Relevant: The Gift of Wisdom

Sermon Summary

This message raps up the "Relevant" series of sermons on The Lord's Sermon on the Mount. There are multiple ways in which these final words of Jesus' message give us the gift of wisdom and enhance our lives in a very powerful way. When we have God's wisdom to understand that we're not better than others, and that we don't know everything, we humble ourselves we put ourselves in a position to to be taught by God. There are five other applications of the gift of wisdom found in this passage and each one helps us to discover how to live our lives in such a way that God will be honored and we will be so much better off!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. The wise men had read the ancient prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and sought to find Jesus. There's an old saying that goes like this: Wise men still seek Jesus! There are many reasons to seek Jesus. What led you to first seek Him?

2. When we find Jesus as our Savior He then offers to give us wisdom from God! This wisdom will guide us in our relationship with God and also in our relationship with others. Discuss the gift of wisdom found in Jesus' advice to not judge others and why it's so important to find that wisdom.

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

3. Why is humility the key to receiving the gift of God's wisdom?

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

4. Jesus taught us to do unto others what we would have them to do unto us. While this wisdom is simple enough to understand it's not so easy to do. Paul gives some amazing insight on the conflict that exist between our two natures and the kind of fruit each one produces. Read the passage from Galatians and discuss the last verse which gives us the secret to living by the Golden Rule!

Galatians 5:17-24 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

 Full Sermon Notes

Relevant: The Gift of Wisdom

I love that song and thank God that one of the greatest presents we receive from God is His presence. When Jesus came to this earth He was Emanuel, God with us! And as I said last week, He is still with us by way of His Precious Holy Spirit! What we need is what Bronie just sang about, we need to become more aware of His presence and to experience the glory of His goodness! Let's pray and ask Him to give us the gift of wisdom so we can become more aware of His presence and experience the glory of His goodness!

"Father God I come to you this morning asking for Your divine wisdom to guide us and to teach us how to be more aware of Your presence with us each and every day. We want to experience the glory of Your goodness on a daily basis! As we approach the day on which we celebrate Your coming to this earth in such an unusual yet glorious way, we seek to discover how Your gift of wisdom to us can change our very lives. Teach us today and we will be quick to give You all the glory and honor due Your name, and it's in that precious name we pray, amen!"

Okay, today we're going to rap up our Lord's sermon on the mount by looking at the amazing gift of wisdom that Jesus gave to humankind through His message. We've spent 17 weeks on The Sermon on The Mount and I've personally learned so much from digging deeper into our Lord's message. Let's look at God's gift of wisdom in our text for today. Matthew 7:1-2...

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Okay, I know you're scratching your head on this one! How can these verses on the subject of judging others be a gift of wisdom?
Well, I call it the gift of...

Wisdom to understand
I'm not all that!

What an important gift! I have to understand that for me to judge others assumes that I have the right to judge them, or that I'm good enough to judge them, and neither of these things are true! Now I may not agree with someones behavior or their actions and attitudes, but for me to try to judge their motives or their heart, is way beyond my pay grade! Sometimes my mind forms judgments in a split second before I can do anything about it, but I don't have to express that judgement out loud, and I can make myself question that judgement and remind myself of my own issues! Mercy for me but not for you is just plain wrong and is not God's way! Have you ever found yourself condemning in someone else something you also struggle with? Or maybe you don't struggle with that particular thing so it's easier to point a finger at their sin, while you ignore the sin you struggle with. Is it not easy to think of another person's sin as major sin while we look at our sin as minor? The gift of wisdom in regards to how we look at others is a gift you and I both need. Jesus painted a rather ludicrous picture to help us understand this truth.

Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Can you picture that scene? You're trying to get a speck out of their eye but you keep hitting them upside the head with the beam coming from your eye! "Hold still while I get that speck", then whack, you hit them again! It's crazy. The log or plank in your eye may be your pride in thinking you're so much better than the poor sinner you're trying to help with their speck of dust. If we only understood people respond so much better to help when it comes from a person who is merciful because they've received mercy and when it comes from a person who is gracious because they've received grace. Paul put it this way...

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards;
not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —
to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

How much better would our world be if all of us judged non of us, but left judgement to God and if we gave the same mercy to others that God gave to us? How would that effect the family dynamic at this year's family Christmas gathering? Now Jesus adds a statement to this judging thing that at first glance seems out of place, but let me quickly explain it...

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.
If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

What Jesus is saying here is this: if you've allowed Jesus to help you with your sin issues and you in turn want to help others, that's a good thing, but if they have totally rejected God and His ways, if they don't want your help, and you try to force the issue you may get hurt! So don't judge others, and when you try to help others use wisdom in the way you do so!

So God gives me the gift of wisdom to know I'm not all that, and then He gives me the gift of ...

Wisdom to understand
I don't know all that!

And if you realize you don't know everything, then you've taken the first step to being teachable, and having a teachable spirit is the gateway to wisdom!! Listen to what Jesus said next...

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

When you are willing to humble yourself and ask, seek and knock then doors will be opened to you. Did you know that God honors  those who are humble? God blesses those who understand their spiritual poverty. In fact Jesus mentioned this early on in His sermon on the mount, remember?

