just trying to seek the Lord. I just want to hear between me and him, because I don’t want to be taken in by any man. I only want to understand scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit.” What would have happened if he had that attitude? He would immediately have missed how God was trying to answer his prayer and explain scripture. It is true that God didn’t need Philip. God could have just enlightened the Ethiopian eunuch. In fact we’ll see that later on that takes place. However, God usually chooses to use men to bring us the truth.

Acts 8:30-Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

Look at the humility in how the eunuch answers:

Acts 8:31- “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is usually what is missing. People don’t want to learn from each other. They don’t want to fellowship in the light. They just want to hear from the Lord or read from a book. Everybody wants to be teachers but nobody wants to be learners. It’s called arrogance. The eunuch invited Philip to come up and sit with him. All of this is the Lord and it’s all by his Holy Spirit, but he’s using a man to do it.

Acts 8:39- When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

God doesn’t have to use Philip, but he chose to bless them with fellowship. You are missing the sweetest of fellowship by thinking you can get it all together by yourself between you and the Lord. So what if you could? That is a possibility. God will do that if necessary, but you will miss the sweetness of walking in the light with one another. After all, I’m sure in heaven everybody will be saying, “See what I learned today and discovered about the glory of God,” and everybody will be sharing their experiences in God. It’s in the context of us teaching one another, admonishing one another and building one another up that the fellowship begins to happen.

Acts 8:40- Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

The Ethiopian eunuch went on by himself so the Holy Spirit would teach him from then on. If a man is not to be found, the Holy Spirit will get through. All of this comes from God, but let us not be arrogant and say, “I walk in the light. I fellowship with God,” and then not be fellowshipping with one another. Look at what Galatians 6:6 says you are to do.

Galatians 6:6- Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

There is no such thing as lone ranger Christianity that says, “I’m off here all by myself walking in the light fellowshipping with God He just shows me what I need to know. I can live this Christian life by myself.” It’s all in the context of fellowship and yes, it’s the Holy Spirit doing it, but anything you learn from teachers whom God has sent, you are to share back with those teachers. We don’t have time to look at why this is so, but you can see how God is building fellowship, walking in the light, and blessing one another as everybody continues to grow in Jesus Christ.

A lot of people like to quote 1 John 2:27 but miss the subtle point in verse 26:

1 John 2:26-27-I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit just as it has taught you, remain in him.

So people will say, “I don’t need anyone to teach me because I have the Holy Spirit.” Did you catch something? What about verse 26? Who is teaching them that they don’t need anyone to teach them? It’s God using John to tell them, “You don’t need anyone to teach you.” You need to listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you and the Holy Spirit uses other people to point you to the way of life. God has chosen those men to build up the body. We do tell other people, “You don’t need me,” and that’s an absolute truth. Except for the fact that at this point in time God has chosen me to teach you. It all comes from him and the Holy Spirit and we get to fellowship together. Let me tell you something, if you can’t humble yourself enough to learn a few small lessons from me about the gospel, God is not going to be able to teach you. I can barely teach you very little of anything. I need all of you to learn and teach me so I can teach you. It goes back and forth. God is so large that no one man will contain it all. We need the fellowship. We need that counsel and admonishment we get from one another.

The following scripture in Jeremiah applies so much to today it’s uncanny. Everybody runs around saying, “Thus says the Lord. The Lord taught me this and showed me that.” Indeed, in Sunday school classes usually the teacher teaches and then everybody goes around the room and shares their viewpoint on a particular scripture. Everybody’s opinion becomes the word of the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:33- “When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, “What is the oracle of the LORD?” say to them, “What oracle? I will forsake you, declares the LORD.”

Is that a message most of us want to run with? People ask us, “What did the Lord show you today? What insight did you gain from him?” And we say, “Oh, the Lord will forsake us.”

Jeremiah 23:34-If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, “This is the oracle of the LORD,” I will punish that man and his household.

He’s talking about the people running around constantly saying, “Thus says the Lord. The Lord showed me this.” When people want to do something wicked (whether it looks wicked or not), they will say the Lord told them to do it. They don’t go to the cross and die. They don’t test the Lord’s will, so they think by saying, “The Lord said,” it will appease us. “The Lord told me I should go visit so and so,” or “The Lord told me to move,” and each man’s opinion becomes the oracle of the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:35- This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: “What is the Lord’s answer?” or “What has the LORD spoken?”

