This is an interesting section of scripture for although Paul spends a significant amount of time in this whole chapter speaking about issues of marriage and those who are married or seeking to be married, in this section of scripture he is teaching a principle that extends to all parts of our life.
All aspects of life in this world are fraught with anxiety. Opportunities to be worried and anxious abound for the people in this world, Christians as well as non-believers. There are climatic events that can affect livelihoods and wreak disasters upon people’s lives on a large scale. Then there are the interpersonal problems that affect relationships, business acquaintances, friendships, marriages and so on that are causes for concern.
And in my opinion it is the latter that are the hardest to deal with because they affect the inner person. The interpersonal conflicts get into the heart, mind and soul of a person and deeply affect their whole manner of life. And it is this that Paul is providing a principle of life to overcome. That principle can be summed up as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
When we consider the wisdom of this world in comparison to the wisdom of God there is no comparison. The wisdom of God is so much greater that a simple comparison shows the wisdom of man to be mere folly.
What man has the wisdom to be able to create the world and everything in it from nothing? As you are thinking about this recall also that God did not just create your brain but also created thought as well. If you compare it to a computer, a programmer uses hardware with software to create programs that do something. But God created all those things and more to enable us to think, feel and then act.
God's wisdom is based in spirit, whereas man's wisdom is based in the flesh. God sees and knows things that a man cannot even comprehend. If you read the last dozen or so chapters of the book of Job where God answers Job you get some insight into God's wisdom and power. Job was brought down a peg or two when he realized the power and wisdom of God and he stood in awe of God as we all should do.
And Job was a man favored by God so how much worse would it be for those who are not. Job recognized the wisdom of God and was humbled. So how foolish is it when man thinks he is wise in his own eyes and does not recognize God's wisdom?
When King Solomon wrote the proverbs he filled them with wisdom and insight. He was blessed with wisdom greater than any other man for when asked by God what he wanted, Solomon asked for the wisdom and insight to rule Israel with justice and right decisions.
So when Solomon wrote the proverbs he filled them with the wisdom and insights given to him by God. And we see that one of the most important messages he gave us, one of the best pieces of instruction Solomon left for all of us was this.
5 Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. 8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. – (Proverbs 4:5-8)
Get wisdom. Get insight. And where do we get wisdom and insight? From the one who is the source of all truth, all wisdom and all insight: God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we see Paul writing to the Corinthian church in full concurrence with these sentiments in this section of scripture.
Paul begins this section with statements about the foolishness of what we as Christians believe. He talks about it as the foolishness of God and the folly of the word of the gospel and the death of Jesus Christ. He makes the point that to the rest of the world, what we believe does appear to be foolishness and folly.
And let's face it, who amongst Christians has not been called a fool and had our beliefs scoffed at or scorned by non-believers as foolishness? I am sure that we have all been through such attacks, and if not yet, it will happen at some time.
But Paul shows us here the difference between the thinking of men in this world and the thinking of God. For what a man perceives as folly and foolishness, God has accepted as the pathway to life. God established this pathway and these so-called “foolish beliefs” for a very definite reason, which is worth considering for a moment.
They say there are none so blind as they who will not see. And this is an apt and accurate description for those who choose to reject a God and seek to understand the world around us without accepting His sovereign power.
They also say that seeing is believing and many reject God because they cannot see Him. But even when the evidence is clear and in their face daily, they choose not to see. Thus it has to be stated that seeing is NOT believing, for although they see, they do not believe what they see.
In this section of scripture we see Paul begin to look at the issues facing man in the world. Man suffers under the power of sin, but worse than that is when man fails to recognise what is before his very eyes. The fact that nothing exists nor can exist except by the power and wisdom of God.
“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened.”
Christians fall into the first group. We make things happen. Not in the sense that the world understands, but in the spirit. Christians are in a work of transformation where they are being changed, molded & transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We know that faith can move mountains as Jesus taught and we believe the words of James when he wrote in James 5:16-18:
16 …The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
17 Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.
But this section of Acts is more interesting because it looks at those in one or the other of the other two categories. The new governor of Judea, Festus, was baffled and he was like the third group left wondering “Wha…wha…what happened?” So let’s take a look at these three aspects and see what value & insights they offer us today.
As humans we frequently generalize about all kinds of things. We make broad sweeping statements and too often it is wrong to do so. Paul pointed this out in the Bible when writing to Titus in Titus 1:12 saying,
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
Were all people from Crete lazy, gluttons and liars? Of course not! But in such a generalization the whole race and population of Crete were damned in one fell swoop. And to do so is wrong, as we see here in this section of Acts 5.
Why do I say this? Because people have a tendency to damn the religious leaders of the Jews in the days of Christ and the Apostles calling them all to account. I know this because I do it myself and am as bad an example as anyone, so please forgive my errors as you read this post.
Because what we see in this section of scripture is that there were men who were leaders in the religious orders of the Pharisees who were indeed good and wise men. They were respected and held in high honour by all of the people and in this example we see the reason why for Gamaliel was a man of great wisdom. Continue reading “Wisdom of Gamaliel”
The apostles had been imprisoned for the sake of the word of God and their testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the lord sent His angel to release them and tell them to continue to teach and proclaim God’s message. When the leaders sought to examine them they did not find them in the prison, but in the temple teaching and preaching and so they were brought before the leaders of the Jews.
It is then in these scriptures we see the examination of the apostles and disciples as the court came into session. And we see the boldness of Peter and the rest as they withstood the might of the Jewish leaders.
We also get a great lesson in this about who should you listen to. As Christians we know the answer is Jesus, but the rest of the world today does not know that, and neither did they back then. So let us look at the proceedings of this court case and see how it unfolds. Continue reading “Who Should You Listen To”
My aunt used to have a poster on the wall that said, “Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear.” In other words, “Think before you speak.” It is equally important to think before you act as we will see in this couple of verses of scripture today, which are:
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.
11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”
There are some great lessons we learn from the actions and reaction of both Peter and Jesus respectively. They show us a way to live, behave and act.
My last few posts have been looking at testing what you hear and ensuring that you check the source of what you accept to ensure that you are following truth and not cleverly disguised lies.
In this section of the word we find another necessary practice. As a discussion arose among the Pharisees seeking the arrest of Jesus, we see one man try to persuade the Pharisees and how he failed. In His failure we learn a lesson that we MUST apply to ensure our own positions are solid.