Lindsay began teaching the blessed gospel doctrine of justification in our Sunday morning Bible class this morning. How we rejoice in that grand, soul comforting doctrine!
"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
We are justified freely by the grace of God.
We are justified through the precious blood of God’s own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are brought into the knowledge and enjoyment justification by God the Holy Spirit, when he gives us life and faith in Christ.
We do rejoice in that blessed gospel doctrine. It is our bread and butter as a church. It is the staple diet of our souls. That is the message we preach. But tonight, I want to talk to you about another kind of justification. The title of my message is Wisdom Justified. Our text is Luke 7:31-35.
[Luke 7:31-35] "And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?  They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!  But wisdom is justified of all her children."
Proposition: In these few, short verses, our Master teaches us a great, glaring difference which is always manifest between believers and unbelievers.
Divisions: I want to show you three things from this short paragraph.
- "This Generation"
- Another Generation
- A Great Savior
- This Generation
First our Lord speaks about a group of people called, "this generation." At first glance, it looks as though he is using the word "generation" the way we commonly use it, to speak of that specific group of people living at the time. But that clearly is not the case. If you look through the Scriptures, every time those words are used together, they are used to described self-righteous religionists. They always refer to lost religious people, like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians of our Lord's day. And those people called "this generation" are always hostile, persecuting people. They are the people of whom our Lord spoke specifically when he said, "In the world you shall have tribulation."
Let me show you this in the Book of God. "This generation" is the generation of the enemies of our God and of our souls in every age.
[Psalms 12] "Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.  They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.  The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:  Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?  For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."
[Psalms 71:12-18] "O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.  Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.  But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.  My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.  I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.  O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.  Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come."
[Matthew 12:41-42] "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
[Matthew 23:29-38] "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Now, look at our text again, and learn what our Master teaches us about "this generation" (Luke 7:31-34).
[Luke 7:31-34] "And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?  They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"
Our Lord here shows us that unbelieving religionists are always opposed to, find fault with, and quick to slander God's servants and his people, because the carnal mind is enmity against God.
We ought to always take care not to offend the people of this world. We should always strive to be kind, gracious, thoughtful and caring of those people among whom we live and with whom we work in this world. As much as possible, live peaceably with all men. Try to get along with people. Make sacrifices to do so. Endeavor to live blamelessly before your neighbors, for Christ's sake, for the honor of God, for the gospel's sake.
Yet, having said that, we must not concern ourselves with the cavils of men. If men and women are determined to set themselves in opposition to us, as we endeavor to serve our God, that should not disturb us. We must not court the favor of men and we must not fear the frowns of men.
"This generation" is a hard, implacable, peevish, childish generation, which will never be made friends to the cause of Christ. The cross of Christ has always been an offense to them and always will be.
This is the lesson to be learned by our Lord's comparison, describing "this generation" as children. If we would be saved, we must become as little children, meek, humble, inoffensive, trusting. Yet, lost religionists are also like little children, not adorable, sweet children, but peevish brats. Our Master compares "this generation" to perverse, rebellious children who can never be pleased with anything.
- Nothing satisfied them.
- Nothing contented them.
- They found some fault with everything and everyone, but themselves.
John the Baptist came, leading a stern, austere, separated life, of self-denial; and they said, "He hath a devil." After him, the Lord Jesus came, adopting the habits of a more social man, a man who mixed with people; and the very same men of "this generation" said of him, he is "a glutton and a winebibber."
- Their animosity was not really against the preachers, but against the preachers' message and the God the represented.
The men and women of "this generation" really do not care, at all, what kind of man the preacher really is. They know they can make their kind of preachers become whatever they want them to be. You see, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ preached exactly the same thing.
- Repentance toward God
- Faith in Christ
But the men and women of "this generation" are determined not to hear God's Word, bow to his Son, confess their sin, and seek salvation by free grace alone. The fact is, "the carnal mind is enmity against God." Nothing will ever change that, but grace itself.
The pretended objections of this generation to God's servants are only a smoke screen to cover their rebellion and hatred of God. Anyone who would hear God's message from the lips of the Master, would also gladly hear it from John's lips. And any who would hear God's message from the lips of John the Baptist, would gladly hear it from the lips of the Lord Jesus.
