August 19 2012 Sermon
1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,
5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
(Pro 9:1-10 ESV)
11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it. (Pro 9:11-12 ESV)
“Listen! Do you hear the cry of wisdom? On the heights beside the way she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of men. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.” She is calling to sinners; you and me. Do you wish to remain foolish? Do you wish to remain simple? “Hear, for I speak noble things,” she cries, “and from my lips will come what is right. My fruit is better than gold. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, and I grant an inheritance to those who love me. The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth or the first dust of the world. When he established the heaven, I was there. When he made firm the skies above, and established the fountains of the deep, I was beside him, like a master workman. And now, O sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, for whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Prov 8).
But wisdom is too high for a fool. Whoever trusts in his own mind and reason is a fool; in fact, is a sinner. Stop trusting in your own mind; stop working out your own solutions, and seek wisdom. So where is she found? Is she in the heights of the mountains? Is she in the depths of the sea? She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places. In the streets and on the corners. From the pulpits. From the font and from the alter you hear her call: “O you simple ones and you who lack sense, turn in here to my house. I have slaughtered my beasts. I have mixed my wine, I have set my table. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” She is calling to you today, this morning. Calling to anyone who will hear and take heed. But our hearts are too often hardened, our ears closed to the voice of wisdom. Still she calls: come to my feast.
See, Her table is set; the banquet is ready. From the altar she beckons, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.” “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51). “”For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:55).
Jesus is Wisdom! The Wisdom of God who was in the beginning and was at His side; who was like a master builder when the heavens and earth were made, and who is calling out in our text was the One conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. The Wisdom of God is he who was incarnate in human flesh, and lived under the law, and fulfilled all righteousness. The Wisdom of God is He who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The Wisdom of God is He who was raised from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven, and today the Wisdom of God sits at the right hand of God and is coming on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. Today she calls out “Come, leave your simple, foolish, sinful ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” As the wise men came from the East to seek the new born King; as the wise man built his house on the rock of Jesus’ word; as the five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and waited for the bridegroom, seek ye the Wisdom of God—he is Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Leave your simple ways—repent, the kingdom of God is near! Turn away from sin and unrighteousness. Turn away from your crooked paths that lead to death. Put to death what is earthly in you. You who once presented your members as slaves to impurity, now repent—present your members as slaves to righteousness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what fruit were you getting from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So leave your simple ways and live. Wisdom bestows life on all who repent and believe. Jesus is the life of the world. By his death he conquered death. By his resurrection he restores life. By his cross he has freed you from the wrath of God. By his obedience he covers you with righteousness. Wisdom bestows forgiveness of your sins and eternal life on you…
That you may walk in the way of insight. Now that you are freed from the power of sin, you are no longer slaves to sin. Do not use your members for unrighteousness, but for righteousness. A new command I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you. Use your members for love and service to others. For love is the way of insight; the path of Wisdom.
But when you correct a scoffer, you will get abuse. When you reprove a wicked man, you will incur injury. This is what happened to Jesus. He was hated and scorned. He was rejected by his own people. He was abandoned and left to die alone. Denied by a brother. Betrayed by a friend. And forsaken by his Father. Left to hang on the cross alone. To suffer the most lonely pain. To die the most forlorn death. All to make you wise unto salvation and free from the power of sin. Yes, by your sin you are the scoffer who abused him. You are the wicked man who did him injury.
But here is the great reversal. The Wisdom of God himself was abused, injured, beaten, and killed by the foolish ones without wisdom, so that he could become wisdom for you. That you might turn to him and live. That you might be forgiven of all sin. The wisdom of God is beyond all understanding. For in his wisdom he was abused and injured by the unwise so that you, might become wise, be washed of sin and walk in his light.
So now Wisdom calls out to you, “Turn in here. Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.” Your days will be multiplied and years will be added to your life, because your sins have been forgiven and here you receive eternal life. That is an invitation to believe in him and receive eternal life. But where? At Wisdom’s table. The table she has prepared. “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.” This is your invitation to Wisdom, to life, and to walk in the way of insight. This is your invitation to the Table which the Lord has set and is prepared for you today. The banquet is ready. It is on the altar, the bread and wine which are the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the true Wisdom of God. Come to the altar to receive wisdom. Come and partake of life.
For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Only here at the table which is set for you does Wisdom give you its gifts. It is not found in the air or in the trees or in the mountains. It is not found inside you, in warm, fuzzy feelings, in sentimental hearts, or in quiet meditation. It is found at Wisdom’s table, eating her bread and drinking her wine.
Come! The table is set. The banquet is ready. The wedding feast is prepared and the guests have all gathered. That is true Wisdom indeed! Amen.