Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Whom Do You Fear?

Hebrews 2:14-15 reminds us that natural men and women live all their lives in fear and bondage, many to religious superstition, dreading to face a holy God in their sinful condition.

In contrast, we Christians who have found forgiveness and cleansing for  sin through faith in the cleansing blood of Christ, have a healthy reverential fear of God that leads to a life of joy and freedom.

In the passage before us in this study,  Proverbs 14:26-27 we learn more about that fear of God.  Because we have peace with God through the shed blood of Christ, as taught in Romans 5 and Colossians 1, we need no longer  live our lives in fear of circumstances and of the future and of God’s judgment on us because of our sins.

Throughout the Bible the fear of man and the fear of the future is a negative emotion or cloud under which we as Christians have no reason to live; whereas, the reverential fear of God is a positive experience to be chosen and sought after.

The greater our reverential fear of God, the less we will fear man or any circumstance that can come into our lives. Proverbs 1:7, 29-39.

We need not fear old age for God goes with us every step of the way. Read these wonderful, comforting promises concerning our future. Psalm 31:15,  Psalm 37:23-29, Isaiah 46:4, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:31-34.

We need not fear what man nor oppresive government can do to us.  Hebrews 13:6

We need not fear death. David referred to it as a mere shadow. Psalm 23:4

 

THE SINFUL FEAR OF MAN AND CIRCUMSTANCES

 

The lost, described in Revelation 21:8 as fearful. unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters and liars, will all have their part in The Lake of Fire.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God and eating forbidden fruit, they were immediately fearful and attempted to hide themselves from God. God found them, confronted them with their sin and then graciously provided them a covering of imputed righteousness through the shedding of the blood of animals and covering their nakedness with the skins of the animals. Animal sacrifices continued throughout the Old Testament until God, in the fullness of time provided a once for all final sacrifice for sin through the shedding of the blood of His own Son, Jesus, on Calvary’s cross. Through faith in that blood you can be forgiven and saved now and forever.     

God promised Israel victory over their enemies and that the surrounding nations would fear them if they trusted in Him. Deuteronomy 2:25. Joshua 2:9-12

But if Israel was disobedient to God, He would causes Israel to live in fear of the nations of the world. Deuteronomy 28:47-50, 63-67.

Though fear is a characteristic of the lost, it should not be the consistent characteristic of Christians. Fear will paralyze  us from doing what we ought to do.

Fear torments us. I John 4:18

Fear brings us into bondage, primarily religious bondage; as we vainly attempt to do things to appease God’s wrath.  Romans 8:15, Hebrews 2:14-15

Fear snares us as a trap.  Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man and circumstances evidences our lack of faith in God

Repeatedly in Scripture we are commanded to fear not. Genesis 15:1, Exodus 14:13, Deuteronomy 20:3, 31:8  and Joshua 1:9 as well as many others.

Tormenting fear is the end result at death for refusing to fear and reverence God by  rejecting  Christ as Saviour and Lord.  Proverbs 1:24-32, Luke 21:25-27, Revelation 21:8,  6:12-17.

 

THE FEAR OF GOD

 

The invitation to salvation is accompanied with warnings to depart from sin. Proverbs 1:20-33.  God gives that power to those who trust the saving and cleansing shed blood of Christ.

Until a sinner is aware of his lost condition and trembles before a holy and angry  God, he cannot be saved. His choice to trust Christ is accompanied by his desire to depart from sin.  Proverbs 3:7

Salvation is a prerequisite to worship. Until one has trembled in fear over his lost condition as a sinner through the reading or hearing of God’s Word, he cannot be saved nor can he rightly worship God. Psalm 5:1-7 Proverbs 3:7,   Isaiah 66:1-2.  What he thinks is worship is merely an empty emotional experience.  

The reverential fear of God is the choice one makes when he puts His trust in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Proverbs 1:29  This choice leads to ceasing to live in willful sin. Proverbs 3:7

Our lives, our worship and our service are only acceptable to God as they spring from hearts of reverence and godly fear because of who He is. Philippians 2:9-13

The fear of man cannot coexist in the heart of one who fears God. Psalm 31:9-24

The one who refuses to fear God will one day be rejected and tormented by his rejection of the God to whom he refused to bow. Proverbs 1:20-33  

 

THE BLESSINGS OF FEARING GOD

 

It causes us to hate sin and flee from it. Proverbs 6:16,   8:13

It sets us free from the bondage and torment of sin. Psalm 27:1-6

It puts us in position to receive wisdom from God.  Proverbs 1:7

It gives us confidence and courage to face whatever the devil throws at us. Proverbs 14:26  Read in the book of Daniel the courage and the thrilling deliverance  of Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meshac and Abednego.  It has given martyrs down through the ages courage to be thrown to the lions, be burned at the stake and face great tribulation. Read a summary of all this in Hebrews 11.

How sad that the lost have no fear of God and therefore, no fear of sin. Read Romans 3:10-18

The fear of God is related to the love of God.  Only those who have the proper fear of God can know and experience the love of God.  Learn from I John 4:18 how the perfect love of God casts out tormenting fear.

We, God’s children through faith in Christ,  have a place of refuge from all that brings fear and torment.  God Himself is our refuge from that. Psalm 46:1-11 and Psalm 56.

God fights for us.  We need to stand still and watch Him work on our behalf.  Exodus 14:8-14. Read the thrilling story of God’s deliverance of King Jehoshaphat in  I Chronicles 20:1-22  Repeatedly through the 57 years of my ministry I’ve watched God fight for me as I’ve fought spiritual battles for Him. I’ve not had to lift a finger to defend myself.

He stills our fears enabling us to get a good night’s rest, even in times of trouble.  Psalm 4:8,   Proverbs 3:19-26

Read and rejoice in these wonderful promises.  Isaiah 41:10-16,  43:1-3   44:2-4,  Luke 12:32,  II Tim. 1:7-9, Psalm 27,  91,  John 14 and Romans 8:31-39.   The Bible is filled with such promises to the believer. These are but a wonderful sampling.  Read and be blessed.

 

 

 

December 4, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Whom Do You Fear?

Corrected Thinking

In Proverbs 14:19-25 we note how God corrects our natural thinking concerning our present and future state.

 

DESPISED AND PERSECUTED NOW, WE WILL REIGN ONE DAY

We normally think of Christians, as being dominated, and persecuted by evil men, which is often  the case throughout most of the world.  The Bible reminds us that in this present evil world system, Christians are often reviled and persecuted by those who despise and hate God.  

But Jesus encourages us with His promise in John 16:33 “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Remember the story of Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, as it is told in Genesis 37 through 50?   Joseph is a type of Christ and each of us who are Christians. Though Joseph was despised and persecuted by his brothers, in God’s sovereignty, he ended up on the throne of Egypt, ruling over his brothers, as well as all of Egypt.  Though Christians who actively live for Christ are often despised, rejected, persecuted and martyred; there is coming a day, according to II Timothy 2:12, when Christ returns to reign, that we will reign on this earth with Him.

So Proverbs 14:19, I Corinthians 6:2, II Timothy 2:12 and Revelation 20:4 all agree that one day “The evil will bow before the good: and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.”  It happened in Bible times not only to Joseph, but also to Moses to whom Pharaoh bowed. The Babylonian empire  bowed to faithful Daniel.  Persian nobles bowed to Mordecai, Esther’s uncle as recorded in the Book of Esther.

 

FICKLE FRIENDS

We learn in Proverbs 14:20  that in this world, we have fair weather, fickle friends as long as we have money and  stuff that money buys.  But when stripped of our money and possession, we soon learn that our friends forsake us.

The Prodigal Son, whose story we read in Luke 15, illustrates this truth. He rebelled against his father and demanded his inheritance even before his father had died. His father gave him his inheritance and the son traveled  as far away from his father as he could go.  There he attracted many fair-weather friends who enjoyed being with him as long as he had money to spend on them. However, when the money ran out and he was left  broke. all his friends forsook him and he ended up in a pig pen slopping hogs.

Thank God, the story does not end there.  It was in that desperate condition that the Prodigal Son came to himself and returned to his father, willing to be a hired servant, hoping just to exist.  The gracious father who is a picture of our Heavenly Father, would not hear of it.  Instead he fully welcomed back his son with all the rights and privileges of that relationship. This illustrates how God deals with us when we repent and turn to Him.

Proverbs 14:21 warns us that to have the selfish attitude of the world is unbecoming of Christians.  Rather, of all people, we should be the first to show selfless mercy, love and kindness to those in need. To such God blesses.  

Verse 22 confronts us with the choice to devise with others to take advantage of and do evil to others;  or to do good.  It should not surprise us that God blesses those who do good to those in need.

ECONOMICS  101

Verse 23 gives us a basic lesson in economics.  Many who live in perpetual  poverty and have learned to depend on government subsistence need to learn this lesson.   Work is the way out of welfare and the way to acquire wealth. Idleness leads to poverty.  

I am glad I was taught this basic lesson in a Christian elementary school taught by a Christian teacher back in the 1940’s.  As a result, I have never even considered depending on others or on government to supply my needs.  Government which gives aid to those in need should  require each one who is physically able to earn their way by doing whatever they are physically and mentally able to do, beginning with picking up trash off the streets and highways of their communities and removing graffiti,  as well as many other worthwhile public projects.  No able-bodied man or woman should be a free-loader.  

Furthermore, those caught littering by throwing cigarette butts or trash out of their car windows should join the ranks of those who help clean up roads and highways for several hours without pay.

Verse 24 concludes the thought in verse 23 of working to get ahead. One who lives and works for the glory of God, living economically without debt, saving and investing wisely; will acquire a degree of wealth. I have spent  my life preaching the Gospel and pastoring churches, never bargaining nor being dissatisfied with what I was paid. During that time we were able to send our two sons and our daughter to a Christian college.

In the sovereignty of God in 1980 I found myself without a church and without a salary in my late 40’s for a period of about eight years, sojourning in Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the most beautiful places in which we have ever lived.  During that time I worked at whatever I could find, interim preaching in churches and  selling cars and insurance. My wife and I also learned to drive school buses.  During that time we learned for the first time basic facts concerning investing money and buying our  first home.

Then at the age of 56 God opened the door for me to return to the pastorate in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I continued with my final church working to age 78.  During those final 31 years  we went from a net worth of 0  to a comfortable net worth that enabled me to retire debt free with a comfortable house and car.  Now on Social Security and with some investments, we live a comfortable debt free life.  

A TRUE OR FALSE WITNESS

I conclude this study with verse 25.  “A true witness delivers souls: but a deceitful witness speaks lies.”   This is a verse for every Christian, but especially for every preacher.  Are we preaching the Gospel and delivering souls from an eternity in Hell, or are we false teachers, denying or questioning the truth of God’s Word and allowing those to whom we minister to continue on the broad road to Hell?   

 

October 28, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Corrected Thinking

Seems Right to Me

Proverbs 14:12. warns “There is a way that seems right; but it leads to death.”

