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1 Proverbs Chapter 1 By: Pastor J. B. Hall Verse 1 A. The writer of these proverbs is plainly introduced as Solomon the son of David, who was the king of Israel. Verses 2 – 4 A. These verses give us his purpose, his reasons, for writing these proverbs. B. There are 3 words he uses often; and that are almost interchangeable. C. Let‟s look at definitions to each: (1) wisdom - The right use or exercise of knowledge; (2) knowledge -1. A clear and certain perception of that which exists, or of truth and fact; Learning; illumination of mind. Information; (3) instruction - The act of teaching or informing the understanding in that of which it was before ignorant; information. Precepts conveying knowledge. (4) understanding - The faculty of the human mind by which it apprehends the real state of things presented to it, or by which it receives or comprehends the ideas which others express and intend to communicate. exact comprehension. D. Solomon‟s reasons for presenting these proverbs are (1) So that we might know wisdom and instruction (2) So that we might perceive the words of understanding (3) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. (4) To give subtilty (Refinement; extreme acuteness.) to the simple. (5) To give to the young man knowledge and discretion (Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution;) Verses 5 & 6 A. A wise man will gain an advantage over other men who are unwilling to receive wisdom. B. There are a number of ways his willingness to receive wisdom will profit him: (1) He will hear – he will be willing to listen to someone who is presenting wisdom. He does not think he knows everything; or try to present himself as someone who does. His humility will allow him to listen instead of trying to teach, when there is something to be learned. 2 (2) He will increase learning – he accumulates a body of knowledge by his willing to learn. (3) He will attain to wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. In other words, he will become wise enough to comprehend not only what the proverb says, but also what it means. Also, he can understand things that are difficult for others to understand because he is teachable. Verse 7 A. Right up front the writer gives us what it takes to begin a life of knowledge – It takes the fear of the Lord. B. Since we all will be held accountable to God for the way we live, all knowledge apart from that truth being forefront in our thinking, is useless. C. Right up front also, he gives us the way of fools. D. He says that fools despise wisdom and instruction. E. Their pride just will not allow them to humble themselves and accept instruction from someone else. F. Also, their pride drives them to choose to do what they want regardless of how unwise their course of action may be. Therefore they often meet with disaster because they refused to listen to good advice. Verses 8 & 9 A. Here, we are instructed to receive the instruction given by our parents. B. Regardless of how old fashioned they are, they have lived longer than we have and have accumulated some knowledge and understanding that we would be wise to take advantage of. C. Listening and heeding what your parents say will add grace (favor beyond what we deserve) to our lives. This will serve to decorate our lives with the ornament of grace. Verses 10 – 19 A. Sinners will entice us. B. They will appeal to something in us that will be drawn to go with them. C. Here, however, we are instructed to resist the urge to be drawn into their deeds. D. They will be willing to do unspeakable violence to innocent people in order to take the spoil of what does not belong to them. E. These hard core offenders care little for the damage they inflict on others in getting what they want. F. We are commanded to NOT consent to their attempts to get us involved in their schemes. G. We are informed that they are laying their own net and will be taken in it. H. We are informed that they do not realize the Scriptural principle in Galatians 6:7 – “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 3 I. As sinners lay wait for the innocent to spoil them, they in fact are laying in wait for their own blood, and do not even realize it. J. They think themselves to be smarter than their innocent victims, but are in fact playing the fool. K. Only after their calamity has come, and cannot be reversed, do they realize the error of their way. L. Again, we are warned sternly to NOT participate in their evil plans. Verses 20 & 21 A. Foolish people think they are in control of their destinies. B. Therefore, they do not fear to violate the clear commands of God in violating the personhood of others, as we have seen in the previous verses. C. However, their foolishness is unwarranted; there is no excuse for their foolishness. D. In these 2 verses, we are informed that wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief places of concourse (meeting place). E. In other words, wisdom is not some secret, hidden virtue that only a few have access to. F. It is openly shown and crieth (loudly makes itself known). Verses 22 & 23 A. In light of the fact that wisdom is so readily accessible, the question is asked “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity (Weakness of intellect; silliness.)? and the scorners (A scoffer; a derider; in Scripture, one who scoffs at religion, its ordinances and teachers, and who makes a mock of sin and the judgments and threatenings of God against sinners.) delight in their scorning (scoffing), and fools hate knowledge? B. The instruction in Verse 23a is to turn at God‟s reproof (Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault;). C. Those who are willing to turn when God reproves them are promised that He will pour out His Spirit unto them and make His words of wisdom known unto them. Verses 24 – 27 A. Sadly, many refuse the call when God calls; they do not regard (observe and consider) when He stretches out His hand to offer His assistance to them; they treat His counsel as if it was nothing; and they will have nothing to do when He reproves, or corrects, them. B. Because they have rejected God‟s offer to forgive, assist, and turn them from their evil, they as natural brute beasts go on and are punished. C. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent man (one who is – Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable.) foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple (silly; weak in intellect) pass on, and are punished.” 4 D. You see, God has put a law in place that “…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7); and the man who ignores this law, does so to his own peril. E. Verse 26 tells us that God will then laugh at their calamity, because they have scorned His offer of forgiveness, help, and wisdom. F. He will mock at their fear when it comes, because they have mocked at His warnings. G. In Verse 27 we see that it is not a matter of if it will come; but a matter of when it will come. H. When it does come, it will be devastating and none can turn it back once it has arrived. I. One can only suffer the punishment of their foolish arrogance that caused them to refuse to heed God‟s clear warnings; and His offer to help. Verses 28 – 31 A. There is a time to pray when God will hear and answer. B. When once that time has passed and judgment draws on, God will not answer no matter how sincere or urgent the prayer is that is offered. C. The person who has gotten to this point has crossed the invisible line that exists between the mercy of God and the judgment of God. D. They have cast away mercy, and like the rich man who was in hell looking at Lazarus, must suffer the consequences for their choice. E. In Verses 29 & 30 God reminds them that He had tried to interrupt their madness and evil; but that they had refused to heed His warnings, or accept His reproof. F. Thus, in Verse 31, they are left to eat of the resulting consequences of their foolish refusal to listen to God. Verse 32 A. The turning away of the simple (one who is silly; weak in intellect) shall slay (kill) them. B. Again, those who scoff and mock at God‟s words of wisdom, do so to their own harm; but in their arrogance, they think they will not have to account for their wickedness. C. Also, the prosperity of the wise will be used to invest in eternity‟s kingdom; but the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; for they think that prosperity is the goal, when in fact, God has given prosperity as a means to achieve His goal of furthering His kingdom in this world. Verse 33 A. Here we see the contrast between those who hearken (who listen; who lend the ear; to attend to what is uttered, with eagerness or curiosity.) and those who have resisted God‟s interference in their lives. B. Those who have listened shall dwell safely. C. They will not even fear evil; for they rest quietly in the confidence that God will honor their faithfulness to His instructions and wisdom. 5 Proverbs Chapter 2 Verses 1 A. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding originate with the Word of God. B. Receiving (receive) and retaining (hide with thee) God‟s words are key to building a body of wisdom, and internalizing wisdom by which we can operate our lives. Verse 2 – Just hearing wisdom is not enough. C. One must be predisposed to listening for wisdom‟s words; and then willing to do the heart‟s work of understanding it – making practical application of it to your particular life and situations. Verse 3 A. If we really want to make wisdom the guiding principles by which we live our lives, we must develop an active pursuit of her. B. Just waiting to see if wisdom develops in front of us is not enough to build a strong guidance system of wisdom in our lives. C. We must actively, sometimes verbally, pursue her. Verse 4 A. Some wisdom as we have learned in Chapter 1 is readily available; even apparent. B. A life-track that is to be laid out and dictated by wisdom requires deeper levels of wisdom than just the superficial wisdom that is available to even the superficial observer. C. Thus, we must determine within ourselves we are going to be treasure hunters. D. We must settle in ourselves that we will seek out the deeper things of God in order that we might have the depth of wisdom that is required to build a formidable life, protected and guided by wisdom. Verse 5 A. When we hear the Word of God, develop a predisposition for receiving and retaining it, listen carefully for it, study to make practical applications of its good sense in our lives, actively pursue it, and determine to hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure, THEN we will understand the fear of the Lord and its benefits; and discover the experiential knowledge of God. Verse 6 A. Wisdom comes as a gift from God; not from the art of exercising yourself intellectually in study and evaluation. B. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” 6 C. Since wisdom is a gift from God and not the result of our own intellectual prowess, we may only receive it when we ask in faith; for, according to Hebrews 11:6a “…without faith it is impossible to please him…” D. James 1:6 & 7 say, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” E. It is out of God‟s mouth that knowledge (information) and understanding (the comprehension of the information). Verse 7 A. Here we learn 2 things about God‟s provision for those who choose a path of uprightness (Honesty; integrity in principle or practice). B. First, He lays up (to store something for future use) wisdom for them. C. Second, He is a buckler (defense) to them. D. Buckler – def. A kind of shield, or piece of defensive armor, anciently used in war. It was composed of wood, or wickers woven together, covered with skin or leather, fortified with plates of brass or other metal, and worn on the left arm. On the middle was an umbo, boss or prominence, very useful in causing stones and darts to glance off. The buckler often was four feet long, and covered the whole body. E. There are 2 ways those who choose to walk uprightly will be blessed. F. First – By living wisely one can keep himself from many foolish and hurtful problems that happen as a result of foolish decisions and actions. G. These are naturally occurring protections and provisions. H. Second, though – The Lord will give super-natural divine protection and prosperity to those who choose to walk according to the commandments He sets forth in His word. I. These are supernaturally occurring protections and provisions. J. These are clearly spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:1 – 14 (Read). K. Those who choose rather, to walk contrary to the clearly specified commands and principles of His Word, will experience 2 kinds of negative results. L. First – they will experience the naturally occurring negative results of foolish decisions and actions. M. Second – they will experience supernatural divinely imposed sanctions of cursing on them because of their rebellion against God‟s specified will for them. N. These are supernaturally occurring sanctions, or curses. O. These are clearly spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:15 – 48 (Read). Verse 8 A. God Personally assumes responsibility for providing guidance of right judgment for His saints. B. He also preserves the road of their lives. 7 Verse 9 A. When we pursue wisdom and determine we will guide our words, attitudes, and actions by its code of ethics, it is then that we will understand (recognize and comprehend) righteousness (just what righteousness is compared to unrighteousness; we will have discernment to distinguish between good and evil practices), judgment (prudence; carefully thought through choices and observations), and equity (Justice; right. In practice, equity is the impartial distribution of justice, or the doing that to another which the laws of God and man, and of reason, give him a right to claim. It is the treating of a person according to justice and reason); and no good path (direction to take) will be hidden or withheld from us. Verses 10 – 11 A. Here we have 4 words that we need to examine: (1) Wisdom – The right use or exercise of knowledge (2) Knowledge – 1. A clear and certain perception of that which exists, or of truth and fact; Learning; illumination of mind. Information; (3) Discretion - Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; (4) understanding - The faculty of the human mind by which it apprehends the real state of things presented to it, or by which it receives or comprehends the ideas which others express and intend to communicate. Exact comprehension. B. We are informed that when wisdom entereth into thine heart that it will provide security for us. C. In saying it that way, we are made to understand that the darkness of our heart must be penetrated by wisdom before it becomes useful to us. D. You see, it‟s not just the darkness of misunderstanding or ignorance that causes us problems; it is the darkness of the heart; indicating it is a spiritual problem, not an intellectual one. E. Thus, explanation alone will not provide sufficient power to effect this kind of penetration. F. In other words, teaching, relying on the intellectual approach alone, will never be enough to impart spiritual wisdom. G. Therefore, it takes the approach of proclamation – preaching the gospel; and preaching the word of God. H. Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” I. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” J. So, the living, powerful, sharp, piercing word of God is able to penetrate the darkest of sin-darkened hearts with the light of truth and understanding; to 8 turn the light of comprehension on inside the one who seems to be devoid of understanding. K. Mark 16:15 says, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” L. Preaching is proclamation. M. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” N. Verse 21 of that same chapter says, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” O. Ephesians 4:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” P. In the preaching of the gospel there is a mysterious impartation of wisdom that transpires as the penetration of the Word of God wielded by the Spirit of God infuses truth into a heart that has been darkened by sin; thus giving that person the opportunity to repent and turn to the Savior for cleansing and salvation. Q. We call this the work of conviction. R. Romans 1:21 says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” S. The turning away from God that is called sin, darkens the understanding of the heart (notice the focus on the heart instead of the mind), indicating again, this is a spiritual problem, not just an intellectual one. T. But 2 Corinthians 4:6 turns the tables on sin as it says this, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” U. Also, the preaching of the word of God to those who are saved provides the same infusion of light necessary to protect them from straying from sound doctrine. V. In 2 Timothy 4:1 – 4 Paul instructs young Timothy to preach the word, and to be instant in season, out of season. W. The reason given is that “…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” X. The plumb line, the true standard, must be held up so that the false doctrines will not have advantage because of the lack of the option to choose truth. Y. