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Godly Wisdom, Human Wisdom and the Devil's Wisdom

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Godly Wisdom, Human Wisdom and the Devil's Wisdom

MP3 Audio (13.53 MB)


Godly Wisdom, Human Wisdom and the Devil's Wisdom

MP3 Audio (13.53 MB)

How many of us ask for wisdom each day? Which type of wisdom are you displaying in your life? We ought to ask God for His wisdom.


The title of today's message is, "Godly Wisdom, Human Wisdom, and the Devil's Wisdom." All three are mentioned in the Bible.

Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was named by Time Magazine as one of the one hundred most influential people on the planet. Did you know that? No? You probably have downplayed him anyway. Aussies don't tend to do that, but the rest of the world seems to have taken note of him. He is a very smart man to be able to get where he is from where he came from.

There was a conversation that we, personally—I say we, my wife and I—were privy to. It was a private conversation that took place sometime back when Kim Beazley was the leader of the labor party. The conversation, which included Kevin Rudd, was discussing the wisdom of challenging Kim Beazley for the leadership to go into the next election and how it could be done; and, then, of course, going on to win the election from the liberal party, which, of course, he did; and if you made the right moves, you were able to win the support of whomever you need to do this. This would take some planning and thought. You had to figure out a way to do this. You would have to have a strategy. You would have to have a certain wisdom, if I can put it that way, as to how to pull all of this off, because it would have been quite formidable. No doubt other conversations took place along about that time, probably, certainly before then, discussing exactly the same thing with other people. So how do you get to be where you are now, for instance, as prime minister? You have to know how things work; and then, of course, you have to do the right things. You have to have, certainly, knowledge and understanding about how to go about such things.

God tells us to seek wisdom. Now, indeed, there is a wisdom in how to function and how to operate in such matters as this. And, as I said, I believe Kevin Rudd is a very smart person and very wise in that regard. But we are advised by God through those that He used to confirm His will to us that we should seek wisdom from Him, which is somewhat different from the kind of wisdom that we are talking about—that is, how things work normally in this world.

We're told to seek His wisdom; and in God telling us to do this, it is implied that maybe we don't naturally have His wisdom, at least in the way we should have it. And that's in the opinion of God. As a matter of fact, He does say and imply that we do not have His wisdom; but He doesn't say we don't have wisdom. He just says we don't have His wisdom. And if things are going to go the way He is pleased with and to achieve His results, then we have to understand His wisdom.

I'll define wisdom for you as we go along. But it is important, however, to seek wisdom from God; and {if we would} seek wisdom from God, we would get the same results that God would want; and that's implied in how you apply wisdom in your own life. For instance, I ought to ask the question, how many of us ask for wisdom each day? It is something we ought to do. We ought to seek wisdom. It ought to be a part of our prayers each day, to ask God for wisdom, and not just wisdom, but for His wisdom. Now, maybe we never do; but it is something that we should do. Wisdom would, of course, include knowledge and understanding. It would include insight and prudence. But wisdom, of course, is, basically, how do things work? How are things going to turn out the way they are? Why do they turn out the way they do in whatever realm or whatever area that you're dealing with? We're dealing primarily with God's results, what He wants to see achieved.

So, if you do ask for wisdom, then you ought to know a little more about what you're asking for and what it is that God says that He will give. For instance, if you say, "Lord, give me the wisdom to become really successful in this world," that may not be the kind of wisdom He's talking about. That is another kind of wisdom.

James, chapter 1 and verse 5, he says this:

James 1:5 James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.
American King James Version×
— If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

That's how we're advised, then, to be sure to ask for wisdom; and he says if any of you lacks wisdom—and I think if we confess as we should, we do lack wisdom. To say that we have all wisdom is not true. The Bible speaks of, it says, "Do not be wise in your own eyes," for instance. We might think we have wisdom, but it says, "Don't even begin to think that. Don't think you know it all. Don't think you have all wisdom because you don't." God says His wisdom confounds the mighty, so we are talking about a level of wisdom here that is quite beyond ours. But did you know that there is more than one kind of wisdom? In fact, there are other kinds of wisdom.

