Wisdom, Revival, and the Holy Spirit

This is supposed to be in the format of a sermon... for those of you from Bethel, this type of message will sound a bit familiar. A decent chunk of the wisdom info is from my seminary class... I could quote Dr. Jon Huntzinger as he asked us to essentially come up with with a sermon from his notes of the class. I think you all will enjoy this if you have a few minutes to read it! Blessings to you!

I Introduction
In 1975, two key leaders in America, Bill Bright with Campus Crusade and Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission, were praying for revival. On the same night, the Lord gave both of them the same strategy for it to occur. One month later, Francis Schaeffer was also given the same revelation. The Lord showed these men that the key to revival was to train kingdom-oriented people who would become the leaders of the seven different “mountains” of society. These mountains are business, media, arts and entertainment, government, family, religion, and education. As these leaders become major influencers in their mountain, cultural transformation would occur to help bring about sustained revival in every sphere of society. This is what God is calling His people to do; to become kingdom-oriented and arise to positions of prominence in society. But how can each of us do this? We will need wisdom and the Holy Spirit.

Wisdom, as defined by Dr. Huntzinger, is not simply having intellect or information. Rather, throughout the Bible, wisdom is seen both by knowledge of creation and the Scriptures, but also by ability to do God’s will both in one’s personal life as well as in community life with excellence. This idea of wisdom is different than many have seen it: the wise person is not necessarily the person who sits around thinking all day but does not seem to do much with the ideas they have. Rather, wisdom requires practical application in one’s life and can be proven by how things are done with excellence. Since the idea that wisdom comes from the Bible and study of how creation works is nothing new, I will focus on the second part of wisdom: that pertaining to excellence in ability. This ability does ultimately come from the Spirit.

The Bible shows a deep connection between wisdom and the Spirit. Since the source of wisdom ultimately is the Holy Spirit, this should come as no surprise. Since our source as the Body of Christ for wisdom needs to be the Holy Spirit, it would be wise to study how wisdom and the Spirit were connected in the Old Testament to help bring about promotion in one of the seven mountains of society.

II Wisdom and the Old Testament
Throughout the Old Testament, we can find examples of people who used wisdom from God’s Spirit to become leaders in bringing cultural transformation to their sphere of society. Joseph is a very clear example of that. In Genesis 41:37-39, Pharaoh recognizes that God is the one that makes known incredible wisdom to Joseph and, as a result, promotes him to second in command of his nation. Through the Spirit giving wisdom and supernatural revelation, Joseph receives promotion to be able to be one of the leaders of the government mountain. He uses his opportunity to lead to bring radical cultural transformation – if it were not for his leading food would not have been saved in the bountiful years and Egypt would have become famine stricken like the rest of the world when the lean years came. However, even before his promotion, Joseph is constantly using his wisdom to become leader of whatever situation he comes to: whether it is Potiphar’s house, the jail, or the palace.

Wisdom is seen in not only the supernatural, but also in the natural. In Exodus 35:30-36:1, Moses declares to the people that God has filled Bezalel and Oholiab with His Spirit and given them wisdom in becoming excellent craftsmen. They were to use this wisdom, or practical ability, in the religious mountain to make a sanctuary for the Lord. However, I am sure they also probably used their ability in other mountains of society and were clearly leaders in architecture for the time period.

In Deuteronomy 34:9, it records that Joshua had the Spirit of wisdom given to him when Moses laid hands on him. Numbers 27:18-23 records the event and shows that wisdom and the Spirit allowed Joshua to excel in leadership and become the leader of the government mountain for the Hebrew people.

Daniel is known not simply for having the Spirit and wisdom but having outstanding wisdom according to Daniel 5:14. He has tremendous ability to do his skill with excellence by not simply interpreting the dreams but also to tell what the dreams are first! This wisdom of the Spirit enables him to rise to prominence in the government mountain where he is constantly finding himself as a leader. Belshazzar makes him third in command (Daniel 5:29) and when he is quickly overthrown, Darius makes him a key leader. After Darius sees the supernatural hand of the Lord on Daniel in deliverance from the lions, Darius uses his influence to declare revival throughout the country (Daniel 6:26-27). Through the Spirit and wisdom, Daniel rises to prominence in his country – despite the overwhelming odds of being a foreigner in exile – and is able to influence the government mountain such that it influences every other realm of society.

III Jesus and Wisdom
I want to shift now from seeing Old Testament leaders that were filled with wisdom that received great promotion in their sphere of society to how Jesus interacted with wisdom. In the New Testament, Jesus is clearly seen as a man of wisdom and the Spirit. However, there was also a major change that He made to Hebrew culture. The Hebrews felt wisdom resided in the Torah, understanding creation, and in practical ability. In regards to the first part, however, Jesus changed everything. This is a huge issue as biblical interpretation is such a major issue in the church today. Many liberal theologians would say that the meaning for each passage resides with the reader. This can be quite dangerous as the Bible can mean anything to anyone. Many conservative scholars would say that meaning resides in the text or in authorial intent. This also would be what the Pharisees believed to be true. However, Jesus emphasizes that wisdom comes from the Spirit rather than simply study of creation or the Torah. Jesus has the Spirit and He tells the Pharisees that the focus of their search for life is not going to be found simply through study of the Torah. It will be found in relationship with Him (John 5:36-40) and ultimately through the Spirit that rests on Him that gives life. Jesus redirects their attention from merely searching the text for wisdom to relationship with God and understanding His ways. Jesus’ redirect is for us as well, we should not simply try to read the Bible to get wisdom for our mountain, rather the Bible is a place to encounter the Lord and grow in relationship with Him to grow in understanding His wisdom to ultimately better impact the mountain we are called to.

