Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom – seek out only what God reveals, part 2.

Class Outline:

Thursday September 2, 2021


Fear of God is fear of being fake, of being sinful when delivered from sin, of being ungodly when imputed with His righteousness, of being wicked, disobedient, and unfaithful when made alive in Christ through divine rebirth.


Some Christians live sinful lives and think confession alone solves the problem of being fake.


Confession is a necessary part of sanctification (agreeing with God about what is sin and owning your own), but confession alone doesn’t solve the patterns of sin.


1John tells us that we who are of the light need to walk in the light, and when we don’t, if we confess, we know we are forgiven and cleanse, in other words, we’re not afraid to openly confess before God. Confession without the desire to overcome and mature, however, is only an abuse and an excuse.


Confession alone doesn’t solve the problems that carnality, fleshliness, selfishness, etc. cause in our walk with God. The flesh has been crucified by Christ. It must be overcome by every believer in time by the Holy Spirit, study of the Bible, application and expression of that truth, and prayer.


Mankind is broken. We should not be shocked when he acts that way. We who are born-again need to fear acting that way, while drawing near to God in faith and in prayer.


Intimacy with God, knowing Him, is not a storybook romance. We must be diligent not to move away from Him towards the way of the flesh.


We must take personal responsibility for our decisions.


The romanticism of our culture has infected much of the church with the idea that all believers only need to know that God loves them and they’ll do just fine. Thomas Bergler in his book, The Juvenilization of American Christianity describes a type of American church service: “The congregation sings top-forty-style songs addressed to God and heavily peppered with the words, “I,” “you,” and “love.” In the sermon, the pastor may talk about “falling in love with Jesus.” With or without the romantic analogy, the preacher will spend a lot of time on the topic of God’s love. Even in theologically conservative churches, you won’t hear much about guilt, suffering, or judgment.”


The love of God must certainly be taught and emphasized as it is in the scripture, but the whole realm of revealed knowledge must be taught as well. It is not up to us to determine God’s revelation of Himself. We are not to superimpose our own view of what we think God should be like. This is why the fear of the Lord is a precursor to knowledge. We should fear not knowing Him or misrepresenting Him or believing false things about Him, and so we draw very near to the One we fear, which on the surface seems a paradox, but when understood, becomes a beautiful truth. In our case, as of late, God has been telling to fear Him and to do so properly and not in the way fallen man fears Him. We are to draw very near to Him, knowing that we are each insignificant and fully dependent upon God’s grace and mercy, and through the blood of Christ we draw near with boldness and confidence.


We can draw near to God with hearts that are like some of the Puritan prayers:


“My soul is often a chariot without wheels,

Clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay;

Mount it on eagle’s wings and cause it to soar upward to thyself.” [Puritan Prayer]


“When I am tempted to think highly of myself,

Grant me to see the wily power of my spiritual enemy;

Help me to stand with a wary eye on the watch-tower of faith,

And to cling with determined grasp to my humble Lord;

If I fall let me hide myself in my redeemer’s righteousness,

And when I escape, may I ascribe all deliverance to thy grace.

Keep me humble, meek, lowly.” [Puritan Prayer]



We return to our study of wisdom, emphasizing that we are to understand only what God tells us, and that we will find misery when we seek to understand what God withholds from us.


Some wise godly man dies young, others suffer, and others prosper. Some who have wealth are miserable while their slave farm workers are happy. Some are happy in their marriage and simple life and some are not; and others, like Solomon, think happiness is in multiple women, lots of book knowledge, lots of possessions that others envy, lots of building projects, and lots of leisure and wine. All die and no one remembers them.


The believer should know better. Happiness is in the living knowledge of the Lord, walking with Him. God will take care of His world.


The evil of post-Millennial thought, which has lost a lot of steam in the last several decades, thankfully, reveals itself in light of this truth, which is the belief that through the influence of the Church the world will eventually become a paradise and only then will Christ return.


That doesn’t mean that we don’t care. But we limit ourselves to what God tells us to do and say: that is wisdom. To go farther than we should will only end in disillusion.


ECC 1:2-4

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,

"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."


3 What advantage does man have in all his work

Which he does under the sun?

4 A generation goes and a generation comes,

But the earth remains forever.


“Vanity” (hebel) stands more for human inability to grasp the meaning of God’s way than for an ultimate emptiness in life.


Notice the difference between trying to find out the ins and outs of every person’s experience in life, trying to understand all of their dreams and desires, the failure to achieve them, their sins and their good, how they all compare with one another … and faith.


Faith paints a large “I don’t know” banner over all of the questions that arise from analyzing too many details, and rests in God’s promises. Faith gains knowledge of all the revealed truth that God gives us and knows that is more than enough to live in the joy of God’s will.


COL 1:9-10

we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;


When we serve God and one another, we must be careful not to attempt to figure out the details of result, or reward, or recognition, or even the outcome. Things don’t always work out the way we think they should, after we are sure we have served God. When Solomon has this thought, he has forgotten that God is close to us and working with us, accomplishing all His good pleasure.


PHI 2:1

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

Phi 2:2

make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

PHI 2:3

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

PHI 2:4

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

PHI 2:5

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

PHI 2:6

who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Phi 2:7

but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

PHI 2:8

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.



PHI 2:12-16

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things [obedience] without grumbling or disputing; 15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation [it was then and it is now], among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.