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1698. God Created Us to Enjoy All of His Blessings

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2024 9:26 pm

1698. God Created Us to Enjoy All of His Blessings

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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January 31, 2024 9:26 pm

BJU Provost Dr. Gary Weier continues a series about the doctrine of man called “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” from Luke 2:41-52.

The post 1698. God Created Us to Enjoy All of His Blessings appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. Today, we're continuing a study of the doctrine of man, called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Gary Weir, executive director of the executive vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Bob Jones University. God made us in such a way that we're set apart as unique.

So here's our focus for today's chapel. How are we set apart as unique when it comes to our learning? Is it merely that we're more cognitively advanced than the rest of God's creation, or is it something more than that?

Well, if you go to Wikipedia, here's the answer you get. Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behavior, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines. There's also evidence for some kind of learning in certain plants. So, do you have a pet dog at home? Have you taught that dog to do something?

Maybe a trick? Well, if you have, then Wikipedia is right. Animals, at least dogs, I'm not so sure about cats, can learn. And here's more from Reader's Digest. According to the book, The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks 131 dog breeds in terms of their relative intelligence, the Border Collie is the smartest dog breed known to man.

Need proof? Chaser, a linguistically gifted Border Collie from South Carolina, could recognize over a thousand words. So Chaser can recognize over a thousand words. You and I have a vocabulary of somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 words. Are we simply smarter than dogs? Or is our capacity to learn fundamentally different? What about machine learning? Or more specifically, artificial intelligence?

Any society out there want to challenge Dr. Pettit, me, and chat GPT to a round of Scholastic Bowl? What makes our capacity to learn different from animals or from artificial intelligence? Well, we could talk about the difference in several ways. We could talk about our self-awareness, about the ability to conceptualize and think critically. I mean, dogs bark, but they don't bark about barking.

Dogs see a reflection when they look in the mirror, but they don't realize that that reflection is actually their own. We could talk about the science of learning and neuroscience research from a biblical worldview, and learning is so much more than cognitive function of your brain. We're not brains on sticks, as Dr. Moore reminded us. Learning includes your affections, your emotions, your will, even your physicality, your body, all working together with your mind. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made, but I'm not going to focus on the science of learning. I'm going to focus on a key scriptural truth, and here it is. God created us, His image bearers, with the capacity to learn so that we could experience all the blessings of being wise. Proverbs 9 12 says, if you are wise, you are wise for yourself. So let's work through three questions to help us better understand this biblical truth.

So here's the first question. Is there a theological basis for our capacity to learn? In other words, is our ability to learn something that we've just discovered, or does scripture in any way reveal that God created us with this capacity to learn? If we had time, we could go to Genesis 1 and we could see the connection between the creation mandate and our God-designed capacity to learn. The necessity and the opportunity to learn is not a consequence of the fall, though you may feel that way at times.

It is essential to God's good created order and our responsibility to fill and to form and to have dominion over the earth. But instead, we're going to look at Luke chapter two for an answer in the person of Christ. The Bible teaches us that Jesus was fully God and fully human, perfect God and perfect man. And Luke two reveals a clear truth that Jesus as fully human, perfect human, learned. We know from the biblical record that Jesus knew certain things supernaturally.

He knew how many wives or husbands the woman at the well had had. He knew about Lazarus' death before he'd been told about it. But we also know from the biblical record that Jesus experienced normal human growth and development. He experienced the process of learning and keeping with God's good design for humans. Jesus' conception was miraculous. The baby that was in Mary's womb was conceived of the Holy Spirit.

But Luke two emphasizes that Jesus' birth was ordinary. He was birthed as an infant like you and me. It's really amazing to watch an infant develop.

This past September, our first grandchild was born. My wife and I have had the joy of seeing little Caroline develop and to learn. As a newborn baby, she just flailed her arms and cried. But as the weeks and months have gone by, she's learned to follow objects with her eyes. She's learned to respond to sounds and to voices. She's learned to reach for objects with her tiny fingers. She's learned to smile. These all seem very simple, but they're actually amazing when you stop and think about them. The combination of the cognitive, emotional, and physical development that's behind them.

