Growing in Knowledge | Wk 1

That song is such a proclamation. Proclaiming glory to God…thanks and praise to our Savior. Honoring God for who He is. In fact this song resembles much of what you read in Psalms…beautiful, poetic, celebratory praises to God. His greatness, his power, his beauty…all incredible things to celebrate.
King David spent lots of his time focusing on God in heaven and looking forward to the day when we will be there and join Him in heaven.
Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Beautiful writing…and as incredible as this sounds…as wonderful as this will be…we have a lot of living to do here on Earth. We can’t ONLY focus on the future…we have to live our life here accomplishing God’s plan here first.
So how do we do that? Where do we begin with our instructions for living now? What are our “WORDS TO LIVE BY”?
All we have to do is turn the page…immediately following Psalms is a book called Proverbs. This book is the written explanation of living this life on Earth. Solomon reveals the mind of God in common, ordinary, everyday situations. He breaks it down for us.   Now Psalms was written mainly by David…boyhood shepherd turned king of Israel. And Proverbs is written by his successor…his son Solomon…

Proverbs 1:1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Now you can read all about Solomon and his life in 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and 1 Kings. But we first meet Solomon at his birth…

2 Samuel 12:24 24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child…   …you may be familiar with this part of history. David was a man after God’s heart…even though he wasn’t perfect…but God uses everything and Solomon was born. And when David died Solomon became the King. And Solomon still pursued God like his Dad had.