Since Jesus redefined wisdom to be inherent to the Spirit and the ways of God, it is interesting to note that just like in the Old Testament, the power of God is again related to wisdom. This makes sense, as this is one of the ways God works in this world. When Jesus performs exorcisms in Matthew 12:22-32 when the Pharisees are watching and in Matthew 15:21-28 with the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, he is identified by the title of “Son of David” during the exorcisms. The name “Son of David” actually is a tribute to Him being a man of wisdom in the line of David and Solomon as the Jewish historian Josephus records that Solomon was commonly viewed as an exorcist.

Deliverance was not the only aspect of the power of God that Jesus did that was seen as wisdom. Jesus healed the blind man as the “Son of David” (Mt. 20:29-34). In Matthew 11, Jesus gives an apologetic to a crowd explaining who he is. He declares “wisdom is proved right by her actions” after declaring the lame walking and blind seeing confirms his divine origin. He shares this knowing that wisdom involves practical ability (like power flowing through him) and that if God’s wisdom is in Him that he is not the drunkard and glutton that he is accused of being. Similarly, God’s wisdom in us will help to be a defense against accusation.

Jesus obviously also showed wisdom in a variety of other occurrences teaching the ways of God through parables and through how he dealt with the Pharisees. Again, though, we see the importance of the Spirit and knowing the ways of God as essential to what wisdom is all about.

IV Paul and Wisdom
Paul emphasizes the role of the Spirit regarding wisdom. This is most clearly seen in Ephesians 1:15-23 where Paul prays for believers to receive the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation.” His purpose is so that they would know the Lord better, know who they are, the hope of what they are called to, and the power that has been released to them. When Paul prays for wisdom for the saints, he emphasizes identity and power. This is extremely crucial. As we know who we are in Him and realize what He has given us access to through relationship with the Spirit, it is amazing what can happen through our lives in the different mountains of society that we are called to. God is looking for people he can promote and give His ideas to through relationship.

V How Do We Access This Wisdom
The first major key in accessing the wisdom is to understand who we are in identity as his children. When we understand who we are, we will know what we have access to in relationship. When I understand that I am a child of the king, I will realize that it is very natural to expect to have power flow through me. I will expect that my Father would want to share insights with me. It will not be something that I have to strive, perform, or anything else for. Rather, it will be a natural byproduct of a healthy relationship with him. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2 that the Spirit makes known the wisdom of God because the Spirit knows the mind of God. Then Paul states that the Corinthian church has access to the wisdom of God because they have the mind of Christ! This is obviously not only for the Corinthian church, because of our relationship with the Spirit; we have access to the wisdom of God! Therefore, it should not be uncommon for us to receive ideas from him as we shift our hearts to a place of believing to receive.

Secondly, while God directly gives wisdom, God also works through his body on earth. This can look like a simple prayer of impartation of gifting to being in relationship with the person to learn as much as possible. Therefore, it is wise to have many different people in our lives that can give us wisdom. Throughout the Bible, we can see God working through these ways.

Bezalel in Exodus 35:34 is said to have the ability to teach others the same grace from the Spirit that he has: impartation flows through others with gifting far better than trying to learn everything on our own.

Deuteronomy 34:9 and Numbers 27:18-23 show that Joshua was given the Spirit of wisdom to lead based on Moses’ prayer of impartation. However, he also likely learned a tremendous amount through relationship, as he was Moses second-in-command for many years. Therefore, Joshua is a good example of growth both through relationship and through a prayer of impartation.

The disciples and their relationship with Jesus are another classic example. After spending time with Jesus, they eventually began to minister in the ways that He did, through the wisdom of healing the sick and casting out devils.

VI Conclusion: The Need for Stewardship
Regardless of the position we currently find ourselves in, we can all steward where we are at through using wisdom. As we steward what is given to us, regardless of our setting, it gives God the opportunity to promote us. Joseph is a classic example of this. He used wisdom in each of his settings and was promoted by the Lord to leader in Potiphar’s house, in jail, and in the palace. As we do whatever we are doing with excellence, it allows the Lord to promote us in His time to become leaders in the mountain he has called us to.

The world is hungry for true wisdom. If our focus is on cultivating that, God will open up doors to become leaders in the mountains where He is calling us. Daniel did not have to open up doors – his excessive wisdom prompted the king eagerness to hear what he had to say. Similarly, if our focus shifts from self-promotion to cultivation of wisdom, when the promotion comes we will have wisdom to offer those that are entrusted to us in leadership. However, if our focus is simply self-promotion, if we are to get the promotion, we may not keep it for long due to lack of having any wisdom to offer those that are entrusted to our care.