Consider the way of the sinner which seems right, as we study Proverbs 14:13-18.

Verse 13 reminds us that “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful and that mirth ends in heaviness. “ 

It seemed right to the prodigal son of Luke 15:13-24 who left home in rebellion to his father, insisting on his inheritance even before his father died. He went to a far country and  wasted it in riotous living, ending up in desperate poverty in the pig pen eating slop with the pigs. It seemed right to him to insist on having his inheritance now. It seemed right to have his freedom and live as he pleased with no one telling him what to do.

What a fool he made of himself and what a fool every rebel son or daughter makes of themselves when they leave home in rebellion to parental authority and insist on going their own way and doing their own thing.

They have been warned, but they scorn the warnings and end up in the pig pen of sin with heavy hearts and unfulfilled desires.  Things did not go the way they planned. The Christian cannot sin and enjoy it anymore than a cat or kitten enjoys rolling in the mud.

Enjoying  the cheap, mindless, off-color  humor of television comedy and mindless rock music puts a worthless, dirty infectious band aid over a guilty, aching, sinful heart.

Proverbs 14:13 warns us that the end of that mirth is heaviness.

On the other hand, II Corinthians 7:10 teaches us that deep sorrow over our sin leads to repentance and salvation.

Proverbs 14:14 teaches us that the backslider in heart, who refuses to repent, will be filled with his own ways.  Hosea 4:17 teaches that God will leave you alone until you are so sick of your sins that you are at the point of nausea.   Revelation 3:15 teaches us that sin and lukewarmness towards God nauseates God and in time it will nauseate the backslider.

In contrast, the Christian surrendered to God’s will. is satisfied from within. The Holy Spirit living within and controlling  him is like a well of fresh water springing  up and quenching his thirst.  It doesn’t take things nor events outside of us to satisfy us.  Jesus shared this truth with His disciples in John 8:36-39.

Though believing God’s Word gives wisdom, we’re warned in Proverbs 14:15 that to believe everything we hear from man is unwise.  That’s how false cults and false religion entrap people.  Acts 17:11 advises us to test everything we hear or read by the Scriptures.

What is your attitude towards God and His Word?  Do you fear and reverence Him and His Word,  or do you rage against God in stubborn  self-confidence?  Proverbs 14:16  

Consider in the light of verse 17 whether you are easily angered by supposed or real offenses against you?  If so, you are walking on thin ice and asking for trouble.  King Saul was one who was easily angered and it caused him to  fight against David, God’s man; and Saul eventually lost his kingdom.

Haman in the book of Esther, raged against the Jews and eventually was hung on the gallows he had built for his enemies.

In verse 18, as well as throughout Proverbs,  we read of the simple. Watch for three classifications of people as you read the Book of Proverbs.  .   The simple, the fools and the wise.  We are all born simple and remain that way until we are confronted by God’s Word. From that time forward, we either become Wise and prudent as we read and listen to God’s Word and surrender to God; or else we become fools as we stiffen our necks and rebel against His Word. May God help you to seek God and His wisdom as you continue to read and study His Word.

 

October 25, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Seems Right to Me

Your Options

Each of us is faced with the option of  

1. Seeking to know God’s Word and live for Him or ignore Him and go our own selfish way.

2. Experiencing  God’s wisdom and blessing on our lives or ignoring His Word and facing His curse now and throughout eternity

3. Living a blessed  life or living a life of failure and misery and ultimately  Hell.

In our last session we dealt with our parental responsibilities under God as we studied Proverbs 13:24. 

In this session we will conclude our study of Proverbs 13 as we study verse 25 and move into chapter 14.  These verses, as well as most of the Book of Proverbs deal with the option of choosing God’s wisdom with its blessings or rejecting His wisdom and facing the consequences.

There was no one better qualified to write this book of Proverbs than King Solomon. Early in his life in a moment of decision He had chosen to know and walk in God’s wisdom and became the wisest man of his day.  But in time he despised God’s wisdom and became the world’s greatest fool by choosing  to live a reckless life of licentiousness, living with 700 wives and 300 concubines 

The book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon under the inspiration of God, is filled with God’s wisdom.  The book of Ecclesiastes,  also inspired of God and written by King Solomon, as he describes first- hand the folly and futility of ignoring and rejecting God’s wisdom.

Proverbs 14:1 contrasts wise and foolish wives and mothers. Whereas wise women build their homes with their husbands;  foolish women are continually destroying their homes and families through their sinful, selfish words, attitudes and actions, evidenced by their disrespect and rebellion towards their husbands and through their selfish ambitions and pursuits to make more money at the expense of mothering their children.  My wife worked part time to help with the bills after our children were in high school. Prior to that time, we would not have considered the idea of her working away from home while the children were small and needed her. 

Verse 2  reminds  us that godliness is evidenced more by our walk than by our talk.  

Verse 3  reminds us that the tongue and mouth of a fool is a rod that harms others.  It also contrasts the speech of the wise which when touched and controlled by the grace of God, brings healing and blessing to others.

Early in my ministry I ministered to ranchers and farmers.  I spent many hours in the fields and barns with them learning spiritual truths.  Verse 4 is one of those lessons. It gives the farmer a choice.  Do you want clean barns and no cattle, or would you prefer the manure and the mess that comes with caring for cattle?  Most farmers and ranchers have no problem with answering that question.  

The same lesson applies to our churches.  Do we want clean empty churches with little or no problems, or would we prefer churches increased with lots of people who come with their problems? 

This verse does not teach us that if we have crowds of people we should plan to put up with messy and filthy buildings.  We can teach people to be clean and neat and to take care of the sanctuary and the rest rooms and the rest of the church property and grounds. 

Verse 5 confronts us with the question of whether we are faithful or whether we are liars.

Verse 6 teaches us that a scorner cannot find wisdom for the same reason that an unbeliever cannot find God nor understand the Bible.  He doesn’t want to.

Verse 7 warns us to turn from listening to fools and ungodly teachers. Jeremiah 10:2  teaches the same thing. “Learn not the way of the heathen.” They will influence you and you will become like them. This warning is to parents of young children and to young people seeking a college education.

Verse 8 deals with wisdom, the main theme of this Book of Proverbs. Wisdom is not just knowing Bible knowledge; but being able to apply it practically so we understand the way in which we should go.  

Psalm 27:11 is a prayer I prayed repeatedly as a young person seeking God’s will.  True wisdom is being filled with the Holy Spirit so we can know God’s will. Ephesians 5:15-16. The wisdom of the wicked is actually deceitful and leads to folly.

Proverbs 14:9 warns that anyone who mocks and makes fun of sin, thinking he can do wrong and get away with it  is a fool.  Galatians 6:7 warns that anyone who thinks he can sin and get away with it is deceiving himself and in for a lifetime of sorrow.

Proverbs 14:10 speaks of the anguish and bitterness that each of us experience occasionally. There are times when no one, not even our spouse, can understand the anguish of our hearts.

Read of Hannah’s bitterness in I Samuel 1& 2. Not even her husband understood;  but she poured it out to God and He understood and met her deepest need. 

Job also experienced this bitterness and misunderstanding by others. But God understood his need and wonderfully blessed him. Read his amazing story in the Book of Job.

Proverbs 14:11 warns the wicked Christ-rejecters that one day their beautiful homes and mansions may be ultimately destroyed. On the other hand, the righteous in Christ  are to understand that though they may live temporarily in tents or modest homes, we are better off than the wicked. Sometimes Christians have a problem with understanding this.  I encourage you to read Psalm 73  for the answer that brings satisfaction and joy.

I conclude this study with the warning in Proverbs 14:12.   Beware of doing something that seems right and even feel right; even though it is in direct contradiction and disobedience to God’s Word.  Sin blinds our hearts and numbs our conscience until we may think that evil is actually good.  Beware of even starting down the road of compromise with sin.

 

October 22, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Your Options

Learning to Love our Children

In our previous study of this 13th chapter of Proverbs, I just touched on verse 24.  In this study I want to give it our full attention as we learn how to love our children.  I hesitate to deal with the discipline of children  unless I have time to cover it fully;  just as I hesitate to deal with the Scriptural truth of wives being in subjection to their husbands, unless I have time to deal with the total husband/wife relationship. I’ve seen too many immature husbands and fathers adopt a tyrannical attitude in both cases, thinking they are acting Biblically.   For the full story on marriage and raising children I urge you to study carefully and prayerfully with your Bible my series on MARRIAGE   and my series on  FAMILY on this web site.

But for now, let’s examine further Proverbs 13:24 as we learn what it means for parents to love their children.  The details of how a mother should love her children should be taught by older godly women, preferably her own godly mother, if such was the case, we learn in Titus 2:1-5.

Since a pastor’s teaching is accomplished, not only by preaching;  but also by example,  that is why, according to I Timothy 3:4-5,   a preacher’s primary qualification for that important office is his own example as a godly husband and father.

Disciplining  our children involves much more than lovingly spanking them when they disobey. It involves giving them our full attention when they speak to us and ask questions. That’s sometimes very difficult when a busy father has many pressing concerns on his mind.  Just remember, father, that no business concern and nothing in your busy schedule is more important than giving your child the time and personal attention he craves from you.

If you give them your full attention as toddlers, you will continue to enjoy a close relationship with them through their emotionally turbulent teens.  NEVER embarrass your children in the presence of others, just as you must never embarrass your spouse by cutting her down in the presence of others.  Such cruelty and insensitivity only results  in growing alienation of your children and your wife

There is NEVER an occasion to be thoughtless and rude in public or in private when dealing with faults in your wife or your children.  When dealing with the faults of those in your family or others, it should always be done privately and the truth must always be spoken in love. There should be no question of your love for them.

FALSE RELIGION AND CRUELTY TO CHILDREN   

In Old Testament times the heathen sacrificed their infants and small children to Molech,  a human shaped fiery furnace. Children were placed in the red hot arms of this furnace type god and burned to death. God warned Israel in Leviticus 18:21 and 20:1-5 against being involved in such cruelty.

In some countries today parents throw their infants to their death in  crocodile- infested rivers.  In some countries twins are killed as part of their religious practice.

CIVILIZED AMERICA’S FALSE RELIGION

In civilized America many mothers kill their babies by aborting them.

Many parents over the past century have given their children to the public schools where the modern high priest, John Dewey, an America philosopher and educator, planted the seeds of Progressive Education a century ago.

It involved some good ideas, such as allowing children to learn by doing, instead of learning by mere rote memory. However, it also promoted  the philosophy of never crossing the will of a child and allowing him to do his own thing in the classroom. Most Americans today who have grown up  in  this system have been fed and digested this philosophy which allows children to do as they please.  Parents of this generation, raised the hippie generation with its rock culture, which expressed themselves with rebellion to all authority, including the authority of their own parents.  Many parents who were fed this philosophy in school have swallowed and digested it to the destruction  of their families, raising children who reject all authority and do as they please.

