The Book of Proverbs is a compilation of God’s practical wisdom on a large variety of topics which we fathers and mothers are to pass on to our sons and daughters.
The fact that this Book is not merely worldy philosophy, but a part of the sacred inspired, infallible Word and Wisdom of God; makes a study of it vital and indispensable. Parents, we must first assimilate this wisdom into our own lives and then model it and teach it to our children in the few short years God entrusts them to us to train for life.
In our last message, we began in chapter 11:1 with the fairness of God in His dealing with us. As we continue through this chapter, we will deal with a wide variety of topics. Let’s consider them one at a time.
PRIDE Proverbs 11:2
In Proverbs 6:16-17 we learn that pride is at the top of the list of sins God abhors. It always leads to shame and to a humbling fall. For one of the most outstanding lessons on pride and how God deals with it, go to my EZRA series and read of arrogant King Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion as we trace his story in Daniel 1-4.
To learn how God must humble us before He can use us in His service, read and meditate on I Corinthians 1:26-31.
INTEGRITY vs PERVERSENESS Proverbs 11:3
If we love God’s Word and hunger after it daily, we will have a heart that longs to do right and please God, Psalm 119: 9-16
On the other hand, if we hate God and His Word, our perverseness and rebellion will eventually destroy us.
RICHES OR RIGHTEOUSNESS Proverbs 11:4-8
Although it is not wrong to be successful in business and become wealthy, Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:24-34 that our primary attention and concentration should be loving and serving Him.
Girls, it’s far better to pray for a godly husband than a wealthy one and guys it’s far more important for you to seek a godly wife than a wealthy, godless heiress.
Why choose righteousness over riches? Your answer is found in Proverbs 11:4-8. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: bur righteousness delivers from death.”
The Bible is filled with comforting truth for God’s people, even in the midst of trouble. The story of Job. Psalm 23, 27, 34, 37, 91, and Paul’s brief Epistle to the Philippians. The righteous will have direction in life and be delivered in the midst of trouble; whereas the wicked are described in Isaiah 57:20 “as the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose water cast up mire and dirt.”
OUR TONGUES Proverbs 11:9
Here is another warning concerning the use of our tongues. Many hypocrites have destroyed others, even neighbors or a former friends, with malicious gossip. Rather, let us use our speech to edify and build up others in the Truth of God’s Word.
CITIZENSHIP Proverbs 11:10-11
In nations where Christ is rejected and Christians are oppressed, there is political and economic disaster and mourning; but in lands where God is honored and His people have a godly influence, there is blessing. Such has been America’s blessed history. When evil, Bible rejecting leaders are removed from office, God’s people rejoice and everyone is blessed with prosperity. The most patriotic thing any Christian can do is to be a good law-abiding citizen and lead people to Christ.
BEWARE OF DESPISING OTHERS Proverbs 11:12, 14:21, 17:5
Although it is popular in America to publicly despise and slander our political opponents, it shows a lack of wisdom on our part and it often produces a political back-lash at the polls. Let the God-fearing politicians and the electorate faithfully stand for righteousness and let God take care of our enemies.
DON’T BE A TATTLE-TALE Proverbs 11:13
Be a faithful friend. Be trustworthy. Don’t gossip. If a friend does wrong, go to that friend privately and follow the Matthew 18:15-17 principle of attempting to restore a friend who has gone astray. More often, the offender is restored and everyone involved is blessed.
SAFETY IN WISE COUNSEL Proverbs 11:14
A good pastor has power to accomplish more if he can dictate; but there is danger in anyone having unbridled power and not having to answer to anyone. That’s why the Apostle Paul in Titus 1:5 teaches a plurality of elders in a church. There may be only one teaching pastor in a church, but the plurality of spiritually-minded elders working together with the pastor protects him from making unwise decisions.
In the area of finances and Mutual Funds, there may be the occasional super star investors of some fabled Funds who made amazing financial decisions in recent years; but since there is safety in numbers, I chose to entrust my investments in Funds directed by a group of managers. There is more safety in numbers.
BEWARE OF CO-SIGNING Proverbs 11:15
Parents may co-sign for their young adult sons and daughters as they are starting out in life; but it is generally a risky decision. One can lose everything he has.
There is not a good place to stop in this chapter. So I will stop here and continue next time, Lord willing, as we discuss Jeweled Pigs.
The Bible is not just a book of knowledge and wisdom to satisfy our minds. It is filled with urgent challenges to action.
THE CALL TO SALVATION
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” II Cor. 5:11
“God commands men everywhere to repent.” Act17:30
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
“And the Spirit and the Bride say come, and let him that heareth say come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
THE CALL TO HOLY, VICTORIOUS, SEPARATED LIVING
“Likewise, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11
“Awake thou that sleepest and arise form the dead and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:14-16
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you.”
II Corinthians 6:14,17
THE CALL TO SACRIFICIAL SERVICE
Listen to Paul’s urgent call to service to every Christian. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice; holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world system; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2.
As we turn to our text in Romans 13:11-14, we are urged to:
1. wake up,
2. get dressed
3. and start walking.”
WAKE UP! Romans 13:11
The alarm clock of Scripture rings, rousing us from our lethargy. “And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11
Read Jesus’ Olivet discourse to His disciples in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Though we cannot know the day nor the hour of Christ’s return; the troubling events throughout the world, especially in the Mideast and Israel all point to the soon return of Christ.
The ecumenical church of Anti-Christ is growing. We are warned of its danger in I John 2:18 and it’s final destruction as the harlot church in Revelation 17-18.
