Gospel Nuggets – Christ, Our Perfect Wisdom (Prov 8)

Gospel Nuggets – Christ, Our Perfect Wisdom (Prov 8)

On Sunday 21 September I had the privilege to teach to our flock.

The sermon was titled “Christ, Our Perfect Wisdom”, the text from Proverbs 8.

You can hear it here. 

Sermon notes below.

Blessings.

Prov 8

Proverbs 8 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Excellence of Wisdom

 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
am understanding, I have strength.
15 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
All the judges of the earth.
17 I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
29 When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”





Christ, Our Perfect Wisdom
 
I’m going to come out up front and say that this has not been one of the better weeks I’ve had.
You could say that the Godfrey family has been well and truly through the wringer.
 
I won’t bore you too much with the details, suffice to say that there’s been some broken bones, there’s some missing teeth, and there’s been a decent helping of humble pie in my workplace.
 
But hey, we’re still alive and breathing – and God is still on the throne, and that’s always a good thing. And I’ve learnt a few lessons along the way, the main one being just that – that God is on the throne, He’s the one in control, masterfully moving all the pieces in accordance with His good and perfect will. And even though we know this, what do we do? We often end up trying to do God’s work for Him. We think we know better.
 
And with that in mind, let’s go to His Word, reading from Proverbs 8. I’ll read from v22-31, then incorporate the other verses afterwards.
Proverbs 8:22-31 (NKJV)

22  “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
23  I have been established from everlasting,
24  When there were no depths I was brought forth,
25  Before the mountains were settled,
26  While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
27  When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
28  When He established the clouds above,
29  When He assigned to the sea its limit,
30  Then I was beside Him asa master craftsman;
31  Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
Let’s go the Lord in prayer…
1  Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice?
2  She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
3  She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
4  “To you, O men, I call,
5  O you simple ones, understand prudence,
6  Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
7  For my mouth will speak truth;
8  All the words of my mouth arewith righteousness;
9  They are all plain to him who understands,
10  Receive my instruction, and not silver,
11  For wisdom isbetter than rubies,
12  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
13  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
14  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
15  By me kings reign,
16  By me princes rule, and nobles,
17  I love those who love me,
18  Riches and honor arewith me,
19  My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
21  That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
32  “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33  Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it.
34  Blessed is the man who listens to me,
35  For whoever finds me finds life,
36  But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was in the beginning with God.
3  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life–
2  the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us–
3  that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
31  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
30  Then I was beside Him asa master craftsman;
31  Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
1  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORDGod had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3  but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
4  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.  
7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8  And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9  Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10  So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11  And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12  Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13  And the LORD God said to the woman, “What isthis you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14  So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this,
15  And I will put enmity
8  “For My thoughts arenot your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point ofdeath, even the death of the cross.
9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
32  “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
33  Hear instruction and be wise,
34  Blessed is the man who listens to me,
35  For whoever finds me finds life,
36  But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;

Before His works of old.
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
Or the primeval dust of the world.
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
And I was daily Hisdelight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
And my delight was with the sons of men.
 