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 teach us that the scripture is what is profitable in spiritual matters; thus only the preaching of the word can provide the powerful truth that is able to exhort those who accept the truth; and to convince the gainsayers (the contradictors; those who oppose in words). Z. Thus, God could say in Proverbs 2:10 “When wisdom entereth into thine heart…” AA. But it also says when knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul. 9 BB. Often, we have acquired knowledge, but it is not something we entertain because it is not pleasant to our soul. CC. We prefer rather to ignore it and do what we want, instead. DD. But, when wisdom enters our heart, and we accept knowledge as a pleasing resource of the soul, Verse 11 tells us that then discretion shall preserve us and understanding shall keep us. EE. Remember our definition of discretion - that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution? FF. Wisdom produces discretion – discerning, critical judgment, accompanied with caution. GG. We are told that this discretion shall preserve us. HH. It will cause us to evaluate, and then act cautiously which will protect us against subtle dangers that lurk on every hand. II. We‟ll see some of them just a little later. JJ. It also says that understanding shall keep us. KK. To keep means to maintain in good order; much like one would keep house, or keep their flower garden; so that one can say, “that garden is well kept”. LL. Understanding will help us maintain a consistent level of good decision making that will serve to keep us steady in the will of God. Verses 12 – 15 A. First, discretion and understanding will deliver you from the way of the evil man. B. This evil man‟s ways are described in the remainder of Verse 12 through Verse 15. C. Froward – def. Perverse, not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; D. Review ways in Verses 12b – 15. E. Verse 14 – Ref. Romans 1:28 – 32, especially Verse 32. “...not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Verses 16 - 19 A. Second, discretion and understanding will deliver you from the strange woman. B. She is described in Verses 16b – 19 (Review quickly) Verse 20 A. We will be delivered from the way of the evil man and from the strange woman; but we will be delivered unto the way of good men. B. We are delivered from some things; but also delivered unto others. C. You see, as with being saved, there is no middle ground; either you are walking in evil ways, or you are walking in the ways of good men. D. The good men are described as them “…that keep the paths of the righteous.” 10 E. Reference Proverbs 4:18 – “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” F. The path of the righteous just continues to increase in light and brightness until we are changed at the Lord‟s return. G. In other words, these are those who consistently live righteously. Verses 21 A. Why is it important to walk righteously, not just to be able to say you are saved and then wait for the Lord to perfect you when He returns? B. Because He desires our length of life; and occupation of the place He has provided for us. C. When we refuse to follow His prescribed code of ethics He is forced by our conduct to judge us by removing us from the earth; taking us out! D. In Leviticus 18:26 – 28 (Read) God warns Israel to keep His statutes and not get involved in the abominable behavior of the gentile nations whose property God confiscated and gave to the children of Israel. E. He warned them that if they did begin to practice these abominations, they too would be spued out of the land. F. Also, 1 Corinthians 11:30 – 32, 1 John 5:16, and Proverbs 29:1 speak of a sin unto death; meaning there is a personal standard that God holds individuals to; and if they refuse to follow His principles and commands, there will come a time when His chastisement of individuals will rise to the level of removal from the earth. G. So, there is corporate accountability, and also personal accountability. H. God warns us to live uprightly so that these drastic measures will not have to be taken against us – corporately, or individually. Verse 22 A. James Dobson of Focus on the Family once made a statement that I hadn‟t really though of that I would like to share with you. B. In essence he said that he wanted to be on the side of right because that side always wins in the end; not meaning in the end of time; but when a matter is concluded. C. As I thought on that I initially said no. D. But think about it – Hitler is dead, and there is no Third Reich; Stalin is dead and Communism is all but eliminated; Sadaam and his 2 evil sons Uday and Qusay are dead, and his regime that was to become rebuilt Babylon is no more. E. Though their reigns of terror continued a long time with great damage along the way, their end came and the desire of those wicked men died with them. F. The wicked shall be cut off from the earth; but the upright shall dwell in the land! 11 Proverbs Chapter 3 Verses 1 A. Law – def. Moral law, a law which prescribes to men their religious and social duties, in other words, their duties to God and to each other. The moral law is summarily contained in the decalogue or ten commandments, written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, and delivered to Moses on mount Sinai. B. Just having heard and understood the law of God – God‟s rules of operation for us – is not enough. C. James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” D. Those who think that just hearing the Word of God is beneficial to them, without having to respond to it by obeying what has been heard, are self- deceived individuals. E. The Word of God having been heard, demands a response. F. To delay or postpone a response is a response of rejection; of disobedience; for the Word of God demands immediate obedience, without delay or hesitation. G. For the Word of God to benefit you, you must respond by obeying the challenge it presents to you. H. Hearing then, and forgetting, serves only to make us more accountable; and never benefits or enhances our lives. I. Thus, we are commanded not to forget God‟s law, or His Word. J. Additionally, we are commanded to let our hearts keep God‟s commandments. K. It is in the heart that choices are made, courses of action are formulated, and execution of the will is determined. L. So, we might say the heart is the seat of calculation, formulation, and determination. M. In Matthew 12:35 Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” N. So, if we allow God‟s law, His moral prescription for us, to penetrate our hearts and become part of our being, we will naturally respond according to its instructions in all situations. O. If however, we attempt to just pick and choose the laws of God that fit our lifestyles, our heart will develop a self-centered approach to responding to our surroundings. Verse 2 A. Remembering God‟s law and keeping His commandments from our hearts will add 3 things to our lives: (1) length of days – a long life on this earth. 12 (2) Long life – not only a long life on this earth, but eternal life; for it is in submitting our hearts to the Lordship of Christ that we are born again and given the ability to keep God‟s moral law from the heart. (3) Peace – ease of living without threat or fear. B. See 1 Peter 3:10 – 12 – It is the blessing of God and His answers to our prayers that provide the health, safety, and ease of living we all pursue. Verses 3 & 4 A. Here we are commanded to cling to, and not let go, 2 critical elements of living: mercy and truth. B. Mercy is something each of us needs; not only for salvation as I preached today, but from time to time throughout our lifetimes. C. It is something we need from God, and from one another. D. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world; and without mercy being extended by God and others from time to time, we would become locked into defeat by some sin; or we would be defeated by some situation or circumstance that besets us (surrounds; encloses; hems in; to besieges; us). E. Also, truth is essential for living in reality. F. Falsehood causes us to live a lie; often bringing pain and damage to our lives because God instituted His world to operate in the realm of truth and reality; not fantasy. G. Verse 4 informs us that if we will assimilate mercy and truth into our being, we will find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. H. These 2 critical elements provide crucial components of our relationship with God; and our relationships with people. Verses 5 & 6 A. Sin and limited perception prohibits us from seeing the complete picture of any issue. B. God, on the other hand, has all knowledge and an unlimited view of the outcomes of any course of action we should choose. C. Therefore, He alone is qualified to lead us in the way that is most appropriate, and that is the safest. D. If instead of trusting our own judgment, we lean completely upon the judgment of God, He promises to Personally take the responsibility of directing our paths, or guiding our lives. Verses 7 & 8 A. Evil is a danger and a trap. B. If we think we can limit it, control it, or manage it, we are deceived. C. The safest way to deal with evil, is to depart from it because we trust that the Lord‟s Word is true and that if the evil itself does not damage us, the judgment of the Lord concerning it will. D. Thus, fearing the Lord and running away from evil is the only safe course of action to follow. 13 E. Verse 8 informs us that fearing the Lord and departing from evil will be 2 things: (1) health to our navel – the navel is the port through which the complete body was nourished when we were in the formative stage of our body; thus, health to the navel would provide health to the entire body, or being. (2) Marrow to the bones – the marrow provides the moisture that is necessary for life, pliability, and vitality; thus, being marrow to our bones speaks of being the moisture that provides refreshing life, pliability so that we bend but do not break, and vitality that makes life zestful. Verses 9 & 10 A. Here we are commanded to honour the Lord with our substance, and with the firstfruits of all our increase. B. Again, this is a command, not a suggestion. C. First, we are told to honour the Lord with our substance: that is, with all that we possess. D. We often think that if we have given our tithe, we have performed our duty to the Lord; but He expects us to honour Him with all we possess. E. This means spending our money, using our tangible assets, wearing clothing that honours Him, giving of our resources to the need of others, and generally utilizing all our assets in a way that exalts Jesus name in the minds of those who know we belong to Him. F. But, we are also commanded to honour Him with the firstfruits of all our increase. G. This simply means that we are to give the Lord the first tenth or more of our increase. H. We are told that if we will, our barns shall be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. I. In other words, God will bless and multiply the fruits of our labours so that we will lack nothing. J. It is in the withholding of God‟s portion that we often run into budget shortfalls. K. If you are having financial problems, the first place to investigate to see if you are following Biblical guidelines is to evaluate your giving to God and to others. L. If those areas life up with Scripture, then look further. M. If they do not, then first get those areas right; then begin to evaluate other areas of your financial life. N. Malachi 3:8 – 12 describe the cursing and blessing associated with the adherence or non-adherence to this Biblical principle. O. But, you say, what about the New Testament; is tithing taught in the New Testament. P. Hebrews 7:1 – 10 is a New Testament expose on Biblical tithing for the Christian. 14 Q. Verse 8 of that chapter says, “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.” R. Yes, tithing, or giving our firstfruits to the Lord, is a New Testament Biblical practice expected of us. Verses 11 & 12 A. The chastisement of God is the evidence of His love for you – “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth…” (Verse 12a). B. Therefore, you are commanded to not despise His chastening; and to not grow weary of His correction. C. Chastisement and correction are intended for your good; not for your damage or destruction. D. God has your ultimate good in mind. E. Thus, He chastises you to correct an area where you are acting in a way that will be damaging to you in some way. F. The chastisement He brings into your life is intended solely to correct that which is awry in you. G. Hebrews 12:5 – 13 expands upon this principle, adding greater detail. H. Let‟s take a look at this passage of Scripture to better understand what is involved in chastisement; and what the desired outcome is. I. Verse 12 of Proverbs Chapter 3 explains that the Lord corrects those He loves in the same way a father does the son in whom he delights. J. God‟s chastisement should never be misconstrued as being cruel, or arising out of His lack of concern or care. K. It is always born of His loving delight in us; and His desire to see us have the very best that is possible in our lives. Verses 13 & 14 A. We all search for happiness. B. The things we purchase, the places we go, the activities we get involved in, all are ways of trying to produce happiness for ourselves. C. Here, we are told that finding wisdom and getting understanding will produce the happiness that so seems to allude us. D. Merchandise – def. The objects of commerce; wares, goods, commodities, whatever is usually bought or sold in trade. E. The merchandise, or commercial worth, of wisdom and understanding (which are sisters) is better than the commercial value of silver. F. The gain, or profit, of wisdom and understanding is better than the profit of gold. Verse 15 A. Wisdom is said to be more precious than rubies; meaning it is more rare and valuable than high-quality, rare gems. B. As a matter of fact, possessing wisdom is incomparable. C. All things we can desire, if we could wrap them all into one bundle, will not compare to possessing the one commodity, wisdom. 15 D. So, we have seen that wisdom is rare, it is valuable, it is profitable, and it is absolutely incomparable. Verses 16 – 18 A. Here we are given a list of benefits that wisdom provides. B. These benefits reveal the reason wisdom is so rare and valuable. C. First – Wisdom will lengthen your days. Can a man shorten his days? D. Ecclesiastes 7:17 says, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” E. In this verse we learn that there are 2 ways to shorten our lives – by excess wickedness, and by foolishness. F. Wisdom though, buffers us against both of these dangers and allows us to live longer. G. Second – Wisdom provides riches and honour. H. Riches can be measured by net worth, but also by depth of faith. I. James 2:5 says, “…Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” J. Operating our financial lives by the principles of the Word of God will help us to stay financial solvent when others are experiencing difficulty because they have disregarded Biblical financial principles. K. But also, operating our lives by faith will help us develop a depth of faith that one who pursues his own way will never know. L. Either way, possessing wisdom and operating our lives by it will provide a richness that others who do not walk wisely will never have. M. Also, honour comes by walking in wisdom. N. Foolish people disregard the principles of the Word of God and get to themselves damage that could have, and would have been avoided had they followed Biblical guidelines. O. Third – Wisdom‟s ways are ways of pleasantness. P. People often find themselves in difficult positions, labouring under pressure that they could have avoided had they acted according to wisdom. Q. Thus, wisdom can make your days and your ways pleasant, when you are willing to conduct yourself according to wisdom‟s principles. R. Wisdom‟s paths are peace. S. Have you ever done or said something you know you should not have done or said? T. Remember the inner turmoil and unrest that accompanied that word or act? U. Peace accompanies conduct and words that are consistent with the will and Word of God. V. Therefore, wisdom teaches us to conduct ourselves according to the dictates of the Word of God which always expresses the will of God. W. Fourth – Wisdom is a tree of life to them that grasp her. X. „A tree of life‟ signifies an established, or fixed, source that continually produces life. Y. Wisdom is a constant source of life each time you turn to it for its fruit. 16 Z. Wisdom also provides a constant flow of happiness for those who not only get it, but who retain, or keep it. AA. Letting wisdom slip at any given time opens us up to damage that comes as a result of acting apart from wisdom; and brings with it the unrest and turmoil that accompanies foolish acts. Verses 19 & 20 A. Wisdom and understanding were companions and instructors when He established the earth and the heavens. B. Verse 20 lets us know that God broke up the deep so that water evaporates, allowing the earth to be watered by rain falling from the condensation of water droplets called clouds. C. These marvels were not some random act of forces of nature. D. The process of water evaporation and condensation, resulting in subsequent raindrops falling to gently provide life-giving refreshment to plants, animals, fowls, and man, was no accident! E. God, by His wisdom, acted to make it so. Verses 21 & 22 A. Wisdom, when kept, will be life unto thy soul. B. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” C. Remember the first part of Proverbs 2:10 which said, “When wisdom entereth into thine heart…”? D. Wisdom pierces beyond the intellect to plant itself in the heart, the seat of decision-making and behavior-crafting. E. If wisdom rules the heart, and out of the heart proceed the issues of life, then wisdom will produce life in the issuances of the heart. F. But, will also be grace to thy neck. G. Grace – def. That in manner, deportment or language which renders it appropriate and agreeable; suitableness; elegance with appropriate dignity. We say, a speaker delivers his address with grace; a man performs his part with grace. H. Wisdom will not give us life; it will give it to us with elegance and appropriate dignity that those who do not possess wisdom can only envy. Verse 23 A. To sum up the advantages of wisdom, we find that it provides 2 primary benefits: safety and stability. B. We have covered the safety aspect of wisdom rather thoroughly; but let‟s examine the stability aspect. C. James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” D. Instability in the way we think makes us unstable, or volatile, in every area of our lives. E. This instability produces an inconsistency in how we approach issues and circumstances; and in how we speak or conduct ourselves at any given time. 17 F. Thus, instability wrecks our ability to move forward in a consistent upward trend; for we are no sooner advanced, until we do something foolish that negates the gains we have made in our lives. G. Wisdom though, provides the stability we need to have a consistent growth pattern in every area of our lives, H. It allows us to progress at a steady pace, with every area advancing in conjunction with the other areas, instead of one area detracting from the progress being made by some other area. I. Wisdom‟s advantages provide 2 primary benefits: safety and stability. Verse 24 A. Remember, the 2 virtues that provide this comfort and security in your sleep are understanding and wisdom (ref. Verse 19). B. We might say that understanding is comprehension; and wisdom is application. C. When understanding and wisdom are actively present in our lives we can lie down in peace, and our sleep will not be restless, but sweet and restful. Verses 25 & 26 A. Here, we are instructed to NOT be afraid of sudden fear. B. The fear of fear that is unknown but that could possibly surface unexpectedly is tormenting; and is usually experienced by those who are not people of faith; or, people whose faith is very weak. C. Also, the fear of being taken in the destruction that often comes upon those who are involved in wickedness is very disruptive to our peace. D. Verse 26 gives us the antidote for these tormenting fears. E. It says that confidence in the Lord will relieve us of each of these fears. F. Confidence in God‟s promise here, that He will keep thy foot from being taken, will cause us to rest comfortably, even in the face of threats known and unknown. Verses 27 & 28 A. We discussed these 2 verses in this morning‟s message. B. First, we are not to withhold resources from those who are in need if we have them available to give. C. Second, we are not to manipulate those in need by requiring they return at a later time when we have the resource to meet their need when they first ask. D. Withholding needed resources when you have them available to meet the need is selfish greed. E. Manipulating those who are in need by requiring more of them than is necessary before you are willing to meet their need when you have the resources available to meet their need is pride being exercised. F. You are just enjoying displaying your advantage over them in an arrogant, self-promoting way. G. Being sensitive and helpful to those who are in need is a direct command from God Almighty. 