We act like we want to know what God has to say but all we want is confirmation of what we want to do. We want to take our insight from scripture without the cross and apply it as we see fit and be blessed in the way we want to be blessed. So we run around asking others, “What has the Lord shown you,” and keep flattering each other to the point that the word of God is totally distorted from what it meant.

Jeremiah 23:36- But you must not mention “the oracle of the LORD” again, . . .

God says, “I don’t want to hear again, ‘Thus says the Lord. And I don’t want to hear one more single person go into the prayer closet and come out and say the Lord told them to do something.’” This is how bad it’s gotten. The people just have to shut up. They have to go back and reconsider what it means to follow the living God and carry a cross. Many churches need to make it a goal that nobody says, “The Lord told me to do this” for a long time. We say it so easily. There’s no testing or fear and trembling. There’s no understanding of the cross or dealing with our flesh, “Maybe this is me or maybe it’s the Lord.” There’s no working out your salvation with fear and trembling. So we run around saying, “Thus says the Lord. The Lord showed me this. What did the Lord show you?”

Jeremiah 23:36-But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the LORD’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.

Whatever it is that man wants to believe, whatever he wants scripture to say becomes what God will say.

Jeremiah 23:37-39- This is what you keep saying to a prophet: “What is the Lord’s answer to you?” or “What has the LORD spoken?” Although you claim, “This is the oracle of the LORD,” this is what the LORD says: You used the words, “This is the oracle of the LORD,” even though I told you that you must not claim, “This is the oracle of the LORD.” Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your fathers.

Look at what God said here about taking on the name of the Lord. It’s a very fearful thing to say, “I learned this from Jesus Christ,” or “I heard this in the prayer closet,” or “The Lord told me to go do this.” When I was a young Christian every thought I had was, “Thus says the Lord.” Fortunately, none of those things ever worked out and in great frustration I finally learned I needed to shut up. But if we don’t have the fear and trembling he says:

Jeremiah 23:39-40- Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your fathers. I will bring upon you everlasting disgrace everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”

So if we do not want to be taken in by men, let us go easy when we begin to say, “Thus says the Lord.” Let us be very slow before we say such a thing. If we learn to test our words, we’ll learn to test other men’s words. If we will walk with some fear and trembling in our own lives and learn to lead a blameless life, then we will learn to test other men.

Ephesians 4:1- As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Again, the call to lead a blameless, worthy life.

Ephesians 4:2-3- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

We see the fellowship happening. Again this is all-important because we will start talking about teachers in a moment. We will see that it’s in the context of fellowship with one another that we grow and mature so we will never be taken in by anyone again.

Ephesians 4:4-5- There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Hebrews shows us why fellowship is so important. I’m not talking about just any church fellowship or socializing. I am talking about walking in the light.

Hebrews 3:13- But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Sin is a deceitful thing that sneaks up on us slowly and we don’t see it coming. But when we walk in the light, others can see what we don’t see ourselves. A lot of times when somebody finally gets around to confessing sin, everybody else already knew about it long ago. The person in sin is the last one to know. It’s fellowship that keeps sin from coming in inch by inch until I get to the point that I am hardened against it. This is how fellowship in the light works, but it’s a daily thing. It’s not a Thursday night thing or a Sunday afternoon thing. It’s daily brought on by the power of his Holy Spirit, the cross, and the crucified life.

Ephesians 4:6- one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

So we get the idea that God is in everything, but what we have to ask God is, “Who are your teachers and where is the church I’m supposed to fellowship at?” That’s the only question we need to ask. We should never run off by ourselves and hide out somewhere year after year not fellowshipping with anybody. That’s not what the light produces or works.

Ephesians 4:6-8- one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”

What are the gifts God gives to men? Leaders in the church. Believe it or not, they really are supposed to be gifts.

Ephesians 4:9-10- (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

It all comes from the Lord. No man is independent.

Ephesians 4:11- It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

It all comes from God, but the question is, are we listening to the Philips that God puts next to our chariots, or are we listening to false teachers? Everybody listens to somebody. They either listen to themselves and they become the oracle of the Lord, or they listen to false teachers or they listen to teachers who come from God. The question is never going to be, “Am I following somebody?” You are always going to be following somebody whether it’s yourself, somebody false or the Lord and the teachers he brings.

