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Exalting the Name of Jesus Christ and the Truth of God's Word

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Proverbs 1:20-33 is the first occasion in the book of the Proverbs wherein we encounter the personification of Wisdom as a virtuous woman who calls for us to come unto her and learn her ways of righteousness. (Proverbs 8:6-8) This activity of personified Wisdom is also encountered in Proverbs 8:1-36 and in Proverbs 9:1-12. Through these passages we find a progression to the call of personified Wisdom, and thereby we find five responsibilities that we are to maintain toward the wisdom of God’s Holy Word. (Contextual note: I myself believe that the personified Wisdom of Proverbs represents the wisdom of God*s Word.)

Repentance

First, we must repent of (turn from) our selfish, sinful ways at the reproof of God’s Holy Word. This we must do in order that we might be able to learn the wisdom of God’s Holy Word. In Proverbs 1:22-23 the personified Wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Indeed, this is where our growth in the wisdom of God’s Word must begin – with repentance. If we will not turn at the reproof of God’s Word, then we cannot learn the spiritual wisdom of God’s Word.

Reception

Second, we must receive (hear) the truth of God’s Holy Word with all readiness of mind and all meekness of heart. This we must do in order that we might be transformed through the wisdom of God’s Holy Word. In Proverbs 8:5-6 the personified Wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.” Again in Proverbs 8:10 she proclaims, “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.” Indeed, we should be more motivated to acquire the treasures of God’s wisdom through His Word, than to acquire the treasures of material wealth in this world. (See also Proverbs 3:13-15)

Reverence

Third, we must revere (love) the truth of God’s Holy Word, seeking after its wisdom each day with great priority. This we must do in order that we might walk in the blessings of our Lord’s daily fellowship and of the abundant spiritual life. In Proverbs 8:17 the personified Wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Again in Proverbs 8:34-35 she proclaims, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall OBtain favour of the LORD.” Indeed, there is no greater blessing in this life than our Lord’s fellowship and the abundant spiritual life. Yet in Proverbs 8:36 the personified Wisdom of God’s Word delivers the warning, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.”

Rejection

Fourth, we must reject (forsake) the foolish, that is – all those who rebel against the truth of God’s Holy Word. This we must do in order that we might not be influence by their close companionship to turn back from the righteous ways of God’s Holy Word. In the opening portion of Proverbs 9:6, the personified Wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “Forsake the foolish, and live.” Indeed, we must not walk in the way with the spiritually foolish, but must turn away from their companionship, counsel, and course. (See Proverbs 1:15; 4:14-15) “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Responsiveness

Finally, we must respond to the instruction of God’s Holy Word with committed, consistent OBedience. This we must do in order that we might be prosperous in our spiritual growth, and might not be self-deceived in our negligence. In Proverbs 8:32-33 the personified Wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Again in the closing portion of Proverbs 9:6, she proclaims, “And go in the way of understanding.” Indeed, we must hearken unto, follow after, and go in the righteous ways that God’s Word instructs. We must be “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving [our] own selves.” (James 1:22)

Speaking of the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 reads, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

In the opening portion of verse 28, God’s Word declares, “But let a man examine himself.” As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of the next, it is appropriate that we should examine ourselves. It is appropriate that we should examine our lives over the past year, whether we have grown in spiritual character and conduct before our Lord, or whether we have gone away backward into sinful iniquity against our Lord. It is appropriate that we should examine ourselves, and that we get right with our Lord in any area wherein we have sinned against Him. It is appropriate that we should heed the exhortation of Lamentations 3:40 – “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.” Yea, it is appropriate that we should ask our Lord to examine us and try our hearts. It is appropriate that we should join in the prayer of David from Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Even so, let us examine ourselves through the following questions.

1. Have we been faithful in our private walk with our Lord?

John 15:4
– “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cann
ot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”


Colossians 2:6-7
– “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: ro
ot
ed and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”


Philippians 3:8, 10
– “Yea doubtless, and I cou
nt
all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do cou
nt
them but dung, that I may win Christ . . . that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable u
nt
o his death.”


2. Have we been delighting in the wisdom of God’s Word?

1 Peter 2:2
– “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”


Joshua 1:8
– “This book of the law shall n
ot
depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest
OB
serve to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”


Psalm 119:97
– “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”


3. Have we been constant in watching unto prayer with thanksgiving?

Colossians 4:2
– “Co
nt
inue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”


Ephesians 6:18
– “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereu
nt
o with all perseverance and supplication for all sai
nt
s.”