There are other kinds of wisdom that may give the appearance of being wise and would also provide success in the way that the world would describe success. How would the world describe success? They could describe it in a number of ways, but one would suggest that the way it is normally described is, what is your material acquisition? How well have you done that? How important have you become? How much influence do you have in terms of power? What position do you have? As we heard, Kevin Rudd is now among the 100 most influential people in the world today, rated by Time Magazine, if that means anything. But he's right up there with Ahmadinejad. Right up there. It didn't make any distinction, by the way, as to whether it was a good or a bad influence or a mediocre or what kind. It just said the most influential. That's all they did.

Having influence, and the ability to lead and be recognized as such would be seen as success, and to do that you have to be pretty smart. You do have to know how things work. You have to have a certain understanding, and man is quite capable of that. This is not what He's talking about here. This is a different kind of wisdom. I want you to go over to James, chapter 3, to simply demonstrate that there is a different kind of wisdom that we can refer to.

James 3:13 James 3:13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
American King James Version×
— Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

Now why is he asking that question here? He's doing so in the context of chapter 3, verses 1-2, where he says, Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive the stricter judgment, for we all stumble in the things that we say, and so on. So, he says here, OK, he's not trying to discourage a person from becoming a spiritual teacher or being a spiritual teacher. That's a better way of putting it, I think. That's not what he's doing here. He's simply cautioning, Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

So, one of the first rules, then, that God's wisdom produces would be is that a person would have to demonstrate this in his conduct. It has to be seen to be believed. A person can speak and talk, a person can have a very good presentation. He can be a good speaker. He can get up and just...but he has no experience. He hasn't been there, he hasn't done that, he hasn't lived life; and, as a matter of fact, there could be certain contradictions in his life; so no matter what he says, the best way that wisdom, then, is demonstrated is in the meekness of wisdom—it is demonstrated or shown by a person's conduct. Now, that's where it really carries weight. We all have a chance to do that, and we all have a chance, then, to demonstrate the proper kind of wisdom through how we conduct ourselves, especially toward each other. He says:

James 3:14-16 James 3:14-16 [14] But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. [15] This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. [16] For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
American King James Version×
— But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts...well, where else would self-seeking be, except in one's heart? But it does tend to manifest itself in various not boast and lie against the truth. So if you are saying something, don't let what's in your heart contradict what you're actually saying. Don't lie against the truth by way of your own conduct. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. Oh! So there is another wisdom here which is not Godly wisdom. Oh, it's a wisdom; but it's not Godly wisdom. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

Sensual...let's go back to that. I think that kind of sums it up. Earthly, sensual, demonic, that is for a person to be able to achieve everything they want to and have everything they want to, right here and now—that is, to satisfy the senses. That is what one naturally desires. There's a wisdom that can help you do that. Absolutely. There is a wisdom that can help you to get everything and anything that you want. You just have to be good at it, and some people are very good at it. Some people are much better than others. Some people aren't. But you find that this is what people want. And so, the ones that are very good at it, have; those who aren't, don't. But there is a wisdom. That's not a wisdom that descends from above. There's another kind of wisdom that descends from above, but:

James 3:17 James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
American King James Version×
— But the wisdom that is from above is first pure...

Wow! That's very interesting. It's first pure. What would that mean, pure? You know, the whole idea of wisdom of this kind in...religion, if I could put it that way, because he does speak of religion also here in the book of James, that it should be pure. That is, you don't have any motives. It's not a self-seeking type of thing. The whole idea of what Christ taught was NOT that which is self-seeking; that is, to promote oneself in order to try to have importance, be important, to experience and sense a certain significance about yourself. Not saying that God does not want you to have it, but it's got to come a little different way than simply something that we tend to seek or something that wells up within ourselves and that we strive for.

