************ New Year's Sermon on Proverbs 8:1 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on January 1, 2017
New Years 2017
When I was a boy I called the cows when it was time to milk them. I called our horse when it was time to harness her up. I called the chickens when we fed them and looked for their eggs.
I remember the time when I was told to call our workers for supper. One of them didn't think it was supper time and told me to take a jump in the pond.
A number of weeks ago I was calling for Alexander in the airport. As we waited 4 hours in San Francisco to catch a plane, he got excited when he saw a moving sidewalk and away he went. Unknown and unseen by me, when he got to the end he jumped on the one going back in the opposite direction. I started calling when I didn't see him.
We call out when we want to get someone's or something's attention.
On this first day of 2017 we hear wisdom calling out. Listen to the words of our text:
(Prov 8:1) Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?Wisdom calls out because she wants our attention!
As we look at Proverbs 8, I want to ask and answer five different questions. First, Who is the Wisdom that calls? Second, who does Wisdom call? Third, where does Wisdom call? Fourth, what does Wisdom call? And fifth, what is the result of Wisdom's call?
I Who is Wisdom
A Who is the Wisdom that calls? In Proverbs 8, Solomon uses a number of attributes to describe Wisdom. Wisdom is eternal, creative, humble, prudent, authoritative, loving, gracious, fruitful, filled with delight and joy.
Think about these attributes. They are personal. Wisdom is not a thing. Wisdom is a person. Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes that in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3). And, Paul proclaims "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:24).
B When we look at Proverbs 8 from the viewpoint of the New Testament we are given a glimpse of the incomprehensible glory of our Lord and Savior. We see His eternal existence, His relationship with the Father, and His power of creation.
(Prov 8:22-31) 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 ... (27) I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep ... (31) Then I was the craftsman at his side ...Do you hear how similar this is to what John writes at the beginning of his gospel?
(Jn 1:1-3) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning. (3) Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.And, do you hear how similar this is to what Paul writes to the Colossian believers?
(Col 1:15-16) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by him all things were created ...
Remember what we are told about the creation at the beginning? It was formless, it was empty, it was dark; everything was chaos. According to Solomon and John and Paul, God sent forth Christ to fix it, to organize it, to straighten out the mess and chaos. And He wants to do the same with you: to straighten out the mess and chaos of your life. He wants to straighten out the mess and chaos of sin and evil and fallenness in your life.
In the beginning, everything God made and ordered in Christ was good. Because of Adam, everything God made became marred and touched by sin. But in Christ everything God made will be redeemed. That's the promise of the Gospel. Work is good, fallen, and redeemable. Banking is good, fallen, and redeemable. Gardening is good, fallen, and redeemable. The NFL is good, fallen, and redeemable. The family is good, fallen, and redeemable.
He Who rejoiced and delighted in the first creation wants to rejoice and delight in your re-creation. And, in the re-creation of all of life.
C Do you know which voice calls in Proverbs 5-7? In those chapters we hear the call of the adulteress:
(Prov 7:18-19) Come, let's drink deep of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love! (19) My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.The voice of the adulteress is the voice of the world. A voice that leads astray. A voice that leads to death and the grave.
In Proverbs 8 we hear a different voice calling, a wonderful voice, a voice of beauty and majesty and holiness and grace. Jesus calling. That's Whom we hear in Proverbs 8. Jesus calling. That's Who calls at the start of a new year, the year 2017. That's Who calls on this Preparatory Sunday.
Jesus calling because Jesus is wisdom. We notice that wisdom is not inside us; it is outside us. There is a reason why we have ears on the outside of our heads. We are not meant to listen to ourselves. We are meant to listen to Jesus.
(Prov 8:1) Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?Are you listening? Do you hear Jesus calling? Are you paying attention?
II Who Does Wisdom Call
A Who does Wisdom call? To whom does Christ make His appeal? Not just to scholars, seekers, the struggling, the religious. His heart and His mission are far bigger than that.
(Prov 8:4) To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.Jesus is calling all men. He wants everyone to listen. He wants every sinner to listen.
Why? Because every person has been marred by Adam's fall. Because every person is conceived and born in sin. Because every person does evil and has evil within. What we have here is the proclamation of the gospel to every creature. Wherever the call reaches, the offer is made. Wherever a lost sinner is found, the free welcome of the Gospel meets him or her.
B Jesus calling. Calling. He doesn't whisper softly and tenderly. He cries out, He calls out, He raises His voice.
(Prov 8:1) Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?Why? So all can hear Him above the noise of life.
(Prov 8:4) To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.
Jesus calling. Jesus calling sinners. That's what we have in Proverbs 8. Now hear this: Jesus is calling you. Because you are a sinner. Because your life is chaos without Him. The only important question is, are you listening? And, will you listen in 2017?