18 H. Remember, according to 2 Corinthians 8:14, your current abundance is simply a supply for someone else‟s need; thus, when they have an abundance, it is simply intended to supply the resource to meet your need. I. Thus, God intends each of us to treat one another with equality; the same way we want to be treated; for the time will come when we will have the need and someone else will have the advantage over us. Verse 29 A. Here, we are reminded of treachery devised behind someone‟s back. B. God is all about dealing privately with offenses; and then having secured repentance from the one who has offended, forgiving him/her and moving on. C. He absolutely forbids devising (To invent; to contrive; to form in the mind by new combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangement of parts… to plan; to scheme;) evil contrivances behind our neighbour‟s back; in other words, scheming his harm when he is unsuspecting. Verse 30 A. Here, we are forbidden to take up a conflict with someone when they have not done anything to you to provoke such a conflict. B. Too often, people make other people‟s business their own, when it does not affect them. C. They then take up a cause, often against someone with whom they have no conflict, because of „sticking their nose where it doesn‟t belong‟. D. We usually have enough difficulty to deal with without getting involved in business not belonging to us. E. We need to trust God to deal with other people‟s business when it is not an area specified in Scripture as involving us. F. Proverbs 26:17 puts it like this, “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him , is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” G. This would include taking up the anthem of someone who has taken it upon themselves to spread gossip. H. Proverbs 26:20 & 22 say it like this, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Verse 31 A. We are not to envy those who oppress those who are in a position of disadvantage, for these oppressors reproach God and to envy them is to take up their cause against God. B. Proverbs 14:31 says, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” C. To oppress someone and to envy those who do are both equally reproachful to the God Who made him. 19 Verse 32 A. forward – def. Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; B. Those who are unwilling to yield to God‟s directions for living are an abomination to Him. C. Those who comply with His instructions are given secret knowledge; knowledge that is hidden from those who do not operate their lives according to the wisdom God gives. D. 1 Corinthians 2:9 & 10 (Read) – God has reserved certain knowledge that can only be recognized and comprehended by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the only One Who fully knows God, and the only One Who is capable of fully divulging the knowledge of God‟s amazing provision to man. E. Thus, those who are resting in the righteousness of God are privileged to know deep things, hidden things, that others who do not conform to God‟s standards, cannot know because they operate in the flesh. F. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Verse 33 A. This is very plain; very clearly stated. B. God does not just leave the wicked or the righteous to themselves. C. He imposes curses on the house, or life, of the wicked; but He confers blessings upon the lives of those who choose Him and His way. Verse 34 A. scorner – def. A scoffer; a derider; in Scripture, one who scoffs at religion, its ordinances and teachers, and who makes a mock of sin and the judgments and threatenings of God against sinners. B. Scorn – def. To think scorn, to disdain; to despise. C. God disdains, despises, those who make a mock of sin and His warnings. D. But, those who are humble, the lowly, have God‟s grace extended to them. Verse 35 A. Here we are reminded that there is a conclusion to every man‟s life where he will be rewarded according to the lifestyle he has chosen. B. Each will be rewarded justly. C. The fool who mocked or ignored God‟s standards and chose rather to conduct his life according to the impulses of his flesh, will be promoted to shame. D. The wise, on the other hand, who choose to submit to the authority of God and His Word, will inherit a place and a state of glory. E. There could be no greater contrast to the ends of these two types of individuals. 20 F. Thank God, He informed us up front what the end of each type will be, so that we have adequate information to make an informed decision of which life we will choose. 21 Proverbs Chapter 6 Verses 1 – 5 A. Here, you are warned that if you are surety for your friend, or strike your hand with a stranger, the result is the same. B. You are snared (trapped) with the words of your mouth. C. Surety – def. In law, one that is bound with and for another; one who enters into a bond or recognizance to answer for another's appearance in court, or for his payment of a debt or for the performance of some act, and who, in case of the principal debtor's failure, is compellable to pay the debt or damages; a bondsman; a bail. D. Stricken hands – def. slap (the hands together), by implication, to become bondsman by handclasping, suretiship. E. The equivalent today would be to co-sign for someone. F. Your instruction if you find yourself in such a case, is to try to deliver yourself from your pledge. G. This is best accomplished by entreaty, by humility, not by arrogance or haughtiness. H. Humble yourself to the creditor and seek release from the pledge; and humble yourself to your friend and urge him to quickly pay of the debt, or give you indemnity from the bond. I. The best advice is found in Proverbs 22:26 & 27, “Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.” “If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?” J. In other words, don‟t make the mistake of standing good for someone else‟s word or debt. K. If you avoid the risk to begin with, you will not find yourself entrapped by your foolish pledge. Verses 6 – 11 A. Sluggard – def. A person habitually lazy, idle and inactive; Sluggish; lazy. B. This instruction is given to one who is lazy. C. You are instructed to go to the ant and consider her ways. D. If you are willing to give consideration to the ways of the ant, it will give you wisdom. E. The ways you are encouraged to consider are described in Verses 7 & 8. F. Although the ant has no guide, overseer, or ruler, she provides her meat in the summer; in other words, she takes advantage of the opportunity to prepare for future as well as for current needs. G. 2 steps are required to insure continued solvency, continued sufficiency: preparation and harvesting. H. If one fails to prepare for the harvest, there will be nothing to harvest even if he has the initiative to do so when it is time. 22 I. If one prepares, but fails to harvest what he has provided in preparation, he will be equally deficient in substance. J. Both steps must be attended to if one is going to have consistent sufficient resources for himself and those he loves. K. Verses 9 – 11 teach us that these steps of provision can only be taken if one is willing to rouse himself from his laziness, and get up and get about working to provide for himself. L. Verse 9 asks the pointed questions: How long will you sleep; and, when will you arise out of sleep? M. Verses 10 & 11 explain that sleep, or slumber; in other words, laziness, will bring poverty to you. N. The Lord will always provide a way for you to live, but it will be through the efforts of your own hands. O. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” P. This command is to those who will not work; not those who cannot work. Q. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 & 12 say, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” “That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” R. There are 2 reasons given to work here: (1) That you may walk honestly toward them that are without; in other words, so you do not default on payments, or provide for yourself by deceit or at someone else‟s expense. (2) So that you may have everything you need for yourself. S. Laziness will deny you the means to be honest, and will deny you basic necessities for yourself. Verses 12 – 15 A. Here you‟re enlightened as to the lifestyle of a naughty person; and to the consequences of such a lifestyle. B. Naughty – def. Wicked; corrupt. C. There are 7 distinctives that characterize the lifestyle of a naughty, or wicked person. (1) Walketh with a forward mouth – His mouth is ungovernable, uncontrollable. (2) Winketh with his eye – A gesture of sneering, or mockery, and deceit about what he has in mind, or what he is doing or about to do. (3) Speaketh with his feet – The actions of the feet speak: in the direction they take, the stomping or kicking in anger, the quiet sneaking of one who is up to no good, or the shaking or patting of them as of one who has something mischievous up his sleeve. (4) Teacheth with his fingers – As the fingers used for stealing, illicit contact with a member of the opposite gender, secret gestures signaling what he is about to do to someone who is unawares, or the 23 gestures of perverted mockery toward another (flipping someone off). (5) Frowardness is in his heart – Perverse things, evil habits, and all manner of evil he imagines to do. (6) He deviseth mischief continually – His entire thought life is given to inventing and planning evil acts. (7) He soweth discord – He delights in controversy. He loves nothing more than to have 2 people going at one another, and works tirelessly to make it happen. D. Verse 15 gives us the resulting consequence that can be expected of one whose life is given to these types of distinctives. E. He will meet with calamity. F. His calamity will be sudden, and without remedy; there will be no rescue for what happens to him. G. Proverbs 29:1 that we often quote, is almost a verbatim quote from this verse. H. It says, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Verses 16 – 19 A. Here, you‟re give 7 things the Lord hates; 7 things that are an abomination to Him. (1) A proud look (2) A lying tongue – A tongue that speaks deceitfully and deceptively (3) Hands that shed innocent blood – If you vote for a man, or woman, who is an abortionist candidate, you have underwritten, co-signed, the death warrant for all the babies murdered under their watch. (4) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations (5) Feet that be swift in running to mischief (6) A false witness – One who speaks falsehood about his neighbor to his harm, when truth or even nothing at all should be spoken. (7) He that soweth discord among the brethren B. Please notice this list covers our heart condition, our attitude, our speech, our actions, our tendencies, and our involvement in stirring up conflict among brethren. Verses 20 – 22 A. The way to avoid having these abominations be a part of your life is to take great care to keep (continue in) the law of your father, and to not forsake (turn away from) the law of your mother. B. Verse 21 tells you to bind them continually upon thine heart – In other words, to not only hold them in your mind, but let them become a part of your very being; let them become your default setting so that when you are required to think, speak, or act, these laws will be the guiding instruction you will follow in doing so. C. Verse 22 tells you 3 things these laws will do for you: 24 (1) When you go, these laws will lead you (2) When you sleep, these laws will keep you (3) When you awake, these laws will talk to you, or instruct you and be your constant meditation C. Avoiding becoming abominable to the Lord is accomplished by making the teachings of Scripture an active part of the very fabric of your life. Verse 22 A. Here we‟re told that three things: (1) The commandment is a lamp – it lights your path so that you will know what steps and what direction to take. (2) The law is light – it illuminates the darkness of your understanding so that your understanding will be acute. (3) Reproofs of instruction are the way of life – When you listen to the reproofs of the Word of God and heed what they say, they will guard you from death and protect your life. Verses 24 & 25 A. The commandment, the law, and reproofs will keep or save you from the evil woman. B. Her allures are 3-fold: (1) She flatters with her tongue (2) She flaunts her beauty (3) She flirts with her eyes C. Here, we are warned to not be taken in by any of these; and that the way to protect ourselves from these seductions is by saturating our minds with the Word of God. Verse 26 A. First, this kind of woman will stripped of his substance and his worth so that a piece of bread is his worth and his only possession. B. Second, the adulteress hunts not just for a man‟s possessions; she is not content to rob him of his substance; she must have his person; she will go for his very soul. C. This is indicative of the spirit of antichrist: see Revelation 18:2 – 3a & 13 D. By this we can see that this kind of woman is in league with Satan himself to take down the precious life. E. Also, the precious life could mean not just any old guy, but one who is a child of God. F. Please note how that those who are ministers are especially targeted by this kind of woman. 25 Verses 27 – 29 A. Just like one cannot expect to handle fire or live coals and not get burned, so one cannot expect to become involved with this kind of woman and not suffer for it. Verses 31 – 33 A. Though men are understanding with a thief who is only stealing because he is hungry, if he is caught, he will still have to pay. B. But, those who commit adultery are not only in danger of physical harm, they are committing a spiritual act. C. An adulterous relationship is not just a physical act; it is also a spiritual one. D. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” E. 1 Corinthians 3:17 says, “If any man defile the temple of God, his shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” F. So, the act of adultery is not just a physical act; but an act against the temple of God! G. Verse 33 informs us that adultery will bring a wound; dishonour; and that the reproach will not be wiped away; a man will carry the shame of that act the rest of his natural life. Verses 34 – 35 A. Concerning the jealousy of a husband whose wife has committed adultery against him, the Word of God says that this jealousy will enrage him. B. It also says that a man who has been cheated on will not accept any payment or gift that will assuage his anger. C. He will not rest until justice has been served to the adulterer who has defiled his wife. D. So, in all these verses we see the natural and spiritual danger of the act of adultery and the damage that can occur spiritually as well as physically from this sin. 26 Proverbs Chapter 10 Verse 1 A. First, we are informed who wrote these proverbs: it was Solomon, son of David. B. His first issue to deal with is the wisdom or foolishness of a son. C. He says that a wise son maketh a glad father. D. Fathers are prone to boast of the accomplishments of their sons; to appreciate and communicate the wisdom with which they have handled some situation or themselves. E. Mothers, on the other hand, being women, are more emotional creatures, and tend to experience the pain of the foolish choices and subsequent consequences of a foolish son. F. Either though, father or mother, would appreciate being able to boast of their son‟s wisdom rather than having to explain the reason for their foolish choices, actions, or words. Verse 2 A. Treasures; by the very term it indicates something very valuable and much sought after. B. However, here we are told that regardless of the apparent value or the ostensible rarity, treasures that have been obtained by wicked means are able to retain no intrinsic profit. C. In other words, though they appear rare and valuable, they provide no real benefit or gain to the procurer of them. D. The opposite side of the same issue is that righteousness, though it appears to have no intrinsic value, is in essence of greater value than evil gotten gains, for righteousness is able to do something that wickedly acquired treasure cannot do. It can deliver you from death. E. Although the practical application of this truth seems so vague, when we begin to look at examples, it becomes crystal clear as to the validity of this claim. F. First, Proverbs 10:9 (Read) - Here we learn that there is confidence in being right. If we live our lives uprightly, or in the right way, we have no fear of our actions being exposed. However, God has established a law that causes perversions of righteousness to surface, exposing the one who is perverting what is right. Those who live wickedly are always on guard; are always looking over their shoulder. G. Second, God provides supernatural, divine protection to those who live uprightly. H. Thus, righteousness in itself is greater treasure than treasures gotten by wicked means. 