日期 : 04/02/2006
經文 : 路加福音 2:52; 箴言 9:10
題目 : 智慧的成長
主旨 : 因為智慧源出 於對神的敬畏 , 故此我們要 尊 敬 與順服 神 .
住在這屋子裡的女人，也不知道這些錢的來源，後來證實了是她的父親在美國經濟大衰退的時候，將一些存下來的錢一點一 滴 放入牆壁裡收藏。他在死前也沒有告訴任何的家人 , 所以沒有知道這件事 .
Evelyn Adams 在一九八五年、八六年兩次中了彩票，一共得到五百多萬美金，可是今天她所有的錢都用完了，只住在一個小的流動屋子裡。 William Post 在一九八八年，贏了一千六百萬的彩票，他現在每月生活費只有四百五十元加上糧食券。 Janite Lee 在一九九三年，贏了一千八百萬的彩票，八年之後， 宣告破產，那個時候在銀行裡他只有七百塊的存款，在手頭上沒有一塊錢的現金。
：「 耶穌的智慧和身量，以及神和人對他的喜愛，都不斷增長。 」耶穌的智慧不斷地在成長。
聖經沒有替智慧作清楚的定義。但是智慧這一個主題卻在聖經裡面重複的出現。 聖經裡的約伯記、箴言和傳道書被稱為智慧的文學。在聖經裡智慧往往是和沉默、遠見、謙卑、辨別、能力、瞭解、純潔、和平、溫柔、憐憫、能講理、公平、虔誠和誠實聯在一起。智慧是一個要培養和培植的一個質素。那怎樣才能做到呢 ?
箴言第九章十節：「 敬畏耶和華是智慧的開端，認識至聖者就是聰明。 」我們如何能得智慧呢？聖經講的非常的清楚，是要敬畏耶和華。
敬畏神在聖經裡是多次出現的一個主題。申命記五章廿九節：「 但願他們常常存著這樣的心，敬畏我，遵守我的一切誡命，使他們和他們的子孫永享福樂。 」、詩篇八十六篇十一節：「 耶和華啊！求你把你的道路指教我，使我行在你的真理中，專心敬畏你的名。 」、耶利米書卅二章卅九至四十節：「 我要使他們有同一的心志和同一的行為，終生敬畏我，使他們和他們的子孫都得到福樂。我要和他們立永遠的約，我必不離開他們，必使他們得到福樂；我也必把敬畏我的心賜給他們，使他們不會離開我。 」、以弗所書五章廿一節：「 還要存敬畏基督的心，彼此順服。 」彼得前二章十七節：「 要尊重眾人，愛護弟兄，敬畏 神，尊敬君王。 」從這些的經文裡，都非常的清楚看見，我們不單要敬畏神，這一個敬畏包括了對神的尊敬和順服。神要我們敬畏祂，好使我們能夠得到智慧。
但是我們也要需要問 : 推動我們、促使我們去敬畏神的動機是什麼呢？很多人將敬畏跟懼怕、可怕往往聯在一起，就好像電視的一個節目 , 要你 進入一個滿了蛇、或是蟑螂的桶子裡，又好像在一個很嚴肅、有權威的人面前，內心有一種懼怕的感覺，這種懼怕只是會令到我們做那最起碼的要求。如果及格的分數是六十的話，我因為懼怕所以我只要得到六十分就夠了。但是要更進一步看：
出埃及記廿章廿節那裡摩西對以色列人說：「 摩西回答人民： “ 不要懼怕，因為 神降臨是要試驗你們，叫你們常常敬畏他，不至犯罪。 」 摩西告訴以色列民因為那聖潔的神 在他們的當中，所以他們要敬畏祂。
詩篇一百卅篇四節：「因為 祢 那裡有赦免，所以我們要敬畏 祢 。」當你將這兩段經文放在一起的時候，我們看見這樣的一個圖畫：在這位聖潔的神面前，我們所看見的，就是自己的罪和污穢。我們不配來到神的面前。我們所配得就是祂的忿怒。然而祂卻無條件的愛了我們，赦免了我們的罪。我們為什麼要敬畏神呢？我們敬畏祂，我們尊敬、順服祂，因為祂愛和饒恕我們。