THE TENETS OF THIS FALSE RELIGION

Never cross a child’s will. He may scream and stamp his feet and become frustrated.

Allow a child to express himself and do as he pleases, even if his actions interfere with the freedom and comfort of others.

Never give children rules nor set boundaries telling a child what he may or may not do.  This philosophy spills over to the modern churches where a preachers who declares what the Bible says is right and wrong, is labeled “judgmental” and is not tolerated.

Use psychology, not punishment  with children.  This method of child rearing is based on the anti-biblical principle that everyone is basically good and there is no such thing as sin. Never ever spank!  Instead, use time-outs and loss of privileges.

Let me clarify.  There ARE times when time-outs and loss of privileges are a useful method of discipline. However, when a child has deliberately disobeyed  or shown defiance to authority; nothing less than spankings will suffice. To see how this method of discipline worked with my own children, go to the category FAMILY and read how we disciplined our three children.

THE BIBLE ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

God’s way of disciplining our children is corporal punishment.  Read Proverbs 13:24,  19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15.

The Godless world is opposed to corporal punishment for children and to capital punishment for murderers and rapists.  They call it cruelty.  If you are opposed to these methods of dealing with disobedience and crime, you have swallowed this anti-biblical philosophy which is part of so-called Theological Liberalism.

Parents, before you start spanking your children, make sure that you are not angry, but under the control of God; otherwise you are in no position to lay a hand on your children.

Spank only for the right reasons.  Deliberate disrespect, disobedience or lying to you.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER  SPANK  A CHILD WHEN YOU ARE IN A FIT OF RAGE AND OUT OF CONTROL!

Spank only long enough and firmly enough on the buttocks to the place where your child has a broken heart and a broken spirit over his disobedience.  If you do it right, when the spanking is over, cuddle the child in your arms and assure him or her of your love.

Let me speak from experience here.  If you punish correctly, by the time your child is 5 years old and starts Kindergarten, he may never need another spanking.  By the time he or she is a teenager,  you will not need to deal with surliness and rebellion. You will have gained the love and respect of your child.

THE RESULTS OF USING CONSISTENT, LOVING BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE IN THE CONTEXT OF CHRISTIAN TRAINING.

Your children will be a delight  and bring rest to you. Proverbs 29:17

Your children will bless you. Proverbs 31:28

Best of all, your children will continue to live their lives in the Biblical direction you steered and patterned for them by your own life. Proverbs 22:6

The happy bonus is that they will raise their children, your grandchildren, as you did  them.

THE RESULTS OF RAISING YOUR CHILDREN PERMISSIVELY

They will grow up unhappy, sullen, angry children who long for parents to love them enough to set boundaries for them and make them obey.

Furthermore, they will grow up to rebel against all authority, including the police, because they never knew consistent, firm authority at home.

IT’S YOUR CHOICE FATHERS AND MOTHERS.

HOW WILL YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN?  

 

September 22, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Learning to Love our Children

Despising God’s Word

We continue our study of Proverbs 13 by dealing with the last 13 verses, beginning with verse 13.  This portion basically deals with the folly and danger of despising and rejecting the reading, preaching and hearing of God’s Word.

How do we despise the Word of God? 

By not reading it and staying away from the preaching of His Word.

By closing our ears and focusing our attention of other things during the preaching of the Word.

Some preachers despise the Word by emphasizing other things, such as promoting their doctrinal agendas or attempting to stir up emotional feelings at the expense of expositing and explaining what the Bible says.

Liberal preachers, of course, despise it by explaining it away as myth.

We preachers despise the Word when we give more attention to our opinions and the opinions of others than we do declaring what the Bible says.

One who despises the Word or God can be sure of one thing.  He will be destroyed.  Read Proverbs 13:13, 1:20-33 and  II Peter 2.

Back in Noah’s day, Noah was a preacher of righteousness and built the ark, warning others of the coming Flood, we read in II Peter 2:4-5.  We are warned in II Peter 3 that as people scorned Noah, so people today  avoid preachers who, as Noah, warn of the coming judgment of God upon the world.

Instead of despising such preaching, let us take every opportunity in this present Age of Grace to hunger for and soak up the faithful, practical exposition of God’s Word.  Amos prophesied in Amos 8:11-13 that in the end times, there would come a famine of the Word of God and people will be desperate to hear it, but will not be able to find it.

In this Age of Grace let us seek after the fear, reverence and love for God’s Word as we are admonished in Psalm 19:7-14   

God’s moral, holy standards are not burdensome restrictions. Rather.  Proverbs 13:14 reminds us that God’s Word is a refreshing fountain of life. bringing life and refreshment to parched souls and protecting us from the snares of sin and death.

Verse 15 takes us a step further in our knowledge of God and His Word. We not only hear it and know what it says; we also understand what we read as the indwelling Holy Spirit opens up our understanding.

Jesus, God incarnate, had that understanding as a child. Luke 2:52

Daniel, as a young Israelite in Babylon, had it.  Daniel 1:9.  

The early church had it.  Acts 2:41-47

By way of contrast, Proverbs 13:15 warns us that “the way of the transgressor is hard.”  The one who brazenly breaks God’s Law is going to experience a lifetime of hardship.  I don’t want to learn the lessons of God’s Word the hard way.

Wise men and women deal faithfully with God’s Word by facing it openly and humbly and not ignoring and fighting it; whereas fools ignore it and are in open rebellion to it.  Verse 16 declares that rebellion is open and obvious for all to see.

Verse 17 contrasts faithful and unfaithful messengers. A faithful messenger, whether he be a preacher or faithful layman, proves his character, as Eliezer in Genesis 15:2 and Genesis  24  by his faithful  discharge of responsibilities entrusted to him. A wicked messenger betrays his trust and falls into mischief, as did Gehazi in II Kings 5:26-27. 

Verse 18 challenges me with an easy decision.  Receive God’s Word and prosper or reject God’s Word and suffer poverty and shame. These truths are repeated several times in Proverbs.

Verse 19 contrast the desire of the righteous with the desire of the wicked. The desire of the righteous is ultimately perfection which will one day be accomplished in Heaven.  On the other hand, the desire of the unregenerate fool is to continue in sin. The thought of giving up sin is hateful to him. He loves his sin.

Verse 20 teaches that those who walk with the truly wise will eventually be wise; but those who walk with fools will be destroyed.

Verse 21  Rebel against God as a fool and you will never be able to escape evil, no matter how fast you run. It will pursue you as a lion until it catches and destroys you.  However, the godly who live to serve God will be repayed here and in eternity.

Verse 22 speaks about the inheritance we will one day leave our children and our grandchildren. The godly will leave an inheritance of an example of godly character, as well as some financial inheritance.

Verse 23 teaches that those who work will have food to eat.  On the other hand, even a great estate can be eroded and destroyed for lack of judgment and care.

Verse 24  Hints of how we are to discipline our children.  It is an important subject that we cannot deal with here.  For a detailed study of that,  go to my category  FAMILY where I deal with it in detail from a biblical perspective. 

This 13th chapter of Proverbs concludes in verse 25 with the topic of satisfaction.  We who are trusting in Christ, find our satisfaction in Him. If He is our Saviour and Lord, we find our full satisfaction in Him. On the other hand, the wicked are never satisfied, regardless of what they  have. Isaiah 57:20-21  describe  them as a troubled, restless sea whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace nor satisfaction for the wicked.

 

 

 

September 18, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Despising God’s Word

Guard Your Tongue

The 13th chapter of Proverbs continues the theme of this book: the value of seeking and receiving the wisdom of God’s Word vs the folly of rejecting it.

Verse 1 reminds us that no one on earth  loves us more than  our father and mother.  Though they cannot and must not try to run our lives after we have left home and are on our own; they never cease loving us and desiring God’s best for us.  The same goes for a faithful pastor.   He, along with your parents, desires to see you joyful and successful in life.  Those who scorn and refuse to listen to and accept the rebuke of parents or a Biblically faithful pastor can count on facing dire consequences in the future.

Verse 2 speaks of the “fruit of our mouth”, that is, our speech. “Our speech betrays us,” we are reminded in Matthew 26:73.  One can tell a lot about the spiritual condition of a person by listening to his conversation. It indicates upon what we are feeding.  Is it the Word of God, or is it the banal and often wicked fare of radio, television and Hollywood?  What we enjoy speaks volumes about us.

Therefore verse 3 warns us  to guard our heart and our tongue. Those who do guard their lives.  Those who do not  guard their hearts and tongues are exposing themselves to destruction.  That’s why David in Psalm 141:3 asked God to “set a watch before his mouth and guard the door of his lips” One who has no control over his tongue has no control over his life and is headed for destruction.

In verse 4  we see the sluggard and the diligent contrasted.  The sluggard or the lazy just desires, but that’s as far as he gets.  He just sits on his sofa or lies on his bed watching television.  On the other hand, the diligent work and experience success.  Someone has said, “The harder I work the luckier I become.”  Proverbs 22:29 describes the contrast. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall go places and not be lost in obscurity.”  That’s my paraphrase of the verse.

Verse 5 states, “A righteous man hates lying: but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.”  It seems that the whole world lies. That includes the  political and the business world. How rare, how gratifying and how comforting it is to find men and women who consistently tell the truth. Liars are listed in in Revelation 21:8 among those who will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. That should be a sober warning to anyone who is given to lying.

Verse 6 speaks of God’s righteousness, as taught in His Word. It keeps us standing when others are falling all around us.  Like a compass, it keeps us  pointed in the right direction and on course.  Like a soldier’s breastplate and armour, it protects us.  Even though we sin and are imperfect,  His righteousness imputed and imparted to us keeps us standing.  Without it we fall and are overthrown by sin.

In verse 7  we learn the principle of generosity and financial success.  One can work hard at becoming rich and being selfish and  still have nothing. The Laodiceans referred to in Revelation 3:17-18 boasted in their riches, but were living in spiritual poverty. 

On the other hand a generous person who share of himself and his own resources has great riches and is prosperous in all his ways. 

Jesus made Himself poor for us to give us great riches. II Corinthians 8:9 and 9:6-10.

Verse 8 reminds us that the wealthy risk evil men demanding ransom or extortion money.  As Proverbs 10:15 says, “His wealth is his strong city.” On the other hand, the poor are ignored.  They don’t have to concern themselves with locking their doors or setting their burglar alarms.

One’s happiness, therefore, consists;  not in what we have or don’t have; but in our relationship with Christ.

Verse 9 and  Proverbs 4:18 teach that those whose righteousness is found in knowing Christ experience a life of increasing light; whereas the wicked live a life of increasing spiritual darkness which leads to eternal darkness.

Verse 10 links a life of pride to a life of contention. Pride and contention  always go together.

 Verse 11 teaches an important principle for those who desire to be wealthy. Wealth  gained by get rich quick schemes disappears as quickly as it comes. I know from first hand experience.  I’ve wasted time and money in some  that held grandiose, but empty promises.