We are warned of the false peace being preached; a psychological peace which ignores the only true peace with God which comes through faith in Christ’s shed blood. I Thessalonians 5:1-3
Another evidence of the age in which we live is the growing crime and immorality. It’s everywhere as television and the internet brings it right into our homes. II Timothy 3:1-7, 13-17
Not only are we to awake to the opportunity to be saved, but as Christians, we are to awake to the opportunities to serve Christ. Ephesians 5:14-17
Awake to this day of harvest. The day will soon pass away. John 4:35 The night comes when no man can work. John 9:4 Acts 16:9-10
GET DRESSED! Romans 13:12
The night of Satan’s rule over this world system is almost over. The day of Christ’s return and reign will soon be here. Therefore “cast off the night clothes of the old life and put on the armour of light.” Romans 13:10-14 Colossians 3:8-14 Christ is that armour. He is our life.
START WALKING Romans 13:13
Though we are still living in the night of this sinful world, we Christians walk as in the day. The Holy Spirit living in us makes that possible. Galatians5:16-25, Ephesians 4:1, 5:15-16 Note the urgency of salvation and the urgency of living for Christ and serving Him. There’s nothing casual about the Christians life. It is a life and death matter.
May God help you and me to wake up, get dressed and start walking with Him, serving Him with all our heart.
Although Romans 13:8-10 is not primarily warning about going into debt financially; avoiding financial debt is wise. Proverbs 22:7 warns us “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Let that truth sink deep into your mind and heart and let that principle guide you financially throughout your life.
But the warning of Romans 13:8-10 is dealing with a debt far deeper than mere money. The point of this text is we all owe a debt of love to others and Romans1:14 reminds us of our debt as Christians of sharing the Gospel with the lost all around us.
WHY ARE WE TO LOVE OTHERS?
The answer to that question is because we owe it to them. II Corinthians 5:14-15 reminds us that if we have received by faith the Gift of eternal life, we are obligated to share the Good News with others.
Picture a group of lost people thirsting and famishing in the intense heat as they wander lost in a desert. Finally one person discovers a hidden oasis with trees and an abundant, unending spring of fresh water. Immediately that person is obligated to share his good news with the rest. How unthinkably selfish he would be to keep this good news to himself and refuse to share it with others.
How much greater is the debt of those of us who have heard the Good News of salvation and have received God’s Gift of eternal life. We owe that Good News to those who have never heard it, beginning with our friends and neighbors and extending that good news to the whole world.
II Corinthians 5:14-15 teaches us that we as Christians are constrained by Christ’s love to us to share the Gospel with others.
People visit a church hoping to find love and acceptance by the people. They have every right to expect it. We can’t exist without love anymore than food. Every visiting child and teenager, has a right to expect love and acceptance by his teacher and the kids in his class. And yet in some churches there are cliques of young people and even adults who will not open their hearts to welcome and love strangers. It’s normal and common for people after a Sunday School class or church service to gravitate to their friends when in reality we should be gravitating to the strangers first. To do otherwise is selfish, thoughtless and sinful.
We all thrive on love and acceptance. Thank God that we who have received Christ as our Saviour know the joy of God’s acceptance and to those of us who have discovered that relationship with God is given the challenge of II Corinthians 5:14-15 to share that Good News with others.
Every child deserves a teacher who loves him. How selfish and evil is the teacher who carries their bad attitude over something that happened earlier and snaps with impatience and meanness at their children who are observing them closely to see if there is any reality to Christianity. Read the severe warning in Matthew 18:5-10 to those who offend little children by snapping at them in anger when they should be showing them Christ’s love. Yes, you can correct a disobedient or disruptive child in your class, but you owe it to love the children in your class, both obedient and disobedient. If you honestly love them with Christ’s love, they will see it, even as you correct them.
Our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ reveals our true love for Christ. See I John 4:7-8, 11, 20-21 and II Peter 1:5-11 concerning this.
I Corinthians 13:1-8 exposes us as NOTHING without love. As preachers and teachers of children, youth or adults, we need to search our heart regarding our love or lack of love for those to whom we minister. If we lack that love we are worthless and do damage to the cause of Christ.
HOW DO WE GAIN THAT LOVE FOR OTHERS?
We gain that love for others by being genuinely converted to Christ. Read Romans 5:1-5. For me it happened at the age of nine when I, a self-righteous son of missionaries, heard and understood the Gospel for the first time. I had heard it since I was a baby, but now I understood for the first time that I was a sinner, condemned to hell. I understood that Jesus is God in human flesh and that He lovingly and willingly endured death on a cross to shed His blood as a sacrifice for my sins. I understood that if I would receive by faith Christ as my Saviour from sin, God would forgive and save me from sin and sin’s consequences, Hell.
I received Him that evening and God’s Holy Spirit came to dwell in my heart. That was seventy years ago. Though I did not become perfect, God imputed Christ’s perfection to my account and changed my heart. I have loved Christ ever since and my desire has been to share the Gospel with everyone. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, whether it is preaching from the pulpit, walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, or visiting an amusement park or the zoo with my family, I have always been aware that there are lost people all around me for whom my heart aches. I must love and find a way to share the Gospel with them.
If you are a Christian and desire that love for others, please take some time to read the following passages and surrender your life to Christ. Romans 5:1-5, 12:1-10, Galatians 5:22-26, Ephesians 4:29-32, and finally back to our text, Romans 13:8-10.
The masses of people are approaching the cliff of eternal destruction. See the picture in Ezekiel 22:30. We as Christians are to stand at the edge of the cliff and warn the lost of that destruction. God is looking for those who will make up the hedge to warn them of destruction and point them to Christ who alone can save.