Sermon by Timothy Williams. 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.
Never Be Taken In By A Man
Proverbs 2:12-15 – Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 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.
As we begin this church, God promises that he will protect, guide, direct, and keep us from men who are sinful and wicked and would lead us astray. The great paranoia today is that you could be taken in by a man, but nobody really seems to have the solution as to how we can keep ourselves from being taken in by someone. There are a lot of self-help books and tapes. There are a lot of books written on how to recognize a cult. We will see how God has set into motion for all of us to get to a place where we will never be taken in by a man, including ourselves. Again:
Proverbs 2:12 – Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.
We have this promise that we can claim. Each of us can go into the prayer closet and say to God, “You have promised to deliver and protect me from anyone whose ways are perverse.”
Let’s see how we can be a person who is independent of man and able to hear from God to keep ourselves from being taken in by other people.
Proverbs 4:1-4 – Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.”
There are two things that must happen to keep us from being taken in by other men. First, you have to lay hold of the words of wisdom with all your heart, not just with an intellectual understanding. This is where most people make their mistake. In order not to be taken in by error, they get an intellectual knowledge about certain doctrines. That knowledge will not keep us from men, because Satan brings men who possess our wisdom and logic and we follow them naturally. Something else has to be dealt with before we can see through these men.
Proverbs 4:4 – . . . Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.
We must take in what we learn with all of our heart and be obedience to it. When the obedience does not match what God shows us, we can be sure that we’re susceptible to being taken in by other men our hypocrisy and flesh has to be dealt with and our hearts have to become alive to wisdom and knowledge.
Proverbs 4:5-6 – Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you.
This is a sure promise in God. If we lay hold of wisdom with all of our heart and are obedience with what we are taught and learn, then we will be protected. Wisdom will guard our path and keep us from men who come in and begin to lie and alter the truth. But look at what it says:
Proverbs 4:6 – Love her.
This isn’t an intellectual pursuit. This is an attitude that first begins with an “I’m in love with truth and wisdom. I’m in love with that which is pure and holy.”
Proverbs 4:6 – Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
If you don’t love wisdom, she will not protect you. You aren’t guaranteed that she will be with you protecting your life or guiding you in anything. Most people have a cold kind of calculative relationship with wisdom. They are not in love with wisdom. They are not in love with knowledge. They seek to gain all kinds of wisdom, knowledge, and logic to protect themselves and keep themselves from certain men who don’t agree with them. First, it is a love relationship. So, ask yourself, “Am I in love with wisdom? Do I embrace her with all of my heart? Is she something I fellowship with and listen to? Is wisdom something active in my life? Or, is it something that I only study about?”
Proverbs 4:7 – Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
These are not idle words. It will cost you everything. In order to gain wisdom and be protected from scheming men who have devious ways, you have to give up everything. She will not give her graces and blessings to men who hold on to their own lives, opinions, or logic. You have to surrender everything. We injure our own souls when we think we don’t have to take this literally.
Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
Wisdom can’t be found by examining books containing specific doctrines. That is what most Sunday school classes are about. You will be taught a combination of logic and wisdom, but that’s not where real wisdom is found. She is a treasure and priceless. She is lovely. She is something that is alive, active, and very personable. She is something you embrace.
Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Wisdom will cost you everything. If you don’t ever want to be taken in by another man, doctrine, church, or anything, then you have to first resolve to find the joy of giving up everything in order to have this treasure. She will not embrace those who grudgingly surrender all just to have truth or wisdom. She wants those who embrace her, who love truth above everything else. When I talk to certain individuals about commandments or Scripture and they say, “Well, if I do this or that, then God will bless me,” I say, “No, you need to do it because it is the truth, whether you get anything from it or not.” We have to become alive, saying, “I will do what is right and just because it is lovely and holy.” You need to love God for who he is and not for what you can get from him.
Read Proverbs 1:20 and see that wisdom is indeed a person. It is a woman that we embrace. Proverbs 1:20 tells us about wisdom. It says wisdom calls out in the streets. You see, most men are just too busy to listen to wisdom. Most men are too busy spouting their own opinions, ideas, and thoughts to hear what wisdom has to say. It is like a group of first-graders in class who are always talking with each other. While the teacher tries to teach, they talk back and forth. They can’t hear what the teacher has to say.