All I have to do is look into Caroline's eyes and understand that there's something special going inside that little image bearer as she grows and develops. Well, the infant Jesus experienced the same process of learning. He didn't come out of Mary's womb walking and talking. Every Christmas, we get very familiar with the first part of Luke chapter two, but we pay less attention to the latter part of Luke chapter two that gives us a key account from Jesus' boyhood, and that's what we're going to look at. As a 12 year old boy, Jesus accompanies his parents on an annual journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Context even of what we celebrate this week. When it comes to heading back home, time to head back home, Jesus doesn't do that.

Mary and Joseph don't realize that Jesus isn't with the group until the end of the first day's journey back, and of course they frantically head back to Jerusalem, and they ultimately find him in the temple. He's been interacting with the best theologians of the day. He's been asking questions and answering questions. He astonishes them with his wisdom and with his understanding.

Well, at the same time, I believe he's actually learning from them as well. Look, if you would, at verse 46 in Luke chapter two. And it came to pass that after three days, they, Mary and Joseph, found him, Jesus in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, the theologians, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

And they, when they saw him, they were amazed. His parents and his mother said unto him, son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, how is it that you sought me? Wish ye not that I must be about my father's business? Why did you have to look for me? Jesus is saying.

Didn't you know I'd be in my father's house? Right there, Jesus makes a clear statement about his divinity. And don't lose sight of the fact that that is the main point, the key message of this passage. Luke is telling us that not only is Jesus the son of God, but that Jesus himself as a boy understood his special relationship with God the father. But in the context of declaring Jesus divine nature, notice how Luke bookends this account in verses 40 and 52. Look at verse 40, and the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon him. And then verse 52, and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Because Jesus was fully human, he followed God's perfect design for every human. He grew, he developed, he learned, he grew physically and socially and intellectually, and yes, even spiritually, and unlike us, he did so perfectly. And remarkably, Jesus did so in submission to and independence to his earthly parents.

Look at verse 51. And he, Jesus, went down with them, Mary and Joseph, and came back to Nazareth and was subject unto them. Jesus went back home with his parents and submitted to them. Why didn't Jesus just stay in Jerusalem in his father's house?

That's a very legitimate question. Why did he go back home with his earthly parents as a 12-year-old boy? I don't pretend to have a full answer, but I do know this. Jesus came to fulfill the mission that we celebrate this week. But Jesus' first 30 years were not wasted years, even as we recognize that. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. And Hebrews 5 goes so far as to tell us that Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered. He didn't learn obedience because he had been disobedient, but he learned and he learned perfectly through what he experienced being fully human.

So I don't think there's greater evidence theologically than what we believe about Jesus that he was fully human and he learned for us to understand that God designed us his special creation with a capacity to learn. So this leads to a second question then, and that is since God created us with a capacity to learn, how do we steward this amazing ability? So go back on your phone or in your Bible to the Old Testament to Proverbs chapter 2.

We're going to take a look at Proverbs chapter 2 to think about how we steward this amazing ability that God has created us with. In verse 1 we read, my son if thou wilt receive my words and hide my commandments with thee so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest her as silver and searches for his for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom. Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous.

He is a buckler or a shield to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment. He preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness and judgment and equity. Yea, every good path when wisdom enterth into thine heart and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul. Discretion shall preserve thee.

Understanding shall keep thee. Here we have a father appealing to his son to make a choice. It's a choice that only his son can make.

It can't be forced upon him. In verse 1 the father is asking the son to receive or to accept his words. He's asking him to store up or internalize his instruction just as you would gather and store something that has value. In the context the father's words are God's words. They're God's revelation. They're God's truth.