But the first idea of that is to make a person pure, pure in thought, pure in heart. There should be a certain sincerity and genuineness and goodness, if I can put it that way, within the person as a result of what they understand God tells them.

Continuing verse 17: ...then peaceable...hmm. Now that's a problem, isn't it? You can see that some of the wisdom, one might say, strategy, in the world, policies developed by people, the countries, businesses or whatever, do not result in peace. And so, we're not talking about Godly wisdom here when we see that kind of thing taking place.

Continuing verse 17: ...gentle...that's one of the fruits of the Spirit. The nature of wisdom is that it is gentle. One would expect a person who is wise, then, would not be noisy. He would not necessarily be vociferous. He would not have to be, let's say, powerful, necessarily, in his demeanor, but what he has to say simply carries the day. It is wise. However, some people gain power through sheer force, through the ability to, let's say, impress others by way of their own personal power, their own personal charisma. This is part of the way that it's done in the world. God has chosen many times that which is not very impressive to do His will. You'll find that even in the case of Christ. It said He wasn't esteemed. He wasn't looked upon as somebody that was to be highly respected. He didn't come from someone or a family or a calling or background that somebody said, "Wow! This person is really impressive." He didn't come from that. Nothing like that. So His earthly credentials were not very good. He was despised and rejected, it says. Simply because people could not recognize the trueness that was there.

Continuing verse 17: ...willing to yield...there is a wisdom that's willing to yield; that is, in the old King James, it means to be entreated, full of mercy; that is, you can cut a lot of slack with people; there's a lot of tolerance, if I can put it that way, with the weaknesses of other people...full of mercy and good other words, just continues to produce good fruits; but where you have strife, where you have problems, you have difficulties, always, always occurring, trauma always happening, you would not get the impression that we have a person who has Godly wisdom or expresses Godly wisdom or conducts himself in that way.

Continuing verse 17: ...without other words, I'm not rude to you but I'll be friendly to you and not friendly to {someone else}...

Continuing the verse, ...and without hypocrisy...and, of course, what you see is what you get. That's what a person claims, what a person says they are, this is what they are through and through; and so, whenever they say it, it carries weight because you know exactly, this is what the person says. And this is what the person does, and so, we can be absolutely counted on. It's that kind of wisdom.

Verse 18 — Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

It seems peace, then, is one of the big products or results of Godly wisdom.

Now, does the devil have a wisdom? Well, we just read that. He certainly does. And his wisdom does not come from above. James is contrasting here these two kinds of wisdom. I want to refer to Ezekiel 28 where it speaks of this cherub. Ezekiel 28, beginning into verse 12:

Ezekiel 28:12 Ezekiel 28:12Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyrus, and say to him, Thus said the Lord GOD; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
American King James Version×
— ...You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. And it says, all of that—there were other things—(verse 13) was prepared for you on the day you were created.

Verse 15 — You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you...Verse 14, You were the anointed cherub who covers, as it says. God established him as that, verse 14.

This is a very interesting point here, that when God created a full-blown, full-grown being, he had everything immediately; and one of the things he had was wisdom. Now, what wisdom would that have been? Well, that would have been wisdom to simply know how things work. How does it work in God's plan, how does it work in God's economy or God's system, according to His way, to His thoughts? You have to know how all that works. Now he was given all of that, so if God can give it to a being immediately, so can He give it to you if you ask, at any time.

Now, we weren't created. It doesn't speak of us being created. We're born. The only other two who were created were Adam and Eve. They were created. Whenever they were created, they were given full faculties and abilities to speak and to think and to have cognitive abilities. They had that intelligence. It was already there. It was automatic. And they had a level of understanding that gave them a capacity to communicate with God on the level that He needed to communicate with them on. So that was immediate. So, too, with this cherub when he was created with wisdom. God gave him wisdom. He had it. Wow! God made him that way. And, as I said, I think we should...that's a point I take encouragement in, in that if I, at my age, if I ask for wisdom, God could give it to me at whatever length He chooses to give it to me. So as He did it for him, He can do it for you, too. God can impart wisdom when He wants to. A lot of times, He may not do it that way. This is a little bit of an aside. He wants you to learn wisdom, and sometimes we have to go through certain experiences—and we'll refer to that in just a moment—to learn His wisdom; and we have to experience certain things to learn His wisdom. But He does say, if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask for it.