27 Verse 3 A. Here, we see that God Himself gets involved in the material or financial lives of people. B. Not only do people incur naturally occurring benefits or consequences of the choices they make in how they acquire their material goods; God Himself also intervenes with divinely imposed measures to cause each of them to be rewarded according to the principles by which they operate their lives. C. The righteous who lack, will be fed by God. D. The wicked who appear to have an abundance, will suffer His divinely imposed sanctions, causing their ill-gotten gains to be diminished by things beyond their control. E. A good example is found in Proverbs 13:11; it says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” F. Here we see plainly the futility of vainly pursuing get-rich-quick schemes. G. Even if we win the lottery, God will impose divine sanctions that eat away the profit. H. On the other hand, if we choose to provide for our needs according to God‟s method of doing so, by working, He will oversee the investment strategy of the labor we have bestowed to insure we receive increase. I. Doesn‟t this sound like a sure investment? Just do things the right way so that God will bless and increase our efforts instead of trying to shortcut the system and increase our net worth more quickly by unethical practices? Verse 4 A. Here we find another way that we can determine our own financial future. B. And here again, we see the sharp contrast between those who choose a way contrary to God‟s prescribed way of work, and those who choose to follow God‟s prescription. C. Slack – def. not using due diligence; not earnest or eager; D. Those who are not diligent, hard working, ambitious, will not prosper in their endeavors. E. Those who are diligent though, are on a natural track to success. F. Diligent – def. industrious; G. So, from Verses 3 & 4 we see that there are naturally occurring benefits or consequences, depending upon the way we handle our business; but we see that there are also divinely imposed benefits or consequences, as well. Verse 5 A. Here we see the contrast between the wise actions of a son, and the kind of actions that simply bring shame. B. When the fruits or vegetables are ripe, it is time to gather them in. C. How foolish it is though to spend all the time necessary to have a bountiful harvest, and then be too lazy to harvest it when it is ready to be harvested. D. Such is the way with the harvest of souls. E. Proverbs 30b says, “…the that winneth souls is wise.” 28 F. We here at PCBC have spent incredible amounts of money and effort preparing to take in a harvest of lost souls. G. We have prepared our building and properties. H. We have modernized our technology in order to be able to reach further with less money and effort. I. We have put a ministry organizational structure in place that only needs additional staffing to be a viable Christian growth factory. J. How foolish it would be if we chose to invest all these funds and work to prepare for a large influx of people, only to quit before the harvest comes in. K. Let‟s be a wise son instead; understanding that our preparation goals up until this present time were only that, preparation; and that preparation is only the prelude to the harvest. L. As the Lord provides the final resources to prepare us for the harvest, let us then go on to take in the harvest the Lord has equipped us to take in. Verses 6 & 7 A. Here we see the difference in the way God deals with the just and the wicked. B. Verse 6 teaches us that there are current blessings, or violence to be epected depending upon whether you are just or wicked. C. Verse 7 teaches us that there are also future blessings or rottenness that we can anticipate, depending upon whether you are just or wicked. D. So, from the previous several verses we find the contrasts between what is to be expected by the righteous, and what is to be expected by the wicked. E. There are naturally occurring benefits or consequences; there are divinely impose benefits or consequences; there are current benefits or consequences; and there are future benefits or consequences. F. It is important we understand the wide ranging benefits for choosing and acting justly, righteously, wisely. G. But, it is equally important we understand the wide ranging consequences for choosing and acting unjustly, unrighteously, wickedly, and foolishly. H. This way we have good information available to us to help us to make the right decisions; but also to understand the consequences we can expect if we choose foolishly, so that we are not surprised when they come. Verse 8 A. This verse informs us of the importance of listening and heeding the commandments of God. B. It says that the wise in heart will receive them; in other words, will listen and follow them. C. But, it also tells us that the prating fool (one who talks too much on a trifling subject; who talks idly) will fall. D. If we listen more to the commands of God we will be wiser. E. But, when we talk too much and fail to listen, we inform everyone else of everything we know, but fail to learn new information that will help us in our lives. 29 F. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Reckon God did that by mistake; or, do you think perhaps He was trying to tell us something. G. The moral of this story is to talk less and listen more, especially to God‟s Word. Verse 9 A. Again, confidence comes from being right; not being perceived to be right, but actually being right. B. Perverting righteousness though, will be found out. C. There are 2 Scriptures that apply here, and help to give clarity to this principle. D. Numbers 32:23b says, “…be sure your sin will find you out.” E. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” F. Some things we need to remember about the law of sowing and reaping are (1) We reap later, larger, and longer than we sow. (2) We reap what we sow. (3) We reap how we sow (sparingly or bountifully). G. Sowing the right things into our lives then, gives us the calm confidence that whatever people perceive us to be, we will eventually reap the harvest. H. But, sowing the wrong things into our lives will cause us to always be wary, just waiting for that unexpected turn of events that will expose our sin. Verse 10 A. Winking with the eye means deception and treachery are afoot. B. Therefore, winking causes sorrow; because someone is about to be done wrong. C. Again here we are warned that a prating fool (a mouthy person who is always talking idly and too much) will fall. D. His mouth will inevitably get him into trouble. E. What‟s the moral of the story? Keep your mouth shut! Verse 11 A. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life; giving hope and help to all who hear his words. B. He encourages; he instructs; he warns; he comforts; he accepts; he aids; he loves. C. The mouth of a wicked man though, brings violence to himself and to those who heed his words. D. He discourages; he perverts truth; he deceives; he adds to grief and sorrow; he destroys; he spreads hate; he stirs up strife. Verse 12 A. Strife, contention, controversy – all are stirred up, or initiated by hatred in someone‟s heart. 30 B. Bitterness and hatred cause many an argument and much damage to individuals and relationships. C. Love‟s very nature though, is comforting, forgiving, accepting, and healing. D. Let‟s read 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 – Here we see the nature of charity, or active love. E. It responds to circumstances and people in a way that naturally provides an atmosphere where healing and acceptance occur. F. It naturally takes the hits so that the one loved does not have to. G. Romans 13:10 summarizes love‟s nature and character. H. It says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbout: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” I. Hatred or love; we all have a choice; and it is a choice, not just the natural response to a given circumstance or situation. Verse 13 A. Here we learn that a lack of understanding can bring the rod of correction to a foolish person. B. It is therefore critically important that we take great care to understand what the Word of God says and what it means to us personally. C. Taking the Word of God flippantly, or without due seriousness can bring the rod of God‟s corrective chastisement into our lives. D. On the other hand, understanding automatically results in wisdom. E. You will never understand application until you comprehend your acquired information. F. To avoid God‟s corrective rod, please take the time and effort necessary to understand what it is that He expects, yea demands of you. Verse 14 A. Those who are wise lay up, or store up, knowledge. B. This means they build a storehouse of knowledge which is available in abundance for future use. C. In contrast, the mouth of those who are foolish is near destruction for it, without forethought or caution, utters things that bring swift and sudden destruction. D. While boasting of knowledge, its uncontrolled, unguarded utterances reveal its real lack of understanding. Verse 15 A. Here we learn that the rich man‟s wealth is his fortress; his means of protecting himself; not only against the ravages of want, but also against other enemies, by providing him a means of obtaining aid not afforded those who have little. B. Proverbs 18:11 & 12 shed more light on this apparent advantage he supposes to have over those who are less fortunate. C. Let‟s read Proverbs 18:11 & 12: D. The rich man‟s wealth is his fortress „in his own conceit‟. 31 E. However, Verse 12 informs us, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty; and before honour is humility.” F. So, the advantage the wealthy appears to possess can become the means of his own destruction when he places his trust in his wealth more than in God. G. So, an apparent advantage of wealth is not always a true statement of a man‟s security. H. Psalms 52:1 – 7 (Read) teach us very clearly that protection by wealth instead of by God that causes one to confidently lead a wicked life, is no protection at all. I. It in fact gives one a false sense of security, which will be stripped away leaving no security against the destruction that will come upon him. J. The poor man‟s poverty is often his destruction; not because of his lack of means to defend and provide for himself; but because of the insecurity this lack builds into him, so that he is fearful to venture out to do things that would strengthen his position and financial status. K. His perception of disadvantage often is the most destructive force that poverty brings to his life. L. I often see kids who have tremendous natural advantages, but who most likely will never realize what those advantages can do for them, and will never be encouraged to develop their God-given gifts because their families are poverty-stricken. M. How profoundly sad to see someone who is a prince walking while a servant is riding comfortably. N. Ecclesiastes 10:7 (Read) describes this sad phenomenon. Verse 16 A. The labour of righteous people always moves him in the direction of life and productiveness. B. His intentions, his plans, his ideas, his actions, all lead him down a path of life and fruitfulness. C. The fruit (that which falls to a wicked man – whether by labour, inheritance, or vain gain) is utilized in a way that moves him toward a life of sinful purposes; of pride, luxury, and wantonness; things that lead to death and damage. Verse 17 A. Instruction (knowledge gained and passed on to someone else) is a means of protection, as the one being instructed learns from the acquired information of someone else: this way he can shortcut the process by which he must acquire knowledge himself. B. Listening to instruction and following it can protect you from having to learn lessons the hard way; by trial and error. C. By following instruction one can be successful the first time; without having to make mistakes, learn by them, and then go on to success. D. Sure makes life easier to listen to instruction. E. The opposite is true for one who refuses to be corrected. 32 F. Reproof – def. Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; G. When one refuses to listen to someone who is trying to call his attention to a fault and guide him through correcting it, he is headed for error. H. When one will not be corrected, he will inevitably err in his plans and projects. I. Proverbs 16:18 explains that those who are prideful are setting themselves up for a fall. It says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” J. Pride will cause us to refuse to listen to those who know more than we do; causing us to act in ignorance and fail miserably, bringing humiliation upon ourselves for our failure. K. It‟s much wiser to humbly heed instruction; than, in pride, to act in ignorance because you don‟t want anyone to think they have an advantage over you by knowing something you don‟t. Verse 18 A. We now transition to some verses that deal with our words. B. Here in this verse, we are told that regardless of whether one hides his hatred by deceit, or expresses it openly by verbal attack on the character or person of the one hated, his words will expose him for the fool he is. C. First, to hide hatred with lying lips is to be a fool. D. Matthew Henry says, “Lying lips are bad enough of themselves, but have a peculiar malignity in them when they are made a cloak of maliciousness.” E. Proverbs 12:22a says, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord…” F. The abomination of lying lips is exacerbated when they are used to hide hatred, for hatred is often accompanied by deceptive words. G. Proverbs 26:24 – 26 (Read) – Here we are told that “He that hateth dissembleth with his lips…” H. Dissemble – def. To hide under a false appearance; to conceal; to disguise; to pretend that not to be which really is; I. So, hatred is often accompanied by words that conceal the fact it exists. J. We are told in Proverbs 26:25 to not believe those who speak with fair words when it is evident there is hatred underneath their words. K. We are also told in Verse 26 that his wickedness (his hatred and his lies) will be exposed before the entire congregation. L. God has a way of exposing the fraud, the fake. M. But second, in Verse 18 of Proverbs Chapter 10, we also learn that the one who utters a slander is a fool, also. N. Slander – def. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, O. Treacherous deceit is the work of fools; whether by lies to conceal hatred, or by lies to try to defame someone. P. To assassinate someone‟s name or character by lies is to be the fool just as much as to conceal hatred by deceptive flattery. 33 Q. Both express disdain for someone made in the image of God, who also God will avenge by exposing the wickedness of the deceiver publicly, so that his deceit is rewarded by revealing him for the treacherous fool he is. Verse 19 A. Here, we find that those who talk too much always sin in the process. B. James 3:6 – 8a explain why this is so. C. They say, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so it the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:” “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” D. Here we learn a number of things: (1) The tongue is a fire – it burns to express itself (2) It is a world of iniquity – it is filled with iniquity; that when given an opportunity to express itself, will inevitably sin. (3) It defiles the whole body – the sin of the tongue defiles the entire person. (4) It sets on fire the course of nature – it not only sins itself, it also incites sinful thoughts that lead to sinful actions by others. (5) It is set on fire of hell – Satan exploits our tongue in order to bring damage to our own lives; but also to the lives of others. (6) It is untamable – Though wild beasts can be tamed, our tongue seems to have a mind of its own; when it is set free to express the ideas it has stored up, it will always move in a negative, damaging direction. (7) It is full of deadly poison – No matter how tactful we try to be in our speech, our tongues will reveal the true nature of our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (8) While we think to know our heart, and feel confident to allow our tongue to express the contents of it, it will in fact deceive us and the tongue will reveal the true wickedness that deceptively exists there. E. Conversely, the withholding of the tongue, not allowing it to express itself, is wisdom. F. Keeping oneself under control is the work of wisdom, especially as it relates to the use of words. G. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” H. So, self-control is the virtue of wise men. I. It is in this self control of the tongue that protection from trouble is found. J. Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” K. Proverbs 17:28a says, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise…” 34 Verse 20 A. First, the tongue of the just is as choice silver. B. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” C. This means that those who are just, choose their words carefully, and use them sparingly. D. They carefully choose out the words that are most appropriate for the moment and the occasion. E. Additionally, they use only those words that build and heal; never words that do damage, or destroy. F. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 gives us an example of choosing the right words for the right occasion. G. This verse says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” H. Proverbs 15:23b says, “…a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” I. The tongue, expressing the content of the heart of a just person, always ministers grace to the hearer. J. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” K. Corrupt communication consists not only of expletives, or dirty jokes; corrupt communication can also be that communication which degrades, debases, or damages the hearers in some way. L. Our words should be like choice silver; always adding value to those who hear them. M. Second, in the last part of Proverbs 10:20 we learn that the heart of the wicked is little worth. N. The heart of wicked people rarely intends good to those with whom it has to do. O. It is usually devising deceit and/or damage, and the tongue of the wicked only expresses what already exists in the heart. Verse 21 A. The lips of the righteous feed many; meaning they provide sustenance and valuable spiritual and emotional nutrition to a wide array of people. B. The lips of the righteous always tend to aid; and this aid is not confined to a few select individuals. C. The words of the righteous always abound with grace and goodness regardless of who they are directed toward. D. Think how many times in a day you speak to someone – the bank teller, the grocery store clerk, the phone operator, your family members, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc. E. The righteous always leave behind them a trail of encouragement, comfort, and wisdom, spread prolifically by their words of grace. F. Fools, on the other hand, by the wickedness of their hearts and words, are consumed by their wickedness. 35 G. Whether by the consumption of their own sin, or by the destruction brought upon themselves by the expression of their wickedness, they perish. H. Don‟t you like to be fed by the lips of the righteous? Verse 22 A. Unlike wealth accumulated by treacherous or deceptive ways, that which comes as a blessing from the Lord, whether material or immaterial, makes rich. B. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” C. When we use vain (empty) means to accumulate wealth, we invite the imposition of God into our lives. D. God is actively involved in our lives, especially as it relates to the way we obtain money or goods. E. When we defraud others, or use un-Biblical ways of accumulating our things, God gets involved in diminishing our gains. F. If, however, we work for what we get, He protects our gains from the ravages of things that would cause them to be diminished. G. So, the blessing of the Lord, whether it is material or immaterial, tangible or intangible, increases our economy to the point we can be included in the class of the wealthy. H. Another benefit in possessing the blessing of the Lord is that He adds no sorrow with it. I. When one benefits at the expense of others; or at the expense of righteousness, he must always guard his treasure to keep it from being confiscated because of his indiscretions. J. When one benefits by violating God‟s laws or principles, he is guilt ridden and therefore finds it difficult to enjoy his increase. K. But when one increases as a result of doing things God‟s way; and then God blesses him because he has, there is no unrest, fear, or repercussions that come as a result; and he can enjoy the blessings of God without guilt or fear. Verse 23 A. Fools view mischief, wickedness, as sport. B. Wickedness, sin, is a joke to fools; a matter to laugh about. C. Proverbs 14:7 – 9a say, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.” Fools make a mock at sin…” D. Fools not only enjoy their own wickedness, they also enjoy and revel in the wickedness of others. E. Romans 1:28 – 31 describe the wicked that have been given over to their wickedness. F. Verse 32 says about them, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” 36 G. So, fools view mischief, wickedness, as sport, as a joke, as a laughing matter. H. Though they understand that the judgment of God has been pronounced against those who commit such acts, they revel in their wickedness and in so doing go as an ox to the slaughter. I. Proverbs 7:22, describing the young man taken in by the evil seductress, says, “He goeth after her straightway as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;” J. Proverbs 19:29 says, “Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.” K. Ignoring the judgment of God and laughing at mischief as if that judgment will not be imposed in his life, is the mark of a fool; for he proceeds with his sin until the judgment of God falls and his sin is no longer laughable. L. The man of understanding, on the other hand, has wisdom. M. Proverbs 14:7, again, says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way…” N. Wise people choose their steps, their words, and their actions carefully; for they know that everything they do has resulting benefits or consequences, depending upon the choices they make. Verse 24 A. Here again, we see the contrast between the wicked and the righteous. B. The fear of the wicked shall come upon him. C. Our verse in Romans, Chapter 1 taught us that fools proceed with their wickedness even though they know the judgment of God has been appointed for those who commit the things they are committing. D. Thus, they can expect nothing else but that that judgment will come to them just as they fear it will; and it will! E. The righteous though, are careful to act in righteousness, regardless of whether or not they will be compensated. F. They have a desire that they will be appropriately recompensed for their right choices. G. God then works things out so that their desires will be realized; regardless of how impossible the realization of those desires may appear to be. Verse 25 A. Here we see the contrast between the legacy of the wicked and that of the righteous. B. The life and legacy of the wicked, it says, passes as quickly as a whirlwind and is gone forever. C. The righteousness of the righteous, on the other hand, has built a foundation upon which others will build; thereby leaving a foundational and influential legacy that will last long after their lifetimes have expired. D. Your epitaph (an inscription on a tombstone or monument commemorating the person buried there) is written after you die; but your legacy is written while you live. E. What kind of legacy are you writing? What kind of legacy will you leave? 37 Verse 26 A. Here the sin of laziness is addressed. B. We are told that as vinegar irritates the teeth, and as smoke irritates the eyes, so the sluggard (lazy person) irritates them that send him to do a task. C. The Scriptures teach us to be resourceful; to have initiative; to have ambition; to be creative; to do everything we do with our whole heart, not half-hearted. D. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” E. As a matter of fact, the Bible is so adamant that we not be lazy, but assume responsibility to work, it says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we wee with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” F. What if the preacher applied that principle to those who want to eat at the Lord‟s spiritual table, but are unwilling to assume any responsibility to work in his vineyard? G. He wouldn‟t have very many to preach to would he? H. The sluggard (lazy person) can always find and excuse to not get involved in work. I. Sometimes the excuse seems a little lame; but it is his excuse nonetheless, and he is sticking to it. J. Proverbs 22:13 says, “The slothful man (lazy man) saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” K. A little lame to think a lion is roaming the city streets, huh? But any excuse is better than none he thinks, and so what if it is a little lame; he still is not going to rise from his couch and do any work. L. I‟m reminded of the commercial that has a man standing in the doorway of his boss‟s office, clad in full golf attire, including the glove, explaining to his boss that his daughter is sick and he has to go pick her up. M. I often say that ignorance is curable; but laziness is fatal. N. Lazy people rarely recover from their laziness; they only become an irritant to all who depend upon them for anything. Verse 27 A. Again we see a contrast; between the length of life of those who fear the Lord, and the life of those who disregard Him and His commandments. B. First, the fear of the Lord prolongeth days in a couple of ways – (1) The fear of the Lord will motivate one to be cautious in the way he approaches his choices and actions, thereby providing natural protection against damaging forces that could take their lives. (2) The fear of the Lord will attract the supernatural protection of God upon their lives, so that they are protected from unseen, unavoidable dangers that could destroy them. C. Second, the years of the wicked shall be shortened – 38 (1) There is a natural danger in wickedness, for God has set up boundaries to protect us; not to confine us. (2) There is also the reality that God imposes judgment upon unrepentant sin, so that those who persist in their sin, refusing to repent and turn from it, will incur the destruction of God‟s judgment. (a) A verse we often use to illustrate this point is Proverbs 29:1, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” D. The surest way to protect yourself from the danger of natural repercussions, or from divinely imposed repercussions from sin, is to choose to operate your life according to the principles of the Word of God. E. Then, when you do fail and commit a transgression, repent (turn from it) and confess it (acknowledge it to be the sin it is) and God will graciously forgive it and restore you to full fellowship with him. F. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” G. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Verse 28 A. Hope is laying hold of something that is not presently being experienced, but that is desired, and expected to be experienced in the future. B. Here, the Word of God says that the hope of the righteous is not just a desire for gladness; not just an expectation of gladness; but that that hope will be realized; that one day the hope will end in the gladness that has been hoped for. C. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” D. The righteous are willing to forego unlawful pleasures now, because he has laid hold of an expectation of future lawful pleasures that will be allowed and that will never end as the sinful pleasures of the present will. E. In doing so, the wicked view him as being foolish to let such opportunity for present pleasure slip away for something he cannot see and cannot immediately enjoy. F. Here, the Word of God gives assurance though, that this hope of future gladness will not go disappointed; it will be worth the wait for it will be given him. G. The expectation of the wicked though, being built upon a false foundation, will perish; for his expectation is based in fantasy, not reality. H. I‟ve preached much here lately that for faith [the trust of future reward from God] to lend value to your life; for its reward to be assured, it must be built upon truth. I. To build your expectation upon falsehood, no matter how great a dream it is, and no matter how much you believe it will happen, is to be disappointed in the end, for only that expectation which is based in truth will be realized. 39 Verse 29 A. We human beings are frail, weak creatures. B. Though we think ourselves to be strong, we are pretty much at the mercy of the forces that come to bear in our lives. C. In order to survive and thrive, not only physically, but also spiritually, we must rely upon a strength and power that is greater than our own. D. God has designed into his eco-system that strength can and will be derived from simply choosing to conduct ourselves in the way He has specified in His Word. E. God‟s Word is where we can learn the way of the Lord. F. You see, the Lord has a way; not just ways. G. His way is His perspective, His approach, His pattern of behavior, His posture. H. When we assume His way, we take upon ourselves His perspective, His approach to situations and people, His pattern of behavior [our default behavioral pattern], His posture in every situation and before every person. I. This assuming His way is the channel through which He infuses His strength into us. J. First, His way yields peace because sin generates guilt, fear, and unrest. K. Second, His way attracts His blessing which supersedes negative influences and forces and causes us to be strong enough to withstand their opposition, and to advance and expand even as they stand to challenge us. L. To the contrary, the workers of iniquity shall not have the strength to withstand opposition or difficulty, and will be destroyed by them. Verse 30 A. The righteous shall not be moved, not because they are more special than the wicked, but because they have built their lives upon a firm foundation that is unshakable. B. True righteousness is that righteousness which is imputed, not that which is achieved. C. Imputed – def. Charged to the account of; attributed; ascribed. D. Romans 4:8 says, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” E. Romans 4:11 speaking of Abraham, says, “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” F. So, imputed righteousness is that righteousness of the Lord Jesus that is charged to our account; attributed to us; ascribed to us; given to us so that we might be able to stand in the presence of the Lord. G. Our righteousness, according to Isaiah 64:6, is as filthy rags. H. 2 Corinthians 5:21 though, says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 40 I. This is Jesus‟ righteousness that is imputed to us, given to us, that we might have sufficient righteousness to enter God‟s presence. J. This righteousness then, forms a solid foundation, that when built upon, provides an invincible base which will allow the righteous to stand unmoved regardless of what stands to assault them. K. Here, we learn that there will come a time when the wicked will be weeded out from among the righteous; and though it seems they have reigned unchecked in this world, will be removed to never offend the congregation of the saints again. L. Revelation 20:14 & 15 (Read) give the account of the final removal of the wicked to the place of the damned where they will never again be allowed to assert their wickedness in the presence of the righteous. M. Revelation 21:27 describes the eternal city, New Jerusalem, that will be capital city of the saints for all eternity like this, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb‟s book of life.” N. Though the wicked seem to have the upper hand now, the time will come when the righteous will stand; even as the wicked are being destroyed forever. O. The wicked then, will not inhabit the earth; but the new eternal earth, described in Revelation 21:1 – 8, will only be inhabited by those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb; along with the Lamb Who saved them. Verse 31 A. Again, we move back to the speech of the just contrasted with the speech of the forward [perverse; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable;]. B. Being just [righteous] is a state, or condition of the character. C. Notice, it is from the state, or condition of being just that wise speech proceeds. D. Matthew 12:34b says, “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” E. The tongue that speaks from the condition of a forward [perverse] heart, on the other hand, will be removed from its place, so that it is not able to spew out its venom any more. F. Eventually every thing will be made right, though it has been ungovernable heretofore. Verse 32 A. Again, the lips of those who speak from a state, or condition of a righteous heart, know what is acceptable. B. The heart that knows God also knows what is acceptable to Him. C. Thus, the lips of such a person speak from the position of being accepted of God; therefore they speak those things that are acceptable to Him, for they know what is acceptable. 41 D. The mouth that speaks from a state, or condition of a wicked heart, can only speak forwardness [perverseness]; for what resides in the heart will inevitably be expressed through the mouth. 42 Proverbs Chapter 11 Verse 1 A. In ancient times measurements of quantities or weights were made using the weights and balance system. B. Business and commerce are important elements in all cultures; for all men must buy, sell, trade, and either make a profit, or feed their families. C. God is a tenacious guardian of honesty when it comes to our dealings with one another in the world of commerce and business. D. Therefore, He demands there be no deception when making business transactions. E. In ancient times, one could use a false weight or balance; giving the appearance he was dealing uprightly when in fact, the one with whom he was conducting a transaction was being cheated. F. Here, God declares this kind of deceptive treachery to be an abomination to Him Who is truth. G. In the same way, today we can fail to disclose all the negative aspects of an automobile or home when attempting to sell either one to someone. H. We can cheat our boss or company out of time worked, if you are working by the hour. I. We can sell something for more than it is worth to an unsuspecting buyer. J. There are many ways we can be dishonest in our business dealings. K. All, like the false balance, are abominations to God. L. Proverbs 22:22 & 23 make it clear that the Lord will be the evener of scores for those who take advantage of those who are in a position of disadvantage. M. They says, “Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:” “For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.” N. So, God Himself is the Guardian of those who stand to be defrauded because of their position of disadvantage. O. On the other hand, a just weight, an honest business deal, is not just a transaction that does not draw His attention. P. Rather, it is a transaction that generates an active delight in Him Who is truth. Q. The child of God should be so passionate about pleasing the Lord, he is willing to take a loss in business in order to please the Lord with Whom he has to do. Verse 2 A. The world‟s perspective says that with pride comes honor. B. Here, however, God makes it clear that pride is the prelude to shame. C. Why is that? How does that play out in real life? 43 D. Jesus gives an example of how pride can produce shame in someone‟s life when he acts on his pride, in Luke 14:7 – 11 (Read). E. Jesus‟ conclusion in Verse 11 of that chapter is this, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” F. Abased – def. pp. Reduced to a low state, humbled, degraded. G. The words „shall be abased‟ and „shall be exalted‟ indicate that Someone or something outside the control or influence of the one who is either exalting himself or humbling himself, is causing the abasing or exalting. H. We know He meant that God would be the One Who assumed the role of overseeing the way a person