I will close out this study with the truth of verse 12.  Hope is like getting hungry before a meal. At first it is pleasurable; but when deferred it becomes painful. Like gnawing hunger and starvation.  But when hope becomes sight  it is invigorating. It’s like eating from the Tree of Life in Heaven. Hope will have turned to sight.

 

September 13, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Guard Your Tongue

Wisdom for Living

Proverbs chapter 12 continues the theme  of this book, contrasting the righteous with the unrighteous,  the wise with the foolish. It identifies the righteous as wise and the unrighteous as fools.

 

The chapter starts out in verse 1 contrasting Christians and unbelievers. Christians are those who have agreed with God’s Word that they are sinners in need of a Saviour.  They have humbly put their trust in Christ who is their Wisdom, as well as their Saviour.  As Christians, they love the instruction and comfort of reading and studying God’s Word, the Bible. The unbeliever, by contrast, trusts in his own pitiful self-righteousness. He  hates and ignores  the reproof and instruction of God’s Word and is portrayed as ignorant as a brute beast.  

 

Verse 2 continues this contrast by declaring that the good man,  (that is the sinner whose  trust is in the righteousness and goodness of His Saviour, the  Lord Jesus Christ) daily obtains the favor and blessings of God; whereas the wicked Christ-rejecter is condemned right now, as well is throughout eternity..  John 3:18 and 5:24  confirm this truth.

 

Do you long for stability in your life?   Proverbs 12:3  warns that a wicked Christ rejecter will never experience stability in his life; whereas the Christian will not be shaken  by difficult circumstances. In Christ alone is stability.  He is the Rock foundation of our lives.

 

The state of one’s marriage is very much influenced by one’s  relationship with Christ. Verse 4 teaches that  a godly, pure, virtuous woman is  a crown and a blessing to her husband;  whereas an ungodly woman is as a cancer to her husband causing his bones to rot and bringing him shame. Think about this, Christian young man and woman, your spiritual relationship with God and  your  would- be spouse’s spiritual relationship with God should be the number one, all-important concern when seeking a spouse. The typical couple when planning their marriage spends most of their time planning the ceremony, reception and honeymoon trip and very little time discussing life as husband and wife and the raising of children. To gain a proper long-range perspective I urge you to  go to my series on MARRIAGE  and on  FAMILY on this web site to read and study them.

 

Verses  5-6  remind us that our relationship with God affects our thinking and our speech. We are warned  that the advice of the wicked is deceitful. On the other hand, the words of those who have been given the righteousness and wisdom of God through faith in the shed blood of Christ can deliver and bless us.  This a good reason for attending a church where Christ is exalted and where His infallible, inspired  Word, the Bible, is taught and lived out.

 

Verse 7 gives an ultimatum to each of us. The wicked are overthrown. The righteous enjoy stability and security. Our future now and in eternity is determined by our decision to receive or reject Jesus and His blood atonement.

 

Verse 8 offers you a choice. A wise-hearted man or woman will be useful and commended.  Those who reject God’s Word will forfeit that wisdom and be despised. 

 

Verse 9  looks at the idea of being despised in a different light from verse  8.  Whereas verse 8 warns of being despised for being perverse and rejecting the wisdom of God;  verse 9 refers to one who is despised for doing right. He is despised by the world for walking in integrity and being successful in life.   This person may even be successful enough to  have a servant  or more labor-saving tools in his house.  On the other hand, there are those who vainly try to honor themselves but are despised by others.  We never look so foolish than when we are being pompous and proud when we really have nothing for which to be proud.  

 

Verse 10 contrasts the wicked and the righteous.  The wicked are thoughtless and cruel to their pets and farm animals; whereas the righteous are thoughtful and show them kindness.

 

Verse 11 contrasts the hard worker who earns a living and has his needs met   with the lazy loafer who follows vain, Socialistic, political leaders who offer to meet all his needs.  One who follows such leaders is void of understanding.

 

Verses 12 and 14 contrast the outcome of the wicked with the righteous.

 

Verses 15-16 describe Christi-rejecters who see themselves as right, but they are actually fools.

 

Verses 17-23  contrast  the speech of the righteous and the wicked. There we are taught to avoid using our speech and our words as swords, piercing the hearts of others.  Rather, we are to use our words to bring the healing of God’s Truth to them. As a preacher throughout my life I have sought to use the Word of God as a sword to cut hard, self-righteous hearts and to bring the healing of God’s  Word to the broken-hearted.

 

Do you want to go places and be greatly used of God?  Verse 24 reminds us to be diligent and learn. The same verse contrasts the slothful who will live their lives enslaved to others and in debt all their lives.

 

Verse 25 reminds us that there are many heavy hearts in the world. We are encouraged to speak truth to them in such a way that they are encouraged.

 

Verses 26-28 close out this chapter teaching that righteousness ( that is Christ’s imputed righteousness taught in Romans 4) lifts us from the pathway of death and puts us on the pathway of life, leading to eternal life in Heaven.

September 1, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Wisdom for Living

Liberalism: Good or Evil?

Basically, the term liberal describes a good and noble quality of life to be sought after.  A liberal person is a kind, loving generous person who spends his life and his substances reaching out to the needy, personally doing what he can to meet their needs. 

Elsewhere on this website under the categories  Liberalism and Separation you will be warned how this good and desirable quality of life has been corrupted by Satan and how it can be misunderstood and  misused and become a wicked and dangerous  religious and political philosophy to be eschewed and rejected.

But in this message we will consider the good and proper use of this term  as we consider this Proverbs 11:24-31 passage before us. 

We begin with an eternal, divine principle before us in verse 24.  Read it from the Bible as I paraphrase it for you.  There is a divine principle at work that when one scatters and shares his own personal resources: that is, his money, time, energy and possessions with those in need who have no ability to reciprocate, God sees to it that  he is well rewarded;  whereas, those who selfishly ignore the plight of the poor  tend  to lose what they have and become poor  themselves.

This principle is repeated in verses 25 and 26 and throughout the Bible.  Galatians 6:9-10 teaches us. “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” 

Note in verse 26 that if those in need have the ability to pay for the  commodity needed; then it is not evil for the owner to sell it   to the one in need.  Of course, it would be wrong to take advantage of the needy by over-charging him.

Returning to Proverbs 11  note that  verse 27 promises that those who seek the good of others  experience the favor and blessing of God.  On the other hand, those who seek to take advantage of others in need, will sooner or later pay for their sins.  God has His way of carrying out vengeance.  Romans 12:19

Verse 28 continues this theme by warning the rich that if we trust in our riches, we will eventually come to need.  Jesus gives an example of this in His story found in Luke 12:15-21  of the fall of the rich man who trusted in his riches. Read it and be warned. 

Verse 28 not only warns us of the danger of living for ourselves;  but in contrast, it also encourages us that if we are living a righteous life, that is living for Christ in His strength,  we will flourish.  On the other hand, all our efforts of  self-righteousness to attain Heaven  are as stinking, filthy rags in His sight. Isaiah  64:6.  Only Christ’s righteousness imputed to the believer, makes one fit to enter Heaven. Read Romans 4.

Verse 29 warns those self-centered, stubborn, rebellious souls that if they continue in that direction, they will inherit the wind and end up with nothing but constant trouble. At very best, they will end up serving those who chose the wisdom of God.

In contrast to a self-centered life, verse 30 challenges and encourages us to live for others. As we help others physically, the greatest blessing we can be to them is to share the Gospel with them so that they become trees of life bearing fruit for the glory of God.  Those who live such selfless lives are considered wise according to God’s standards.  God not only blesses Christians eternally in Heaven, but often in this life we experience the material blessings of God.  

By God’s grace,  my wife and I each came to Christ as children and have lived our lives for him.  As I write this, I have just completed fifty-five years as a pastor.  Now approaching our eighties we continue to rejoice in God’s blessing on our lives, both physically and materially.  Life for us has been one grand adventure.  All of this- and Heaven too. What more could we ask?

Verse 31 concludes Proverbs 11.  with the thought that as we Christians who have lived for Christ are rewarded with blessings now and throughout eternity; so the wicked will eventually experience the consequences of their selfish, God-hating lives; not only in this life on earth but in Hell also.

I urge you to make the right decision concerning Christ. Receive Him now as Saviour and Lord and live your life for others and for God’s  glory. You will experience His blessing now and eternally.  The alternative is a wasted life of sorrow on this earth and throughout eternity.

August 21, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Liberalism: Good or Evil?

Jeweled Pig

A JEWELED PIG   Proverbs 11:16 & 22

 

As we continue in Proverbs chapter 11, we continue to learn practical wisdom.  In verse 16 & 22 we have honorable and dishonorable women contrasted.   In verse 16 we learn that a gracious, wise woman, whether a ravishing beauty or not,  retains honor; whereas in verse 22 we see that a glamorous woman lacking discretion and virtue is likened to a pig with a precious jewel of gold fastened in her snout.  What a waste of beauty!

Young men, learn this truth well.  When seeking a wife, ravishing beauty can wear pretty thin if your wife turns out to be a slob and she allows her house to deteriorate into a pig sty; or worse yet, an ungodly woman who has no use for God.

When I was courting my future wife,  I noticed, not only her godliness, but  her own personal cleanliness and how she kept her room.  If she had been a slob, I would  have ceased my relationship with her.  Thankfully, her personal cleanliness and her neatness have never changed throughout our 57 years of marriage.  Of course, as she has grown older and finds it more difficult to move about, I have tried to be a help to her with more of the cleaning and household chores, especially since I retired from my full time responsibilities as a pastor. 

Boys, beware of girls who are rude to their parents, brothers and sisters, as well as to others.  They will continue to be rude after they are married.  Girl’s the same warning applies to boys.  Don’t expect to change character flaw in your mate after your are married. Far better to cut off the relationship now!

MERCIFUL MEN    Proverbs 11:17

 

In this verse we learn that a merciful man, though he may be totally selfless;  is actually doing good to his own soul.  Though his chief concern is to be a blessing to others, it turns out to his own good. The blessings he shows to others actually boomerang on himself.  Jesus promised this in His Beatitude found in Matthew 5:7  “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”

It ought not be difficult for one who has obtained mercy from God to show mercy to others who need it.  Read what Jesus said about this in Matthew 18:21-35.

On the other hand, those who are self-centered, thoughtless and cruel to others,  end up bringing curses on their own selves and their own families. Read again Proverbs 11:17

WHAT CAN  YOU EXPECT?   Proverbs 11:23

 

Trust Christ, love and live for Him and you can expect everything to work out for your good.   Romans 8:28  repeats this truth.  On the other hand, ignore God and  live for yourself only and you can expect the worst.

LIBERALITY vs  STINGINESS   Proverbs 11:24-28

 

 

Here is a law or principle of life that is just as sure as the law of gravity. Be generous to God by giving to the spread of the Gospel and to others in need and you will be blessed and see your net worth increase.  Be stingy and you will shrivel up in poverty.  Read these promises.  Luke 6:38  and II Corinthians 9:6-8.

