Wisdom: The Fear of the Lord

Sermon from CCM:City Centre


This sermon was preached by Tom O’Toole at the CCM:City Centre site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 5th January 2020.



This message was part of the ‘SERIES NAME’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in EARLY/MID/LATE YEAR. The full series included the following sermons:


This sermon was based on Proverbs 1.

Proverbs 1 (ESV)

The Beginning of Knowledge

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Enticement of Sinners

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
    and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
    and pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the life of its possessors.

The Call of Wisdom

20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”



We All Need Wisdom

  • Wisdom (broadly) is about knowing the right thing to – DECISION MAKING. We each make 35,000 conscious decisions per day – of various complexities. Life – to the extent that you have control over it – is the sum total of these decisions.
  • Trying to Grow In Wisdom is a Christian Thing To Do
  • PRACTICAL WISDOM – How life works. Cause and effect.
  • INTELLECTUAL WISDOM – Gaining a depth of understanding
  • MORAL WISDOM – We have said that the practical matters and is a thoroughly Christian thing. It doesn’t stop with practical – A lot of it is right and wrong.

Some of the Wisdom Covered in Proverbs

  • Company Kept“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Prov 13:20 – You are the average of the five people you spend most time with … Jim Rohn)
  • The Power of the Tongue“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (Prov 15:28)
  • Money – “Give me neither poverty nor riches… lest I be full and deny you and say ‘Who is Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Prov 30:9)
  • Parenting – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)
  • Work Ethic – “The sluggard does not plow in the autmn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” (Prov 20:4)
  • Temper – “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)
  • Pride – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Wisdom Starts with the Fear of The Lord

  • Wisdom is a tree with many branches – BUT the trunk and root is fear of the Lord.
  • Sometimes fear is associated with something important.  Fear linked to weightiness. Fear of God is a sense of God as the most weighty, substantial and foundational reality in your life. You are more bothered about his glory and his approval than anything else.
    • “(Fear of God) is simply a way of talking about one’s attitude toward God, an attitude of submission, respect, dependence and worship.” (Douglas O’Donnell)
  • God first. God central. God highest priority.
  • Any type of wisdom that doesn’t start here is not wisdom at all. Fear of the Lord (a big view of God) is the beginning of wisdom.



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