conducts himself, and then rewarding him according to the motivation for his actions. I. He can do this by either of two ways: (1) The law of sowing and reaping He has instituted – Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (2) God‟s direct intervention to correct the error. J. The lowly exercise wisdom, for they do not present themselves as more important than they are. K. Therefore, they do not have to keep up the façade of pretense that the one who wants people to think of himself more highly than he deserves does. L. The lowly are wise because they can speak and act in a way that is genuine, without having to worry about being found out. M. They are wise also in that they do not have to worry about God intervening in their charade and humiliating them unexpectedly. N. Falsehood (and that‟s what pride is – thinking of one‟s self more highly than he deserves) generates discomfort and danger; while lowliness, humility, generates peace and confidence. Verse 3 A. We have talked at length about establishing our default settings. B. Integrity is a default setting – a state of character and heart that we return to in confusing times or times of crisis. C. If we choose integrity as the foundation on which we build our lives, when in confusing or pressure situations, we do not have to evaluate the circumstances to determine the level of consequences for various types of responses before making our decisions about how we will respond to the situations. D. When we are in situations where the outcome is unsure, we simply will choose the course that will demonstrate the highest degree of integrity, regardless of the consequences that may ensue. E. So, in this way, integrity will always be our guide, regardless of the situations or circumstances, and regardless of the consequences we stand to face because of choosing the right course of action. F. Perverseness – def. n. pervers'ness. Disposition to cross or vex; untractableness; crossness of temper; a disposition uncomplying, 44 unaccommodating or acting in opposition to what is proper or what is desired by others. G. The non-compliant disposition of those who are transgressors will lead them into destructive patterns of behavior that will eventually destroy them. H. God has designed that His world only work properly and safely when we comply with the laws of operation He has established for life to work by. I. When someone is non-compliant, rebellious, perverse, he will inevitably violate one of God‟s laws; the result of which will spell disaster for him. J. Isn‟t in much better to be guided by integrity, compliance with the principles and laws of God, than to be guided by perverseness, displayed by transgression, which will eventually do the transgressor in? Verse 4 A. Riches in this world provide an advantage to the owners thereof; but when it comes to God‟s wrath, that advantage is lost. B. Tangible riches, while profitable in this life as a means of obtaining goods, recognition, and privilege, can do nothing to satisfy the righteous justice of God. C. The wrath of God then, cannot be appeased by monetary offering. D. Since “…the wages of sin is death…), the only offering that can be made to appease God‟s wrath is death. E. Riches hold no advantage whatsoever when it comes to the matter of the spiritual sin debt we owe to God. F. This payment can only be satisfied by faith in the payment made on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ when He died to satisfy God‟s justice, and then rose from the dead to justify us. G. Romans 3:21 & 22a put it like this: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe…” H. So, deliverance from God‟s wrath can only come through faith; and can never be obtained by tangible wealth. I. The last part of the verse concludes that it is righteousness that delivereth from death. J. In Romans 3:22 that we just read, we see that the righteousness of God that can deliver us from death is only found by faith in Jesus Christ; but that it is found in Him…God not excluding anyone, but imparting His righteousness “…unto all and upon all them that believe…” K. So, in summary, riches, while providing certain advantages in this world, lose their advantage when it comes to appeasing the wrath of God; the only means of obtaining the righteousness necessary to deliver us from death is obtained by faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 5 & 6 A. These 2 verses communicate corresponding truths. 45 B. The righteousness of the perfect, he whom Jesus has perfected, and the righteousness of the upright (same thought) will direct his way and deliver him. C. The wicked, however, will be taken in his naughtiness and will fall by his own wickedness. D. In other words, righteousness has the ability to guide the words and actions of those who live by it in such a way that they will move in the direction of safety; but those who choose rebellion, will be destroyed by the very wickedness they have chosen as the expression of their wills. Verse 7 A. Here, we find 2 things that perish along with them, when wicked, unjust men die: their expectation, and their hope. B. Hope and expectation are similar and usually come together. C. When we have hope of something, we expect that we will receive it. D. This scripture teaches us a very important truth. E. The „hoping‟ of hope is not what lends it its substance, or its value; rather, it is the subject, or object of that hope that lends it its worth. F. Hope and expectation are important benefits derived from faith. G. But, like hope and expectation, the faith itself is not what holds us up; it is the object of our faith that lends viability to the hope and expectation that faith generates. H. For example: if there were 2 chairs; one weak, one strong; and 2 people decided to sit on them, one on one, and the other person on the other. I. If each had equal faith, yet one chair collapsed, and one chair held the other person up; then it was not the strength of their faith that decided the outcome; but the strength of the object of their faith that decided their fate. J. Just believing something is true, or is sufficient to perform what we desire it to, is not enough to make it so. K. The subject, or object, that we are placing our faith in must be sufficiently strong to perform our expectation of that object, or our faith is in vain. L. This brings us back to our scripture; the hope and expectation of a wicked, unjust man is based upon faith that is placed in a weak subject; therefore, his hope and expectation, no matter how firmly he believes they will come to fruition, sadly, will perish when he dies; for he has placed his faith in something too weak to perform what he hoped and expected it to accomplish. Verse 8 A. Here, we see that deliverance of the righteous, those who perform the will of God, comes from an outside Source. B. „Is delivered‟ is a term that signifies that an outside Force is at work performing the deliverance. C. It doesn‟t say he delivers himself by his righteousness; or that his righteousness delivers him; rather, it says that he is delivered – meaning Someone or something is acting outside his influence, and on his behalf, and performing the deliverance for him. 46 D. We know that that Someone is God Himself. E. He works on behalf of those who submit to His will to intervene in otherwise hopeless situations and to deliver them when it seems there is no way out. F. The wicked, on the other hand, are left to fall by the same situations that the righteous have been delivered out of. Verse 9 A. The tongue is a powerful weapon, or instrument of good; it all depends upon the way it is wielded, they way it is used. B. Here, we find that the hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor. C. There are many ways the hypocrite employs his mouth as a weapon of destruction in people‟s lives. D. First, by deceptive flatteries and lies he draws him into destructive schemes and practices. E. Second, they lie in wait to deceive the immature child of God. F. Ephesians 4:14 puts it like this, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of me, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” G. By deceiving the naïve, the hypocrite confuses them with false doctrine and disrupts their peace, their confidence, and their spiritual growth; and can even destroy their faith so that they become unfruitful and God has to chastise them for their unfruitfulness. H. Third, they will, by hypocritical deceptions, convince the lost neighbor that salvation is by some other means than by faith in Jesus Christ, and in so doing, destroy him eternally. I. Paul gives a strong warning concerning these hypocritical deceivers in Galatians 1:8 & 9. J. He says that if anyone preaches any other gospel than that they have preached, or than that which you have received, “…let him be accursed.” K. Pretending your good and laying a trap; or pretending to be an authority and presenting a false gospel, is the work of hypocrites. L. The last part of the verse explains how we can be involved in our own deliverance from the deceptions of hypocrites. M. It says that “…through knowledge the just shall be delivered.” N. Knowledge will allow you to detect the hypocrisy and deceptions and avoid their traps. O. This kind of knowledge is derived from: knowing the word of God, the Spirit‟s application of that word, and experientially relying upon the Word of God. P. This kind of experiential knowledge is gained not only by studying and learning the word, but also by exercising ourselves in utilizing the word so that our spiritual senses are strengthened and made keen to distinguish between good and evil, and to detect deception. Q. Hebrews 5:14 puts it like this, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 47 Verse 10 A. The righteous, by the blessing of the Lord upon him, and the blessing of the Lord through him to all around him, is well spoken of and is a source of rejoicing when the blessing begins to be witnessed or experienced. B. Though wicked people who resist God and rebel against his ambassadors hate the righteous, generally speaking, people rejoice at the presence of the righteous and the blessing he brings to the city, or state, or nation. C. The wicked, though, are a source of oppression and fear, of economic misery, of social instability, and generally of those things that do not make life safer or more pleasant for those around them. D. Therefore, the wicked are only cheered as they make their exit. E. The application for each of us is clear. F. Matthew Henry says, “Let a sense of honour therefore keep us in the paths of virtue, that we may lived desired and die lamented, and not be hissed off the stage…” Verse 11 A. This verse explains why the righteous, or upright, are sources of rejoicing for the city of people. B. The city is exalted, as I said concerning Verse 10, by the blessing of the Lord upon him, and the blessing of the Lord through him to those around him. C. Exalted – def. pp. Raised to a lofty highth; elevated; honored with office or rank; extolled; magnified; refined; dignified; sublime. D. The upright, good men, are not only blessed; they are a blessing: they not only experience God‟s blessing upon their lives; they are a public blessing. E. The wicked, instead of being a public blessing, are instead a public plague. F. Their mouths corrupt the morality of the people, pervert justice, and direct in ways that bring the judgment of God down upon a city. G. So, by his mouth, by his words, the wicked can cause the city to be overthrown; either by the enemies of the city due to his foolish words spoken inappropriately; or by the judgment of God because of his foolish words that have corrupted the people and lead them into sin, inviting the judgment of God. Verses 12 & 13 A. Here, both of these verses speak to the wisdom and faithfulness (trustworthiness) of someone who holds his peace and conceals damaging information or information that has been entrusted to his confidence. B. Verse 12 says that someone who is void of wisdom despises his neighbour. C. In other words, one who just speaks whatever is on his mind, regardless of the damage it may cause, is the same as someone who intends damage by his words; his loose tongue reflects his contempt for his neighbour. D. Verse 13 explains that a talebearer is not just one who spins false yarns about someone; nor just someone who spreads all the information that is buzzing on the gossip lines. 48 E. The talebearer is also one who reveals secrets; one who cannot be trusted to keep something in confidence when it is entrusted to him. F. Verses 12 & 13 make it clear that a person of understanding, one who is of a faithful (trustworthy) spirit protects secrets entrusted to him; or secrets, that if revealed, would cause damage to someone or to some relationship. G. Proverbs 18:21a says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” H. Sometimes the wisest use of the tongue is silence. I. We are to speak the truth when we speak; but we must not speak everything we know or think, even if it is the truth. J. A talebearer, one who tells everything he knows, one who reveals damaging secrets is a danger to those around him. K. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” L. Think before you speak; make sure what you say will be with grace and will add value to the one to whom it is directed, the one it is spoken about, and those that will be affected by your words. M. Colossians 4:6a says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt…” N. Because you think you know something, does not mean you have to verbalize it. O. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Verse 14 A. No man is capable of knowing every variable and every facet of a thing. B. The wise man will surround himself with wise, trusted counselors. C. Each person brings a unique perspective to a given issue. D. This way, the one who bears the responsibility of making decisions can have the advantage of information he may not have had access to, personally. E. With the contribution of good counselors, each counselor‟s perspective can add clarification to a particular facet of the issue that must be taken into consideration, and a better decision can be made when many factors have been clarified and considered. F. But, where no counsel is available, or where no counsel is sought, we often make damaging mistakes in judgment, so much so that it can bring a fall to the people around us. G. We must seek wise, trusted counselors to lend their counsel, though. H. A foolish or false counselor can be just as damaging, or even more damaging, than no counselor at all. Verse 15 A. Surety – def. Security against loss or damage; security for payment. B. Suretiship – def. n. from surety. The state of being surety; the obligation of a person to answer for another, and make good any debt or loss which may occur from another's delinquency. 49 C. To stand good for the debt or word of someone you are not sure will come through with their promise is asking for trouble, and you will surely have it. D. Proverbs 22:26 plainly commands us not to stand good for another‟s debt; not to co-sign a loan for someone. E. It says, “Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.” F. But what if I have already co-signed; what if I have already placed myself in legal financial jeopardy? G. Proverbs 6:1 – 5 (Read) – Here, we‟re told that if we have placed ourselves in suretiship for a friend or a stranger, we are snared (trapped) with the words of our mouth. H. The instruction then, is to deliver yourself from this pledge; to “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.” until you have gotten yourself out of your pledge. I. The last part of Proverbs 11:15 makes it clear that the only surety we should stand for is to hate suretiship. Verse 16 A. There are 3 focus words in the first part of this verse: gracious, retaineth, hounour. B. Just as the strong man in the latter part of the verse guards and defends his riches so that he may retain, or keep, them; so the gracious woman, one who has the grace of God as her guide and defense, tenaciously guards and defends her honour. C. She is not willing to let her guard down for one weak moment and allow words or conduct that would diminish her honour. D. She will not allow any one to charm or beguile her into participating in activities that would diminish her honour. E. She is at once hated and admired by the women around her for the unyielding tenacity with which she guards and defends her chastity and honour. F. Though some hate her; and though some admire her, she is not moved by either, for she knows where the source of her virtue arises, and is loyal to the One Who imparts His honour to her. G. Other women mistake arrogance or a cold business like deportment for honour; but the true woman of honour is gracious, kind, and humble in her demeanor. H. The 3 focus words indicate: gracious – her tenacity in protecting her honour does not translate into hardness of heart; retaineth – though some women obtain honour, the price of retaining it is eternal vigilance, and the honourable woman is determined to maintain her honour; honour – def. Dignity; exalted rank or place; distinction. The woman of honour has distinguished herself by her virtue from other women of perhaps greater means, greater recognition, or greater position. I. The strong man, the man of strong moral fiber, is able by his wisdom and nobleness to retain true riches. 