We all know that the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. Sometimes the types and shadows are hard to spot, they need a little digging to extract.
But in some cases it’s glaringly obvious what’s going on.
And Proverbs 8 is one of those times.
In chapter 7 the writer was on a roll, in the middle of a dire warning about youthful lusts and seduction. Not just physical seduction of course, but the lures of the world, and the dangers of taking your eyes off of God, and giving in to it. God is a jealous God (as Exodus 20 says), and He despises when we substitute a perfect relationship with Him, with a cheap knock-off that can’t satisfy. Well, not long term, anyway.
We are wise to never avert our eyes and attention away from Him.
Then all of a sudden in chapter 8 it seems like Jesus Christ Himself has walked into the room and said “Wisdom? You want to know about wisdom? Give me that quill and move over. I’ll tell you about wisdom!”
Let’s just read either side of our text to place it in context:
Proverbs 8:1-19 (NKJV)
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
At the entrance of the doors:
And my voice is to the sons of men.
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Nothing crooked or perverse isin them.
And right to those who find knowledge.
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
And find out knowledge anddiscretion.
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
I am understanding, I have strength.
And rulers decree justice.
All the judges of the earth.
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Enduring riches and righteousness.
And my revenue than choice silver.
20  I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may fill their treasuries.
Proverbs 8:32-36 (NKJV)
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
And obtains favor from the LORD;
All those who hate me love death.”
The past few months we’ve been studying through the book of Hebrews together as a fellowship on Sunday mornings. Can anyone tell me the main theme that David has been threshing out? Anyone?
That’s right – Jesus Christ is better. A better High Priest. A better example. A better  – everything.
And it’s the same in these verses.
Now, I love alliterated sermons – I love to play around with words mainly because they keep my focus and interested. I’ve always been jealous of preachers who can come up with a 7 point sermon that all start with the same letter, or the first letters of each point spell the word ‘Prayer’ or something.
I’ve just come up with 3 for this passage:
·         Christ is Perfect in Wonder
·         Christ is Perfect in Will
·         Christ is Perfect in Wisdom
Christ is Perfect in Wonder
Littered throughout these verses (that’s v22-31) are examples of Christ’s own involvement in creation. He boldly states that He was there before it all began. You may have known this all along, but when I did a bible study recently with someone, I was amazed to learn that this was a revelation to them.
A quick summary of where we can find this in our text:
V 23 From the beginning, before there was an earth
V 25 Before the mountains and hills were settled  
V 27 When He prepared the heavens
V 28 When He established the clouds and the fountains of the deep
V 29 When He assigned the sea to its’ limit, and marked out the foundations of the earth
V 30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman.
God created all these things, and Jesus was co-creator with Him.
We can confirm this in a couple of other places in scripture. Firstly:
John 1:1-3 (NKJV)
And then flick over to 1 John 1 and we read:
1 John 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Creation was perfect. Just how He wanted it. How do we know this? Because God said it was good in
Genesis 1:31 (NKJV)
So Christ was there at the beginning. In fact He was the beginning. And the end as well, because He created time as well.
He carried out His master plan of creation to perfection. And when we read the creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 we find that there was nothing that was created that He was unaware of. There were no ‘mistakes’. Nothing was missed out. The exact number of everything He wanted to create were created, the exact way He wanted them created. And they were placed exactly where He wanted them, and they performed the exact task He created them for perfectly.
Well, perfectly that is, until He created man. Why? Because unlike all other creatures, He gave man a free will. The Bible does not say that God thought that man was good after creating him. It doesn’t say He said he was bad, either. It just doesn’t mention it.
So Christ is Perfect in Wonder.
Christ is Perfect in Will
Because it’s one thing to describe the How of creation. But it’s something quite harder to explain the Why.
And we read in v30-31 the main reason God went to all this trouble:
Proverbs 8:30-31 (NKJV)
And I was daily Hisdelight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
And my delight was with the sons of men.
All this was done so that God could delight in His Son, as well as man. And His Son, alongside His fellow man, could delight in God. And that was His plan, as we knew it anyway.
I once heard someone say that even if no one on the face of the earth ever gave God His deserved praise and honour, He would still be perfectly happy, because His delight is in His Perfect Son.
However, man, with his own less than perfect wisdom, well he decided he knew better than God.
Rather than strive to keep his eyes fully focused on the perfect Creator, he was instead entranced by the allure of His creation:
Genesis 3:1-6 (NKJV)
He obviously didn’t read Proverbs 7, otherwise he would have known that taking your eyes off God and instead listening to lies and giving in to the allure of His creation, would only end up in you becoming caught with your fig leaves down.
Man was separated from God, and the beautiful fellowship that he once enjoyed with his creator had been forever scarred by his disobedience towards Him. The relationship ties had been severed, and man was the one that was caught red-faced, and red-handed with the scissors.
So was that all part of Christ’s perfect will? His master plan? From a distance it looks like it has all collapsed in a screaming heap with no hope of resolve. Does God need to come up with Plan B?
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that it all played out exactly the way He planned it, conceived from eternity beginning.
Christ is Perfect in Wisdom
Even in the midst of turmoil, when it seemed all hope for man was gone, God revealed His master plan, the one he had from the beginning.
Let’s follow in Genesis. I know what happens, and I’m still excited:
Genesis 3:8-15 (NKJV)
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
What an awesome solution He put in place. Who else but God could come up with such a masterful solution?
Not me. I would have said ‘That’s it! I gave you everything you could have wanted.
You had it all, and all you had to do was to rejoice in me for who I am, and what I’d given you, and not touch or even look at a piece of fruit on a tree, and you couldn’t even do that, could you!
This is how you repay me for what everything I’ve done for you? Now I’m gonna fry you, and start from scratch. And this time I’m gonna create someone who actually shows me the respect I deserve!’
That’s what I would have said, because I’m not God. I’m as bad, in fact I’m worse, than the first man He created. But as it says in
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
God had something better in mind. He wanted restoration. He wanted to reconcile man to Himself. How would He do that?  
Look at v15 of Genesis 3 says that 2 seeds will come from the woman. One seed will inherit Adam’s sinful nature. That’s you and me.
The other seed will be from God. It will come by way of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. That way the Seed stays pure.
Christ, from eternity past enters the world through that seed, in the form of a man, but without man’s sinful nature.
I’ll let the scriptures explain it better. Let’s turn to what’s commonly known as the ‘Hymn of Christ’, found in
Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)
You see, this was His plan all along. The Perfect Wonder of Christ, wrapped up with the Perfect Will of Christ, and tied with the bow of the Perfect Wisdom of Christ.
If the worship team could come up now.
So, what should our response to this be? Well, let’s look at the final verses of
Proverbs 8:32-36 (NKJV)
For blessed are those whokeep my ways.
And do not disdain it.
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
And obtains favor from the LORD;
All those who hate me love death.”
It’s like Jesus Himself has grasped our faces in His hands to get our attention. You know, just like your mum would have done to you, to get your attention. He turns our faces towards Himself, describes Himself in all His eternal glory, and then chastises us by saying “Look at me, aren’t I much better than the garbage you’ve given into? Look at my perfect Wonder. Observe my Perfect Will for you. Listen to my Perfect Wisdom. If you keep your eyes on me, your creator – you will live. Turn away and give in to the lusts of the flesh, and you will perish.
And even though you may have given in to the lusts of the flesh – remember, I still love you, and I died so that you could live. 
That’s my prayer for you today. Turn to Christ, and live.
 
Let’s pray.
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