Darkness Around Us (1) – Worldly Wisdom

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Darkness Around Us (1) – Worldly Wisdom

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Philippians 2:15



Sunday, March 31, 2019 am            



As we continue our study of what it means to be a proper example, we are in the midst of addressing this dark world.   In our last 2 lessons we have discussed Satan and how to deal with him. Today we want to take a look at the darkness around us.     The purpose of this lesson is to help us see the seriousness of the times we are in. This is not something we can be flippant about.

Even though the New Testament was completed nearly 2000 years ago, it is just as timely and true today as it was back then.   So much of what it addresses is in terms that describe this generation. I want us to consider a few verses and see how they describe this generation.     Today we want to address the wisdom of this world.   In our next lesson we will address some other prevalent areas and what we need to do as we let our lights shine.

I.    Spiritual darkness in scripture

  1. The Bible contrasts physical light and darkness in various places, including creation (Genesis 1:2-5)
  2. Men loved darkness – we also know that there is spiritual darkness which is where our light is to shine.
    The gospel of John introduced Jesus as the Light of the world at the very beginning. John 1:5 – addresses darkness. While Jesus was that Light that shines in the darkness, the darkness did not comprehend it.
    John 3:19-20, this is the condemnation, men loved darkness rather than light.
  3. Luke 11:35,The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (34-36)
  4. Ephesians 6:12 – our battle is described as darkness (as we noted last week), the rulers of the darkness of this age… we are living in “hostile” territory.
  5. Proverbs 4:19 says, “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.

II.   The wisdom of this world

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:19-20, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
    We are living in a time of heightened enlightenment.   We have access to so much knowledge and wisdom.   With electronic media, we have access to virtually anything at the tip of our fingers. And that can be a good thing, if we are wise in our pursuit of wisdom.   And in particular, if we seek the wisdom of God.
    But what typically happens is when man’s wisdom increases, he begins to reason away God, His will and accountability.   That is what we are seeing today.
  2. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1-3 contrasted the wisdom of God with the wisdom of this world.     There are several passages that address worldly wisdom:
    1. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 speaks of the foolishness of the message of the cross to those of this world. Paul deal specifically with Jews and Gentile and how it is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Greeks
    2. 1 Corinthians 1:26 – warning, not many wise, noble or mighty according to the flesh are called
    3. 1 Corinthians 2:14 – the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, they are foolishness to him.   And he cannot know them.   THIS text is not saying it is impossible for the natural man to understand God’s word, but he often puts up a barrier that will not allow him to hear. It is like the hardened heart in the parable of the Sower.   Satan comes and snatches the word away before it can do anything.
    4. Then our text – the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
  3. Romans 1:21-25 – as Paul begins his letter to the Romans, he describes the depraved wisdom of this world. They reject God and exchange his truth for “the lie”.   Professing to be wise, they became fools.
  4. As noted, we have access to great knowledge and education that gives us the ability to investigate and learn. With the internet and numerous other sources, it is at our fingertips.   But we must understand that not everything that is said is true. Just because a supposedly reputable website says something doesn’t mean we should not investigate, nor that it is completely true.   Far too many sources are highly biased and that needs to be taken into consideration.
    We find that in our school systems with their attempts to promote naturalism TO THE EXLUSION of other alternatives.   We see that in news media and resources that “conveniently” leave out certain facts that might alter one’s perception of a particular occasion.
    The wisdom of this world says, “There is no God” or that He is powerless. Humanism is openly promoted with very little resistance or challenge.
    The wisdom of this world says that we don’t need God, and especially His message to us.   Like Paul said, the message of the cross is foolishness.
    it says that all there is, is what you see – advocating naturalism.     Much of what is presented by the “experts” of naturalism is inaccurate or extremely biased.   It is often presented as facts rather than theory.   But we are seeing the product of this teaching.   When man says we are nothing but a highly developed animal, with nothing beyond this life, is it any wonder we have a generation that is acting like mere animals?
    The wisdom of this world says that you should do whatever you want
    It says that “he who has the most toys wins”
    The wisdom of this world says that you can choose which laws to obey.
    The wisdom of this world provokes intolerance, but only toward those who dare to challenge their definitions.   .
  5. The world calls good evil, and evil good Isaiah 5:20-21.   And many other things they teach and do.
    When a legislature can vote the murder a child at 9 months in its mother’s womb, AND THE BILL is applauded, we ought to grieve.
  6. James 3:13-18 – James contrasts the wisdom of this world with the wisdom of God.
    The wisdom of this world is selfish and often bitter.
    James described it as earthly (with worldly goals), sensual (appealing to our own lusts and fleshly desires), and demonic (of the devil).     It is a wisdom that destroys and does great damage.
    We see it all around us.
  7. Understand – we need wisdom!   In fact, it is wisdom that will help us distinguish the wisdom of this world from that which is pleasing to God.
    1. Proverbs 4:5-7 challenges to get wisdom and understanding.   He even notes it will preserve and keep you.
    2. In Proverbs 2:1-15,   Solomon describes the true value of wisdom – the wisdom of God in contrast to man’s wisdom.
    3. James 3:17-18 – After James described the wisdom of this world, he then describes the wisdom from above – from God.   It character includes: First it is pure, THEN peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
      THOUGHT: These are all undeniably good qualities, that EVEN the world admits are best. IF that is so, WHY is there so much ugly wisdom prevalent?   Could it have anything to do with the rejection of God as the true source of that wisdom?
    4. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1-3 appealed to the wisdom of God in contrast to the wisdom of man. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 – Paul is clear that his preaching was not human wisdom, but in the power of God, so that their faith would NOT be in the wisdom of men.
    5. Colossians 3:16 calls for us to let the word of Christ dwell in us in all wisdom and teaching
    6. Colossians 4:5 challenges us to walk in wisdom toward those who are outside
    7. James 1:5 – if we lack wisdom, we ask of God!

This dark world has its own wisdom.   It rejects God, His ways and His people.   IF we are to shine as lights in this dark world, we need to beware of what that wisdom looks like, and WITH wisdom from God we can make the distinction. Are you WISELY shining your light?