讓我們來看彼得生命中的一件事。當耶穌被兵丁捉拿之後，彼得跟著祂來到一個庭院。三個人看到他都先後都指出他是與耶穌在一起的。彼得卻三次否認他認識耶穌。路加告訴我們說，廿二章六十一至六十二節那裡說：「主轉過頭來看著彼得，彼得就記得耶穌說，在雞叫之前你要三次的不認我。彼得就出去痛哭。」是的，彼得記得耶穌預言他要三次的否認主。但是，不但如此，在路加福音廿二章卅一和卅二節：「 西門，西門，撒但設法要得著你們，好篩你們像篩麥子一樣；但我已經為你祈求，叫你的信心不至失掉。你回頭的時候，要堅固你的弟兄。 」耶穌除了預言彼得要三次否認祂，祂也說祂會為彼得的信心禱告，叫彼得不要因為否認了耶穌，而跌倒不起。在彼得回轉了之後，他再一次站立的時候，彼得要去幫助其他的人。你看，就是在他最後的時刻，耶穌仍然的關懷著彼得，彼得記得這滿有慈愛的話語，所以他就出去在那裡痛哭。然後多年之後，在他寫的書信裡，這樣說：「要敬畏神！」
民數記廿一章卅四節：「 耶和華對摩西說：不要怕他，因為我已經把他和他的眾民，以及他的地都交在你手裡； … 。 」當以色列人他們在敬畏神的時候，他們就不怕他們的敵人。腓立比書一章廿八節：「 甚麼事都不怕有反對你們的人，這就證明他們要滅亡，你們要得救，這都是出於神。 」當我們敬畏神的時候，祂就會除掉我們對處境和我們對敵人的任何害怕。
希伯來書第十一章七節：「 因著信，挪亞在還沒有看見的事上，得了 神的警告，就動了敬畏的心，做了一艘方舟，使他全家得救。藉著這信心，他就定了那世代的罪，自己也承受了那因信而來的義。 」挪亞在做什麼？挪亞因為相信神，敬畏神，他就相信了神，就順服了神。他在那裡建方舟。你可以想像那些人對他的嘲笑、在那裡諷刺他是一個傻瓜，現在一點雨也沒有，還要在那裡蓋這樣大的一個方舟。挪亞順服神，因為他對神的敬畏。
出埃及記一章十五至十七節：「 埃及王吩咐兩個希伯來接生婦， …. 說：你們給希伯來婦人接生的時候，要看著她們臨盆；若是男孩，你們要殺死他；若是女孩，她就可以活著。但是，接生婦卻敬畏神，不照著埃及王吩咐她們的去作，竟讓男孩活著。 」在這裡我們看到了接生婦，她們因為敬畏神，所以沒有順服法老王，他們卻順服了神。在申命記第八章六節：「 所以你要謹守耶和華你的 神的誡命，遵行他的道路，敬畏他。 」。摩西在這裡總括的說：因為敬畏神，所以要守住神的命令。你看，當我們敬畏我們這一位愛我們的神，這個敬畏就催使我們去順服祂。
出埃及記廿章廿節：「 摩西回答人民：不要懼怕，因為神降臨是要試驗你們，叫你們常常敬畏他，不至犯罪。 」、哥林多後書第七章第一節：「 所以，親愛的，我們有了這些應許，就應該潔淨自己，除去身體和心靈上的一切污穢，存著敬畏神的心，達到成聖的地步。 」對神的敬畏，會推動我們去順服神 . 對神的順服其中的一面，就是導至我們要離開任何的罪惡。
尼希米記第五章十五節：「 在我們以先的前任省長，重壓人民，每日都向他們索取糧食和酒，以及四百五十六克銀子。連他們的僕人也轄制人民，但我因為敬畏神，就不這樣行。 」有這樣的一個記載。這是一個非常有意義的記載的經文，是不是？尼希米在那裡報告說，以前在以色列地的猶太地的那些總督和他們的僕人他們經常的在錯待那些的人民，他們抽很重的稅，而且加上各樣的苦工。但是當尼希米成為總督的時候，他沒有照著那樣的傳統去做。他有他的權威，他也有過去總督的榜樣，他可以在那裡加重稅，使到百姓更加的辛苦，但是他沒有這樣做。為什麼？因為他敬畏神。就好像彼得在那裡寫信勸告教會的長老，不要貪財、不要轄制神的子民，乃是要做他們的榜樣。
那我們如何能夠來繼續培養和增加對神的敬畏，來導致智慧的增加呢？我們也要學習要有對神一些偉大的思想，我們的神是一個什麼樣的神呢？如果我們的神只是滿足我們的需要，然後將我要的給我。這樣的一個神，不過像我一樣的大小而已。這是何等的可憐。正如多年前 ＪＢ ‧Phillips 寫過一本書：「你的神太小了。」反而我們要學習思想有 關 神的偉大。
一、 神的揀選 . 在我準備教授羅馬書的時候，我再一次的體會到，所有的人包括我在內，都是犯了罪虧欠了神的榮耀，在神的面前沒有一個人是義人。因此我們都是在神的忿怒之下，但是在這樣多的人當中，神卻揀選了我。祂呼召了我，要我成為祂的兒女。祂又主動的為我死在十字架上，承擔了我應該承擔的忿怒。當我們將信心放在耶穌基督的身上的時候，神就算我是一個義人，這樣的一個觀念，這樣的一個思想是遠超過我們的理解。就好像那個「那尼爾」的故事裡的那幾個孩子一樣，當他們看到「亞斯蘭」這一個獅子為了要將「艾德蒙」從這個女巫的手裡救出來而願意犧牲他自己的生命時。對這些孩子們是一個不可思議的事。