Proverbs 1:20 – Wisdom calls aloud in the street.
She is loud. She doesn’t hiding or is secretive. She is not somewhere where people can’t see her. We are just so busy with our own opinions, ideas, and doctrinal understandings of Scripture, that we can’t hear the truth. We refuse to listen or embrace her. We refuse to sit down and be quiet and listen to see what she has to say.
Proverbs 1:20 – Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares.
She is everywhere. No matter what you do—whether driving, working, or playing―you can cry out to wisdom. She waits for you and says, “Will you listen to me today? Will you learn from me? Will you come in? Can we embrace? Can we fellowship? Can we hold one another? Can we walk together?”
Proverbs 1:20-21 – She raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out . . .
She looks for those who will come in, listen, and learn about wisdom, truth, and life. It is sad to say, but most people are like Pilate. They say, “What is truth?” They have no idea. They think everything comes and goes with the wind and the waves. They do not sit down before God and say, “Okay, God, what is truth? What is real? What is holy?”
Proverbs 1:21 – . . . in the gateways of the city she makes her speech.
Most are too busy with their books or doing what they want to do to hear her, but she speaks in the public streets. She makes her speech known, but men do not listen. They drown it out by all kinds of things. In verse 22, her speech continues, but her speech isn’t soft and tender. Her speech isn’t kind and respective of who we are. She doesn’t come with awards and certificates saying, “You have achieved this wisdom and knowledge.” She begins her speech by driving us to a place of humility and brokenness. It is not comforting to our flesh, but it is the speech of life.
Proverbs 1:22-23 – How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
She comes with an unsettling question. Those with pride and arrogance leave her and say, “I don’t like her speech. I don’t like the way she conducts herself. She makes me look stupid. She acts like I don’t know anything. I’ve studied and examined these things. I’ve looked at God’s word. How dare wisdom say that I am simple and love my simple ways?” The church today is full of all kinds of quick and simple answers for every problem. Wisdom comes, but she comes with a rebuke and correction. She appeals to those who will to humble themselves.
Proverbs 1:22 – How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
She asks each of us, “Are you fools who hate knowledge? Are you a mocker who learns certain things in God’s word and mimics those things?” Her speech, again, does not comfort our flesh, so we must come to God to die. She doesn’t come with flowery and lovely sermons or sweet sounding songs. What does she say?
Ecclesiastes 7:5 – It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.
Wisdom comes with a rebuke. She doesn’t come with a nice-sounding song. She doesn’t sing a beautiful hymn that talks about wisdom and knowledge and how you’ll be blessed in Jesus Christ. She comes with a rebuke saying, “You are simple and you need to leave your simple ways. You are a mocker and you need to learn not to be a mocker. For years you hated knowledge that comes from God and you sought your own wisdom.” That is how she begins her speech. Those who won’t humble themselves to be broken will ever gain wisdom. Men will take them captive over and over and over again. I know people right now who continue down the same path time and time again. They went down one road and were taken in by someone. That road ended in disaster, so rather than learn a lesson, they repeat the same pattern all over again. They think if they walk down the same road it will somehow be different at the end. It will not be until they sit down and listen to what wisdom has to say. In Proverbs 1:23, wisdom says this about learning from her:
Proverbs 1:23 – If you had responded to my rebuke…
Wisdom comes with a rebuke, so the question is, do you want to be wise? Do you not want to be taken in by a man? Then, think about this: How many rebukes can you stand? How much corruption will you embrace? How much do you love wisdom? Will you to be silent and listen to her correction and rebukes? Only the man who embraces her and her rebukes will see his own heart and not be taken in by other men.