But let's notice what happened here. He says, "You're the anointed cherub." He says, verse 16:

Eze. 28. 16 — By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, and you sinned...

So here was sin on the part of a cherub. Anyone who has free will who chooses to depart from God, it's sin. Now, your dog cannot sin. OK, I just wanted to let you know that. I think you all knew that. Now, you might think he does. I had a dog one time. I know he was a sinner, and I treated him like he was a sinner because I inflicted punishment, much to the chagrin of...uh, my wife says to move on. But, in any case, this cherub had free will. He could choose. He could sin, and though death did not come upon him, death comes upon those who are told that they will die if they sin, and that was Adam. And God specifically said that to Adam. But He didn't say that to the angels. Now, let me just make it clear here as to what he {Satan} did. He sinned, and therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Verse 17, Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom...there he corrupted his wisdom.
So he had a wisdom and he, because of what he chose—because he had the ability, the mind to do this—he corrupted his wisdom. It doesn't say he lost wisdom or lost his wisdom. It says he corrupted it. Now, what he came to was a certain kind of wisdom. Now, wisdom, in any case, is knowing how things work to gain a certain result. Let me define that for you in this way: wisdom is knowing how things work to gain a certain result. Wisdom is knowing the end from the beginning. God says, "I have wisdom. I know the end from the beginning. I know exactly how something's going to turn out because I see the way, I see what you're doing." And He can tell you that, but He is also capable of saying, "I know what My purpose is, too." We'll talk about that in just a moment. But you know, if you do things in a certain way, you're going to have a certain result.

Now, the wisdom of the devil did not bring peace, but it brought war. He ascended. He wanted to become as God. He was concerned for himself. This was self-seeking, totally, purely self-seeking on the part of the devil, so his wisdom, then, the wisdom of the devil, involves how you can have for yourself as much as you can get for your own importance and how that can be achieved. A whole system was devised that concentrated on a person's power, a person's status, a person's position, how a person could gain security in this world, and gained by certain methods designed to achieve that. He's called the ruler of this world, or of this age, within this age. Everything of this age. The apostle John describes it, the world, everything that is of the world is the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh, he says. In other words, it's very essential. And how the person selfishly is going to be somehow benefited or pleasured or whatever it is that they may want, more on an immediate basis; and there is a wisdom as to how to get that. And some people have very good wisdom as to how that takes place.

Now, in chapter 1, verse 18, of I Corinthians, we find also in addition to this, there is a wisdom of man.

I Cor. 1:18-19 — For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. The message of the cross is foolishness; it is something that men just simply don't get. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise..." What is he saying here? "...and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." What's wrong with being prudent?

What he is saying here, and he's about to say, is that you can have all of the human wisdom, which might do you well in this world; but it's not going to show you what God's purpose is. He says {in verse 20}, Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer or the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? What does he mean? That is, the cleverness to use knowledge, to use reason, logic, to gain the superior position. All of that, God is going to bring to nothing, and there is a certain cleverness. You've got to be very smart to know how to use this.

Verse 21 — For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Now, what is he saying there? According to God's wisdom, the way God says He was going to do this, that God set it up so that the world would not come to know God's purpose through human wisdom. He can't do that. It's impossible. Now, it doesn't say he couldn't know that God exists. It doesn't say that. You can through human reason and wisdom, you can know that God exists and you can also reason a lot about God from what you observe, for instance, in the creation. You have the capacity to do that, and you can take a look at it and you can deduce through what you see the kind of God He is, but there is something you would never know. You would never know what God's going to do in terms of human beings becoming His own sons. You could never deduce that from anything you saw or that human reason by itself could tell you. It could tell you a lot of things, but it can't tell you that. And this is what he's talking about here.