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who realize their spiritual poverty and their need for the spiritual riches only God can give them, will be blessed with the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven!! That's powerful!! Listen to what Peter said about the wisdom of humility…

1 Peter 5:5-6 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Did you know there is a powerful example of this kind of humble wisdom in the Christmas Story? It highlights how God honors those who are humble and those who realize they need the wisdom and direction of God in their lives and who decide to serve God rather than themselves. The example is found in Luke 1:46-55...

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Now we know why God chose Mary! It was her humble, teachable, servant spirit! When a person understands they are not all that, and they don't know all that, they place themselves in an amazing place to be used of God in awesome and powerful ways! Now  I'm going to take you on a quick look at several other aspects of God's gift of wisdom as seen in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount!

Wisdom to understand
I should do that!

Do what? Jesus makes it simple...

Matthew 7:12 "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Wow! Do to others what you would have them do to you sums up the Law and the Prophets! That's why we call it the Golden Rule! Jesus was once asked which is the greatest commandment in the law. Listen to His reply and you'll find the secret to following the Golden Rule…

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Sounds simple, right? So why isn't everyone doing that? Well, the truth is we need the gift of wisdom to understand it's not easy to do that!

Wisdom to understand
it's not easy to do that!

Jesus put it this way in His sermon on the mount...

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

It's easy to follow the world's ways! It's wide open, it's popular, and it seems like everyone's doing things the world's way. You know the line, "But everybody's doing it!" To which my dad once asked me, "if everybody's jumping off a cliff, are you going to jump of the cliff?"
Why is the gate small and the road narrow that leads to life and why do only a few find it? The reason is this…We can't work for our salvation or do enough good to earn it, but we must make the decision to turn from wickedness and allow Jesus to save us from the evil that seeks to destroy us. The Gospel is simple, not easy! A child can understand it, but it's hard to do! Why? The decision to turn from sin and allow God to give us the gift of forgiveness is a commitment. And the truth is, our world doesn't really like the word commitment! And once we allow Jesus to become our Savior we face a daily decision whether or not we're going to allow Him to be Lord of our life. That requires self-denial and obedience and the world really doesn't like those words. But here's what you need to know. Jesus said the small gate and narrow way leads to life! It comes down to the kind of life you want to have. Choices have consequences! They bear fruit. Anyone here willing to deny that? Jesus came to this earth so He could make a way for us to bear good fruit. So we need the gift of ...

Wisdom to understand
how to bear that!

Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

What kind of fruit do you want to bear? Someone here might say, "Well, I'm in trouble! I've made some bad choices and the fruit is not looking good!" Here's the good news: Jesus came on that first Christmas so that He could be your Savior, your Messiah, your Redeemer, and your High Priest! He came to give you the gift of forgiveness of your sins, and the ability to change your ways and to begin bearing a different kind of fruit. Paul talked about the different kinds of fruit and the battle between the two...

Galatians 5:17-24 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

We're talking about a change of heart here! For the fruit to be good, it must come from a changed heart. A heart that has crucified the sinful nature and takes up the cross daily in order to crucify the sinful nature when it tries to take us back down the path of destruction. We're not talking about just looking good on the outside, because Jesus gives us the gift of...

Wisdom to understand
not to just say that!

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

You see, it's not just about outward works, but it's about a change of heart and motivation in life and this will in turn affect the fruit you will bear in life. It's not just about what you say or even what you do, but who you are on the inside because of Jesus, and that will effect what you are on the outside! It's about being real and genuine, not fake and false! And this brings us to one last aspect of the gift of wisdom, but a very important one…Jesus wants us to have the gift of…

Wisdom to understand
how to stand on that!

 Stand on what? Let's find out. Jesus said...

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

So have you built your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ the solid rock, or have you built your life on the ever changing sands of this world? If you're thinking it's too late for me, think again! It's never too late to get your life on the solid rock. When Jesus was born that first Christmas, it was a beautiful and joyous time for the world, because of what He would someday do for the world. Someone shared a song with me the other day on Facebook, and I was so moved by the lyrics of this song by a gospel group called The Ball Brothers. Listen to these words...

"It's not just about the manger where the baby lay. It's not all about the angels who sang for him that day. It's not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star, It's not all about the wise men who traveled from afar.

It's about the cross It's about my sin It's about how Jesus came to be born once So that we could be born again. It's about the stone That was rolled away So that you and I could have real life someday It's about the cross It's about the cross

It's not all about the good things In this life I've done Its not all about the treasures Or the trophies that I've won Its not about the righteousness That I've find within Its about His precious blood That save me from my sin

The beginning of the story is wonderful and great But it's the ending that can save you and that's why we celebrate. It's about the cross. It's about my sin. It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It's about God's love nailed to a tree. It's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been me

It's about the stone That was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday So that you and I could have real life someday. It's about the cross. It's about the cross!"

Song lyrics by The Ball Brothers.

This is why we're going to observe The Lord's Supper Today! Because it's about what Jesus did for us so that we could have the gift of forgiveness and real life here on earth and eternal life in heaven someday! The question is this: If you've never allowed God to give you the gift of wisdom to understand that you need Him, will you ask Him for that gift today?

Oh how He wants to give you the gift of His love this Christmas season! We have four tables set up for you to go to and take the bread which represents our Lord's Body which was broken so that we might be healed of our brokenness, and the cup which represents His precious life blood that was spilled to wash away the punishment and stains of our sins.

I will be here at the front if you wish to pray with me or one of our staff during this time.
Let's pray and then as the worship band plays, if you would like to participate in communion, feel free to make your way to one of the tables.