How often we see religious men and women who have a blind attachment to a preacher! They follow not the Shepherd's voice through the preacher, but the preacher's voice. Such people are always fickle and unstable.
- Bro. Fortner is too stern, too loud, too plain spoken.
- Bro. Nibert is too mild, too gentle, too quit.
- Bro. Simpson is too didactic, too unemotional, too teacher-like.
- Bro. Richardson is too blunt.
- Bro. Bell is too emotional.
- Bro. Mahan is getting too old. He doesn't preach like he use to.
The plain truth is rebels will always find an excuse for their rebellion. The carnal mind will always attempt to cover its hatred of God and justify its unbelief. For proud, self-righteius, self-willed religious men and women, no matter who the preacher is --
- Free grace is too easy.
- Faith in Christ is too simple.
- Substitution is too dangerous.
- But notice this, too. -- Most of those things which divide the unbelieving religious world are matters of complete insignificance and indifference.
What was it that caused these people to talk? What was it that kept some from hearing John and others from hearing the Lord Jesus, and all of them from hearing either?
- John the Baptist was a strict separatist, a Nazarite.
- The Lord Jesus was far more free in his conduct.
Let us not behave as such peevish, silly children. Rather, let us ever behave as mature men and women.
- We have no right to make indifferent matters needful.
- We dare not make essential matters indifferent. -- The Gospel -- Believer's Baptism -- The Lord's Supper.
This generation is a wicked, perverse generation. But our Lord also speaks of…
- Another Generation
There is another generation, called "his generation," "the generation of thy children," "the generation of the upright," and "a chosen generation." Look at verse 35. Here our Master draws a direct and distinct contrast between those of "this generation" and his own elect.
[Luke 7:35] "But wisdom is justified of all her children."
- Certainly there is at least a reference here to the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is our Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).
Christ is the wisdom of God. He lived in wisdom here and shows us the way of wisdom. The Lord Jesus stood for us as our Wisdom in the counsel chambers of the Almighty in eternity. He fulfilled the wisdom of the covenant. He makes believing siiners wise unto salvation. And he gives us wisdom as we need it in the face of our numerous, subtle foes.
- All God's elect justify him in all his person and work.
Read the text again, "Wisdom is justified of ALL her children." All who are born of God, born of wisdom, repent before him, and thereby justify God (Ps. 51:4).
[Psalms 51:4] "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
Repentance is taking sides with God against ourselves, coming into agreement with God, and justifying God in the way he saves sinners.
Yet, there is more.
- Believer's justify God's wisdom in all things and thereby prove themselves wise indeed.
The Scriptures make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15). And God the Holy Spirit is in his people the Spirit of Wisdom, Revelation, and Grace. Thus, we are taught and enabled to see the justice and equity of our God in all his works and in all his ways.
[Psalms 36:6] "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast."
[Psalms 48:11] "Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments."
[Psalms 72:1] "A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son."
[Psalms 97:8] "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD."
[Psalms 119:75] "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."
[Psalms 119:108] "Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments."
[Isaiah 26:8-9] "Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
[Revelation 19:1-6] "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:  For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.  And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
There is noe more thing I want you to see in our text. Even when he is spoken of in derision, our Lord Jesus Christ proves himself to be…
- A Great Savior!
His enemies constantly derided him, calling him "a friend of publicans and sinners." How I rejoice to declare that that is exactly who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is. In fact, he is the only friend of Publicans and sinners, the only friend we have; and he is the Friend only of Publicans and sinners.
[Matthew 9:12-13] "But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
[Mark 2:17] "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
[Luke 5:31-32] "And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Oh, how willing God is to be gracious! Did you ever notice how often the Lord God refers to our sins as sicknesses, diseases, and infirmities? Listen to me, now. -- In Christ God views the sins of his people as sicknesses, calling for pity, not as crimes calling for punishment!
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall.
Come, ye sinners, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify!
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings us nigh!
- There is a generation called "this generation," from whom the people of God must never expect anything but trouble, adversity, and opposition. -- (The Seed of the Serpent and the Seed of Woman -- Cain and Abel -- Ishmael and Isaac!)
- There is a generation in every generation called the people of God, the children of Wisdom.
- The Lord Jesus Christ is a great, gracious Savior for poor, needy sinners.