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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spirit of Wisdom

23 September 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Now the Day is Over

Theme: Spirit of Life

Topic: Spirit of Wisdom

Reading: Proverbs 31:10-31
10 A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 
13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 
14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. 
15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. 
16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 
17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. 
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 
19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 
20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. 
22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 
23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. 
24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. 
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: 
29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ 
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

Wisdom is a word that evokes several related and unrelated impressions: sage, all-knowing, powerful, knowledgeable, smart, discerning, experienced and so on.  However, true wisdom according to Scripture begins with the fear of God.  Fear of God does not imply dread that if we disobey Him, He will rain down fire and brimstone to destroy us.  Rather it is to have deep love and reverence for the Lord our Maker in response to His immeasurable love for us.  As children of the Most High, our fear of the Lord should be based on love for God and our neighbours, and a willingness to seek and please Him.  Wisdom from above, as demonstrated in the woman depicted in Proverbs 31, is backed by good decisions, assuming one’s responsibilities, and living an exemplary life.  True wisdom comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit, and enables us to truly live as salt and light of the world.


1) How will you describe ‘true wisdom’?  
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
   studied by all who delight in them. 
3 Full of honour and majesty is his work,
   and his righteousness endures for ever. 
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
   the Lord is gracious and merciful. 
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
   he is ever mindful of his covenant. 
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
   in giving them the heritage of the nations. 
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy. 
8 They are established for ever and ever,
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
9 He sent redemption to his people;
   he has commanded his covenant for ever.
   Holy and awesome is his name. 
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   all those who practise it have a good understanding.
   His praise endures for ever.

Matthew 7:24-29
‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’ 28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. 

James 3:13-18, 4:3, 7-8A
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. 
2) What are the lessons for us in Mark 9:30-37 regarding wisdom that comes from above?
Mark 9:30-37
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent 

3. How does the Holy Spirit enable us to live and be guided by true wisdom?
Psalm 1:1-6
1      Happy are they who have not walked
        in the counsel of the wicked, *
                       nor lingered in the way of sinners,
                       nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2     Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
                       and they meditate on his law day and night.
3      They are like trees planted by streams of water,
        bearing fruit in due season,
        with leaves that do not wither; *
                       everything they do shall prosper.
4     It is not so with the wicked; *
                       they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5     Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright
        when judgement comes, *
                       nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6     For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
                       but the way of the wicked is doomed.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’

Ephesians 1:15-23
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.


True wisdom comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit, and enables us to truly live as the salt and light of the world.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth, and ourselves in your image. Teach us to discern your hand in all your works and to serve you with reverence and thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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