Human wisdom is how things work in this world. Human wisdom is probably a mixture of the devil's wisdom, that is, having the aim of promoting one's own self interests, and Godly wisdom, having to some degree the interests of others also, because you're really not going to have very much success in this world if you're promoting only your own interests. You have to show some interest in other people. For instance, we have those who are running for office now in the United States. You can see this. They're saying, "Vote for me. I am the best person," and so, they are promoting themselves in their campaigns; but at the same time, they are saying, "The reason you need to exalt me is because I can help you." So we have a little bit of a mixture here, don't we?

Human wisdom, then, could be described also as simply knowing how things work. Jesus Himself said that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light in some respects. Luke, chapter 16, verse 8, let's refer to that because I think this is an important part of the discussion. Here is the parable that Jesus gave of the unjust steward. Here you have an unjust steward who sees that he is about to be called on the carpet because, being the steward, he had charge over his master's goods and finances; and he made some loans that were not prime. I think we can all understand that. And it looks like the creditors were about to default on this, and so he sees that he's going to be in trouble, so he goes immediately to the creditors. After all, he was the one who lent the money; and a good bank manager has to be very careful as to how you lend out the bank's money. He lent out money and it's all going to be called in. He sees that it's not quite going to happen the way he wants it to, and so he goes to them and he says, "I tell you what. Pay this much off and it's over. We'll wipe the debt." And these guys take a look around and where they got the money, who knows, but they did; and they called it clear. They got a good deal. And the steward did one thing, he was making friends with them, because if he got the ax, he at least could get himself another job. Are we talking about human wisdom here or not? I think you can see we are. So what does he do? The master calls him on the carpet and he gives an accounting, and he says: "You are very shrewd in what you did." Now the master didn't come out too good. He came out on a loss on it, but he at least had to admire him in what he did. At least the loss wasn't as bad, perhaps, as it could have been. Now, in verse 8:

Luke 16:8 Luke 16:8And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
American King James Version×
— So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

So what's he talking about here? Is he saying that the sons of light, that is, those who have been enlightened with the truth of God and been called according to the purpose of God, then, ought to be as shrewd as the unjust steward? No. That's not what he's saying. What he is saying is that the sons of light ought to be as intelligent and shrewd and as, let's say, productive in their business, God's business, as the unjust steward was in his business. His business was what? Money. What's the business of the sons of light? Carrying on the work of God, making sure that you're developing the mind and the character of God, making sure that you're fulfilling the purpose of God. So if you were as diligent, as shrewd, and applied all of the principles of success to that in your field of spiritual growth and development or the promotion of the gospel as this man was in finances, he said, now that's what the sons of light ought to be. He's not saying the sons of light ought to be shrewd in finances. It would be nice if we were, but that's not the point he's making here.He says to consider the unjust steward and how smart he was.

How about the sons of light? They should also be smart in prosecuting their business, the business of God. But what we're talking about here is a wisdom of knowing how things work in this world according to the systems of this world. This is what he's saying. And there is a knowledge of that. This is a wisdom, and the better you are at it, the better off you're going to be, financially, materially, and in lots of other ways, if you know how to do that. And, as I suggested before, some people are very good in the areas of human wisdom.

Now, a lot of spiritual principles are involved there in this, no question about that; and some people apply it only to non-spiritual areas of their life. For instance, they will take the book of Proverbs...I've known people who have done that, disregard the rest of the Bible, simply take the book of Proverbs and apply it to how they're going to operate in the world. A lot of good wisdom in that {book}. Human wisdom, but there are more overtones as to how one is supposed to operate spiritually. Now, that's also in there, and so, if you're going to understand how to live in this world according to God's way, then you have to seek God's wisdom in this. Let's go on. I'm back to I Corinthians 1, verse 22, perhaps I didn't tell you.

