Wisdom in Relationships

Bible Book: Proverbs  3 : 27-30
Subject: Relationships, Christian; Community; Christian Living; Wisdom
Series: Proverbs - Sermon Notebook


In Proverbs, we learn that wisdom is reserved for those who humble themselves before the Lord. The wisdom of God is never acquired by intellect, intuition, research, or industrious pursuit. The wisdom of the world may be gleaned through human effort, but not the wisdom of God. I have often been intrigued by the arrogance of some very highly educated people. I have known some humble doctors, lawyers, and business men, and educators, but I have also observed that some are proud and egotistical. My younger brother picked me up a number of years ago and we drove in his pickup truck to the courthouse in a small town where he had a hearing. As we parked he pointed to the Mercedes that had pulled up to the curb. A well dressed man got out of the driver’s side and as a young lady, his paralegal, was removing files from the other side. My brother observed, “His ego demands the car and the paralegal in the courtroom. “

I have also been amazed at the arrogance of some educators. A high self-esteem can become the engine fuel of the wisdom of this world. Have you listened to the debates on the Fox Channel - about anything? The war in Iraq, the Peterson case, the Kobe Bryant case? You name it. There is no room for humility there, and there is no room for courtesy. The humble are not going to get much camera time, and neither are those who are courteous. You simply cannot educate humility into an individual - you can teach etiquette, but godly courtesy moves beyond the wisdom of the world.

Just as godly wisdom is the beginning of humility, humility is the genesis of Christian courtesy. You see there is a worldly courtesy which may be self-serving. We want to make a good impression and the manifestation of courtesy is one way to do it. It is good for business, it is good for those with political aspirations, and often rewards those who are social climbers. Now let me stress this - I had much rather be around a courteous lost person that a discourteous one. But Christian courtesy must, of its very nature go beyond that. Godly courtesy is guided and motivated by an application of the Golden Rule. This wisdom builds relationships. It never manipulates, deceives, or misleads.

Godly wisdom, the wisdom which finds its source in the fear of the Lord, is courteous. There was a time in our society when great emphasis was placed on courtesy. People did many things out of what they called common courtesy. But what exactly is courtesy, and is it a spiritual virtue or simply a matter of social etiquette? I believe we find the answer to both those questions in the Golden Rule, and in the Sermon on the Mount. We also find many passages in Proverbs which are helpful. Look at our text:

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"‑‑when you have it with you. Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you. Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you. “


A. Paul Contrasts the Wisdom of God and the Wisdom of the World (1 Cor. 1:19-24).

“For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well‑pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God “ (emphasis added).

1. First, there is the wisdom of God.

2. Then there is the wisdom of “the wise “ people of the world

3. God will destroy “the wisdom of the wise. “

4. God will “make foolish the wisdom of the world. “

5. Gentile philosophy cannot grasp the wisdom of God.

6. Jewish religion cannot comprehend the wisdom of God.

7. If you would know the wisdom of God turn to Jesus Christ.

B. The Wisdom of the World Is Acquired.

1. The wisdom of the world is often associated with a high IQ.

2. The wisdom of the world is often associated with education.

3. The wisdom of the world is often associated with sophistication.

4. The wisdom of the world is often associated with worldly knowledge

5. The wisdom of the world often comes with an attitude.

C. The Wisdom of God is bestowed, not acquired.

1. The wisdom of God begins with a personal relationship with Christ.

2. The wisdom of God is associated with the nature of Christ.

3. The wisdom of God is associated with the character of Christ.

4. The wisdom of God is associated with the teachings of Christ.

5. The wisdom of God is given progressively through the Word of God.

6. The wisdom of God is given through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

7. You cannot know the wisdom of God apart from Christ.

8. The wisdom of God will find practical application.

“These also are sayings of the wise: Partiality in judging is not good “ (Pro. 24:23).

“Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. Do not say, ‘I will do to others as they have done to me; I will pay them back for what they have done “ (Pro. 24:28-29).


A. Jesus Gives Us the Wisdom Necessary for a Right Relationship With God.

1. He gives us the wisdom to worship God.

Worship is not only important, it is essential. Sadly, today there is so much debate as to the proper style of worship that the very debate can impede worship. How can we worship a holy God if there is an unholy war going on in our hearts? There are those who feel that someone is trying to force them into a worship style that they are uncomfortable with, and others who seem bound and determined to have their own way regardless of who gets hurt.

Common courtesy would lead us to seek a solution that would not hurt other people. Christian courtesy would apply the Golden Rule and seek a solution that honors God and edifies His Church. y purpose at the moment is not to defend one worship style against another, but to stress the importance of worship. You and I are commanded to worship, and while we should have private devotions, including Bible study, prayer, and meditation, God demands public worship. We are commanded to come together in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s name, with the Lord’s people, in the power of the Holy Spirit for worship. Church attendance is expected of God’s people, but you can attend without worship. Some parents think they have done all God requires of them if they get their children and young people to Sunday School and worship services. They drop them off for Sunday School and then go to their own department. When Sunday School is over the parents find their place in the sanctuary and may never do anything more than glance around just to be sure their young people are there.