INHERIT THE WIND   Proverbs 11:29

 

 

We trouble our family and our home when we set our hearts on doing wrong.   The same warning is given to wives and mothers in Proverbs 14:1.

 

THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS   Proverbs 11:30

 

The fruit of those who share the Gospel with others, is not simply fruit. Rather the fruit of the righteous who share the Gospel with others are  other fruit trees which bear good fruit.   In other words, the blessings of your life are multiplied.  Those who live only for themselves are selfish and miss out on these blessings.

THE RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED CONTRASTED   Proverbs 11:31

 

The lifestyle of  “the rich and the famous” is not to be compared to the blessings of the righteous.  I can testify to the truth of verse 31.  I have been blessed beyond measure as a faithful servant of Christ.   Honestly, I have been blessed far beyond any rich ungodly man I know. I would not trade place with him for one minute.

 

 

 

April 10, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Jeweled Pig

Practical Wisdom

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 11:1214:21,  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.

 

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Practical Wisdom

Is God Fair?

Is God unfair?  The ungodly and sometimes we Christians in our weaker moments have no problem charging God with unfairness.  How dare we!  Paul, dealing with the ungodly as they hurl their charges of unfairness towards God, writes in Romans 9:20 “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it say, ‘Why have You made me thus?”

Those introductory questions, lead us into our current studies in Proverbs as we come to the 11th chapter and are introduced to the theme of the justice of God.    We read in Proverbs 11:1 “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight.”

God is fair and just.  He loves  honesty and fairness. He hates dishonesty and cheating and so should we.

Anyone who understands the truth of Justification should understand and appreciate the truth that God in infinitely fair in His dealings with us.

Let me ask you a question.  Is God fair when He condemns all of humanity as fallen, sinners because of Adam’s sin six thousands years ago?

CONSIDER THE OPTIONS

1. God could have overlooked our sins.  Is that possible? In no way!  A holy just God cannot overlook sin.  Sin must be punished.  God had warned Adam, “In the day you eat of that fruit you shall surely die!”   God is holy and as such He cannot overlook and excuse sin.

2. God could have allowed every man to stand or fall on his own merit.  I’m so glad God did not choose that option.  Yes,  it would have been fair and just.  But no one can stand before God.  As sons and daughters of Adam, we have inherited his sinful nature.  There would have been no hope for anyone.

3. And so God in His love and justice chose to save us through a Representative.   That Representative was no less than God Himself come down in a human body,  the Lord Jesus!   Jesus took our place and bore our sins in His own body on the cross and then God  took Jesus’ perfect righteousness and put it to the account of every sinner who would come in humility before God as a sinner and put his trust in Jesus as His Representative and Saviour.

WHY DID GOD CHOOSE TO SAVE US THROUGH CHRIST?

 

As the entire human race fell into sin and condemnation in the person of Adam,  so all those who put their trust in the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ,  are freed from the condemnation of sin and are given the Gift of eternal life through Christ.  Read Romans 4:12-21  Underline the words, one and many and all.  Read that passage again and ask God to help you grasp the truth of one, many and all, as I have just explained to you.

IS IT FAIR FOR GOD TO DECLARE YOU PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS AND FIT FOR HEAVEN IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST, THE SECOND ADAM?

 

No, it is not fair!  It is MORE THAN FAIR!   It is GRACE!   It is ultimately the only way  God could save us and declare us perfectly righteous and fit for Heaven.  If this is not yet clear to you read Romans chapter 5 over again until you grasp it.  Read this message over again until you see that this is the only way God could have saved us.  For you to miss this truth is to remain lost in your sins with no hope of salvation.  God is gracious.  He gives us far more than we deserve.   Listen to Paul rejoice in the wonderful grace of God as you read it  in Romans 11:32-36.

Revelation 15:3 tells us that the day is coming when we will join the Saints throughout the ages in singing together the Song of the Lamb,  “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints.”  Can you sing that song of The Lamb, (the Lord Jesus) who was slaughtered on the cross for your sins?  If your trust is in Christ, you can start singing that song from the depths of your heart right now, even as you will throughout eternity in Heaven.

Concluding where we started in Proverbs 11:1, no wonder God delights in a just weight.   God is absolutely just.   But He is more than that.  He is loving and gracious.

November 24, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Is God Fair?

Tending to Life or Death

We continue contrasting the wise and foolish, the righteous and the unrighteous, in Proverbs 10, beginning with verse 16. Understand that we’re not talking about self-righteousness. There is nothing good about self-righteousness.  It is repulsive and stinks to high Heaven. The only true righteousness is Christ’s righteousness which God imputes, or puts to the account of sinners who trust His blood sacrifice on the cross as the atonement for their sins. I trust you know Christ as your righteousness. If you don’t, I urge you to go to my SALVATION series and get that settled today.  Then  follow along in your Bible in Proverbs 10 by reading the verse first. Then follow along with my comments on the verse.

Do you tend to life or death?

Basically verse 16 is teaching us that everything that a Christian who is clothed in Christ’s righteousness thinks, says or  does tends to life. He has eternal life.  Eternal life is a new quality of life, not just an extension of the old life you had before you were saved.   It is the imputed life of Jesus which results in His life being  imparted to you so that you begin to think and live as Jesus would live and love as Jesus would love.  Not perfectly!  But you begin the journey which will ultimately culminate in perfection in Heaven.

On the other hand, everything the natural, unconverted man or woman thinks, says or does tends to his physical and spiritual destruction and death.  Romans 3:10-18

 

How do  you handle reproof?

Verse 17 teaches that if you truly are saved and are on that journey with Christ, you will show it by the way you respond to reproof and instruction from the Bible.  On the other hand, you are treading on dangerous ground if you refuse reproof and instruction from God’s Word.

Does what you say and how you say it bless or curse others?

Verses 18-21 concerns our tongue, that is our speech.  I remind you of what I said in our previous study  about  verses 11-14 of this chapter which also concern our speech.  The righteous bless with their words; whereas the wicked stir up strife and  eventually destroy themselves and others.

Verses 18-21 warn us to beware of attempting to hide our hatred of others with lying and flattering lips or outright slander.  Which is worse?  It’s all despicable sin.   

Verse 19 warns us to beware of talking too much.  The more we say, the more chance we have of saying something worthless; or worse, plain evil. That’s a warning to me, a preacher.  I’ve spoken a LOT of words in my 55 years of pastoring and I’ve written a  LOT  of words and posted them to this web site.  My constant prayer is that whenever I speak or write, it always brings glory to God.  You’ll have to be the judge as you read Hidden Treasures.   

Basically, if our purpose is not to glorify Christ, then perhaps we had better not speak it or write it.

Verses 20-21 reminds us that the words of the wise feed many; whereas the words of fools is worthless and harmful.  Fools die for lack of wisdom and if they are written or preached words, they can lead their listeners to Hell.

What do you covet?

I love verse 22.  “The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it.”    On the other hand, those who covet material wealth are going to be led astray and lead others astray and be plagued with sorrow. That was Paul’s warning to young Pastor Timothy in I Timothy 6:10 and to all who read,  that those whose chief purpose in life is to gain wealth, end up  bringing much needless sorrow into their lives.   Wealth in itself is not evil, but a  life given to that one great purpose of accumulating wealth  can  bring sorrow.

Proverbs 10:23  warns us that fools enjoy doing mischief or sin. They also enjoy reading and enjoying sin on television and at the movies. It becomes their life.   It’s on their minds continually day and night. They have a desire to live out what they’ve seen and heard.

Proverbs 10:24 warns us that what we expect, will probably happen; whether it is a wicked man’s fear of evil or a godly man’s righteous desires.  Our thinking has much bearing on what happens.   Psalm 37:4 reminds us to “Delight ourselves in the Lord and He shall give us the desires of our heart.”    God has proven that to me repeatedly through my life.  Christ has been the delight of my life since I trusted Him as a child and I have repeatedly enjoyed the desires of my heart throughout my life.

Are you a good or evil influence on others?

Proverbs 10:25  reminds us that the wicked soon pass away and are forgotten.  The righteous in Christ have eternal life and their godly influence continues to bless many.

Are you lazy?

Proverbs 10:26  warns us that we cannot trust lazy people. They will always let you down.  Therefore lazy people cannot be entrusted with any responsibility.  

I Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that the most important qualification for any responsibility and privilege is  faithfulness.   If you can’t be faithful in keeping your room clean,  you need not apply for anything more important.  

Do you want God to use you?  Be faithful in the little things and Luke19:17  tells us we will be faithful in the big opportunities that come our way.

What does your future generally hold for you?

Proverbs 10:27  reminds us and warns us that those who have a healthy fear of offending a holy God with our sins is probably going to live a long, healthy life.   There are exceptions to that statement.  We’ll leave the exceptions with God and not try to understand all His ways.   But verse 27 continues, ” the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”    Give this serious thought.

Proverbs 10:28-29  reminds us that the righteous can expect a life of gladness; whereas the wicked can expect a life of sorrow and destruction.

Proverbs 10:30  reminds me that as a joint-heir with Christ,  this earth which is going to be renewed by Christ,  is mine for eternity. On the other hand, the wicked are one day going to be removed from this earth to spend eternity in Hell.   See my messages on HELL on this web site, to learn more about this eternal habitation of the wicked who reject Christ.

How important is your speech?

Verse  31-32  of Proverbs 10 close out this chapter with the matter of our speech.  The Bible has  much to say about our speech.   Our speech says so much about us.  It reveals our heart and what is most important to us.   We either bless people or else we are simply empty, boring  wind-bags.

May we constantly be aware of the little things we say and do and the values we hold and the interests that consume our attention and our faithfulness in the little things.  They all affect our success and usefulness in this life and  throughout eternity.

November 21, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Tending to Life or Death

Wise vs Fools

The entire book of Proverbs contrasts wisdom vs folly  and  righteousness vs unrighteousness.

Proverbs 1-9 introduces us to the topic of Heavenly Wisdom, contrasting it with sinful folly.

Beginning with chapter 10  we are introduced  to specific, but unrelated statements contrasting wisdom and righteousness with foolishness and unrighteousness.   Let’s consider them.

WISE AND FOOLISH SONS CONTRASTED  10:1 

 

Nothing accomplished in life by Christian parents and teachers brings more joy than seeing our sons and daughters and students grow up to know God and live in obedience to His Word.  See also Proverbs 23:15-26

Nothing in life brings Christian parents and teachers greater heartbreak  than raising  foolish, rebellious sons or daughters or students.  Proverbs 15:20.  

Parents are given the responsibility in Proverbs 22:6 to train up  their children in the way they should go.  We will deal with this further, Lord willing, when we come to that passage in this Proverbs series.