I Cor. 1:22-23 — For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness...this is foolishness to the Greeks. "Christ crucified? That doesn't sound like wisdom to me. You mean you're going to send the Creator down to this earth and you're going to make Him a human being and then He's going to die for them? This is not very smart!" I'm just simply showing you how human wisdom will look at it. That's how they would see it. Verse 24, But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Wow! Who's the wisdom of God? It's Christ. How would that be? How could it be even the power of God? How could it achieve what God wanted? Verse 25, Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. So God has a plan. He knows exactly what He's going to do.Verses 26-27, For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh...ah! So there are people who are wise according to the flesh, but the ones He calls are not very wise according to the flesh... not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the God says, "I'm going to show them that they can have plenty of wisdom because they learn how to operate in this world. Even the smartest people in the world," He says, "I want to put them to shame. I'm going to put them to shame this way." ...and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty... It doesn't matter how powerful they are. People respect power, don't they? People respect that which is mighty. If you can pull off being elected, if you can knock off all your opponents in your own party and then succeed in getting elected against a powerful opposition, then you get respect. Now you've got power, and that takes some smarts. But God says, "I want to put to shame all of this. It doesn't matter how much human wisdom you have to be able to do anything you want to do, I'm going to put it to shame." Verse 28, The base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are. And people will see that before it's over with. They're going to see where their best efforts of wisdom has gotten them. Verse 29, That no flesh should glory in His presence. He's not going to have that. Verses 30-31, But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God...Wow! Christ became for us wisdom from God——and righteousness and sanctification and redemption——that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."

Now, what this is telling us, then, is a great deal about the wisdom of God if we would simply look at it. During the Passover season that we just came from, we learned how God chose to bring salvation to the human race through Jesus Christ and how He was going to do that. He sent Jesus who was the second member of the God family to this earth, relinquishing His powers, giving His authority over to the Father. "What? You mean to tell me You're going to give up Your powers? You're going to give up Your eternal existence? You're going to put that on the line? You're going to give up your authority?" Human wisdom cannot understand how that's success; and so, when He came, they did not esteem Him. They despised Him. And so, they don't understand this. God says, "It's going to work." He knows it's going to work. And the wisdom of God, who did this long before there was a creation, He understood exactly what He was going to do to achieve what He wanted to achieve and to have the proper results. There was a purpose that was designed before the foundation of the world, so that man would believe in God. He would come to trust God. He would never question God's goodness and God's love.

It was a long time in coming, but He knew that it would bring the desired results. And He would have children. He would have children in His own family who would return His love and never turn against Him. They would always be in submission to God and to Jesus Christ, always; and God has done this.

You see, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. What is the result you want? The result that you want are members of the family of God who will always, always be in obedience to Him and never, ever turn against Him. Never! They just wouldn't do it. Why? Because of the way God said He wanted to do it. And there was a wisdom. He knew what the result was. He knew what the outcome was. He knew what He wanted to achieve, and He says, "There's only one way to do it, and here's where you've got to start. You've got to start the right way. You've got to do the right thing."

Now, in Philippians 2 and verse 8, it tells you very clearly the result of God's way of doing things, God's wisdom.

Philippians 2:8-11 Philippians 2:8-11 [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. [9] Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: [10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; [11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
American King James Version×
— And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself..."Humbled Himself? How do you get elected if you've got to humble yourself? You can't do that!" You see, this is totally opposite of the way man's wisdom is. ...He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, a criminal's death! Wow! "So this is going to work, is it?" You can see how a person would be very skeptical if someone told him that this is the way it was all going to happen, if he understood the world's ways. He says, "This is not the way you gain power. This is not the way you have a following. This is not the way you get people to turn to you. You have to come in power! You have to come in might. You have to come in splendor. You have to come in all kinds of powerful and mighty ways and get people to then obey you. People then respect you that way." It says here, obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 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, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. How is God going to achieve this result, that people will simply bow to God because of Jesus Christ? People will confess with their tongue. There's no sword being put to their throat on this one, no gun held to their head. This is something they want to do. Through the wisdom of God, He knows exactly what He's doing. He knows exactly where He's going. He knew exactly how He was going to achieve the results He wanted in this way.