1 Kings 3:3-5
Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
It was in a dream, when Solomon was asleep, that God spoke to the new king. Now you realize…in a dream there’s no lying…there’s no hiding the truth, there’s no pretending to be something you’re not.   God used to speak to the prophets in the Old Testament this way…
Numbers 12:6 And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams.
And so that’s what he did…and that night God saw Solomon’s heart…a heart that loved his people. So with everything in the world that he could ask for Solomon asked God to…
1 Kings 3:9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
God loved this! When we have a heart for others; to lead and teach others that’s when we’re lined up with the heart of God. And so God responded
1 Kings 3:10-13 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!
Solomon was blessed by God. He was given incredible wisdom and wealth…all because God saw Solomon’s desire.   So when the wisest man in history…wisdom given by God speaks – don’t you think we should listen? Solomon gives us Proverbs “Words to Live By.”
Actually that’s what Proverbs are. By definition a proverb is “a short saying that is widely used to express an obvious truth.”   Now throughout history we’ve created lots of Proverbs…there are lots of sayings that we cling to as truth…
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Fortune favors the bold.”
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “God helps those who help themselves.”
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
“Good things come to those who wait.”
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
*FYI – Please know that none of these proverbs are in the Bible…even if we agree they’re true.   I remember a few years ago our family had King’s Island passes. But we were in that middle range…where our kids were a little too big for the kids rides but still a little too small for most of the grown-up rides. You know?   But Owen, our oldest, was just tall enough to ride a few rides…and he really wanted to. So I took him on a special trip. And his choice was “Invertigo” you know this ride – where you face each other and go forward on the first pass and backwards on the second pass.
So we get on the ride and we pull the shoulder harnesses down and lock them in and Owen goes up backwards first and I’m sitting across from him watching the excitement mix with terror on his face. And then we’re off and he’s smashed back against the back of the seat…then we make it to the turn and suddenly his head flys forward between the shoulder supports. His neck wasn’t strong enough to hold it back.   And as the ride continues tears start streaming down his face because his cheeks were banging of the restraints. So I did the only thing I could…I stretched my foot out and pressed his forehead back with the sole of my shoe!   He left with bruises on each cheek…but he rode it! Sure he was tall enough to ride it…but his neck wasn’t quite strong enough to handle it yet.   Solomon is writing to us because he knows we’re quite strong enough yet!
These Proverbs…are the things that Solomon wanted his kids to know. He KNEW they needed to be strengthened before they’d be ready. These Proverbs are here to help strengthen us…the things to help us develop…these are the shoe on our forehead.   We may think we’re big enough already…we may think we’re strong enough, smart enough, faithful enough. But Solomon writes to help us grow and become even stronger. We need help to develop. We are being called to a new level. Solomon is asking us to step up and take on a higher level of commitment…and action for God.   Before we move on to the first instruction Solomon gives us…I want you to accept this challenge. Will you go where God wants? Will you respond to God’s call? Today will you make the choice to go on this journey with God? He has called you higher.
I could just sit…I could just HOLD ON. BUT You have called me higher. You have called me deeper. AMEN?   We’re called to more…we’re called to be strengthened and grow. Solomon wrote these Proverbs for us because…
Proverbs 1:2-4 2Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
And he hopes that when we hear these Proverbs that…
Proverbs 1:5-6
Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
Solomon wants people to learn, and grow, and develop. Solomon wants to see people understand better, know more and have their lives changed because of it.   And then he shares this piece of knowledge…this well-known proverb…
Proverbs 1:7
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.   Of all the “knowledge” in all the world this is the foundation, this is the base, where it begins. God should be feared, honored, served and worshipped. This is where knowledge begins. And this is what we’ve just finished talking about…right? In worship you recognize who God is…so I pray that you’ll keep a firm foundation of fear.   Knowledge is something that Solomon sees as really important for us. He writes a lot about it…about understanding…about growth. Solomon says never stop learning…never be satisfied…because you’ve been called higher…deeper!  
Proverbs 2:6
For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  
Proverbs 15:14
A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.  
Proverbs 18:15
Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.  
I don’t know about you…but sometimes my ears are clogged! Too often I’m NOT “open for knowledge”. Even though I have always been a person that loves to learn. I love facts and trivia…I love understanding technology…I really enjoy challenging myself with new instruments and playing music…I love learning.   BUT the problem is that because of what I know I run the risk of thinking I’ve already learned all I need to know. I have enough knowledge…and I’m good. But that’s never been NOR will ever be the case. My learning can never stop…and Solomon makes that clear.
Proverbs 18:15
Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.
This is the heart of Branches.
This is why we work in TEAMS. We know that on our own we can never KNOW it all. We have to always be looking for opportunities to learn and grow and be challenged. This is why we have 2 lead pastors…this is why we have multiple worship leaders…this is why we have groups. Because we’re better in teams…   I don’t know if you realize it or not but our Sunday messages that we speak up here have gone through review and insights by other people. When I speak it’s not ONLY me that’s thought and prayed and studied through these topics. Sara – my wife is quality control on everything… But at the same time, Ted, and Geoff, and Shane and the list goes on of people that have read through the message. They have added insights…challenged statements and helped me learn all the way throughout the writing process. And I’m grateful for it…
So are you learning? I know so many of you spend your entire lives learning. You learn and get licensed, you learn and get a degree, you learn and get a promotion, you learn and acquire a new skill – never settling…never being satisfied with where you are.   BUT when it comes to scripture, when it comes to your spiritual life you’re comfortable learning only on Sunday. For too many people Sunday’s are the only time you think about the Bible or read a passage. And to take it a step further, according to a recent study most Christians attend church less than 2 times a month.   …a regular attendee is someone who shows up at least 3 out of every 8 Sundays, only 23–25% of Americans would fit this category. ~ Church Leaders Magazine   That’s saying that “regular church goers” show up on 38% of the Sunday’s each year. SO – if you’re only learning comes on those Sundays…what does that say about your priorities?
*DISCLAIMER…this is not a guilt trip to increase church attendance. This is a wake up call!   Sundays alone are not enough…you need to be learning daily!   Beyond Sunday’s…are you learning? Are you gaining knowledge? Are you in study on your own? Are you in a group where you’re being challenged? Are you hungry for knowledge?
Proverbs 15:14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.   Can I make some suggestions for you? There are opportunities all week long for you to learn. I want to invite you to increase your learning by getting involved in…
  1. Bible Studies – we have one for men and one for women. Our lady’s study is about start in 2 weeks on the 20th…
  2. #BSG – Wednesday nights we have student group for 7th-12th graders
  3. Marriage Ministry – Starts in 2 weeks with a date night on the 22nd, we want this to be simple…we’ll even pay you to go out with your wife!
  4. Financial Peace University – a chance to effectively benefit your family and learn about how God invites us to use the gifts he’s given us. Check it out on a NO commitment evening on the 27th.
  5. The Vine – we’ll be inviting you to small discipleship groups to be challenged in.
  6. Seniors – on Oct 7 you can have a dinner and get involved
  7. Foundations – ???

  And today we have an opportunity for you to go out in the lobby and get involved.

One Response to “Growing in Knowledge | Wk 1”

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