They're not just any words. Verse 2 the father's appealing to his son to choose what he'll pay attention to with his ears and with his heart or with his mind. Learning in other words begins with a personal decision. We have a choice to make about our attention. So often we think about disciplining our attention or or fixing our short attention spans, but we can't discipline our attention until we choose to surrender our attention.

Remember Luke 2? Even Jesus submitted his attention to his parents. More important he submitted his attention to his heavenly father.

So let me ask you, have you chosen to submit your attention to God's truth above other choices? Failure to choose is a choice and it's a poor choice. It's a decision to pay attention to anything and everything because we have a propensity for distraction and we live in a culture that tries to monetize our distracted minds. This isn't an information economy. It is an attention economy. It means people are trying to make money off of what we pay attention to and many of the distractions that we face don't take us down good paths. The path of life that's described in Proverbs. None of us, none of us, young or old, will get wise by endlessly scrolling Instagram or by binge watching YouTube.

It just won't happen. In large measure we're the sum of what we give our attention to. This is why the psalmist asked God to incline my heart to your testimonies and turn my eyes from looking at worthless things. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we're transformed by the renewing of our minds by what we give our attention to. So teachability, humility, and allegiance to God's truth are the prerequisites for becoming wise.

So practically speaking what does this look like for you as a student? Well let me quote from our philosophy of education that's printed right in the BJU catalog. I'm sure you all have read it. As in secular education the environment of Christian education is artificially selective including elements favorable to its purpose and suppressing those unfavorable to it. BJU does not apologize for the prescriptiveness of its educational experiences here.

Its character goals require it. In other words you're not getting a neutral education here. There's no such thing as a neutral education. We admit our bias. It's no secret that we require you to take certain classes. EN 102, making of the modern world, apologetics and worldview, ideas and their consequences, essential science. There are certain experiences that we require. Chapel, d groups, we even have a code of conduct, we have cultural events, we curate a curriculum for you through all these requirements and you say well what on earth does that mean? It means that we select and we shape what we believe are the best learning experiences for your maximum benefit.

A willingness to embrace these experiences is a great way to steward your capacity to learn. But there's a second principle in this passage. Look again at verses three through six. Yea if thou cryest after knowledge and lifted up thy voice for understanding if thou seekest her as silver and searches for her as for hid treasures then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom, out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Learning is not a passive activity. Knowledge and understanding come from God and they're not merely received. We learn by diligently pursuing wisdom.

Look at the analogy in verse four. You search for wisdom just like you search for anything else that's highly valuable. Have you ever lost anything that was highly valuable? What determines how diligently you search for it? Obviously the value of the thing determines it, but a diligent search is motivated by more than the value of what's lost. It's also motivated by the likelihood of success.

Just think about it. It's confidence in whether or not you'll actually find what you're searching for. If you don't think you can find it you're gonna give up, but if you're confident in success you'll keep looking. You'll search diligently until you find it.

This is a screenshot of my phone's wallpaper. In August 2012 at age 47 I had a heart attack and the Lord graciously restored my health and in November of 2012 just three months later I ran a 5k. That was my time. If you know anything about running in 5ks you know that that is not a stellar time even for a 47 year old, but that got me into running and so the following November I ran again and that was my time. Following that race I set a goal the next year to break 21 minutes.

Missed it by that much. Obviously I had to train diligently in order to see those improvements. They didn't happen on their own, but what kept me pushing toward the goal?

Look at the screenshot on my phone. I was confident that if I put forth the effort I would succeed. Learning, becoming wise isn't a simple transaction. There aren't shortcuts. Proverbs 17 16 says why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?

You can't just Venmo a friend for it. You can't put it in your cart on Amazon and expect next day delivery and I know we all know this, but many times we don't act like we know that. We only glance at wisdom because we're too busy with other distractions. Look again if you would at verses four and five. If you search diligently for biblical wisdom with a teachable humble spirit you are guaranteed success.

Why? Verse six has the answer. The Lord gives wisdom and God never fails. When you search diligently and humbly for wisdom you'll ultimately find God.