WEALTH OR POVERTY  10:2-10

 

Proverbs 10:2-5 teaches that the wicked can offer nothing of eternal value or profit to God for themselves.  Their efforts and resources are of no value to God. Matthew 6:19-20 and Luke 12:19-20.  Their material wealth is of no value when it comes to eternal life.

Only righteousness enables us to gain eternal life.  Of course, that righteousness is not self-righteousness, as Titus 3:5-6 makes clear. Therefore,  the only righteousness which is of eternal value is the imputed righteousness of Christ to our account.  That is justification, which is clearly explained in Romans 3:21- 5:21in my Roman’s series.  

 

That imputed righteousness changes our hearts and makes possible a changed life of God’s imparted righteousness. Such righteousness is  taught throughout the New Testament as the doctrine of Sanctification.

God promises to meet all our needs, as promised in Proverbs 10:3. This promise is repeated throughout the Bible, as seen in Psalm 1:6, 3:8, 5:12, 23:1, 34:17, 19,22, 37:25,  Matthew 6:25-26 and Philippians 4:19.

There may be times when we are physically hungry, as Paul testified of himself in I Corinthians4:11and II Corinthians 11:27; however, God promise our souls will never be famished or starve.  My wife and I experienced this  through different seasons of our lives, especially early in our marriage and through some financially lean years; however we never starved and these experiences taught us to appreciate what we had and how to manage our money wisely.

For a number of years during the early years of our ministry, we lived well below the poverty level,  but we never starved and we always experienced the enriching presence of God in our poverty. For that reason we never considered ourselves as poor nor did we ever apply for government assistance. 

Let me warn any would-be preacher that you are crazy and evil to choose the ministry as a way of gaining wealth.  If you are not in the ministry for the spiritual wealth of others, get out now before God brings down His judgment on you.  Proverbs 10:3 warns that God casts away the substance of the wicked!  

Read God’s warning in Luke 12:29-20 to the foolish, wicked farmer who lived only for himself and had no heart for God.  Paul warned of preachers who were in the ministry for filthy lucre’s sake.  I Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7,11,  Peter warned of it in I Peter 5:2,

Proverbs 10:4-5 shows the path to  wealth and to poverty?

Laziness is the path to poverty and shame.  See also Proverbs 19:16, 20:4,23:21, 24:30-34.

Diligence and hard work  mark the path of those who are blessed materially.  Proverbs 10:5,  13:4  and 22:29.

The righteous are blessed and memorialized while the wicked are destroyed and often violently.  Proverbs 10:6-10

THE POWER OF OUR WORDS 10:11-14

 

The righteous bless with their words; whereas the wicked stir up strife and  eventually destroy themselves

DON’T TRUST YOUR RICHES  10:15

 

Read in Luke 12:16-21 of  Jesus’ warning concerning the rich farmer who lived only for himself.

Christ is our City of  Refugeand our strong tower in which we hide from the wrath and judgment of God.  Proverbs 18:10-11   Have you fled to Christ to hide from the judgment of God on you as a sinner?   Do it now! Come as a guilty, helpless sinner to God and cast yourself on Christ who died to pay the penalty of your sins and give you eternal life.

 

 

November 19, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Wise vs Fools

The Choice is Yours

In  Proverbs  9  Wisdom is personified  as speaking and challenging us to come to Him for wisdom.    Most Christians are familiar with the truth  that Christ is our Redeemer, our Righteousness and our Sanctification.   In I Corinthians1:30-31 we learn that The Lord Jesus Christ is also our wisdom.   You may recall from our study of Proverbs 8  that the theme of that chapter is Christ our Wisdom.  We continue that theme in Proverbs 9.

The mystery of Christ is that He who is eternal God the Creator, came into this world 2000 years ago as a new born baby, the supernaturally- conceived Son of God born to a virgin, Mary.

He is the Saviour to all who come in humility as sinners and trust the sacrifice of His shed blood on the cross as the full payment for our sins.  This Saviour is also our Wisdom.

Chapter 9 begins by emphasizing the rich feast provided for us by Wisdom. Solomon, who had the magnificent Temple  built in his day,  is speaking in this chapter of this beautiful temple.  We Christians in this Church Age are being built together a Christ’s  Holy  Temple.  I Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:15-20

Christ by His Holy Spirit dwells in us.   

THE RICH PROVISION OF CHRIST  Proverbs 9:1-2

Christ, previously seen as our wisdom in  chapter 8 is now seen in chapter 9 as furnishing us a feast. This feast is a picture of our redemption.

Solomon’s temple is a picture of the House Wisdom has built.  This is a veiled  picture of Christ’s  Church which He is building today.

The feast is described in Proverbs 9:1 and 5 as including bread and wine. This refers to Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper which is a  type or picture of Christ’s sacrifice of His body and His blood sacrificed  for our redemption.  

Ephesians describes our salvation as a feast of blessings which commences with our salvation and continues throughout our lives.  Read through Ephesians to begin to grasp the wealth of our salvation. Ephesians 1-3 describes our wealth.  Ephesians 4-5 describes our walk and Ephesians 6 describes our warfare.

THE INVITATION IS GIVEN  Proverbs 9:3-6

The Maidens, referred to in Proverbs 9:3 are a type of the Church. sent out to invite people to the Gospel banquet.  Isn’t it amazing how the unsaved try to avoid those who would invite them to the Gospel banquet?  Somehow the devil has programmed into their thinking that Christian witnesses are trying to rope them and bring them into some sort of religious bondage. I’ll admit that there is religious bondage found and taught in some churches. But Christ’s true Church simply desires to invite people to a Gospel banquet of salvation and freedom from the bondage of sin and religion offered freely to anyone who recognizes and confesses his need of Christ.

Who is invited to the Banquet?  The Simple.   Review the third message in this Proverbs series to identify the Simple.  Basically the Simple include those who recognize their need of Christ and trust Him. 

WHAT IS THE INVITATION?  Proverbs 9:4-6

The invitation is salvation from sin offered to all to come to Jesus. This invitation is found repeatedly in the Gospel of John.   John 6:35, 51-58, 63.7:37-38 and in Revelation22:17.  The invitation is also found in the Old Testament. One example is in Isaiah 55:1-3.

With the Gift of Salvation is the challenge to turn from sin to a new direction. 9:6.   It is evident from Scripture that when one is justified through faith in Christ, sanctification  and spiritual growth follow. Sanctification and growth follow conversion.  I Peter 2:1-3

RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION  Proverbs 9:7-9

Some receive the Gospel invitation and are saved.  Others scorn and  reject it and remain lost. 

The Bible is not teaching us that preachers are never to reprove.  On the contrary, Peter reproved in Acts 2 and the Church grew. The Deacon Stephen preached and reproved in Acts 6-7 and was stoned. Paul, moved and convicted through Stephen’s preaching and martyrdom was saved and transformed. Paul teaches preachers in II Timothy 4:2 to reprove and rebuke their congregations in love and honesty.  Jesus reproved Pharisees.

Preachers are told in II Timothy 2:2-3  to reprove, those who  may or may not listen to them.  The Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:4-11 was also commanded  to warn  Israel  to listen to and obey God.   The response of the listeners was not Ezekiel’s responsibility; nor is it the responsibility of preachers in this day. 

As a preacher through  fifty-five years of ministry, I also have experienced the varied responses of listeners from those who loved me and appreciated what I taught them to those who hated me and would have tried to remove me from my pulpit.  Whenever God’s Word is preached, there are no neutral listeners.   People will  love or hate the preaching of God’s Word and they either love or hate the messenger.  Christ-rejecters will hate us and those who love Christ will love us and grow wiser.  That’s the message of Proverbs 9:8-9. 

 RESULTS OF OBTAINING WISDOM AND REDEMPTION. 9:10-12

Wisdom begins with a respectful fear of  offending a Holy God.  Proverbs 9:10 and 1:7

A  knowledge of the Holy comes with study of  God’s Word. Proverbs 9:10

Such knowledge of God may  result in long life.  Proverbs 9:11

God’s wisdom is profitable to our well  being, profit  and a long life.  9:11-12

Reject God and His Word to  your hurt.

IN CONTRAST TO CHRIST AND HIS WISDOM,  EVIL INVITES US TO FOLLOW HER INTO SIN.  Proverbs 9:13-18  

In contrast with what Christ offers, what does Satan and his evil workers offer us?   Noise, confusion ignorance, death.  Sounds like the typical  TV and movie fare.

What is her message? That Illicit sex,  smoking and drinking and taking drugs is fun  and brings popularity and good feelingss.  Proverbs  9:17

But it doesn’t tell you the whole message. It tries to hide the fact that sin brings misery, a wasted life and ultimately judgment and death. Proverbs9:18; 2:18-19, 5:22-23, 7:24-27,  Romans6:23   Galatians  6:7-8  Ecclesiastes 11:9

Your choice is to choose Christ and live or  reject Christ and die.

November 10, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on The Choice is Yours

Christ, Our Wisdom

The theme of  Proverbs 8 is  Christ our Wisdom.   That is in harmony with what Paul teaches us in I Corinthians 1:30-31 where he teaches that Christ  is not only our righteousness, sanctification and redemption, but He is also  our wisdom.

Only those who know, trust and love Christ, have wisdom.  Those who reject Christ  and the eternal life He offers those who trust Him, are fools. In an earlier study in this Proverb’s series, we identified the four categories of people.

1. The Simple are those who know nothing or very little. All children are born simple.

2.  As we grow and mature, we are confronted with the truth of God’s Word. Those who approach it half-heartedly and carelessly, choosing to reject it and  go their own way are scorners.

3. In time, scorners become set in their rejection of God’s Word and become fools.

4. Those who take the Bible seriously and receive it as God’s holy, infallible Word and determine to live by it become wise.

DEFINITION OF WISDOM

Wisdom is the God-given ability of one who has received Christ as Saviour and Lord, to also receive the Bible as it is, the inspired, infallible Word of God and use knowledge and his I Q (whatever it is) to process facts, situations and assess people with discernment and good judgment so as to make the right choices and enjoy favor in the eyes of God and bless others to the glory of God.

Now from Proverbs 8 note:

I. GOD’S WISDOM AVAILABLE  8:1-5

 

Contrast the call of sin in Proverbs 7:6-20  with the call of wisdom and salvation in Proverbs 8:4-5 to those who are yet simple and fools.   

Would you note that those who have an understanding heart will have an understanding mind? Proverbs 8:5.

 Wisdom is primarily a heart matter;  not an intellectual matter!

Only those who have a love for God, according to Proverbs 8:17 will earnestly seek it from God’s Word, according to Proverbs 2:1-11,16 and find deliverance from sin.

II. GOD’S WISDOM DESCRIBED  8:6-9

 

It is described as excellent  Psalm 8

It is described as right in Proverbs 8:6-8  So to  do right is to do what God’s Word says.  