Proverbs 1:23 – If you had responded to my rebuke…
You don’t just endure the rebuke, but respond to it saying, “Yes, Lord, that’s true.” You see, wisdom comes along and points out you are wrong in an area and we say, “Yes, Lord, that is correct!” Wisdom says, “This is your flesh and if it isn’t dealt, with you will be taken in by men who will feed your flesh,” and you’re supposed to say, “Yes, Lord.” We are supposed to respond to God’s rebuke because it is the word of life. “If you had responded to my rebuke…” Now, look at the promise that is associated here. We are offered this opportunity to be rebuked, but look at what wisdom will do if we will but respond to her rebukes.
Proverbs 1:23 – . . . I would have poured out my heart to you . . .
You wouldn’t have had just an intellectual understanding, would you? You wouldn’t have had the Bible school or Sunday school knowledge. What does it say? “I would have poured out my heart to you.” Wisdom would have given you her heart! It is one thing to have an intellectual understanding of truth. But, where are the men who burned with truth, who have the heart of wisdom that beats and lives within them, that gives them life? It is more than just philosophical and intellectual understanding. It is something that dwells and lives within them. It is alive! The only way you can have this is by allowing yourself to be rebuked.
Proverbs 1-23 – . . . I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.
You will not be taken in by men who are sinful in the way they conduct themselves and you will also have a heart that stands against them. Your heart will see them clearly at all times and in every place. No longer will it be a matter of intellectual pursuit and understanding. It will be a matter of seeing their hearts and motives. You have responded to the rebukes of wisdom yourself so you can see their hearts clearly. People switch from church to church so often because someone comes along with a better logical argument. Mormons very often convert Baptists. Men go from one cause to another, or a different church, activity, or ministry. The logic shifts and changes, but they don’t have the heart of wisdom. Wisdom is alive from inside. It is something that beats within us. If we will respond to her rebukes—if we will get back into the prayer closet, listen to her speech, and allow her to correct us, then we will never be taken in by anyone ever again because we will indeed have the truth living within us. I ask you, how much rebuking can you really take? How much are you really willing to be humbled and broken? “I would have made my thoughts known to you.” Your thoughts have to go. A man who is too busy with his own opinions and ideas about Scripture and truth cannot hear from wisdom. But wisdom is promised to those who respond to a rebuke. She will give you her thoughts. You will have a wisdom that is independent of all of your training, wisdom, intellect, and all of the things that you are able to conjure up. You will have divine wisdom that comes from heaven. Therefore, it can see through every man. It can see through every false ministry.
Proverbs 1:24 – But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand
Nobody paid attention to what she said or that she stretched out her hand.
Proverbs 1:24-26 – But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
She gives her speech and declares. She offers wisdom. She is not hidden somewhere. She is in the public square. But, you wouldn’t listen or heed. You wouldn’t shut up long enough to hear what wisdom had to say. She comes with correction. She tells you what is wrong, what needs to be changed and what course to take, but we ignore her advice and say, “No, I don’t want to take that course and I don’t want to change and deal with sin in this manner. I want to deal with sin in a certain way and I want a certain blessing.” We refuse to listen to what wisdom has to say in terms of the advice for our life, therefore we are not wise.
Proverbs 1:25 – Since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke…
You wouldn’t take it in. It wasn’t life for you. I am going to ask you again and again, how much do you really want wisdom? Wisdom will be given to the degree of how many rebukes you can take and how much endurance you have when she comes to correct you. There are a thousand things she has to show us. She must work purity. When you drive along and wisdom cries out, what does she tell you? What does she whisper in your ear and declare in your heart? When you are at your job and wisdom stretches out her hand to speak and tells you about things that need to change and be corrected, will you accept everything that the Lord will show you that needs to change?
Proverbs 1:26-27 – I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
Trouble comes in people’s lives. Finally destruction happens.
Proverbs 1:28 – Then they will call to me but I will not answer.
There will come a time when men will seek and look, but wisdom will not answer. She will mock back and say, “Oh, you want wisdom now?” They mocked her words, read some ink on paper, examined some Scripture, mocked, and quoted it, but they didn’t have it embraced in their hearts. It wasn’t wisdom living in them, it was them mocking Scripture.
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.