二、 神的帶領 . 是不是在我們的生命裡我們自己做了那些好的和重要的決定，我們以為我們在那裡控制我們的那個方向、前途？甚至我們的命運？我們為我們的成就，在那裡沾沾自喜。如果我們再回頭仔細的看一下，是不是看到都是神在那裡一步一步的帶領？當我們還沒有認識祂的時候，祂已經在我們的生命裡開始工作。當我們再回頭看一次，我們就會發現祂的手指紋在我們生命的每一處。不管你多聰明、多能幹，但我們都不能替自己寫出我們的劇本來。這一切都是神在生命裡的帶領。
我也想到一個年輕人，在幾個禮拜前面臨事業的一個決擇，在同一天他同時拿到兩個工作許可，有一個工作很適合他所受的教育和訓練。另外一個很適合他的個性、和他心中所喜悅的，第一個工作給他的薪金是三倍到四倍超過另一個工作，他要選擇那一個？對很多人來說，這是不需要用頭腦的，是不是？但是他卻選擇了這第二個許可。但是對有人來說，這是一個多麼愚蠢的決定。要做這樣的一個決定，是需要莫大的智慧和勇氣。我知道也有其他的年青人 , 有智慧地作了相 似 的選擇 .
主要參考書 : Grow in Grace by Sinclair Ferguson
Text: Luke 2:52; Proverbs 9:10
Title: Growing in Wisdom
Theme: Since wisdom finds its source in God, we are to learn to fear God.
Two weeks ago, about 175 college students went on a mission trip to NO to help clean up homes damaged by Katrina. Among the moldy papers and plaster board, students discovered a wad of money of $100 bills. There was more than $30,000.
The woman who lives in the house did not know anything about the money. Later it was concluded that the woman’s father who grew up during the Depression, must have been the one hiding the money without telling anyone in the family before he died.
Evelyn Adams, a twice lottery winner in 1985, 1986, won a total of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and she lives in a trailer. William "Bud" Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on $450 a month plus food stamps. Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993 and eight years later, she filed for bankruptcy with only $700 left in two bank accounts and no cash on hand.
