Sermon for Sunday March 18th, 2012



Wisdom In Christ by Steve Shepherd

Ephesians 5:8-5:20

INTRO.- Wisdom. Who doesn’t need it?

ILL.- A preacher said: When I was a young minister, a funeral director asked me to hold a grave side service for a homeless man with no family or friends. The funeral was to be at a cemetery way out in the country. This was a new cemetery and this man was the first to be laid to rest there.

I was not familiar with the area and became lost. Being a typical man, of course, I did not ask for directions. I finally found the cemetery about an hour late. The back hoe was there and the crew was eating their lunch. The hearse was nowhere to be seen.

I apologized to the workers for being late. As I looked into the open grave, I saw the vault lid already in place. I told the workers I would not keep them long, but that this was the proper thing to do. The workers, still eating their lunch, gathered around the opening.

I was young and enthusiastic and poured out my heart and soul as I preached. The workers joined in with, "Praise the Lord," "Amen," and "Glory!" I got so into the service that I preached and preached and preached, from Genesis to The Revelation.

When the service was over, I said a prayer and walked to my car. As I opened the door, I heard one of the workers say, "I never saw anything like that before and I've been putting in septic systems for twenty years."

Everyone needs wisdom for life, both young and old preachers included. Wisdom will help us keep from making certain mistakes in life and especially, if we receive the wisdom that is from above.

James 4:13-18 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

The wisdom from above is: goodness, humble, pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, sincere, impartial, and full of good fruit. WHAT A LIST OF WISE THINGS TO DO OR BE!

Wisdom deals with how we live, not so much what we know. There are plenty of educated fools in this world. Without the wisdom of God we will make plenty of mistakes in life.

ILL.- Here are the words of Wilbur Chapman, words of wisdom: “The rule that governs my life is this: Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or make Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.” THAT’S TRUE WISDOM!

PROP.- Paul explains what it means to have wisdom in Christ.
1- We expose the darkness
2- We use time wisely
3- We respond to the Spirit

I. WE EXPOSE THE DARKNESS

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

How do we expose the darkness in this world? By shedding light wherever we go!

ILL.- Several years ago I read of a terrible accident in which several youth were killed when their car was struck by a train. At the trial the watchman was questioned: “Were you at the crossing the night of the accident?”
“Yes, your Honor.”
“Were you waving your lantern to warn of the danger.”
“Yes, your Honor,” the man told the judge.
But after the trial had ended, the watchman walked away mumbling to himself, “I’m glad they didn’t ask me about the light in the lantern, because the light had gone out.” God sees when our light has gone out.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

How do we let our light (Jesus) shine? Several ways. We teach and preach but we also live the life. Do you try to live the best you can? And do you testify for Christ whenever you can? Do you speak up for Christ when the opportunity comes your way?

John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Romans 13:12 “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

ILL.- One young person complained, “Why did God ever make such a world as this?” He added, “I could make a better world than this myself.” A friend suggested, “That is just the reason God put you into this world--to make a better world. Now go ahead and do your part.”

And we do our part by pointing to the true light! The wise person points to Jesus as the source of life and light!

II. WE USE TIME WISELY

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

How do you spend your time? This is exactly what we do. We literally “spend” our lives and our time on certain things. And someone wisely said, “You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.”

In other words, what we do here and now affects us in eternity. We prepare for eternity here and now. We must invest our time wisely every day and perhaps, every hour of the day.

Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” NCV “Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.”

Time = Life, therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.

ILL.- William Penn wrote: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

TRUE FOR MANY PEOPLE. Have you ever taken an inventory of how you spend your days? Try it some time and you might be surprised at how much time you waste doing things that count for nothing.

- Someone wrote: “Waste your money and you're only out of money, but waste your time and you've lost a part of your life.”
- “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

ILL.- In London, A. Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was asked when he found time to write his books. He replied, “Look at it this way: Monday, a quarter of an hour; Tuesday, ten minutes; Wednesday rather better, half an hour; Thursday not very good, but ten minutes; Friday a bit of a lull, an hour; Saturday, half an hour.”

Wow! That’s using one’s time very wisely.

ILL.- Bible expositor John Stott was near the end of his third lecture at the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s missionary convention when he begged the congregation: “Please don’t clap any more; you’re wasting my time; I’ve only got two minutes more.” I never have to worry about this.

ILL.- Someone wrote: Do you know that a ten-minute coffee break five days a week amounts to forty-three-and-one-third hours during a year—over a week’s vacation in time?

TIME ADDS UP QUICKLY. And time leaves us quickly as well.

2 Corinthians 6:2 “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Now is the day of salvation for all mankind. God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. BUT TIME WILL RUN OUT. It may have already run out for some people because they have continued to rebel against God.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” This is the time of harvest but only if we work at sowing good stuff. How can we reap if we do not sow?

1 Thessalonians 5:3 “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”

When is this time? IT COULD BE AT ANY TIME!

2 Timothy 4:6 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.”

What about you? Is it time for your departure? It could be and for me too. We could leave this world at any time! This is why we need to be ready, to get ready and to use our time wisely for the Lord!

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have - so spend it wisely.”

III. WE RESPOND TO THE SPIRIT

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ILL.- Sometime ago the Associated Press carried this news story: "Glasgow, Ky.--Leslie Puckett, after struggling to start his car, lifted the hood and discovered that someone had stolen the motor." Could this be our problem? And could it be that our motor is the Holy Spirit?

Be filled with the Spirit. Most of us are filled with something, but what about God’s Holy Spirit?

Romans 8:9 “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

Romans 8:12-14 “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

ILL.- A lady said to a visiting evangelist, “You are not keeping abreast with the spirit of the age.” He replied, “You are quite right. I am not keeping abreast with the spirit of this age, but I am keeping abreast with the Spirit of God.”

Right on, brother! Who cares whether we keep up with this world or not? The important thing is to keep in step with God! We need to be like Enoch of old who “walked with God.” To walk with God means to be sensitive to His Spirit who lives within us. It means to respond to the Spirit’s leading in our lives!

ILL.- Someone wrote: When we rely on organization, we get what organization can do. When we rely on education, we get what education can do. When we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do. BUT WHEN WE RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE GET WHAT GOD CAN DO!

The way to be filled with God’s Spirit and respond to Him is to read the Holy Spirit’s Word which is scripture and to walk with the Lord in constant prayer.

Savior, fill me with Thy Spirit
As I seek and wait and pray,
Bend and break me, blessed Master—
Make me wholly Thine today.
Lord, I bow in full surrender,
Yielding all I have to Thee:
Come and fill me with Thy Spirit—
Sanctify Thyself in me.
I would tarry in Thy presence
’Til endued with power and love:
I would know the mighty fullness
Of Thy Spirit from above.
Will He come in all His fullness
As I now obey Thy call?
Yes, oh, yes, for Thou has promised,
If I come confessing all.

CONCLUSION-------------

Wisdom in Christ can mean many things. In this text, it is:
1- We expose the darkness 2- We use time wisely 3- We respond to the Spirit.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

Are we growing in wisdom? Are we growing in the Lord’s wisdom? We have His book and we have prayer and that’s how to get it.

Steve Shepherd, Jonesboro Christian Church, AR