God tells us what needs to change and be different—where our thinking is wrong and not of him. If we fear God, we will choose to hate and reject our own opinions when God comes to speak wisdom to us.
Proverbs 1:29-30 – Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke.
Over and over again, it is a matter of receiving rebukes, correction, and advice. We must sit down before the Lord and say, “Okay, Lord, begin to show me everything that is wrong in my life—every attitude of the heart, and every logic that is wrong.” Most people never learn from their mistakes, because they never admit that it is a mistake. They never fully say, “I was wrong in this,” so they can’t change and correct. Even the world will tell you that if you want to learn, you need to learn from your mistakes. How much more when the Lord comes to us and says, “You were wrong in this area and you didn’t conduct yourself properly. You didn’t have wisdom and you need to change.” If we will admit to the mistake, then we will be granted life. If you want to become wise, then become thoroughly wrong. If you want to have the truth, then find out every lie that lives within you.
Proverbs 1:31 – . . . they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
A man who won’t be corrected and rebuked by wisdom herself schemes to get what he wants. He has a plan. He conducts himself in a certain way to achieve what he wants. He mocks Scripture in order to get what he wants. This is how most churches are built. Pastors or the leadership give you what you want to hear, in order to motivate you in a certain direction. That is why there are so many different groups and denominations, because there is something out there for everybody.
Proverbs 1:31 – They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
When a parent disciplines their child, if that child doesn’t want to be disciplined, especially in the teenage years, they try to scheme. Or, they know the parent will come to them with some advice or wisdom, so the child spends his time reasoning about what is right and wrong, and schemes to get what he wants. We do the same thing with God’s word. We go to God’s word or before his presence and we are already scheming about what we want and how we can fit that in with what wisdom has to say.
Proverbs 1:32 – For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Most people live their Christian life walking in a very simple fashion where the rules are laid out for them. Christianity is not a simple life where everybody does the same thing in a correct pattern. This is about walking with the living God and conducting ourselves with men—and all men are different. Each situation is different, too. Fools who are simple in their understanding will walk into situations that will utterly destroy them. They think that certain ideas, concepts, and opinions will apply to all circumstances.
Wisdom is not an on-and-off love relationship. You cannot be complacent and say, “Okay, I’ve got this wisdom together. I’ve got the understanding down.” This is a relationship. How many men are complacent and self-satisfied in their wisdom and their understanding about God? It will destroy them.
Proverbs 1:33 – But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.
Does it say, “He who talks to me and tells me all of his wisdom will live in ease”? Does it say, “The man who knows all kinds of logic and wisdom and understanding”? No, it says, “Whoever listens to me will live in safety and will be at ease.” Look! This is a whole storehouse of wisdom. Here is a woman who has great wisdom and knowledge, and all we need to do each hour and each day is listen to what she has to say. Then we can walk throughout this life being at ease and living in safety. Wisdom will tell me what to do because she has all the answers. Wisdom will direct and guide me. But when I try to figure it out in my own wisdom, or scheme to fulfill God’s plans or my plans, then I live in harm. “But whoever listens to me will live in safety…” Each hour, each second of every day I listen for wisdom to give me knowledge for that moment. That is the Sabbath rest of God. That is the peace of God—knowing that no matter what problem arises or what circumstance comes my way—whether good or bad—that wisdom whispers to me the proper and holy truth. When we walk in our own wisdom and self-effort, where we have to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s, we live in anxiety and fear all of the time. Why do you think all of the books that talk about how to avoid certain groups or certain churches sell so many copies? All of the anxiety is not necessary. We need to tell people to go back into the prayer closet and listen to wisdom. We have to get to a place where we listen to what wisdom has to say. Our flesh has to die in order to hear from God. Our opinions must be crucified.
Proverbs 2:1 – My son, if you accept my words…
It is a choice between wisdom’s words or our own words. It is a choice between what I think and what wisdom thinks. It is a choice between my reasoning and justifications and what wisdom has to say.
Proverbs 2:1 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you.