Ephesians 4:12- to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

This is the purpose. Not to gain a following for themselves or build up their church, works or reputation.

Ephesians 4:13- until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The purpose of your teachers is to work God’s power within you so you become mature and complete. So you can have all of Jesus Christ that there is. God has so chosen teachers, apostles, prophets, and workers for that purpose. That is how it will be done. There’s no other way. Unless we are willing to fellowship in the light, it’s not going to happen.

Ephesians 4:14- Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

Notice the key word, “then.” When all of these things are in place, then you will be mature. If you don’t want to be taken in by men then you’ll have to listen to the men that God sends. There isn’t any other way that it’s going to happen. You can read all the books you want about a particular group and it won’t do you a bit of good. You can go off by yourself and say, “I just want to hear from the Lord,” and that won’t do you any good either. You will have to pray for, ask for, and rejoice in the teachers whom God sends. You will have to look for the Philips that are next to you and invite them into your chariot to be taught. Yes, it’s all by him and by his grace. It’s all by his Spirit, but that’s how he’s chosen for it to happen. Remember everything you learn from the teachers God has given you, needs to be shared back. Then you will no longer be tossed back and forth by every wind of teaching. It is so sad to see young people in Christ. One wind of teaching comes and they blow along with that, then another wind comes and they are blown another direction. Then people come in with all kinds of deceitful scheming and they can’t see it because they are young in the Lord. The job of a teacher is to say, “Look, you are being taken in.” You can be stubborn about it and wait 20 years until you finally wake up, or you can go back and ask the Lord to show you the truth about this teacher. He will show you the truth. He will guard and protect if you’ll change your walk and become blameless. I know no one wants to be taken in by anyone, right? Proverbs 1:20 tells exactly how you can keep that from happening. Keep all of this in context with your teachers and those whom you fellowship with. The passage tells us first of all that there is no excuse. If we are taken in by somebody, it’s our own fault and nobody else is to blame. In every circumstance you could have asked God yourself. You could have found out.

Proverbs 1:20- Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares;

She doesn’t hide somewhere. Wisdom says, “I will give you the insight that will protect you and I will deliver you from these men.” She shouts and proclaims. She raises her voice in the public squares. Wisdom calls out to men to listen.

Proverbs 1:21- at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

Wisdom pleads and tries to communicate. Wisdom is trying to get through but how slow we are because we really don’t care. We say that we don’t want to be taken in, but we really want someone who will feed our flesh and it won’t end in disaster. That’s what we mean. We don’t really want the truth at all costs. It means we are tired of this church or this leader because he no longer feeds our flesh the way he used to 10-15 years ago. We don’t really ask for the truth, we want another false prophet. That’s why people change from one church to anotherall the time looking for some aspect of the flesh to be fed.

Proverbs 1:22- How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?

Have you ever watched people being taken in? They have simple answers for everything in life and everything that is in Jesus Christ. If someone needs to be healed, they just have a prayer of faith. It’s always a simple answer of what to do with quick, easy ways to solve problems. “How long will you simple one love your simple ways?” Things are a lot more complicated than they seem. Just because a man says, “Thus says the Lord,” and says he loves the Lord, does not mean he does. You will have to test him and find out. This requires a lot of work. This is why most people don’t want the gospel. If you want wisdom, then prepare yourself for a lot of hard work.

Proverbs 1:22- How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?

We love to mock the things that we are learning. We love to spit them back out because they sound so wise and make us look so good, but to have wisdom inside so that it’s alive, protecting, and guarding us is a whole different matter. We sure love to quote it.

This tells us how to get wisdom so you will never, ever be taken in by a man.

Proverbs 1:23- If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.

It does not say, “If you come to Sunday school class, eat some doughnuts, drink some coffee, and quote a few more scriptures, you will be saved from wicked men.”

Proverbs 1:23- If you had responded to my rebuke

Look at the promise associated with this if we would just tolerate a rebuke. I want you to look at the advantage here.

Proverbs 1:23- If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.

