Today’s Piper Friday comes from a sermon The Lips of Knowledge Are a Precious Jewel:
“First of all, “the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel” to me when I find them in another person, and so I seek to listen as much as I can. C.S. Lewis had the “lips of knowledge” and still speaks through his books. I have read almost all of his theological and fiction works, I think. And if you offered me ten million dollars right now in exchange for what I learned from C.S. Lewis, I wouldn’t consider the offer ten seconds. I would reject the gold and keep what I have learned. Jonathan Edwards had the “lips of knowledge” and still speaks through his books and sermons. I can remember many Sunday evenings in Germany, sitting in our black rocker and savoring several pages of wisdom in his book on the Religious Affections. They taught me and they moved me. I came to feel ever more deeply that no possessions could compare to sitting at the feet of people who have the “lips of knowledge.”
Someone may say, “The only teacher I need is God, the Holy Spirit. The words of man are vain. God’s words are a precious jewel, but man’s words are a rusty nail.” People who talk like that, to use the words of Paul, have a zeal for God, but it is not according to knowledge. According to Ephesians 4:11, when Christ ascended into heaven, he gave teachers to his church. As offensive as it may be to people who measure their devotion to God by how private it is, nevertheless God intends for his people to grow in knowledge by listening to human teachers who have the “lips of knowledge.” The original example for all church life is given in Nehemiah 8:8, “And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” Human teachers are commissioned to take God’s revelation and give the sense so others can understand it. It is a plain fact that we all have different skills in reading. One person reads and sees nothing very exciting. Another person reads and sees relationships and implications and insights. God intends for us to help each other see what we’ve seen.
I would let you cut off my hands and feet before I would let you take from me what I learned under the teaching of Daniel Fuller at Fuller Seminary. Not because I value the words of men, but because his words opened the Word for me like no one ever had. So the “lips of knowledge” are a precious jewel to us when we can listen to them or read what they spoke. So seek for them more than for silver or gold and search for them more than for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). And when you find the “lips of knowledge,” listen long and listen deep.