If the thoughts of God dwell within you and you store them up, then you are promised that you will be delivered from wicked men. I am no longer paranoid that I might be taken in by an individual or group. I go back into the prayer closet and I rest in wisdom’s arms accepting her words. I store whatever she gives me each day in my heart, knowing that I can live with ease and be in safety and peace. I will never be taken in by any situation or circumstance since wisdom will give me the knowledge I need at the time.
Proverbs 2:1 – 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.
Everything has to do with listening and receiving. God will speak to each one of us and say, “Your wisdom has to die; it is not as simple as you think. Turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding.” What beats in your heart? What is God able to make alive within you? What wisdom dwells within you? Is it your own opinion and self-effort, or the living God? You don’t get this by just some casual prayer. Don’t think wisdom will embrace you just because you walk in and say, “Hey, yeah, I’d like to have this wisdom. I’d like to live in safety and ease.” Look at what it says:
Proverbs 2:3 – and if you call out for insight…
When we drive, work, play, live, sleep, or whatever we do, we must call out and tell the living God, “I need wisdom.” Tell God, “All men are liars including myself. O Lord, what is truth? What is real? What is wisdom?” He will give you that wisdom. But, you have to call out and ask. You must find the buried treasure. You have to sell everything. You must plead for it. He doesn’t give it to the casual observer. This isn’t a library called wisdom where we can walk in and say, “Okay, today I’ll read this because I enjoy doing so.” The heart has to be alive. God has to know that you are worthy to receive such wisdom before he gives you his jewels and pearls. If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, say, “God, give me understanding.” We must ask and plead. The heart and the spirit must be alive and pleading with God; “I must have wisdom. I must have knowledge. I want to know the truth.”
Proverbs 2:4 – and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.
This isn’t a casual search. If I hid a hundred dollars worth of silver coins in the sanctuary and said, “Whoever finds it first can have it,” look at what zeal and effort they would seek to find that silver! God said if we want his wisdom and knowledge, then we need to look for it as if for gold, silver, or something precious. What kind of effort have you demonstrated to God for him to give you wisdom? Have you told wisdom you were in love with her? What have your actions declared? Not what you tell other people—not even what you tell yourself. Other men have taken us in because we don’t ask. We just want some temporal blessing that God will give us. The first words are the most important words.
Proverbs 2:5 – then you will understand…
Then! Only those who have done verse 2, 3, and 4 can speak about this.
Proverbs 2:5 – then you will understand the fear of the Lord.
Many men quote the passage that talks about how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. But I do not see them crying aloud, calling out, looking and striving for wisdom and knowledge. I don’t see them pleading, humbling, and breaking themselves before God. I don’t see them allowing God to rebuke them in all kinds of situations. I don’t see them humbling themselves. There is nothing alive about their search for knowledge. Even when they quote Scripture, they quote it with no power. They don’t know what they talk about. This is about calling upon the living God. You ask him to give you eternal truths in your life and you say it with such callousness and coolness as if you were reading a textbook. We are talking about the living God.
Proverbs 2:5 – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
This is not Bible school knowledge. It isn’t reading a couple of textbooks somewhere or listening to sermons. Go before God at all times during the day and say, “I want to embrace wisdom and I will shut my mouth, listen, and keep quiet before you so I can hear the truth from the living God.” If you don’t want to be taken in by other men, including yourself, then sit down, shut up, and listen to what wisdom has to say. Don’t get involved in all of the stupid and foolish debates. Go before God and say, “God, what is the truth, who lives in the truth, and who else loves the truth?” Yet, with all of the bravado of self-effort and pride, men go to all kinds of schools, camps, and things in order to gain wisdom and knowledge. When was the last time you went to a camp or seminar where everyone just spent the whole weekend crying aloud for wisdom? Allow God to rebuke you. Have him come to you and give you advice. Share with your brothers and sisters, “God rebuked me, and I see all of my errors in doctrine, and I see where I was in self-effort in these areas.” Then talk about wisdom and life. Nobody even thinks about having a seminar like that! Because “wisdom” is something you hear from a preacher, it flows from his lips. “Wisdom” comes from a tape series that you can buy for $14.95. I dare say, if we have a seminar to obtain wisdom from the Lord and we advertised it that way, it would be a weekend of everybody just being quiet before the Lord and listening. That is when wisdom speaks.