Seek wisdom, find God. You'll know him better. You'll know him more personally. So I encourage you to search diligently for the riches of God's wisdom.

You won't be disappointed because you will find him and he never disappoints. Now to the final question. What's the purpose for our God-given capacity to learn? What is learning for?

Look if you would at verse 10. Wisdom will enter your heart. In other words the purpose of learning is all about you.

Not that you'll graduate with honors or land a great job or boost your GPA or even get admitted to a great grad school. Each of those can be wonderful in the will of God. But this is what I mean. When I say that God's purpose for learning is all about you it is that wisdom will enter your heart. That you will become wise. I'm not talking about merely knowing what wisdom is.

What it looks like or where you can find it. I'm talking about you becoming a wise person and experiencing all the blessings of being wise. Proverbs 9 12 if you are wise you are wise for yourself. A wise person has complete allegiance to God.

That's integrity. A wise person can read a situation and act decisively for the benefit of others. That's prudence. A wise person develops plans and can navigate through dangers and overcome obstacles in order to reach good goals. That's shrewdness. A wise person treats others according to God's expectations. That's justice. A wise person thinks biblically and plans accordingly to protect himself from alluring temptations.

That's discretion. A wise person puts thought into action carrying out what's right, just, and fair. That's understanding. A wise person is characterized by a winsome moral excellence. That's goodness. A wise person can find the path of life even when all his external navigational tools go dark. That's guidance.

And we've all needed that over the last several days. A wise person experiences the fulfillment of God's promises in his life. That's prosperity. And what redeemed child of God doesn't want to experience all of that? If you are wise, you are wise for yourself.

Now as you hear that and sit here you might think that a lot of what I just said isn't really that attractive to you. It might seem foolish. That might be because you're not a child of God. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 that the preaching of the cross, the preaching of God's redemption plan is foolishness to those who are perishing, to those who don't believe. But to those who are being saved, it is the power of God. You see, the foolishness of God. His son taking on human flesh to live a perfect life, to do something we could never do, fulfill all the law, and then to go to the cross and shed his blood and to die on that cross in order to pay the penalty for our sin. This foolishness of God is wiser than men.

Why? Because Jesus didn't stay in the tomb. He rose again so that all who turn to Christ away from themselves can experience a resurrection to eternal life.

If you're apart from Christ, this Easter week would be the best time to turn to him. The one who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. We're more than smarter than animals.

We have far more potential for true understanding than any artificial intelligence ever will have. God created us with a capacity to learn so that we could experience all the blessings of being wise. So I implore you to be teachable, to submit your attention to God's truth, to pursue diligently God's wisdom and the riches that are found in it.

Exercise your God-given capacity to learn. Father, we are so thankful for all the ways that you bless us. I thank you for your great love for us. I thank you for these students. And I pray that you would give them a desire to pursue you and the wisdom that is found in you. And I ask this in Christ's name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Gary Weir, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Bob Jones University.

My name is Wyatt Smith. I'm a senior here at Bob Jones University studying multimedia journalism and I want to tell you a little about my experience here at BJU. I've been here a little over three years and I truly cannot say enough about the community here at BJU. Whether it has been in the halls of the dorms, in my incredible society or even in the classroom, I have always felt a very strong sense of community around me that has aided in my growth as a person and as a Christian. BJU's commitment to academic excellence has also pushed me to discover and refine the skills and talents needed to succeed in life after school, such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving. My time in the classroom has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in my field of study, all while giving me the freedom to think creatively and build my skills. One aspect of BJU that I've really appreciated is that I've been continuously challenged to develop and grow my faith in Christ through the preaching of God's word and chapel and the daily discipleship of those in community around me. I have truly loved my time here at BJU and I hope others will be able to share the experience I have had. For any further information, please feel free to give us a call at 800-252-6363. Thank you for listening. Listen again tomorrow as we conclude this study of the doctrine of man, called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 05:03:36 / 2024-02-10 05:12:52 / 9

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