************ Sermon on Belgic Confession Article 1g ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on April 14, 2019

Belgic Confession Article 1g
Psalm 139:1-6
"God is Wise"

The sound doctrine of the Belgic Confession tells us we all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that a spiritual being whom we call God is "completely wise." We see His wisdom in Creation. We see His wisdom in Redemption. We see His wisdom in Sanctification.

Before we look at these three points I want to observe that the wisdom of God always takes place in darkness. For instance, consider God's wisdom in the Creation of all things:
(Gen 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (3) And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Same thing with the incarnation. God did not send His Son down to earth shining like a meteor. Rather, He formed Him in the darkness of the virgin's womb, unseen by human eye. And when He was nailed on the cross, hanging there, suffering there, darkness descended on the earth at midday. When He died He was put in the darkness of the tomb. And in that darkness He arose.

Every great thing God has done, He has done in the silence and the darkness. Telling us what? Telling us God's wisdom invades darkness, dispels darkness, overcomes darkness -- including the darkness of our nature, our sin, and our mortality.

I God's Wisdom in Creation
A We start with God's wisdom in creation. The message of the Bible is that the heavens and earth and all things in them were created in wisdom:
(Prov 3:19) By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
(cf Jer 10:12)

It is God's wisdom that formed the universe. And, it is God's wisdom that keeps the universe going. You look at our universe through the eyes of science and you see it is very complex: gravity, electro-magnetism, the strong nuclear force that binds protons and neutrons together to form the nucleus of an atom, the weak nuclear force, the four laws of thermodynamics. Wisdom made all this. Wisdom maintains all this. Nothing is an accident. Nothing evolves out of nothing.

B Today there is conflict between science and religion. Right now the greatest battle of this conflict is in the area of creation and evolution.

God is wise. He is the source of all knowledge and truth stems from Him. Ultimately, this means there can be and should be no conflict between genuine science and the truth of God. How tragic it is, then, that some believers divorce science from faith. When this occurs, science becomes the province for reason, and religion becomes the arena of blind faith, and the two can never mix.

If God is completely wise and all truth comes from Him, how come science and religion have conflict at times? The reason is simple: none of us are God; none of us are omniscient, none of us are infallible. With this in mind, there are two things I need to say here. First, our science can be wrong. Second, our interpretation of the Bible can be wrong.

God is completely wise so a fallible person can never correct Him; or, to put it another way, an omniscient God can never be corrected by men with limited knowledge.

C God is completely wise. He is the source of all truth and all knowledge. The Psalmist says, "In your light we see light" (Ps 36:9). Therefore all learning and all education must stem from Him and acknowledge Him. Christian parents, I hope you realize what this means? This means that any education or school that fails to acknowledge God is lacking.

II God's Wisdom in Redemption
A We also see God's wisdom in redemption. Listen to what Proverbs 8 says about wisdom:
(Prov 8:22-23) The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; (23) I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
This reminds me of how John starts his gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1). In 1 Corinthians 1:24 Paul specifically identifies Jesus crucified and resurrected as the wisdom of God.

B It is wisdom that came up with God's eternal plan for our salvation. From eternity, the Father and Son covenanted together to bring forgiveness through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and to bring life through His resurrection from the dead. The wisdom of God knows man is so lost he cannot and will not seek God. The wisdom of God knows man is so fallen that he hates God and neighbor. The wisdom of God knows the human heart is dead and needs to be born-again. Nothing but the blood and the cross will do. Nothing but the empty grave will suffice.

C This message of the cross and grave is foolishness to the world (1 Cor 1:21-25). The world believes each man is capable of saving good. The world believes everyone is basically good. So the world's solution to sin and evil is more money, good works, social programs, a better environment, improved education, good examples, research, computers and technology, and so on. The world's solution to sin and evil is false do-it-yourself religions: Hindu, Muslim, Confucius, Jewish, Mormon, JW, TM, Scientology, and so on.

III God's Wisdom in Sanctification
A This brings us to our third point: God's wisdom in sanctification. There are two things I want to say here: first, God knows you; second, God knows what is best for you.

God knows you. Try as we may like, we can't hide our true nature from God. God knows us better than we ourselves do. You see, God knows all things and sees all things because God is completely wise.

God is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16). He isn't fooled by outward appearances because He looks into the heart and knows what is really there. Remember the time the prophet Samuel was commanded to go to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse's sons as king. Samuel was impressed when he saw Jesse's son Eliab and thought "Surely the LORD'S anointed stands here." But the LORD said to Samuel,
(1 Sam 16:7) "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

God knows and sees everything. He knows the number of the days of our lives before we are even born (Ps 139:16). He knows where we live and what we do. He knows our deeds, He knows our words, He knows our thoughts.