Proverbs 2:6 – For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Even the ink on paper tells us to look at the mouth of the Lord! Yet, I know men who worship the Bible. They literally worship the ink on paper. This has become a source of idolatry. The Bible can be used and manipulated to say anything you want it to say. Men have an idol, and it is called the Holy Bible. They stopped listening long ago to the living God and now listen to their own opinions, what man has to say, or what books have to say. You must listen to wisdom. This isn’t some Old Testament story.
John 10:3 – The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
This is the nature of wisdom. Jesus comes to each sheep that belongs to him and calls them by name. He comes to me and he says, “Tim, I call you by name. Come out here and we will begin to talk. I will teach you.”
John 10:3-5 – He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger.
You see, it is all completely and totally tied to a relationship. He who has sat down at the feet of wisdom and has been taught by her, knows her voice just as a child knows its mother’s voice. The child may not even understand what the mother says, but the child knows it’s mother’s voice. If someone else tries to mimic that mother’s voice, the child will run. The child will not even be neutral toward the other person. The child will run from that voice because they know something is wrong. There are many men who talk to me in the name of Jesus Christ and I don’t have to out-debate them. I don’t even have to out-argue them or go through all of the scrutiny that everyone else has to go through. If I don’t hear my master’s voice working through them, I run. I don’t have to offer them an explanation, argument, defense, or anything else.
John 10:5 – But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
How can we tell if we follow the voice of the evil one or the voice of Jesus? You’d better cry aloud. That one has no easy answers. You must plead and look for it as a hidden treasure. What a terrible, terrible thing for man to think he hears from the living God when it is the mocker Satan quoting Scripture to him instead. A man must pay a wicked price, when he has mocked in his own head the words of Scripture and thinks he hears from the living God. He hears only his own voice. You have to cry aloud, plead, and search. You have to ask, “Are you sure this is you, Lord?” You have to question and go through anxiety. You have to suffer and let the cross do its work. As we saw in the beginning, wisdom comes with rebuke. She comes with nails and a hammer in her hand to crucify our flesh.
John 10:3 – He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Most people just refuse to be led out. Wisdom cries aloud in a public street. She holds out her hand all day long. She says, “Come and listen. Come and be rebuked. Accept my advice and you will live in safety and ease.”
Proverbs 2:7 – He holds victory in store for the upright . . .
In every circumstance, if you will listen to wisdom, you will walk in victory, no matter what the evil one or the world brings against you. You will always walk in victory if you will listen to wisdom.
Proverbs 2:7 – He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.
I may never know how many battles I’ve been spared until I reach glory. God has shielded me from many things which I had no clue were dangerous. Like a stupid child, I thought I was ready for battle, but how little I knew. In the same way, like a loving father, he watches me, guides, and directs. He says, “I won’t let you go here because you’ll never stand if you go in that direction.” He, in his wisdom, knows the perfect way to arrange our lives. If we want this kind of peace and rest, then let us go back and listen to what wisdom has to say. Let us search for it as for hidden treasure. Know that a casual observer doesn’t have this kind of promise. “He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.” We must “aim for perfection,” as Paul writes in Corinthians. We must have a desire to be holy in everything that we do. Embracing wisdom, who has all knowledge. I will be rebuked repeatedly because I have no knowledge and I will embrace wisdom who knows all. In order to become blameless, I must be corrected repeatedly. If you want to become wise, then become stupid, and then become convinced that you are stupid.