50 Verse 17 A. In the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:7, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” B. The law of sowing and reaping applies here. C. If we sow mercy, we will reap a harvest of good. D. If through mercy, one shares his resources with those who are in need, it will be given to him again: as Luke 6:38 puts it, “…good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” E. I believe this is one of the reasons this church has prospered so much financially. F. We have showed mercy to those who minister, always giving them a worthy reward for their ministry to us. G. We have institutionalized giving to those who are in need of emergency relief by establishing our Hands of Hope Ministries. H. We have shared our abundance in funding special missions projects. I. We have given as individuals to fund special ministry needs the church has. J. And because of our mercy and graciousness, I believe God has blessed us beyond our means. K. Here, in Proverbs 11:17 we find that mercy is never wasted; for it will be rewarded by the natural law of sowing and reaping, but also by the supernatural blessing of God. L. In the same way that mercy comes back to bless one, cruelty is rewarded to those who are cruel. M. James 2:13a says, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy…” N. God‟s law of sowing and reaping, and His commitment to render to every man according to his works, both favour the merciful, but stand as an ominous reminder to the cruel that his cruelty will be met with like mercilessness. Verse 18 A. The wicked are always planning and plotting behind the scenes; they conceal their true intentions until they are confident that their trap is layed; and that they have sufficient resources and opportunity to enact their evil plot. B. They work a deceitful work. C. They pretend your good, while plotting your damage. D. Often they are very adept at concealing their intentions until you have already fallen for their deception. E. Those who soweth righteousness, will reap a reward of like kind. F. Remember the law of sowing and reaping; if we sow righteousness we can reap no other harvest but one of expected good. G. We have discussed much the law of sowing and reaping in these last few verses. 51 H. This is a law that God uses to reveal the future to us. I. While we may not know exactly what will happen in our future, we can assure ourselves of a positive future by understanding that what we sow, we will also reap. J. This will also keep us encouraged during times of circumstantial reversals and setbacks. K. While things may look bleak in the immediate, we can be assured that if we remain faithful to God and His will for us, we will eventually reap the reward of our faithfulness and righteousness. L. The same holds true for the deceitful worker of wickedness. M. While he may seem to have gained an advantage by his deceptions and wickedness, he can be assured that when the harvest comes in (and it will surely come in), he will receive the harvest of what he has sown. Verse 19 A. First, we‟re told that righteousness tendeth to life – this means that those who choose righteousness follow a path that leads to life. B. How then do we know what righteousness is so that we may follow it? C. True righteousness begins with receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. D. Isaiah 64:6a says, “But we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” E. So, if we begin with our own righteousness as a base from which to work, we begin with a filthy foundation for our lives. F. But II Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” G. So, if we begin by receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we begin with perfect righteousness as our base, or foundation from which to work. H. I Corinthians 3:11 & 12a say, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” “Now if any man build upon this foundation…” I. Once the foundation of righteousness has been laid by receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, He fits you, He equips you, with the necessary abilities to pursue a life of righteous living. J. First, He removes the sin that had you in bondage and had clouded your perception of reality. K. Then, He gives you an instruction manual that teaches you what to do and what not to do, so that you might live out practical righteousness on an every day basis. L. Lastly, by the presence of His Spirit inside you, He illuminates your understanding so that you can clearly understand what His word says, what it means, and how it applies to you in your particular situations. M. By laying the proper foundation for righteousness, and then by pursuing the new lifestyle of righteousness you have received along with your salvation, your life will „tend‟ toward, or incline toward life. N. The opposite is true, however, for those who pursue evil. 52 O. Pursuing evil is a short-sighted and foolish approach to life. P. Evil, sin, can produce immediate, short-term pleasure; but never lasting satisfaction. Q. Hebrews 11:124 & 25 say, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh‟s daughter;” “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” R. So we see that sin produces an immediate, temporary season of pleasure. S. But, this pleasure is short-lived, and then the consequences of disobedience ensue. T. Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” U. The momentary pleasures of sin cannot be compared to the long-term, intense wrath that transgressing the law of God will bring to you. V. Often, because God does not immediately judge one‟s sin, he deceives himself into thinking he is in the clear from any consequences he feared. W. This, however, is self-deception. X. God is not a man that He would forget or let your sin slide. Y. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Z. Just as pursuing a life of righteousness leads one down a road that ends in life, pursuing a life of evil will inevitably cost one his life. AA. A good example of this is the drug addict or drunkard who has abused his body for many years, thinking he can continue his wickedness without having to meet the consequences of his error; only to die of an overdose or a failed body organ such as the heart, because of the accumulation of abuse he has inflicted upon himself. Verse 20 A. To understand this verse, we must understand just what the word „froward‟ means. B. Froward – def. Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; C. A forward heart is one that is unwilling to comply to God‟s word. D. A person with a forward heart is one who is ungovernable; he is rebellious and disobedient, and refuses to submit to the authority of God and His word. E. This type of person is an abomination to the Lord. F. Conversely, those who are upright in their way, meaning his method or plan of life and conduct, are not only acceptable to God, they are His delight! Verse 21 A. Though those who pursue wickedness join in league with one another as a defense against the attacks of virtue and justice, this league is neither strong enough to fend off God‟s judgment, nor obscuring enough to conceal the whereabouts of any one person from Him. 53 B. The seed of the righteous, those who have followed after righteousness, will be delivered. C. This informs us that those who live righteously will not escape all trouble, as some teach. D. Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” E. Psalm 34:17 says, “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” F. In both cases, the afflictions and the troubles of the righteous, the Lord will deliver them out of them all! G. Those are strong words that give us a sure promise we can depend upon. H. The key to having 100% deliverance is to be a righteous person. I. This is the key to having your prayers answered, also. J. James 5:16b says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Verse 22 A. Here we shift gears to a different subject. B. Discretion – def. 1. Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; C. Just as a precious golden jewel is out of place in the snout of a pig, so is a beautiful (fair) woman who is improper in her speech or conduct. D. Haven‟t you witnessed the speech or conduct of someone who otherwise looks sophisticated or classy, but whose speech or conduct dramatically dishonors them? E. As we talked about in the message on Womanhood, true beauty entails more than just nicely arranged physical features, or sophisticated attire; it also takes into account her speech, conduct, and demeanor. F. Ladies, please understand that inner beauty, that beauty of a meek and quiet spirit that pursues the Lord, is just as important as external physical beauty if you want to be a genuinely classy lady. G. I had a young man tell me one time – there are girls, there are women, and there are ladies. H. Elegance and sophistication cannot be achieved unless a woman concentrates as much on her character and manner as she does on her looks. Verse 23 A. Here we see the contrasting wishes of the righteous and the wicked. B. The righteous ONLY want good – to everyone and everything around them. C. The wicked though, look forward with eager anticipation to the day of wrath when their wrathful passions will be gratified upon their adversaries, or those they think to be their adversaries. D. Brother Roger spoke of sand castles this morning; how that some build kids them, and some kids crush them. 54 E. Here we see the differing perspectives of the righteous and the wicked. F. The righteous person does not wish evil on anyone; he is not looking forward with anticipation to the day someone will „get what they deserve‟. G. He understands that everyone needs mercy. H. Just as he himself needs the mercy of God, those who offend him need his mercy, and he is willing to offer it to his offender. I. The wicked though, see things quite differently. J. He just can‟t wait until his offender gets what‟s coming to him; disregarding the fact that he too, needs mercy from God and others. K. He has 2 sets of rules: one for himself, and one for others. L. He fails to see his own shortcomings, but is quick to point out the shortcomings of others, and quick to judge that if someone has sinned and is suffering the consequences, he is only getting what he deserves. M. The righteous are God‟s lights, lighting the way for those who have fallen to the way to recover; lighting the way for those who have fallen on hard times to the way to rise above them; and lighting the way for the lost to find the Hope of eternal life. Verses 24, 25 & 28 A. These 2 verses speak of God‟s law of sewing and reaping, and how it plays out in the lives of people. B. Verse 24 explains that one who scattereth, seeming to diminish his store of reserves, actually increaseth; contrary to what would appear to happen. C. On the other hand, one who withholdeth more than is meet (fit, suitable, proper), greedily thinking to increase his store of reserves; actually experiences the opposite affect; he withholds too much, and by doing so, ends up in poverty. D. How can these things be? E. Don‟t common sense dictate that the more one keeps, the more he will have; and the more one scatters, or disperses, the less he will have? F. From a mere human perspective that would appear to be the case. G. But, God, unwilling to be disregarded by man, has set up a law that produces just the opposite affect. H. God, being a generous giver, designs that we also be generous givers. I. He knows that man left to his sinful nature, will never be willing to sacrifice and give unless there is a built in „show and tell‟ principle that teaches him that giving pays off, and greed costs. J. Thus, God has instituted the law of sowing and reaping. K. Let‟s look at it: II Corinthians 9:6 says, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” L. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” M. This law of sowing and reaping forces man to acknowledge that truly God is in charge of the affairs of man; for the law of sowing sparingly and reaping 55 sparingly, and sowing bountifully and reaping bountifully, is only administered by God. N. Therefore we must conclude, that God is involved in the affairs of our day to day business, and rewards us according to our generosity, or lack thereof. O. Verse 25 concludes this teaching by focusing on the positive. P. It says that the liberal soul shall be made fat; meaning that God Himself will personally be the cause of the generous person being made to increase. Q. God will be the One Who waters those who water others. R. Verse 28 summarizes this spiritual principle. S. But isn‟t this a hard financial principle? T. No! God is interested in developing a generous, sacrificial disposition in us. U. By utilizing something as common as money; and something as tangible as our material and financial resources, He makes His will simple to understand and easy to follow. V. Verse 28 lets us know that those who are greedily clinging to more than they should are trusting in their riches more than in God; and will suffer the consequences of that misplaced trust. W. The reverse of the one who trusts in his riches, is one who is righteous; informing us that trusting in one‟s wealth, exhibited by greed, is in essence wickedness that will be met with the chastisement or judgment of God. Verse 26 A. Here we learn that greed also generates ill will from those who are being defrauded by the greedy one. B. Conversely, those who conduct their business dealings with honor and equity will be blessed by the people around them; they will have benefit desired, intended, and spoken over them by those with whom they have to do. Verse 27 A. Diligently – def. adv. With steady application and care; B. Those who steadily apply themselves with great care to determining what is good and doing it, procure (get, gain, obtain) favour – from God and from those around them. C. Those who give themselves to cultivating mischief in their lives, shall have that same mischief they have determined against God and those around them, returned to them. Verse 29 A. How would you like to gather with the other descendants of a wealthy relative; anxiously awaiting as the will is read, to see just what part of his wealth has been left to you. B. As you sit expectantly, dreaming of the nice things you will be able to purchase with your new found windfall, your name is read and these words are heard, “John Doe, to you I bequeath only the wind that cooled my face.” C. Your time attending the reading would have been a total waste. 56 D. What good is something you cannot see, hold, sell, or even control? E. This is the inheritance of someone who troubles his own house. F. Someone who by his words, disposition, or conduct, troubles his own family, will eventually lose that family, and be left with only the wind that cooled their faces. G. Proverbs 14:1, speaking specifically of the woman, though our scripture in Chapter 11 would include male or female, says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” H. So, lady, or sir, are you building your home; are you blessing and increasing the welfare of your family by your words, your attitude, and your actions; or, are you destroying your family by your own choices and actions? I. The fool who thinks himself smarter than everyone else; especially those who faithfully warn him concerning his errors; will one day serve those who he considered fools, but who were in reality, wise of heart. Verse 30 A. The fruit of the righteous, which which his life and efforts produces, is a tree of life: a tree that just continues to produce life…on, and on, and on. B. The only eternal tangible thing you can take with you into heaven, is another person. C. Here, we‟re told that “…he that winneth souls is wise.” D. We here at PCBC want to be wise individuals; we want to be a wise church. E. I like what Brother Roger said this morning about Hands of Hope Ministries: though this ministry is a ministry established to meet the tangible needs of individuals, our great concern, regardless of the nature of the ministry we are involved in, must always be the eternal salvation of men and women, boys and girls. F. Nothing rises to the level of importance of winning souls: this is the great and most pressing goal of this church. G. Everything else takes second place to this endeavor. H. Everything a Christian does in life; whether at work, at school, in his family, in his neighborhood, in his social activities, should be viewed as an opportunity to make an impression on someone concerning their eternity. I. May we at PCBC ever be alert to opportunities to talk to someone about their eternal soul. Verse 31 A. In this verse we learn that God recompenses the righteous while they are still in this present world. B. Certainly, our greatest recompense, or reward, will be when we enter eternity and the glorious place Jesus is preparing for us. C. But, while we are here in this present world, we can expect to be rewarded for our faithfulness to Him and to His word. D. We‟re told though, that just as the righteous are rewarded here, the wicked and the sinner will be rewarded here much more. 57 E. In other words, the wicked and the sinner will be rewarded here even more so than the righteous are. F. Righteousness not only pays off in eternity, it pays off here, as well. G. Likewise, wickedness and sin will not only reap a devastating reward in eternity, it will also be rewarded before you reach eternity. H. So, if you are considering just enjoying yourself until you reach eternity, living in sin and wickedness, think again. I. It won‟t even pay off here! J. The words ‘shall be recompensed’ indicate it is God Who is doing the recompensing, or rewarding; to the righteous, but also to the wicked and the sinner. K. This reward doesn‟t only come as naturally resulting benefits of righteousness, or naturally resulting consequences for wickedness and sin; it comes as a direct imposition of God. 58 Proverbs Chapter 12 Verse 1 A. Here we‟re told that the one loving instruction loveth knowledge. B. This means the acquisition of knowledge comes through instruction (1. The act of teaching or informing the understanding in that of which it was before ignorant; information.). C. Instruction includes informing the understanding with information relating to the character, attitude, and conduct of the one being instructed. D. Instruction provides information that imparts and/or increases knowledge; but the purpose of instruction is to impart knowledge that will shape the character, attitude, and conduct. E. Instruction is not just imparting information for knowledge‟s sake alone; but so that the additional knowledge gained will equip the one being instructed to do what he is being instructed to do. F. Instruction then, would include information and urging particular changes or adjustments in lifestyle; which means that reproof would be included. G. Instruction teaches what is acceptable to God and what must be done to rectify what has been discovered to be in conflict with the will of God. H. Therefore, those who hate the reproof that instruction brings, are brutish (a. Like a brute or beast; as a brutish form. 1. Insensible; stupid; as brutish men. 2. Unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal. 3. Gross; carnal; bestial. 