Now, the first chapter of James gives us the answer about wisdom. When we go back and see the first chapter of James where he says to seek wisdom...let's go back there in James, chapter 1, and we see clearly, then, what he's saying.

James 1:5 James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.
American King James Version×
— If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

But what does he say in verses 2-4? My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials...what? Human wisdom won't let you do that. Count it all joy when you fall into various trials?...knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. Godly wisdom will help you to see, if you understand Godly wisdom, how it all works, that your testing is going to produce patience, and let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Lacking nothing. It's when you understand this, there is a patience. There is a patience in wisdom. There was a patience in God's wisdom.

Wisdom is knowing the right outcome or the result. If we understand that God has a purpose in what He is doing and if we know what that purpose is, you're going to be a lot more stable in your thinking. You're going to be a lot more confident, too, that we know what God is doing. And you're going to have peace because you know the outcome. A person who doesn't know that, as it says here in verses 8-11,...a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

What he's saying is this is the way it happens to everybody. This is repeated in the Bible several times. In another place, in the book of James. This is only one place it is. He wants you to really understand that this is the way life is. Use wisdom, Godly wisdom, to achieve an eternal outcome. And true wisdom simply knows how it works and is willing to submit to that and is patient in submitting to what God is doing.

I'm going to skip on down because of time here. It says in verse 17:

James 1:17-20 James 1:17-20 [17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning. [18] Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. [19] Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: [20] For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.
American King James Version×
— Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures...ok, when you understand what God is doing... So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath...Let me tell you something, the wisdom of the world says you'd better be quick to answer and you'd better let them know you mean business. The wisdom of God says, you'd better stop and think what God might be doing...for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. The wrath of man is not producing the righteousness of God. Isn't it amazing? It simply will not happen. Wrath is a part of human wisdom, and, as a matter of fact, it's quite devilish.

In Matthew, chapter 25, verses 8-9, it speaks of the wise virgins and the foolish virgins.

Matthew 25:8-9 Matthew 25:8-9 [8] And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. [9] But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
American King James Version×
— And the foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise answered, saying, "No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves."

Why were these wise people? Why were they wise? They did what they needed to do to have a certain result. They knew it was going to come to this. They knew it was going to come down to the fact that at some point, the midnight cry would come and the bridegroom would be there and you had to be ready for it. You had to know. The wise had oil. Why did they have oil? Because they were prepared, and those who knew they should have prepared and they didn't were the foolish ones. And one prepares for this. One understands the end of the matter. They are wise, they are also patient; they continue to do that which they should be doing. They submit themselves to God in terms of whatever the trial is or the difficulty is where He wants to lead them so that they will know. They respond to it. They understand every good and perfect gift comes from God. That is foremost in their minds, and they realize where it comes from. This is very powerful stuff here. If we can so reorder our lives to know, to understand the wisdom of God and what God is achieving.

Now I want to go on to I Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 10. Paul says he was a wise master builder. He's laid the foundation.

I Cor. 3:10-11 — ...and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

What kind of foundation were they laying? It was rather human in some ways, because they were setting up for themselves teachers, and he says Christ is the foundation. Christ is the one that we're going to follow. Christ is the one who is the head of the church, and everything is going to be founded on Him. And he says, "As a wise master building, that's the direction I have to go."

Matthew 7:24 Matthew 7:24Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:
American King James Version×
, Jesus says this:

Matthew 7:24 Matthew 7:24Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:
American King James Version×
— Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock...