Proverbs 2:8 – For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Look at the promises of peace and sanctity that are associated with this. Again, I don’t want to be paranoid, worried about who I will be taken in by. A few years ago, I was almost taken in by the evil New Age Movement. Then something different came along. Watch the church. Everyone worries. Embrace her who is holy. Grab on to her who has the wisdom and quit worrying about other things. Have the truth and every lie will be exposed. Get a blameless heart before God and you will clearly see every heart, because wisdom will give you the insight and the knowledge. The ones that you can’t see and understand, wisdom herself will protect you from going down that course. There have been several times in my walk with the Lord when I started to move in a certain direction and something stopped that from happening, I look back on those times and I’m so thankful that I did not go down that road. Look at the job of a teacher, pastor, or preacher—and I use job in a worldly sense. I do not consider this a job, but a labor of love, for he who loves wisdom loves to cause others to fall in love with her, for she is lovely indeed.
Ephesians 4:11-13 – It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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 any teacher, book, or other material is to make you mature in Christ. Do we want to be mature? Do we want to grow up?
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.
Our attraction to other men, doctrines, ideas, and concepts must change, because it feeds some aspect of our flesh. Wisdom says, “You are attracted to this man because he fed this part of your flesh.” It was the temptation in the Garden of Eden. The serpent said, “You will be as God.” He knew the man and the woman thought it sure would be nice to be like God. He was able to tempt them. So, the job of any pastor, teacher, or anyone you listen to, is to get you to a place where you do not need them. They must help you see the areas of your flesh that keep you from hearing the living God. In most churches they just rebuke, correct, or point out things in order to keep your doctrine in line. When a teacher or a leader points out your flesh, your goal should be to go back into the prayer closet and hear it yourself from wisdom. Then, “no longer be 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.” You see, we were all once liars and we believed our own lies and opinions. Then wisdom came along and declared the truth. If I don’t want to be taken in by other men who are deceitful in their schemes, plans, and doctrines, I must hear from the living God. I must first become mature by being crucified to my flesh and laxness in crying out for wisdom. That is why Proverbs says:
Proverbs 15:31 – He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.
Not just any rebuke, but a life-giving rebuke. Men rebuke all the time, but their rebukes do not produce life. But, if you will listen to whom God sends to rebuke you, you will then become mature. You will not be tossed back and forth by men with their schemes, and craftiness and all the things they do in order to entice you into their own sin.
Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Do we grow up into the church dogma? No! We grow up into him who is the Head. We grow up into Christ. We grow up into a living relationship with the living God. We sit down in wisdom and embrace one another. We will become lovers with one another. We will become people who fellowship with the living God. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things”—all things, in every aspect of your life, in everything that you do, wisdom will breathe everywhere—“… grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:16-17 – From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
He tells us how to become mature in this important passage. The church today believes maturity is gained by getting more head knowledge. To attend one seminar after another seminar—to do one project after another project—to read the Bible more and more. We even interpret, in a worldly way, the passage in Timothy that says “Study to show yourself approved.” Does this mean you have a bunch of commentaries in your room?
Ephesians 4:17-18 – So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
This is how you become mature and gain wisdom. Your heart must soften. I can’t tell you how many years wisdom had to correct and rebuke me just to get me to sit down, be quiet, and listen. There was too much of me coming back and saying, “No.” This was an endless debate. Wisdom waited for me to finally sit down and shut up so that I would learn and soften my heart enough to say, “Okay, what is it you have to say? I realize how wrong I am.” This is how we become mature and not tossed back and forth by men:
Ephesians 4:19 – Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to the sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
How does wisdom deal with us? It comes to deal with our flesh. It comes to deal with the impure things in our life, whether they are thoughts or actions. We are taken captive by other men because they feed our flesh. Until we mature and are able to die to our flesh, we will always be in danger of being taken in by somebody else. For instance, God may come along to deal with pride in your life and as he crucifies that pride it is not very comfortable. You may not like the teacher, the circumstances, and you may not even like wisdom bringing it to you. Satan will come along with someone else who will feed that pride and tell you it is okay. So, you are tossed back and forth with every wind, teaching, and doctrine that pulls your flesh in a certain direction. The more you die, the more centered you will become in wisdom and you will no longer be tossed back and forth. A man can no longer draw you, because your flesh is dead. When you reach a certain maturity level in Jesus Christ, men become very frustrated around you because they can’t find your weak spot. As wisdom moves you out among men, they will say, “Where is his weak spot? Where can I get him? How can I draw him after me and cause him to sin?” If they can’t find that, they will persecute and hate because it convicts them that they need to repent. If we want to be no longer tossed back and forth, look at what Paul told them to do. Did he tell them to spend five more hours in doctrinal study? He told them to gain back the sensitivity they had lost. He says, “I insist that you no longer think like Gentiles who give themselves over to impure things.” In other words, deal with the flesh and you will be strong, secure, and become mature.