If you had responded to God’s rebuke you wouldn’t just have head knowledge that comes from God to know a wicked man and avoid him. You would have had the heart of God. You would have responded to the false prophet, not only with head knowledge but your heart would also have burned saying, “Man is evil and wicked and what I am drawn to is wrong.” You would have felt it with all emotion. It would never be a cold, dry kind of discussion. It would be something alive. God said he would have poured out his heart. Not just a little bit of wisdom, not just a gallon or two, but poured out. Now how many of us in the situations we are in can say we have wisdom poured out within us? I have more than I know what to do with. Not only can I see things clearly but also I know how to respond, rebuke, and deal with it and these men won’t get very far. Most people don’t even have a little bit of wisdom, let alone having wisdom poured out in abundance. Most of us walk about in so much fear and trembling because we have very little wisdom and the situation calls for bucket loads of wisdom.

Proverbs 1:23- If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.

He said you would have the thoughts and heart of God. You could have both. Most of us would have been content with the thoughts of God, let alone with the heart of God. But the promise here is that you get both of those if you would have responded to rebukes. So guess what? If teachers are to prepare you to become mature, they will bring you the kind of wisdom that is a rebuke. They may be gentle and kind, but it is how we begin. You will grow in rebukes until you become wise. So if you want to become wise, how much are you willing to be wrong? For every excuse and judgment you have, God cannot expound on wisdom. No one can teach you. Try to teach a child who think he knows everything. You spend all of your time convincing him how stupid he is. You can’t even get on to the fact of what he needs to learn. But if a child says, “I don’t know or understand teach me,” then you can begin to spend hours with this child. Wisdom and life will come to that child. We need to lay down our pride, every justification, all of our sin and say, “Okay, begin to rebuke me. Every time I rise up Lord, smack me back down that I might have your heart and mind. Not just a little bit, but in abundance.” Imagine a church where everybody is loaded with this kind of wisdom and heart.

Proverbs 1:24- But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

When I say rebuke, I don’t mean going up and slapping them in the face or just being harsh there are times for harsh rebukes, but most of the time it is a very gentle correction that is rejected. How often I have sought to rebuke somebody, but they spout their opinions, and I’ll stand there for ten minutes hearing their opinion on something and then I’ll just walk away. I will not continue to argue day in and day out. I tell people all the time, “If you don’t want to listen to the whisper then fine, go on your way.” I won’t spend my time debating with people. There is too much work to be done and too many people to love.

Proverbs 1:24- But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

There’s no reason why any of us can’t become wise in Jesus Christ. The only thing holding us back is the fact that we refuse to be corrected.

Proverbs 1:25- since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke,

What then is the key to wisdom? Taking in advice, correction, and rebukes. The more willing you are to be corrected down to the smallest of details, the wiser you will become. The word of God, after all, divides bone from marrow. Isn’t that cutting it very fine? We say we want leaders that will guide us and give us wisdom, correct? Do you really want a leader that can divide bone from marrow in your life? Who can say, “This part of your life is fine, but this is wicked”? Is this the kind of fellowship we want to have with one another? When we fellowship with each other, rebuking, admonishing and building one another up, is this what we really want from one another? If we will respond and take his advice, he’ll pour out his thoughts.

Proverbs 1:26- I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you

Think of how appalling it will be for these men when disaster finally happens, their church group falls apart or they wind up at the end of their life and then they cry for mercy but they hear God laugh at them. It’s the only time scripture records that God laughs. They will ask for mercy and he’ll laugh at their cries. They’ll plead for forgiveness and life and he will mock and say, “Oh, you want life, do you? You want wisdom now, don’t you? Where were you when I called? Where were you when I held out my hand? You were busy. You were running around here and there. I was shouting in the streets and you would not listen.”

Proverbs 1:27-28- when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.

Right now they are content and run around doing what they want to do. They walk in all darkness, but there will come a time when it will all collapse. Then they’ll cry to God and ask for wisdom and mercy, and he will not give it to them. So you need to thank the Lord now that if your life has collapsed and you’ve gotten involved with things that are not correct. God is giving you a wake up call. He is saying you can have all of his mercy, grace, and wisdom that you say you want if you will accept his rebukes, corrections, and advice. You can have his protection and walk with peace knowing that you will never be taken in by another man. There is real safety in knowing that once you have accepted the cross and it has done its work, you can walk on your merry way and see through whoever it is that comes at you that is false. You don’t have to live your life in fear and dread of man but have time just for the Lord alone.