It is described as truth in Proverbs  8:7  Jesus  also identifies Himself  as the way, the truth, and the life in  John 14:6

As the Bible is God’s Holy Word; so Christ,  the Way, the Truth and the Life is also opposed to sin, according to Proverbs 8:7-8

The Bible is plain, simple and  easy to understand to those who want to understand it.  Proverbs 8:9 and  Proverbs 28:5. 

 

III THE VALUE OF WISDOM   8:10-21

 

Jesus taught In Luke 18:18-26 that God’s wisdom is more valuable than money & material wealth.

IV. CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR WISDOM  8:22-36

 

He is eternal  Proverbs 8:22-26

He is the Creator of this earth, as well as the universe.  Proverbs 8:27-29, John 1,  Colossians 1, Hebrews 1 and  Revelation 1

As Jesus is His Father’s delight. Proverbs 8:30, so  we who have come to Him by faith  are Christ’s delight  Proverbs 8:31-32

Christ is our Saviour and wisdom.  Proverbs 8:32-36  I Corinthians 1:30-31 

 

V. INVITATION FOR US TO KNOW CHRIST AS  OUR SAVIOUR, OUR LIFE AND OUR WISDOM  Proverbs 8:32-36

Thoe who listen to, read and search God’s Word, find Christ and in trusting Him discover life and eternal life.

 To reject Christ is to remain in spiritual death and destroy ourselves. Proverbs 8:36

November 5, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Christ, Our Wisdom

Sexual Purity

Proverbs 5,6, & 7 are three chapters that parents need to read and discuss with their  pre-teens and teens at the appropriate time, which will be different with each child. The following are some facts of life to be read and discussed with them.

 SEX IS ONE OF  GOD’S GOOD GIFTS TO US  Proverbs 5:15-19

God created us sexual beings, male and female with all of our differences, including physical and emotional.  God created Adam first, but when Adam sensed he was not complete, as far as  his physical and emotional needs were concerned,  then  God put Adam to sleep and from a rib in his side, He formed the first woman, Eve, and brought her to Adam and he recognized her as part of himself and that he was not complete without her. This great mystery is beautifully and simply  told in Genesis 1:24-31 and then repeated in more detail in  2:18-25 and is appropriate to read and explain to even your young children as they come to the age where they recognize sexual differences and begin asking questions.

God, not Satan, is the creator of sex and He is the author of marriage with all of its amazing, mysterious intricacies. Remember, Satan created nothing. All he does is to try to destroy everything God has created. All that God creates is good. Therefore marriage and sexual relationships are good and to be enjoyed and climaxed as often as both desire it, according to the Bible.

Read I Corinthians 7:1-5,  The Song of Solomon, and these chapters before us in Proverbs 5,6 and 7.   Marriage is a sacred, life-long covenant in the sight of God between one man and one woman. It should be solemnized in a marriage ceremony with witnesses, as illustrated in the marriage of Boaz and Ruth in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. For a study of what the Bible teaches about marriage, I encourage you to go to category MARRIAGE  on this web site.

Although marriage and sex are good, Satan is the author of evil. Everything that is good, Satan seeks to pervert and destroy. Satan has been quite effective in destroying God’s creation. Satan, the liar and the author of lies,  has even hated the truth of creation and has invented the lies of evolution in an attempt to deny the very existence of God.

Because marriage is a life-long covenant, Satan seeks to destroy it.  God hates divorce, as you can see in Malachi 2:11-16.   You can read more about divorce and what the Bible says about it by going to DIVORCE on this web site.  

Remember, sex is a normal, pure, holy part of marriage, as Hebrews 13:4 teaches;  but in that same verse God warns that He will judge and punish sexual relationships outside of marriage.

FORCED SEX, EVEN IN MARRIAGE, IS RAPE 

   

Sexual relationship should never be forced against the will of the mate. It should be mutually desired. Otherwise it is rape. A husband should court his wife throughout each day, every day by the way he shows his  thoughtfulness, love and  respect; not just when they are getting ready to go to bed.

Our sexual relationship as husband and  wife is the best illustration God could use to describe our worship of Christ and our intimate personal relationship with Him,  as taught in  Ephesians 5:22-33

Married couples, as well as singles, are to remain pure.   There is never to be  sexual relationships nor  sexual activity outside the holy bonds of  matrimony.

Although singles are just as sexual as married couples,  God gives singles the gift and the ability to remain sexually pure and devoted to Christ.  Read   I Corinthians 7 for information concerning this.

At the same time,  God states a general fact about men in Genesis 2:18  that it is not good for a man to be alone.  Men, in His time, He will bring His perfect choice of a wife into your life.  In my series on VIRTUOUS WOMEN I share our story with you of how God led me to my wife.

THE SINFUL MISUSE OF SEX

Sexual activity outside of marriage is a powerful temptation both to singles and to married men and women. Proverbs 5,6 and 7 and I Corinthians 7 warn about this powerful temptation.

Men are sexually aroused by gazing on a woman’s body. II Samuel 11 tells the story of how David was tempted and sinned with  Bathsheba, another man’s wife who was bathing on the roof top porch within sight of King David’s palace.  Was she innocent  or was she  trying to attract David’s attention?  We don’t know. We do know, however, that it was an unwise place to take a bath.

WOMEN, BE CAREFUL

 

Nothing is more beautiful to a man than a  woman’s body. Men can look and enjoy their beauty, as we would beautiful flowers. But there is a fine line between looking and  lusting. Read  Matthew 5:27-28 on this.  Every man knows where that line is.

Because of this temptation, Christian women should dress for the public  in such a way as not to draw undue attention to her breasts nor her thighs. The Bible describes it as  the  “attire of a harlot” in   Proverbs 7:10. Low cut blouses and dresses and tight clothing that reveal every curve and leaves nothing to the imagination is wrong and is unkind to your Christian brothers and insanity to rapists who may be observing you.

Skirts with high slits or short short pants that reveal the thighs are a temptation to men.  Daughters, if it’s questionable, ask dad to check it.  He knows from a man’s perspective and hopefully loves you enough to be honest with you.

The woman who purposely attempts to attract men to her sexually is also guilty in that sin of lust. Not only is she guilty, but she is stupid in that she attract male scum to her.  Any woman can attract men to her by advertising her body by the way she dresses.  Is that really the kind of men you want?

HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL

 

Every normal woman wants to be beautiful and desirable. Girls, the thing that makes you attractive to a  single Christian man is your godly character,

your pleasant personality and the way to take care of yourself physically. Your love for God and your cleanliness and femininity ought to be obvious to others.  You ought to enjoy being a girl. You ought to enjoy dressing and combing and wearing your hair like a girl- Not a boy.  Deuteronomy 22:5 and     I Peter 3:3-4

READING SEXUAL PASSAGES OF THE BIBLE TO YOUR CHILDREN

 

Parents, I encourage you to read Proverbs 5,6 and 7, as well as the rest of the Bible to your children. Be prepared to discuss and answer questions of your children and teens, as appropriate to their development.  You ought to be the one who gives sex education in steps to your children at the level of their maturity.

These chapters I’ve dealt with in this message are warnings to  us of the deadly, far-reaching consequences of sexual sin.

Don’t disqualify yourself from God’s best for you. I Corinthians 9:26-27

 Run from temptation. I Corinthians6:18as  Joseph did in  Genesis 38:7-12

Determine never –  not even once get involved with pornography in literature,  videos or on the internet.  Ephesians 5:3-8

Will God forgive you if you have already gone  too far?  Yes.  Psalm 51 But this sin leaves permanent scars on you and could limit the future joy and intimacy you could  experience with your husband or wife.

As for David, the man after God’s own heart,  his adultery left permanent scars on himself and  his family for  years to come. I can imagine Solomon blaming his father for the direction he went with his multiplied wives and concubines.  

May God bless and protect you in this very personal and important area of your life!

October 12, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Sexual Purity

Teaching Our Children

This study of the first 14 verses of Proverbs 4 is addressed primarily to parents and to all teachers of children.  We are all imperfect parents, and teachers.  Our lives are flawed by sin and its curse.  David and Solomon were not perfect examples, nor are we.   The earlier we seek God, the wiser  and better parents we can be.  Solomon had great wisdom, but his life and influence could have been better if he had not started out early by marrying a heathen Egyptian woman, we learn in I Kings 3:1-12.  This took place before he asked God for wisdom. Perhaps if he had asked for wisdom earlier, he would not have made this and other foolish evil decisions about women.

WE TEACH BY STARTING EARLY WITH OUR CHILDREN. 

 

Isaiah 28:9-10 teaches that when children are weaned they are ready to start being taught the things of God.  Just a little at a time,  “Here a little. There at little.”   Our children were in church sitting with their mother from infancy.  As toddlers they were beginning to absorb truth from God’s Word and beginning to ask questions.  All three came to an understanding of salvation as little children and gladly received Christ as Saviour and Friend.

All three have continued to grow and as parents themselves, they are teaching their children the truths of God’s Word.

 

Timothy’s mother, Eunice,  and grandmother, Lois, taught Timothy from a  child.          II Timothy 1:5 and  3:14-17  As a pastor, Timothy became a close friend of the Apostle Paul and passed on Biblical truth to others.

 WE TEACH BY REPETITION.

Children forget. Proverbs 1:8,  2:1,  3:1, 21

 

 WE PERSONALIZE CHRISTIANITY BY MODELING WHAT WE TEACH.

 

According to Proverbs23:26 we should seek to win the hearts of our children early in life.  If all we accomplish as parents is to force our children to obey us or they will be punished, we haven’t made much headway with them. 

If, on the other hand, we win their hearts and they desire to follow our example, then we have accomplished what force can never accomplish.  Parents, pastors, and  teachers, who model Christ to their children, can count on God for success in raising them.  I realize that there are exceptions to that statement which I cannot answer.  I just thank God for giving us three children who love the Lord with all their hearts and are walking with Him and raising godly children.  God has blessed us in spite of mistakes we made in raising them.

 

Older Christian young people have the responsibility and opportunity to  model Christ to their younger brothers and sisters and to the younger children in the church.  Those who, by their example, lead younger children astray, will have to answer to God for this evil.

Remember this, pastors and teachers. Our example is far more important than the lessons we attempt to  teach in the classroom and from the pulpit.

Good doctrine humbles us. God knows how much we need  to be broken of  the pride which we inherited from our father, the devil.

Good doctrine magnifies Christ and fosters fellowship with Him. It produces godliness.  I Timothy 6:3

False doctrine issues from proud, empty heads and cold hearts and  breeds sin according to II Timothy 3:1-7.

Doctrine must connect with the mind, but if it doesn’t reach the heart, hands and  feet, it has been in  vain.  Romans 6:4, 8:1, Ephesians 4:1, 5:2,8,15,  I Thessalonians 4:1 and I John 2:6

Let us model Christ for those in our charge. Proverbs 23:26. May others read the Bible as we do. May they pray as we do, love Christ and His Church as we do, give as we give. refrain from gossip and slander as we  do.