Don’t we all need wisdom in life? We need wisdom not only on money matters but also in relationship and professional choices. J.I. Packer says that wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Or in Doug Larson’s words; wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk. Wisdom is not directly proportional to the amount of knowledge we have. We have seen individuals with little learning but great wisdom. On the other hand, there’re people with great learning and knowledge, yet with little wisdom in life choices. Wisdom is knowing what to do with the knowledge we have.
During this past few weeks we learned that we are to grow as Jesus did. In Luke 2:52, " And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." Jesus grew in wisdom.
The scripture does not provide us with an exact definition of this word, 'wisdom'. However this 'wisdom' theme was evident throughout the Bible. Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes are known as the wisdom literature. In the scriptures, Wisdom is associated with knowing when to be silent, insight, humility, discernment, understanding, purity, peaceful, gentleness, mercy, open to reason, impartial, godliness and sincere. It is a quality to be developed and cultivated. How so?
I. The Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
Proverbs 9:10, " 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." How can we begin to acquire wisdom? Fear the Lord; fear God.
The fear of God is a repeated theme in the scriptures. Deut 5:29, " 29 Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, …!" Psalm 86:11, " 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name." Jeremiah 32:39-40, " 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me." Ephesians 5:21, " 21 submitting to one another out of reverence (fear) for Christ." 1 Peter 2:17; " 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." From these passages, it is evident that not only are we to fear God, but this fear also embodies respect for and obedience to God. God wants us to fear him, so we can gain wisdom.
II. The fear of God is motivated by His love.
However, we also need to ask, what motivates and causes us to fear God?
Many of us associate fear with dreadful and terrifying events. It is like the TV show “The Fear Factor”; getting into a tub full of snakes or cockroaches; or meeting Jack Baur in 24. It is also like being in the presence of a very strict and authoritative person, creating a sense of awe and terrifying feeling within. This dreadful feeling causes us to do the minimum. If the passing grade is 60, then out of this dread, we’ll make sure we get 60, just to get by. But there is more to this.
Exodus 20:20, " 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin." Moses told Israelites to fear God because the holy one was among them.
Psalm 130:4, " 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared." When we put these two passages together, we have this picture. In the presence of this holy God, all we see is our sins and filth. We only deserve his wrath. Yet, He unconditionally loves us and forgives our sins. Why are we to fear God? We fear God; we respect and obey Him because of his love and his forgiveness.
Let's take at look at one incident in Peter's life. After Jesus' arrest, Peter followed him to the court yard where he was held. Within several hours, Peter denied 3 times that he ever knew Jesus. Then the rooster crowed. Luke tells us, 22:61-62, " 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the Lord saying him, how he had said to him, "“Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”" 62 And he went out and wept bitterly." Yes, Peter remembered that Jesus had told him about his denial. But there is more to this. Luke 22:31-32, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat," 32 "but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”" Besides the prediction of Peter’s denial, Jesus also said that he would pray so that Peter's faith would not fail because of this denial. And that after Peter had returned, he stood up again, he was to strengthen and help others. You see, even in his final hours, Jesus was concerned about Peter's well being. Peter remembered these loving words, and he went out and cried bitterly. Many years later, in his epistle, he wrote, "….. Fear the Lord…." We fear God because of his love and forgiveness.
How can we develop this fear of God? We are to come back to the cross. The cross is where God’s righteousness and love meet. The cross, the symbol of death and cruelty has now turned into a symbol of God's love. On this cross, all my sins and the punishment due me are placed on Jesus Christ. Whenever I come to the cross, I see God's righteousness and love for me. This love causes me to want to fear him; to respect and obey him. For this reason, we are to keeping coming back to the cross.
III. The fear of God and its consequences.
We've learned that the road to wisdom is through fearing God. This fear is motivated and caused by a loving God. Now, let us take a closer look at what some consequences of fearing God are.