Proverbs 1:28-29- Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD,

This is a promise just like any other promise. Do you see it’s a choice? You have a choice to say you will accept the rebukes of God.

Proverbs 1:30- since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,

Do you think Proverbs is trying to tell us something?

Proverbs 1:31- they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

Look at all the different plans, churches, ideas, and concepts people go to in order to find peace, contentment, and happiness and to find the Lord. You will be filled with them. “Fine. Do you want those?” Wisdom asks. Wisdom says she has the cross for you and the basics on the narrow road. But if you want to fill yourself with all kinds of other nonsense and activities, go ahead. You will be filled with it and you will inherit the whirlwind.

Proverbs 1:32- For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

Look at the simple. They run down this path and then another path and yet another path. They are all over the place, never able to rest content in the message; never able to turn to people and say, “This is it. You don’t have to go anywhere else. You don’t have to try anything else.” Why does the church keep trading one whirlwind for another? Every time the wind blows they go after itwhy? They obviously don’t have anything that is permanent. The complacency of fools will destroy them. You cannot just sit back and say, “Okay God, just give me wisdom.” It is not an easy thing to ask for wisdom.

Proverbs 1:33- but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Look at the promise. He will live in safety. He will conduct his life and be at peace. It says he will be at ease. I do not run around anymore in fear and trembling thinking I’m going to be taken in by the next thing that comes along. I am comfortable resting in the Lord, knowing that I have the message of the cross. There is nothing else for me to look for. I don’t have to look at anybody who is excited about anything else but the cross of Jesus Christ. I can tell them they are wrong without studying, looking, and examining every little thing that they teach. There is nothing else that is needed. This is Jesus Christ. This is the crucified life. This is how men change and where the victory is. I can live my life at ease without fear of being taken in by all the nonsense out there. If we really want the peace, then the only way we will get it is by being corrected. Be at ease without fear of harm. Look at all the people running around afraid of every teacher that is out there. They are totally paranoid and unable to test anything. They cannot rest in anything. All because they won’t be corrected and taught.

Proverbs 2:1-2- My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

It says to listen and listen with your heart. It doesn’t say read a lot of books and take in a lot of commentaries. It says listen to what God has to say and what the Spirit wants to say. Listen to God’s correction and quit talking so much. Apply your heart to understanding. Let it burn within you so that is what guides you. If I had to depend on head knowledge to get me through all the different issues that are out there, I would fail.

There are a lot of things I know are wrong because I know that they’re wrong from my heart. I don’t have to debate, argue, and study for years. I just know.

Proverbs 2:3- and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

Christianity is not for lazy people. Jesus Christ said forceful men lay hold of the kingdom (Matthew 11:12). How do we get wisdom? You won’t get it by just sitting down in a quiet time with a cup of coffee and your diary. It says you have to cry aloud. Turn to God and say, “God, I want this wisdom and you must give it to me. And when you tell me, ‘No’, I will tell you, ‘Yes you are!’ And you will continue to rebuke me, even when I tell you to stop. I will have this wisdom at all costs, Lord!”

Hebrews 5:7- During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

It says he offered up loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death. While Jesus walked around on those nights, when he was by himself, he cried out for wisdom. He cried aloud, “God resurrect my body and give me victory!” Most of us are so complacent and so laid back. Our attitude is, “Just teach me,” or “I’ll just take this little bit of wisdom here.” Cry out for this! Plead and demand that God do something in your life! Think about Jacob wrestling with God and with man. Christianity is not for the lazy! Scripture says he was heard because of his reverent submission. Remember, who does God give wisdom to? He whose walk is blameless. We have to come in with an attitude of obedience in all things.

Hebrews 5:8-Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered

So you will have to suffer in your body with sin and learn obedience. Ask yourself, Is this what is taught in churches today? Is this what is proclaimed? Is this what I live? Is this how I walk?

Hebrews 5:9- and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

This is not for those who just say, “I believe,” but for those who obey him. This is for those who say, “I want this wisdom, and I want this life,” and then say, “I will be obedient! I will let you work it. I will let you give me the life, no matter what it costs me! No matter what friends it costs me, what relationships it costs me or anything else. I will be obedient.” Don’t you think God will give wisdom to a heart like that? He will pour out his wisdom! He will pour out his thoughts! Wisdom is waiting for us to cry aloud and say, “Give me your wisdom!”