David learned this about God when he sinned against Bathsheba and her husband. David thought he had covered all the bases, that he was safe and secure. But God knew what David did and sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. It was sometime after this that David composed the beautiful words of Psalm 139. In this psalm David says, "God knows me. He knows my words and my thoughts. He knows where I am and what I am doing. He is familiar with all of my habits. He is aware of all of my sins and shortcomings."

God is completely wise. The Biblical message is that someday our completely wise God will call on every person to account for everything in his or her life (2 Cor 5:10). We must account for our deeds (Rev 20:12). We must account for our words (Matt 12:36). We will even be held accountable for our thoughts (1 Cor 4:5).

Every person has one of two different reactions to this omniscient judgment of our completely wise God. The first reaction is fear. Think of Adam and Eve in the garden. When first put there by God they were both naked and unashamed. After the fall into sin, however, they both tried to cover up. They were naked and ashamed and tried to hide from God. With sin came fear of our all-knowing, all-seeing, completely wise God.

For unbelievers nothing is more dreadful than the thought of being completely known by God. The pagan does not want God to look at him; he wants God to overlook him. He spends all his life looking over his shoulder, scared and afraid. In one of his proverbs King Solomon says, "The wicked man flees though no one pursues" (Prov 28:1a). Martin Luther puts it another way: "The pagan trembles at the rustling of a leaf." What is he afraid of? He is afraid of God; he's afraid of a completely wise God Who knows and sees everything; he's afraid of a completely wise God Who calls man to account for every deed, every word, and every thought.

The second reaction is that of the believer. Unlike the unbeliever, the believer does not fear that everything is known by God. Yes, God knows us as we really are; He knows the wickedness of our deeds and words and thoughts; yet, God still loves us and accepts us in Jesus Christ. What comfort and solace. I doubt if any person would accept us if they really knew everything about us. But God, He knows everything and still loves and accepts us in Christ. You see, God looks at us poor, miserable sinners through the cloak of Christ's righteousness. In and through and because of Christ God sees us as being righteous and pure and holy. And, in the Final Judgment God will reveal everything there is to know about me, all my filth and dirt He will lay out in the open for everyone to see; but even that doesn't scare me because this will all be revealed as FORGIVEN SINS, as sins covered by the blood of Christ.

If you think about it, I think you will agree that to be known by our completely wise God is our highest privilege.

B God is completely wise. This not only means that He knows you. It also means He knows what is best for you.

Take the issue of premarital or extra-marital or homosexual sex. In His Word God says,
(Eph 5:3) But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
The Bible is completely out of step with modern theory and practice here. Some psychiatrists say that under certain conditions all of this is not only permissible but also healthy. They are joined by a chorus of educators and even some clergy. We add to this the results of sexual surveys which reveal that many Americans -- both inside and outside the church -- have practiced these behaviors.

Is the Bible giving bad advice here? We can't say that. Remember, God is completely wise. He knows what He is talking about.

Wall Street trumpets the benefit of greed. Chase after the dollar, it says; strive for riches, it says. Most Americans seem to agree with this. But what does God say? He says,
(Lk 12:15) "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

(Mt 6:19-20) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ... (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ..."

Is the Bible giving bad advice here? We can't say that. Remember, God is completely wise. He knows what He is talking about.

The philosophy today is to look after number one, to step on those in front of you in your climb to the top. Ours is a self-centered culture. But what does God say? He says,
(Mt 5:5-7) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Is the Bible giving bad advice here? We can't say that. Remember, God is completely wise. He knows what He is talking about.

God is completely wise. He knows what He is talking about. We can absolutely trust His Word. God knows more than educators, more than the American Psychiatric Association, more than a symposium of learned churchmen, more than newspaper columnists or TV talk show hosts. If every scholar in the world agrees that premarital or extra-marital or homosexual sex is good, it is still bad because God says it is bad. If every businessman says greed is good and necessary, it is still evil because God says it is. If every counselor says the best thing you can do is put yourself first, it is still the wrong thing to do because God says it is the wrong thing to do.

God is completely wise. When we go against His will we are saying, "I know better than You, God." In all of life we must realize that God's way is right. We need to realize we either blindly go our way or we trust in the wisdom of God.

The sound doctrine of the Belgic Confession tells us we all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that a spiritual being whom we call God is "completely wise." We see His wisdom in Creation. We see His wisdom in Redemption. We see His wisdom in Sanctification.

Is this the God you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth?
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