May we treat our mate as we desire others to  treat their mates. 

May we drive cars  as we desire our children to drive.

May our grown children show love to their spouse  as we do to ours.

May ours be a heart Christianity;  not legalism.   Proverbs 4:4

Remember, Christ is our wisdom. To be wise I must know Christ. He must be my all in all.  Colossians 2:2-3   I Corinthians 1:30-31

TEACH PRIORITIES BY MODELING THEM

 

 We teach what is most important in life by the time and attention we give it in our lives.

Nothing is more important in life than wisdom. That’s why I encourage every young person to secure a Christian college education in a college which can be trusted to be faithful to the Bible and to godliness.

One can gain knowledge and work skills from a secular college. However, if one  has the work skills, but lacks wisdom to know how to live, what good are the skills?

I thank God for leading me and the young lady who became my wife to  Christian colleges where we both  learned wisdom for living. I didn’t realize until I got there that if I learned how to live, I could make a living,

We thank God for helping us through the first fifty-six years of marriage. We trust God to strengthen us for whatever lies ahead.

Christ is our ONLY purpose in life.  Philippians1:21  Without Christ as our purpose we have no purpose.  Matthew 16:24-26

Solomon in Ecclesiastes shows all else is vanity.

 

 

THE VALUE OF WISDOM  What does it do for us?

 

It brings us  abundant life  John 10:10, 

It preserves us.   Proverbs 4:6

God promotes us.  Proverbs 4:8

Wisdom is an ornament of grace. Proverbs 4:5-9

 It makes us gracious which comes from being touched by God’s grace.

 It beautifies our character.

 It delivers us in times of trouble. Proverbs 2:10-16

 Wisdom is our crown of glory.  Proverbs 3:21-26,  4:8-9 

 

WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE GROWN AND READY TO LEAVE HOME, BE ABLE TO SAY.

 

I have taught you the life of true freedom. You can run with this and be successful. May you be able to share these parting  words when your children leave home.  Proverbs 4:11-27,

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October 10, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Teaching Our Children

Negatives and Positives

In a previous message we dealt with the negative instructions of Proverbs 3:1-12

There is a time and place for confronting our children as parents and our congregation as pastors with negatives  And there’s a time and  place for preaching  “Thou shalt not!” and dealing with sin. So far in our study of Proverbs 3 we have noted the following negative warnings.

My son, forget not my law.  3:1

Don’t forsake the values of mercy and truth  3:3

Trust in God with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding. 3:5

Be not wise in your own eyes. 3:7

We continue now with further negatives from God’s Word. 

 DON’T WITHOLD FROM GOD Proverbs 3:9-10

 Instead, honor God with the first and the best of your increase.  Use all your resources to honor God; including your time, talents, energy, money; your very life.

Here’s the Biblical principle concerning prosperity. It’s found in Proverbs 11:24-25.  Let me paraphrase and amplify. Those who scatter and generously share their wealth in the Lord’s work of spreading the Gospel worldwide and doing what they can to meet the physical needs of the poor, suffering and oppressed eventually discover increased prosperity.

Listen to what Jesus said about this in Luke 6:38.  “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give to you.  For with the same rule of measure with which you give shall it be measured back to you.”

Isn’t that interesting?  God dares you to take Him at His Word.  Are you willing to take Him up on it?  Check out these others dares God presents to you  II Corinthians 9:6-8 and Malachi 3:8-12.  The fact is, you can’t out-give God!

DON’T DESPISE GOD’S CHASTENING Proverbs 3:11-12

I am learning to accept God’s chastening with joy and gratitude.  As Hebrews 12:5-11 reminds us, it is just another proof that we are sons of God through faith in Christ. Never despise nor grow weary of God’s chastening, no matter how long it drags on. God loves us and delights in us.  He is working to bring us to maturity. Perfection won’t come until Heaven.

Take comfort, chastened soul, we are encouraged in Hebrews12:12-15

1. Be encouraged 12:12

2. Watch your steps. Others are following you.12:13

3. Stay in fellowship with God and with His family.12:14

4. Seek holiness. 1:14

5. Watch out for bitterness. 12:15

To summarize this passage in Proverbs 3, we are to think, plan and act in  total dependence on God.  In every decision of life, large or small;  let us sense the peace and smile of God’s approval on how we spend our time and money, plan our vacations and other free time, our financial planning, our education,  our marriage our life work and everything

Now we continue in Proverbs with more instruction on the Wisdom of God and the promises that come with it. 3:13-36

 Let’s review the value of the wisdom from God.   Going back to  Proverbs 2.

1. He gives protection 2:7-8

2. gives us understanding.  2:9

3. gives discretion. 2:10-11

4. gives deliverance  2:12-22

5. gives long life  3:16

6. gives prosperity and honor. 3:1

7. and Paths of pleasantness and peace 3:17

8. Wisdom is a Tree of Life. 3:18 This relates to our salvation.

Can you think of anything wiser than settling your eternal destiny?

THE SOURCE OF WISDOM   Proverbs 3:19-20

Christ, our Creator and Saviour is that source of wisdom. See Colossians 1:12-19, 2:3.  Proverbs  3:19 and Hebrews 1:2  Christ used His wisdom to create the universe, including this earth and everything on it. Job 26:7 says that He hangs the earth on nothing.  What wisdom and power at our disposal!

GUARD THIS WISDOM FROM GOD!

Stay in the Bible

It  protects your life. Proverbs 3:22

Gives grace to you. 3:22

Keeps you from stumbling.3:23

Gives sweet sleep with no fear 3:24    

Don’t worry about anything.  3:25-26

including, violence, war, acts of God,  stock market crash,

political turmoil in the world and in our nation.

We may be called to go through these.

But HE is our confidence.  Psalm 27:1-6  23:4

Withhold not good to whom it is due. 3:27-28

Pay your bills and debts on time.

Be thoughtful of others. Keep appointments.

If you can do good to others, do it now.

Tomorrow may be too late.

Devise not evil against anyone.  3:29-30

Including family or neighbor or  fellow church member. Romans 12:18

Envy not oppressors. 3:31,  Psalm 73:2-19

Finally, note the:

Rewards of the wicked 3:32-35

Abomination to God. 3:32

Cursed by God  3:33

Scorned by God.3:34

Shame and everlasting contempt.3:35

The blessings of the righteous

Fellowship 3:32  

Blessed of God  3:33

Given grace  3:34

Inherit glory.3:35  Matt. 5:3-5

        

September 29, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Negatives and Positives

DON’T!

No one will deny that positive parenting and positive preaching, such as encouragement and positive reinforcement, is effective and to be preferred over negative parenting and negative preaching. You’ve, no doubt, heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

But there’s a time and place for confronting our children as parents and our congregations as pastors with negatives.  There’s a time and place for preaching “Thou shalt not!”  and dealing with sin.

We parents use the words NO and DON’T as we warn our children of evil and danger.  Those words can become overused as a bad habit for everything, even things that don’t matter.   But we ought not be afraid to warn our children when needed for their safety and for their own good.

We are constantly faced by laws given to us as prohibitions: Do Not Touch,  No parking, Speed Limits, No Passing, NO U turns,  Do Not Enter, No Loitering, etc. limiting our freedoms for our safety, as well as the safety of others.

The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are given toIsraelas negatives, except for the 4th commandment to honor the Sabbath Day and the 5th to honor our parents which are given as positive commands. (To learn why Christians today are not under the strict Sabbath laws and the observance of the  Sabbath,  go to my category SABBATH.)

God is not afraid of warping our personalities with negative commands. In this world we can’t get away from negatives. Our cheerful, humble, obedient responses to the negatives separate us from the scorners.

A wise person humbles himself and surrenders to the negative restrictions placed on him from God’s Word and from human authority God has placed over him as parents, teachers, police officers and judges.   A foolish rebel stiffens his neck and refuses to bow to authority. With fire in his eyes, he snarls, “No one tells ME what to do!”

It’s good to take a stand for God and refuse to compromise with evil; but it’s wrong to take a stand for ourselves and insist on having our own way in every area of life, when God has placed us under authority.

Let’s look at some Negatives in Proverbs 3:1-12.  Note, that in every case God promises to bless those who obey Him, just as He promises long life to those who honor their parents in the 5th commandment.

I.  FORGET NOT MY LAW  Proverbs 3:1

 

It’s easy to forget God’s Laws if we do not spend time in His Word and listen to Biblical preaching.   That’s why Paul urges Pastor Titus in Titus 3:1-2  to “put them in mind to be subject to legitimate authority”  

We are to keep commandments from the heart. If our desire to obey does not spring from the heart, but is forced or coerced, such is not true obedience, as far as God is concerned, but is mere legalism, an attitude Christians should abhor.   

Israelfailed.  They ignored God’s Laws, or observed it legalistically, as did the Pharisees in the four Gospels. That’s the story of the Old Testament.   They either ignored God and stuck out their tongues at Him, so to speak; or else they went through the motions of observing it legalistically with no heart for God.  As a result, they faced His chastening and judgment for their rebellion.

II. FORSAKE NOT CHRISTIAN GRACES  Proverbs 3:3-4

 

Proverbs 3:3-4 encourages us to not forsake Godly attitudes and actions, such as mercy and truth.  What a beautiful balance in the Christian’s life!  Jesus was filled with mercy, truth, righteousness and peace.   Psalm 85:10 expresses it beautifully.  “Mercy and Truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The Lord Jesus embodied these four beautiful virtues, as should we who are Christians.

The New Testament is filled with such instruction.  For example, Ephesians 4:21-32 describes the  beautiful attitudes and relationships that should be obvious among Christians at church and elsewhere.  I remind you again from Proverbs 3:1 that these godly attitudes and  relationships should spring from our hearts.  Proverbs 3:4 reminds us that these heart observances bring favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Could you ask for anything more wonderful than that?

EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN GRACES

 

Note some examples of godly graces, such as truth and mercy, in the lives of well known Bible characters.  Read of Joseph of the Old Testament, who was mistreated by his older brothers and later by Potiphar’s wife.  Read how when he had the opportunity to be vengeful for mistreatment by his brothers,  he showed mercy and truth to them in Genesis 39-47.

Read the stories of David in I Samuel, starting with ch 17.  Read how King Saul and others mistreated him and how he responded in meekness and kindness towards them.

In Luke2:52we have a one verse biography of  the childhood of Jesus. as He grew to adulthood.  There we learn that He had favor with God and with man.

In Acts2:46-47 we have the secret of growth for  churches; simply allowing Christ to be seen in our relationships with one another.

III. LEAN NOT TO YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING  Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Use your understanding and common sense;  but don’t lean on it.  Trust the Lord exclusively and unreservedly,  Certainly, don’t lean on your own righteousness, but Christ, as Paul  testified in Philippians 3:3-9.  Jeremiah warned in his prophesy in Jeremiah 17:9  to beware of leaning on the arm of flesh.  

 

 

August 14, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on DON’T!