Proverbs 2:4-and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

You must consider it the most valuable thing you have. Most people just run around saying, “Give me wisdom so I’m not taken in by someone else.” Why? Because they don’t want their pride wounded. They don’t want to be taken in by somebody. They don’t want to look stupid! Not because they just want wisdom, truth, or Him. Many people look at this body of believers right now, and they let you do the dirty work! They let you come in and decide whether or not something suspicious is going on. That way if it fails, they can stand back and say, “Oh, see, I knew it.” They are letting you go in and see if this thing really pulls together if it really works. Then watch, later on, they’ll come tagging along. We’ll deal with that later on.

Proverbs 2:4-and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

Do you get the idea that some people just sit back, saying, “Oh yeah, teach me, I want to know”? No! True Christians dig, look, and examine. Then you will understand the fear of the Lord

Proverbs 2:5-7- then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

He is ready to give you the victory, the truth, and the life, if you would just respond to his rebukes, corrections, and advice.

Proverbs 2:7-8- He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

He protects. Several times, I can look back and see why I was almost taken in by somebody, but he delivered me at the last minute and worked good. Many other times I was probably almost taken in and don’t even know when he delivered me. He guides, directs, and protects. How many of us have the insight and love for God to see the Philips running along in the chariot next to us?

Proverbs 2:9- Then you will understand what is right and just and fair every good path.

If you haven’t cried out for wisdom like this, then please don’t think you have insight. If the cross hasn’t done this kind of work then don’t think you understand every good path. Admit what you don’t understand and let him do the correcting so that you might have life that most of all other people might have life.

Proverbs 2:10- For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

I know some of this sounds so rough, but it is the most pleasant thing. It really is.

Proverbs 2:11-12- Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,

There is the promise. These men alter it just a little bit. The most wicked man I will ever meet is one who has this message down but alters it just enough to please himself. But no matter how good he is, wisdom will give me insight to see through that man. I will not follow him and I will be protected.

Proverbs 2:13-15- who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

I guarantee you will have to go to God to find out who belongs to him and who doesn’t. We don’t have time to look at it right now, but suppose we would hire Paul of Tarsus as a pastor. We would research his character and background. We would go to all the towns where he preached and ask, “What do you think of this Paul of Tarsus and what do you think about what he did?” You would find good report and bad report. They would either say he’s the worst cult leader on the face of the earth, or they would say he’s a godly man. You will have to rely upon wisdom. Most people are taken in by a man because they go back to the tree of good and evil and try to figure out what is good and what is evil.

Genesis 3:5- For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Basically Satan said, “You will be able to discern and God is withholding this from you because he doesn’t want you to decide on your own what is good and perfect.”

Genesis 3:6- When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food . . .

She looked at the tree like me and thought, “This is a good church. This is a place where I can get fed and get a lot of wisdom. My pastor and our leadership have a lot of wisdom.” Didn’t she turn to that tree and say, “This is good for food. Not only is it good for food but it is also pleasing to the eye.” She tested, didn’t she? She tried to discern this situation. Then came the serpent along with whatever lie he had and she said, “Ok, let’s take a look at this and try to figure it out. This tree looks just fine to me. Not only that, it’s desirable. Something is drawing me to it. It must be the Lord. It must be God.”

Genesis 3:6- When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

This is where most people go to decide whether something is bad or good. Let Paul of Tarsus apply for a job in their church and see how all this wisdom helps them. We cannot rely on our insight or our own wisdom nor can we judge whether it’s pleasing to us or looks like it will be full of wisdom.

Genesis 3:7- Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

This is the first church. They will now decide the best way to worship the Lord, cover their lives, and make themselves comfortable. They will sit down and discuss all this wisdom they have gained. This is how most people decide whether something is wrong or not. They sit down under the tree of knowledge, read this outline or hear a speaker who lists the thousands of things that are wrong with another group. They always come to a wrong conclusion. They just go find something that pleases themselves. If you don’t want to be taken in by any man or me you must go to the cross and say, “Crucify me that I might have the mind of Christ.”

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.