These parents may someday be wringing their hands, saying, “I don’t know what happened. I brought him up in church. What else could I have done? “ There is a vast difference between worship and assigning a warm body to a cold pew. I can assure you that I have seen many young people whose parents thought they had them in a worship service, but in reality, they were so preoccupied with their friends they did not know what was going on in the service.

A young lady once came, at her mother’s request, to talk with me about her sister who had been involved in the occult - and the lifestyle associated with it. As she talked, I stopped and asked her, “Now, are you talking about your sister or yourself.? “ She said, “I’m talking about myself. Mother knew about my sister but she didn’t know about me. “ This older teenager went on to discuss drugs, immorality, and the occult activities in which she had been involved only two or three years earlier.

The Lord had miraculously delivered her sister, and then he had delivered her. Now she wanted to help other young people, but their parents did not want their teenagers to associate with her. She said, “I don’t blame them, but what many of them do not understand is that some of those kids are already involved in immorality and other things. Some of the young people you preach to every Sunday call me to ask some personal questions. Then she began to talk about those young people who were pure and those who were not.

I asked her, “How do you know the difference between the two groups? “ She said, “It is simple. Those who open their Bibles and follow you when you are preaching are pure. Those who sit back in the back and write notes and pass pictures around are not. Most of them are already involved in some of the things I was involved in. “

We must make worship a priority. By worship, I do not mean a pleasant thought one may have in the deer stand, on the lake, or on the golf course. We are talking about a commitment to worship the Lord with His people on His day. I found the following article in the Bible Illustrator:

The church is not:

* An ark for the saving of a select few.

* A ferryboat to take effortless passengers to the shores of heaven.

* A life insurance company, with no obligation on policy holders except the payment of a small annual premium.

* A social set, welcoming certain people and excluding others from its fellowship.

* A Sunday pleasure club for the providing of pleasant occupation on the day of rest.

The church is:

* A lifeboat for the rescue of sin‑wrecked and perishing souls.

* A family, in which love and service are expected from each member to each member.

* An organized community, with constant activities and continual growth and development.

* A company of believers who have found the one way of life and obey the one Lord of life.

* A union of those who love for the benefit of those who suffer.

* A center of social worship, in which the spiritual life of each is helped by the spiritual life of his fellow.

* The representative ‑‑ the "body" ‑‑ of Jesus Christ on the earth, reflecting his spirit and controlled by his will.

2. He gives us the wisdom to serve God.

3. He gives us the wisdom to obey God.

4. This wisdom begins with a reverential fear of the Lord.

B. Jesus Gives Us the Wisdom Necessary for a Right Relationship With Others.

1. He gives us the wisdom to pray “our Father,” not “my Father.”

2. He has given us the Golden Rule.

3. He has commanded us to love one another.

4. He has given us His Word to bless relationships.

5. He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us in relationships.

6. He has given us His own example.

7. He has given us the wisdom to be courteous in all relationships.


A. “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).

1. If you want to be treated with respect treat others with respect.

2. If you appreciate a smile, give a smile.

3. If you appreciate a “thank you,” give one.

4. If you appreciate an “excuse me,” give one.

5. If you want your property respected, respect your neighbor’s.

6. If you want your family respected, respect your neighbor’s.

B. “You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself” (Matt. 22:39).

1. This is the Second Great Commandment.

2. This Command is often repeated (1 John 3:11ff).

3. If you love your neighbor you do not kill him.

4. If you love your neighbor you do not steal from him.

5. If you love your neighbor you do not covet what he has.

6. If you love your neighbor you do not lust after him/her.

7. If you love your neighbor you do not say things to hurt him/her.

With all this in mind, let us go on to consider some practical application of the godly wisdom in our relationships. These will include not only our relationship with other believers but also with non-believers. We have been looking at how the wisdom of God guides us from the positive side, but now I would like for us to consider it from a negative standpoint.


Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He is the source of the wisdom He wants you to have and to practice. He gives you wisdom to guide you in relationships. First, there is the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. And then there is the relationship we have with other believers. Godly wisdom is essential in building relationships within the family of God. This wisdom is fed and nurtured by Scripture and prayer, and it is directed by the Holy Spirit. Common courtesy follows the rules of etiquette. Godly courtesy follows the rules of etiquette, but it goes beyond that. It applies all biblical principles set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. My appeal to you today is to make a commitment to God and to other people. If you obey the two greatest commandments of all, to love the Lord and love one another, you will make a commitment to godly courtesy. You will respect others: their families, their properties, their rights. I am praying right now that he Lord will place someone on your heart who needs an expression of Christian compassion and kindness. One reason for practicing Christian courtesy is that you will be a more effective witness for Jesus Christ.