Philippians 4:6
– “Be careful for n
ot
hing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known u
nt
o God.”


4. Have we been OBedient in our daily ways for God’s glory?

James 1:22
– “But be ye doers of the word, and n
ot
hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”


John 14:15
– “If ye love me, keep my commandme
nt
s.”


1 Cori
nt
hians 10:31
– “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”


5. Have we been edifying in the words of our communication?

Ephesians 4:29
– “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace u
nt
o the hearers.”


Colossians 4:6
– “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”


Proverbs 15:1-4
– “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”


6. Have we been loving in our affectionate warmth toward one another?

John 13:34-35
– “A new commandme
nt
I give u
nt
o you, That ye love one an
ot
her; as I have loved you, that ye also love one an
ot
her. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to an
ot
her.”


Romans 12:10
– “Be kindly affectioned one to an
ot
her with br
ot
herly love; in honour preferring one an
ot
her.”


Galatians 5:13-14
– “For, brethren, ye have been called u
nt
o liberty; only use n
ot
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one an
ot
her. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”


7. Have we been zealous in our gospel witness to the lost world?

Mark 16:15
– “And he said u
nt
o them, Go ye i
nt
o all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”


Matthew 28:19-20
– “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to
OB
serve all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even u
nt
o the end of the world. Amen.”


1 Peter 3:15
– “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”


8. Have we been abounding in the ministry work of the Lord?

1 Cori
nt
hians 15:58
– “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is n
ot
in vain in the Lord.”


Hebrews 10:24-25
– “And let us consider one an
ot
her to provoke u
nt
o love and to good works: n
ot
forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one an
ot
her: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”


Ephesians 4:15-16
– “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up i
nt
o him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joi
nt
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body u
nt
o the edifying of itself in love.”


9. Have we been willing to withdraw ourselves from wrong influences?

Psalm 1:1
– “Blessed is the man that walketh n
ot
in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”


Ephesians 5:11
– “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”


1 Cori
nt
hians 15:33
– “Be n
ot
deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”


10. Have we become weary in well-doing through discouragement?

Galatians 6:9
– “And let us n
ot
be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we fai
nt
n
ot
.”


2 Thessalonians 3:13
– “But ye, brethren, be n
ot
weary in well doing.”


Hebrews 12:2-3
– “Looking u
nt
o Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such co
nt
radiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and fai
nt
in your minds.”


11. Have we been consumed with worry over life’s difficulties?

Matthew 6:31-33
– “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be cl
ot
hed? (For after all these things do the Ge
nt
iles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added u
nt
o you.”


John 14:27
– “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give u
nt
o you: n
ot
as the world giveth, give I u
nt
o you. Let n
ot
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”


1 Peter 5:7
– “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”


12. Have we become filled with wrath and bitterness at others?

James 1:19-20
– “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh n
ot
the righteousness of God.”


Hebrews 12:15
– “Looking dilige
nt
ly lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any ro
ot
of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”


Ephesians 4:31-32
– “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to an
ot
her, tenderhearted, forgiving one an
ot
her, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”


13. Have we been infected with worldliness in our affections?

Colossians 3:2
– “Set your affection on things above, n
ot
on things on the earth.”


1 John 2:15-17
– “Love n
ot
the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is n
ot
in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is n
ot
of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”


James 4:4
– “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye n
ot
that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”


14. Have we been overcome with the wickedness of covetousness?

1 Tim
ot
hy 6:9-10
– “But they that will be rich fall i
nt
o temptation and a snare, and i
nt
o many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the ro
ot
of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”


Luke 12:15
– “And he said u
nt
o them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth n
ot
in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”


Hebrews 13:5
– “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be co
nt
e
nt
with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Throughout the Biblical accounts in Luke 2:1-38 and Matthew 2:1-11 concerning the events that surrounded our Lord’s birth, our attention is focused upon two important responsibilities. Indeed, these two important responsibilities ought to dominate our celebration of our Lord’s birth as God in flesh. They are the responsibility to WORSHIP and to WITNESS. Consider the Biblical accounts:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”

The angel of the Lord WITNESSED.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The multitude of the heavenly host WORSHIPPED.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

The shepherds WITNESSED.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

The shepherds WORSHIPPED.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

Simeon WORSHIPPED.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

Simeon WITNESSED.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

Anna WORSHIPPED.

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord.”

Anna WITNESSED.

And spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

The wise men from the east WITNESSED.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”

The wise men from the east WORSHIPPED.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”