“Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” Trinity 14 2023

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10. September 2023

Trinity 14

Proverbs 4:10-23

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.”

In the holy Name of + Jesus. Amen.

 The Book of Proverbs is a treasure trove of divine wisdom. It’s a roadmap for navigating the complexities of life, a guidebook that leads us toward godly understanding. In Proverbs 4:10-13, we hear the call to embrace this wisdom: “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” 

Solomon depicts the father as leading his young son along the proper path of wisdom. This path enables true freedom in life and leads to the resurrection to eternal life because it is the path of the Gospel. Solomon is, therefore, teaching his son to value the Gospel in which he is declared righteous before God, solely by grace, apart from any human effort. The Gospel sets people free from the bondage of sin and death to live a new and everlasting life by the power of Christ.

 So here’s the kicker: wisdom isn’t just some intellectual pursuit; it’s the very bedrock of our faith. And who better to exemplify this divine wisdom than Jesus Christ himself? In his letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul boldly proclaims, “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 

Jesus isn’t just a wise teacher or a philosopher; He embodies divine wisdom. In a world inundated with conflicting ideologies and self-proclaimed gurus of enlightenment, we must remember that our true source of wisdom is found in Christ alone. He is the One who illuminates our path, guiding us through the labyrinth of moral ambiguity and intellectual chaos. 

When we look to Jesus, we discover the wisdom that transcends human understanding. But what happens when we refuse to listen to God’s wisdom and when we turn a deaf ear to his guidance? Paul warns the Corinthians about the consequences of worldly wisdom, the so-called “wisdom” of the world that masquerades as truth. He speaks of the wisdom that is “foolishness in God’s sight,” which confounds the wisdom of this world. 

 When we reject divine wisdom, we wander in the wilderness of confusion, tripping over the roots of anxiety and despair. We become like ships adrift in a stormy sea, tossed about by every passing wave of human opinion. We lose our ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, and Jesus versus worldly wisdom. We become victims of moral relativism, a plague that has infected our society and devoured peoples’ moral compass. 

 But we have nothing to fear when we are with Jesus, our Wisdom, because there is hope when we trust him to guide and protect us, especially amid society’s degenerate chaos. We have the light of Christ, the true wisdom that dispels the darkness of worldly foolishness. 

Just as Paul reminds the Corinthians that “we have the mind of Christ,” we too have free access to the divine wisdom that sets us apart from the often frantic, violent confusion of people today.

 Divine wisdom isn’t merely intellectual exercise; God’s power reshapes our hearts and minds. This wisdom allows us to discern the will of God to recognize his voice amidst the cacophony of human voices. This wisdom strengthens us to live under God’s truth, Jesus, even when the world insists on embracing falsehoods and faux saviors. 

The father urges his son to hold on to this Gospel liberty that he has found because it is his very life. Similarly, Paul urged the Galatians to stand firm in their freedom in Christ: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). Or as our Lutheran Confessions state: “It is necessary to preserve the teaching of Christian liberty in Christendom, namely, that bondage to the law is not necessary for justification, as St. Paul writes in Gal. 5:1. … For the chief article of the Gospel must be maintained, namely, that we obtain the grace of God through faith in Christ without our merits; we do not merit it by services of God instituted by men” (AC XXVIII 51-52).

 In Proverbs 4:20-23, we read: “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

 Here, the wisdom of Proverbs teaches us that divine wisdom is not a mere intellectual exercise but a matter of the heart. It’s about cherishing God’s truth and delighting in our relationship with Jesus, receiving him as a gift that infiltrates every aspect of our lives. That’s why, when we guard our hearts with the wisdom of God, we are better equipped to discern right from wrong, good from evil, and Jesus from false saviors. 

 In a world that bombards us with conflicting messages, where “the truth” is manipulated and propagated by liars for personal gain and empowerment, and falsehood is sold to us as the cure, inoculating us against whatever ails us, we must be vigilant in guarding our hearts with the wisdom of Christ. Therefore, we must immerse ourselves in His Word because the Bible is the source of divine wisdom. We must be discerning because society seeks to ensnare us with the allure of worldly wisdom, which always, in the end, leads to confusion, anxiety, and fear. After all, it’s not Christ, the One who gives us clarity, peace, and courage. 

 But it’s not just about protecting ourselves from the pitfalls of worldly wisdom; it’s also about shining the light of Christ for others to see. We are called to be beacons of divine wisdom in a world shrouded in darkness. We are to witness the life-changing power of God’s truth, the wisdom that brings our souls real life and true health. 

 When Jesus sets you free from enslavement to worldly wisdom, you will embrace divine wisdom with open hearts and minds. You will turn to Jesus, the embodiment of true wisdom, for guidance and protection. You will reject the empty philosophies of this world, stand firm in the wisdom of Christ, and live. 

 So heed the wisdom of the Proverbs as you navigate the mentally crippling, spiritually impoverishing, physically debilitating wisdom of what passes for culture today. Guard your hearts because everything you do flows from them. Be beacons of divine wisdom, preach the gospel, and shine Christ’s light for all to see. 

And remember that in Christ, you have the wisdom that distinguishes between the light of truth and the darkness of worldly foolishness, foolishness that leads to confusion, anxiety, fear, and death. And now, may the wisdom of Christ guide and protect your every step, shape your hearts, and illuminate your path as he leads you through a society that is obediently and willingly annihilating themselves so they do not have to repent and turn to the Bible, to God in prayer, to Jesus Christ for true wisdom. 

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.”

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church & School – Sherman Center
Random Lake, Wisconsin