Ephesians 4:20 – You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
In other words, a lot of people that were presented to Jesus Christ say you can have all of the impurities of the flesh and still have wisdom and knowledge and you’ll be okay.
Ephesians 4:20-22 – You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.
First, we realize that we have deceitful hearts. We lie to ourselves the best. When we say we are humble, innocent, and correct, we are the worst and most convincing liars of all, because we believe our own lies. Wisdom tells us to come and be rebuked, but our wisdom tells us, “No, there is nothing to be rebuked about. Why would I want to go there?” Wisdom tells us what is wrong but we mock it back saying, “Oh, yeah, I know that needs to be dealt with.” Because we think we say the same thing wisdom says, that somehow as mockers, we must be in agreement. That is exactly what has to be put to death. Wisdom is a loud wake-up call as to who we are. Wisdom declares the truth of who we are apart from Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:23 – to be made new in the attitude of your minds…
Our attitude should be, “I don’t have the wisdom or the knowledge. I don’t know what to do in any circumstances, but I do know him who does and I know he promised to protect me. I know that if I run to him, he will give me the wisdom and grace I need. I will embrace and love wisdom.”
Ephesians 4:23-24 – To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
This is not mocking or copying holiness, it is true righteousness and holiness that dwells and lives deep within a man’s heart. He is holy because God is the one in him working that holiness.
Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor…
This is a grand calling! This is how I become holy and keep from being tossed back and forth. We must speak truthfully to one another. If we begin to lie to one another in this body, then we are easy pickings for anybody else to come along and take advantage of us. God seeks to work, above everything else, truthfulness among us. When we say something and it is not correct, he will bring somebody to say, “That is not true!” Then the contest begins and God comes to crucify our flesh. We must speak truthfully to one another if we don’t want to be tossed back and forth by men and their deceitful scheming. But, I guarantee you, that if we get much larger, Satan will send in people who seek to disrupt the whole body. They will come in with the right words and mannerisms. They will whisper and say things your flesh wants to hear. They will mock exactly what we say and preach, but the cross will not be there. That is why you have to go to the prayer closet and cry out to the Lord, “I do not want to be taken in by man anymore, I will sell everything I have in order to have that kind of wisdom. I will embrace wisdom, for she is worthy.”
Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
This is a whole body. If we don’t want to be tossed back and forth by men and their scheming, then let us tell the truth to one another and live in that truth. Truth is wisdom working as God works in each of our lives.
Go back this week and ask to be rebuked and plead for Proverbs 1:23. Sit before the Lord and just get quiet.
Proverbs 1:23 – If you had responded to my rebuke…
When wisdom brings its rebuke, respond, repent, and act according to it.
Proverbs 1:23 – I would have poured out my heart to you…
Look at the promise! No sermon or Bible College can give you that. What a lovely and grand thing it is to have the heart of wisdom dwelling within us!
Proverbs 1:23 – And made my thoughts known to you.
Indeed, you will be triumphant in every situation. You’ll never be taken in by yourself, other men, or anything else because wisdom will guard and protect your course.
Let’s go ahead and pray:
Father, we know that such wisdom will cost us all, but it is not a cost. It is not a cost, Father, to buy a treasure in a field. It is a joy, Father, to give up our lives, our impurities, our excuses and justifications and our reasons and all of the things that we think we own and possess, even all of our good knowledge. Father, speak to us and whisper in each of our ears. Father, we ask for this wisdom. We ask for you to fellowship with us. Protect us, O Lord, from our own schemes and the schemes of wicked men. Father, we know that when we listen to wisdom we can live in safety. Thank you for such promises, O Lord. Amen.
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.