A wise man? How does a wise man build? And what kind of house are you going to build? On the Rock. He says,"Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine is like a wise man." Now you can go back to the sermon on the Mount where He says that, and you can get a pretty good idea that the way Jesus said to do things was opposite to the way humans would normally do them. And He concludes His sermon on the Mount, He says, "A wise man does this; that is, a wise man understands where all of this is going and how it's going to end up." One day, we're going to stand before Jesus Christ and we've got to know how to get there.What do you do? So, as an example, according to Jesus, to be wise and following His teachings, you don't do your prayer in front of people so that they can recognize you as somebody important. That's what they were doing. He says, "It's not going to work. It's not the wisdom of God. Trying to be important in this world through religion is not the way it is." He says, "I'm not here to make a big splash in the way that people normally do with religion."

That's very interesting, you know. I want to refer back to James because I think James is telling us how we ought to be in understanding true Godly wisdom. He said this. He said, "If there are any sick among you, you let him call on the elders of the church, and they will anoint him with oil, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick," and so, do you know what churches do? Some of them do? They get a big gathering and they do their laying on of hands in front of a big audience. The person falls down and they get up and they claim they've been healed. Is that what God said to do? "Oh, you're going to get crowds. You're going to get membership. You're going to get support, and you're going to get money." That's not what James said to do. You see, God says you do it differently. It's very interesting what He says here. He says, "If somebody compels you to go one mile, go the extra." "What! My human wisdom tells me that's not going to work! Try to go over and beyond sometimes for somebody and see what happens."

"Do not return evil for evil." "Huh? You can't survive in this world without doing that! You've got to take up for yourself. You'd better fight back." Well, He's saying not to do that.

He's saying a number of things.
Matthew 5:42 Matthew 5:42Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away.
American King James Version×
— Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Oh, I realize there's a certain context to this, but there are certain applications, too.

Matthew 5:44-45 Matthew 5:44-45 [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
American King James Version×
— But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

That is not human wisdom. That's not going to get you ahead in this world. It's not going to get you what you want in this world, but do you know what He says? He says your house will stand. He says, "You've got to understand there's a wisdom in how I'm telling you that you should act and conduct and behave yourself. In doing so, you'll stand and you'll stand when you need to stand."
He has a lot of things that He says here as to how He wants us to be. "Don't be anxious about what I'm going to eat! What kind of advice is this?" What I'm saying is that, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." "Oh, no, folks! I put my family first!" That's what people would say. "I've got to provide for them." OK, but there's a wisdom in how God says to do this.

Matthew 6:19 Matthew 6:19Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
American King James Version×
— Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth... "But I need security!" God says, "You want security? There's a way of getting it."

You know, there's a human wisdom in all of this. Now I'm not saying that human wisdom as to how one gets along in the world and makes his way, making your living in this world, is wrong, necessarily. But there is also a Godly wisdom that it is talking about here. He says, "If you follow this, then this will work." And it's important to know how it works. Wisdom from above, humility. Hmm. Not going to get very far with humility in this world, but that's what he says to do. The person who is wise in his own eyes, God says, knows nothing. He will never learn anything. Humility always looks for the will of God. It is submitting to the will of God. It's characteristic is peace. It is patient, and it's real patient. Real patient. You may not get the kind of results you're looking for right away, but you will get the kind of results that count. It's always meek. It speaks of the meekness of wisdom. It is always demonstrated by what a person does, not what a person claims or says.

Finally, it has to come from God. You can't have this kind of wisdom. You can see how opposite it is to the way we think. This kind of wisdom must come from God. If you want to know it, you need to ask for it. The wisdom from the world, you can pick it up off the street. That's what they call it, don't they? Street wisdom, street smart. Get that from the street. If you want God's wisdom, you've got to ask God for it.

And it says over and over again that God is the one who gives wisdom. Enemies of Godly wisdom: anger and wrath. Enemies of Godly wisdom: pride. Enemies of Godly wisdom: contention and strife, self assurance, just a few.

We could say a lot about this, couldn't we? I simply ask you to think about it. Let us all seek and strive for the Godly wisdom that He is prepared to give to us in abundance and so order our lives. We can have the proper influence on other people and more so; we can have the results that God wants us to have in our lives. Thank you very much. We'll see you in a few short weeks.