- Proverbs 18:6 (ESV) – 6 A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
- 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV) – 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. . . .
Lesson: It’s foolish to speak on matters that don’t concern you, but God uses foolishness to address matters that concern Him.
Why does God humiliate us?
- 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV) – 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 8 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Free will gives fallen humans a god complex.
The 4-way Intersection Example
- Matthew 6:33 (ESV): 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Once You defer the right of way to God, the rest of the journey immediately gets clearer. (Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV): 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.)
- To lean on your understanding is to make something other than God the object of your gaze.
- Your feet go where your eyes are fixed (Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV) – 1 . . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. . . .)
God is a Person
The human manifestation of God as Jesus reminds us that God is a person.
Before we acknowledge the personhood of the child, the mother or the father, we have to acknowledge the personhood of God.
It makes no sense to honor the image bearer if we’re not honoring the person on whom the image is based.
Seeking what’s first and what’s right is really about privileging the priorities of the person of Jesus.
- Do you trust Jesus?
- Can you handle the truth?
The Rich Young Ruler
Matthew 19:16–22 (ESV) – 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” [And Jesus has him here] 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
- The abortion controversy is nestled in many other matters that are more fundamental than the abortion issue itself.
- Every sermon God inspires is designed to draw you closer to Jesus.
- To draw closer to Jesus is to distance ourselves from the flesh, which creates an inclination to resist the invitation.
- Hebrews 4:7 (ESV) – 7. . . .“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”. . . .
The Parable Feedback Loop
Matthew 13:10–15 (ESV) – 10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:“ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
- Parables respond to the readiness of the hearer.
- Sermons respond to the readiness of the hearer.
- When you open your heart, the sermon opens to you.
- When you close your heart, the sermon closes to you.
- When we close our hearts, we put a curse on ourselves.
- Closing our hearts to the truth makes us doubly blind: we can’t see what we close our eyes to, but we also can’t see what God closes our eyes to.
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2022