Where do you go for counsel? Who do you look to for advice? When you have a concern, do you immediately pray about it and search the Scriptures for help? Do you ask a godly friend to help you know what Christ has to say about it? Go to Him today. Listen to Him today. Because Jesus is calling. Because Wisdom is calling.
III Where Does Wisdom Call
A Where does Wisdom call? Listen to what is said in the first three verses of our Bible reading:
(Prov 8:1-3) Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? (2) On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; (3) beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud:
Christ the Wisdom of God does not retreat into a monastery or mountain cave. He does not wait for us to find Him. He moves toward us, He moves toward the masses. He meets us where we are at. He comes to the crossroads of life, where we work and where we play and where we live.
God did this with Adam and Eve in the Garden. God didn't wait for Adam to find Him. Instead, He sought out Adam and called out, "Where are you?"
B According to verse 3, Christ the Wisdom of God cries out "beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances." Most people have no idea how significant the city gate is in the Ancient World. It is more than the gateway into the city. It is more than a place to be closed when the enemy approaches. It is the place where the elders of Israel and the pagan nations sat to hear requests and make judgments. It is the place where Absalom sat when he tried to steal the hearts of Israel. It is the place where the leaders met, in the presence of all, to make decisions.
This means wisdom calls out to leaders and rulers and kings and princes. Listen to verses 15-16:
(Prov 8:15-16) By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; (16) by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth.
I need to tell you, again, how foolish and how dumb and how unbiblical Two Kingdom theology is at this point. Two Kingdom theology says that the church is not allowed to address the public square. Two Kingdom theology says the church has nothing to say to leaders and rulers. Two Kingdom theology says the church has nothing to say to the world about the issues before it. Yet here is Wisdom, here is Christ, at the city gate. He is speaking to rulers. He is calling rulers. He has something to say to Trump and Pence in Washington, Putin in Moscow, Trudeau in Ottawa, Merkel in Berlin, and Brown in Sacramento.
IV What Does Wisdom Call
A Wisdom calls. What does she say on this first day of 2017? What does she say on this Preparatory Sunday? We hear Wisdom calling out three things.
First, we hear Wisdom telling us what she hates. Listen to what she says in verses 6, 7, and 13:
(Prov 8:6-7) Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. (7) My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
(Prov 8:13) To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Wisdom -- remember, this is Christ speaking -- Wisdom detests wickedness. Wisdom hates evil, pride, arrogance, evil beheavior, and perverse speech. Wisdom hates sin. Wisdom hates the sin that messes up God's good creation. Wisdom hates the sin that perverts justice. Wisdom hates the sin that defies the Law of God. Wisdom hates the sin that ignores the will and Word of God and chooses another way.
B Second, we hear Wisdom telling us what she loves. Listen to what she says in verse 17:
(Prov 8:17) I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
Wisdom -- remember, this is Christ Who continues to speak -- Wisdom loves those who seek her. Wisdom loves those who -- by grace -- come to Jesus, believe in Jesus, serve Jesus.
C Third, Wisdom gives commands: in verse 6 we are told to "listen"; in verse 10 we are told to "choose."
So what is Jesus saying to us on this first day of 2017? What is Jesus saying to us on this Preparatory Sunday? The same thing He said when He started His ministry. The same thing He told the apostles to declare to the world: "Repent and Believe." He hates sin so repent of your sin. He loves when people come to Him so believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?" She calls out in love. What she says is not politically correct. She doesn't tell sinners "God loves you and accepts you the way you are." She doesn't tell sinners "You don't have to change." Rather, she says "Repent and Believe."
Remember, Wisdom calls out to all men because all are sinners. Don't ever think Wisdom calls out only to gays, drug addicts, alcoholics, gang members, adulterers, child-molester, and prisoners. Wisdom calls all sinners -- which means everyone, which means you -- to repent and believe, to listen and come to Him.
Jesus calling. Wisdom calling. "I hate evil. I love those Who come to me. Repent and Believe."
(Prov 8:1) Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?So what? What difference does it make? What difference does it make whether or not we listen to Wisdom's call?
Do you remember what happens to those who listen to the adulteress of Proverbs 7?
(Prov 7:26-27) Those victims who listen to her voice are brought down. (27) Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.The last verse of our Bible reading says the same thing:
(Prov 8:36) But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.Proverbs is talking about eternal death. Hell. Hell fire. Judgment. That's what happens when you listen to the world instead of to Jesus.
But now what happens when you listen to Jesus calling? What happens when you repent and believe?
(Prov 8:35) For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.Proverbs is talking about eternal life. Life with God. Life with Christ. Life in the new heaven and new earth. That's what happens when you listen to Jesus. That's what happens when you listen to Wisdom.
Wisdom calls out. Wisdom raises her voice. As you stand at the start of 2017 are you listening? As you prepare your hearts for the Lord's Supper are you listening?
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page