1. The Fear of God will remove our fear of circumstances.
Numbers 21:34, " 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land.” When the Israelites feared God, they would not fear their enemies. Philippians 1:28, " 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents…." When we fear God, it will remove our fear of adversities and those who are hostile and unfriendly towards us.
2. The Fear of God will promote obedience.
Hebrews 11:7, " 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. " What did Noah do? Out of faith and fear of God, he obeyed God and built the ark. Think of the ridicule from people, poking fun at him saying, "Look, what a fool, building a huge ark when there is no sign of rain." He obeyed God because of his fear for God. Exodus 1:15-17, " 15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, ….. 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birth stool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live." Pharaoh told the midwives to kill the male babies. The midwives refused to obey Pharaoh, instead they obeyed God. Why? Because they feared God. Deut 8:6, " 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him." Moses summarized well, because of the fear of God, keep the commandments."
You see, when we fear this loving and holy God, we will want to respect and obey him.
3. The Fear of God will prevent us from sin.
Exodus 20:20, “ 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 2 Corinthians 7:1, “ Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” The fear of God motivates us to be obedient to Him. One aspect of this obedience is to turn away from sin.
Isn't it true, when there is no fear of God within, we will fear no man. Without the fear of God, no matter how many accountability groups we may have, it will not stop us from sinning. It is the fear of God that will motivate us to stay away from sin. “
4. The Fear of God will help us to treat others with respect.
Nehemiah 5:15, " 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration of forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God." This is an interesting passage, isn't it? Nehemiah was reporting that previous governors and their servants mistreated the people by adding financial burdens and treating them with hardship. When Nehemiah became the governor; he had all the authority and precedent to cause hardship on these people but he did not do it. Why? Because he feared God. It is like what Peter wrote about the work of the elders. Elders are not to be greedy for money, not lording over the people but to be their examples.
When we fear God, it will help us to treat others fairly and gently.
IV. The Fear of God can be cultivated by thinking great thoughts about God.
How can we continue to develop and increase this fear of God? How can we increase this fear of God to increase wisdom? We are to learn to think great thoughts about God. What is our God like? If our God is one who satisfies my need, accomplish what I want him to do for me. Then, this God is just as big as I am. This is very pitiful, right? AS JB Phillips wrote a book years ago, “Your God is Too Small". Instead we need to learn to think great things about God. How so?
Think of how God has chosen us. In my SS preparation on the book of Romans, I am once again brought to the awareness that all have sinned against God. There is not even one single righteous person. Therefore we are all under God's wrath. However, of all the people, God has chosen me. He called and chose me to be his child. He took the initiative to die for me on the cross and suffered the wrath of God that was due me. When I put my faith in Jesus Christ, God considered me as righteous. This is a thought that is simply too great for anyone to comprehend. It is like the three children in Narnia. They can’t fathom why Aslan would die for Edmond to rescue him from the power of the white witch.
Think of God's providence in life. There was a time in life; we felt that we were making all those important decision. We thought we were controlling our directions and destinies. We might have even congratulated ourselves for having arrived at where we are today. However, if we take a second look, isn't it true that it was all God's providence? When we turn around and take a second look, we'll see that his finger prints are all over our lives. No matter how smart and capable we are, we could not have planned and directed such a script for our lives.
Our God is far greater than all that we can imagine.
So, what did the students do with the $30,000 in New Orleans ? They promptly handed it over to the police. One said, “It never occurred to us to keep the money.” This is the right choice and it requires wisdom to make such a decision.
I also think of a young man facing a career decision several weeks ago. He had received two offers on the same day. One job fits his education and training. The other fits his personality and heart’s desire. The first offer probably pays him 3 to 4 times more than the second offer. So which one should he take? To many, that is a no brainer. However, he accepted the second offer. To some, it is a stupid decision; but to make such a decision requires great wisdom.
We have plenty of knowledge among us; but how about wisdom? Wisdom is not a degree we can acquire. It takes time to develop wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
Main Reference: Grow in Grace by Sinclair Fergusonhttp://archive.hcchome.org/
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