4. Ignorant; uncivilized; untaught.) I. It is by instruction that we learn how to make the necessary corrections and adjustments required to realign our lives with the will of God; and that improvements and progress in our spiritual growth occurs. J. In the great commission in Matthew 28:20, Jesus said that after one is saved and baptized, we are to teach “…them to observe all thing whatsoever I have commanded you…” K. This is what we call the discipling process. L. We teach by our verbal instruction; but also by our non-verbal instruction – our character, attitudes, and actions being modeled before the new disciple. M. This modeling is called mentoring; and is an important communication method in the discipling process. 59 N. New converts need to know intellectually what the word of God says is acceptable, and what it says is unacceptable; but they also need to see it demonstrated in practical every day experiences of life. O. This way, they are taught by show and tell. Verse 2 A. A simple principle is stated here: if you want the Lord‟s favor on you, your life, and your work, obey His word. B. If you refuse to obey His word, do not expect His favor, for you will not be accepted on the basis of your personhood or status. C. God‟s acceptance or condemnation of the individual is based solely upon that individual‟s willingness to obey the word of God concerning his particular situation, i.e. – if he is lost or saved. Verse 3 A. Those who think to be established (pp. Set; fixed firmly; founded;) by their wicked choices and actions will be disappointed; it will not happen. B. Just when they appear to have solidified themselves in the position or thing they have wickedly acquired or accomplished, they are uprooted by something they usually had never foreseen would occur; something they had never counted on happening. C. The righteous, though, shall not be moved regardless of what assaults their stability. D. The reason for their unmoveableness is the strong, deep root system of righteousness that holds them in place even when the storms of life rage hard against them. E. A strong, tall tree is designed and built by God to withstand incredible gusts of wind; yet, it, too, can only stand if it has a strong, deep root system to anchor it in place in the midst of stormy winds. F. Often, after a tornado or some strong wind, we see footage on TV of trees that have not been broken, but that have been uprooted; indicating the design of the tree was not the problem, but the weak, shallow root system had cost the tree its life. G. It is much the same way with people. H. Those who dig deep and anchor their root system on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ need never fear being uprooted by any storm that comes. I. Ephesians 3:16 – 19 (Read) – How can one be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man? J. By being rooted and grounded in love. K. Verse 19 – How can one know something that passeth, or exceedeth, or is beyond knowledge? L. One can only know something that is beyond knowledge by experience; giving him experiential knowledge, though there is not enough comprehension capability in man‟s intellect to wrap his understanding around this kind of divine knowledge. 60 M. This kind of knowledge is obtained only by being rooted and grounded in love, thereby imparting to him, by experience, the knowledge of the love of Christ which surpasses his capability to comprehend it with his mind. N. By this rooting and grounding in the love of Christ one is made to be filled with all the fullness of God. O. This is the way the fruit of the Spirit begins to be evident in his life. Verse 4 A. Here we transition to the subject of virtuous womanhood. B. We‟re told that a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband; she adds 4. Honor; splendor; dignity. to him. C. The wife that makes ashamed, embarrasses or disgraces her husband, is just like cancer of the bones. D. The marrow of the bones is the inner part of the bones which form 2. The essence; the best part. E. So, the wife that makes her husband ashamed, or dishonors him, is like rottenness or cancer that eats away and destroys the best part of that man. Verse 5 A. The thought life is where the attitudes and actions are formulated. B. Those with a righteous heart, a heart that is aligned with the will and word of God, always formulates right, good, virtuous attitudes and actions. C. The counsels (5. In a bad sense, evil advice or designs; art; machination.) of the wicked are deceit; designs of deception, with the intent of treachery. Verse 6 A. Just as the counsels, or designs, of the wicked are for deception, so the words of the wicked are to do harm to the innocent by setting an unsuspected ambush for him. B. The mouth of the upright will often counteract the determinations of the wicked by exposing their evil plots; thereby, effectively defeating their diabolical schemes. Verse 7 A. Again, we see that the wickedness of the wicked will not bring him success; but will instead, bring him ruin. B. Also, again we see that the foundation of the righteous will cause him to stand. Verse 8 A. Certainly we know that God distinguishes between the wicked and the righteous when issuing commendations or expressing His disapproval. B. But, men do the same. C. Those who act in wisdom will advance; will be promoted, and move higher. 61 D. Those who are perverse, while being extolled by others who are wicked, will be despised by those who seek the good of the community of people. Verse 9 A. In this verse we find that popularity is not the most important prize. B. Popularity ebbs and flows; and those who honor themselves find little virtue and benefit from their self-serving promotion of themselves. C. It is better to pursue things that are not so fleeting or so volatile as popularity; things that provide real benefit, regardless of whether we are popular or despised. D. There is no greater example of this principle than what we talked about last week. E. We said that our goal should not be to be liked; but to be right, whether we are liked for it or not. Verse 10 A. What does the word of God say concerning animal rights? B. Well, we know how extreme the animal rights activists can be. C. However, the word of God does address this important issue. D. Here, it says that a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast. E. In other words, he considers the feelings and welfare of his animal; being careful to treat that animal with kindness and understanding. F. To think an animal is capable of understanding more that it is, is to become cruel when it does not obey a command one thinks it should. G. We must be careful to treat our animals with gentle consideration; remembering their limited ability to understand and follow directions. H. We must understand how dependent they are on our provision and our protection as well. I. Wicked people, on the other hand, have little mercy to extend to their animals. J. Their tender mercies, it says, are cruel; how much more are their anger and hostility cruel. K. God carefully regards the way we treat our animals, remembering and rewarding us according to the type of treatment we render unto them. Verse 11 A. Here we see 2 contrasting approaches to generating income. B. On the one hand, we see an industrious person; on who tilleth his land. C. This is one who takes advantage of the opportunities God has afforded him to generate income for himself and his family. D. On the other hand, we see one who approaches generating income by attempting to circumvent the system; following vain persons, thinking he can get around having to work for his living; thinking rather that he can find a way to generate income in a quicker, easier way. E. Get rich quick schemes are plentiful. 62 F. These usually end up costing those who attempt to generate income by them, instead of producing the quick, easy income they think they will. G. Proverbs 28:22 says, “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” H. Review “Gambling” treatise to gain an in-depth understanding of the error of gambling. Verse 12 A. The wicked desire to be equipped with all the tools, devices, and deceptions that evil men use to entrap, to ensnare unsuspecting, unguarded, and vulnerable people who they feel can be taken advantage of. B. They focus their energy and activities on procuring these tools of their trade in order that they might exploit people by them; rather than acquiring skills and tools that they might use in investing in people to enhance their lives. C. The root of the righteous, on the other hand, provides the means for them to absorb character building nutrients that will inevitably result in righteous fruit in their lives. D. The difference in the wicked and the righteous is what they choose to sink the roots of their lives in, and what they invest their time and focus doing. Verse 13 A. The wicked thinks to be the master of his own destiny; considering himself to be wiser than his victims, and thinking to have covered all the bases to protect himself from resulting consequences. B. The one thing he fails to take into account though is that God rules in the affairs of men. C. In Daniel, Chapter 4 King Nebuchadnezzar has dreamed a dream and is telling it to Daniel, who he has renamed Belteshazzar, a Babylonian name. D. In Verse 17 as he describes his dream, he says this, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men…” E. So, having overlooked this detail, he miscalculates his ability to control all the variables associated with his wicked words, and cluelessly finds himself trapped by his own words as God gets actively involved in exposing him and turning the tables on him. F. The just, on the other hand, will be holpen by the help that God will send his way because he has remained faithful, and God will not leave him to fall into traps laid by the wicked. G. Psalm 112:4a says, “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness…” Verse 14 A. Here we find the Old Testament principle of the New Testament law of sowing and reaping. B. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 63 C. This law of sowing and reaping stated in the New Testament is not a new concept. D. The same law, though stated just a little differently, was in force in the Old Testament as we see in this verse. E. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” F. The Lord has not changed, and as we see here concerning this law of like recompense for a man‟s words or actions, neither has his laws and principles of living for man. Verse 15 A. A fool is unwilling to listen to alternative views or advice; especially if they contradict his intentions. B. He is always right; regardless of what any one says to the contrary. C. A fool can never be corrected, for his pride will not allow him to admit error. D. Those who are willing, and even eager, to receive counsel that they might have more information so they can have a clearer perspective, are the antithesis of fools. E. They are wise; for no one knows everything, or can see from every perspective. F. Thus, any additional light someone else may be able to share on the issue being considered adds to the wise man‟s knowledge and provides an enhanced volume of information that will aid him in possibly making a better decision. Verse 16 A. A fool is quickly angered, and immediately reacts in rage without waiting to see if he has complete and accurate information. B. Therefore, his wrath is presently known. C. He is marked as a fool because he reacts so quickly; but also because he is unable to control his anger and wrath. D. A prudent man keeps himself under control; even in antagonistic situations that have produced unwarranted shame, pain, or difficulty. E. Therefore, his shame is not exposed for public scrutiny. F. Prudent – def. Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; G. Prudent, or cautious people look before they leap, so to speak. H. They consider the consequences before taking action; which allows them to avoid unnecessary negative consequences experienced by those who are quick to react. Verse 17 A. Here, we are told that he that speaks truth sheweth forth righteousness; in other words, reveals the core nature of the one speaking, which is that his nature is righteous. 64 B. The liar, the false witness, though, reveals the deceit within the core nature of the one speaking the lie. C. In other words, one‟s words expose the content of his heart. D. In Matthew 12:24 Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Verse 18 A. Here we see the danger of a cruel tongue; and the healing power of the tongue of a wise man. B. Proverbs 18:21a says, “”Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” C. Our tongues can be used as weapons or medicine; we make the choice of which one it will be. Verse 19 A. Here we see the power of truth; and the durability of the lip that speaks it. B. We also see the expendability of falsehood and the tongue that perpetrates it. Verse 20 A. Evil imaginations protrude from deceptive hearts. B. Imagination – def. 1. Conception; image in the mind; idea. 2. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device. 3. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion. C. In Genesis, Chapter 6, the condition of human character had deteriorated so completely, that God decided to destroy man with a great flood. D. In Verse 5, the word of God describes man‟s condition at that time like this, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” E. Evil imaginations, or images of the mind, are formed in the heart of man. F. Sadly, the heart is a deceptive place; even to those who think they know their own heart. G. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” H. The ability of the heart to deceive is remarkable; and is only revealed by the imaginations of wickedness it produces. I. Those who choose to counsel peace, or to offer words that make or lend peace, find that offering them produces personal peace. J. The reason is that God has designed life to only yield peace to man when it is lived as He designed it to be. K. When we use our minds to devise evil, imagining evil because we allow our hearts to be filled with it, we find no peace; for hostility only generates more and greater hostility. L. But, when we choose, by the act of our will, to become a peacemaker, the automatic built-in result will be that that practice will yield peace to the peacemaker, as well as to the one, or ones, he has spoken peace to. 65 M. Isaiah 57:20 & 21 state it plainly, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Verse 21 A. Evil has about 3 meanings – the commission of sin, difficulty, and penal evil (punishment). B. This verse does not mean that the just, or righteous, will not experience difficulty; for in John 16:33 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” C. Neither does it mean the just will never sin again after he is saved, for I John 1:8 & 9, speaking to the Christian, say, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” D. The evil spoken of here is penal evil, punishment; meaning that the just, those who have been justified from their sin, will not experience punishment for their sin, for their punishment was inflicted upon Christ Who withstood their punishment for them. E. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” F. This brings us to another issue – the distinction between chastisement and punishment. G. Here is the distinction: (1) Punishment – Any pain or suffering inflicted upon a person for a crime or offense for the sole purpose of retribution. (2) Chastisement – Any pain or suffering inflicted upon a person for the purpose of correcting the continuing error; or preventing another error from occurring. H. Children of God will never experience penal evil, punishment; but all children of God will experience the pain of chastisement. I. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” J. Verse 8 of Hebrews, Chapter 12 says, “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” K. What we often call punishment from God, for the child of God, is in reality not punishment, but chastisement; for it is intended not as a payback, but as a corrective measure. L. I Corinthians 11:31 & 32 clarify what I‟ve just said, that the lost who die lost will experience everlasting punishment; but the child of God will experience chastisement, so as not to have to be numbered among those who will experience eternal punishment. M. They say this, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” 66 N. So, simply stated, the just, the saved, will never experience penal evil, punishment. O. They will however, experience chastisement. P. Punishment is eternal; but chastisement is confined to this present life. Q. Punishment will never end; but chastisement will end when we exit this present life, either by rapture or death; if it does not end prior to that. R. The wicked, though, will be filled with the mischief he imagined, designed, and perpetrated. S. This mischief will follow him into eternity where he will experience the horror of eternal punishment that can never be escaped. Verse 22 A. Our words are important, and God takes note of all of them. B. Our words can justify us before God; or, they can condemn us before Him. C. In Matthew 12:37 Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. D. In Matthew 12:34 – 36 Jesus explains the reason words carry so much weight, before He gives his concluding statement in Verse 37 that we just read. E. Matthew 12:34 – 36 say this, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” F. You see, it is from the reservoir of the heart that words emerge. G. Thus, we can understand why Jesus said in Verse 37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” H. Because our words reveal the content of the heart, lying words reveal deceit in the heart; and are therefore an abomination to God, because God loves truth. I. Likewise, true words reveal an affinity to truth in the heart of those who are careful to make sure their words are true; and are therefore a delight to the Lord who loves truth. Verse 23 A. Is it wrong to reveal the knowledge you have? B. Not at the proper time, in the proper way, and for the proper reasons. C. A prudent man doesn‟t have to make sure everyone knows he knows all he knows. D. In other words, he doesn‟t weigh in on every issue, as if he had to set everyone straight on every issue discussed. E. He contains his knowledge until there is a need for it to be contributed. F. Because one has knowledge does not mean he has to express it continually. 67 G. Usually those who utter all their mind, seek to present themselves as superior because of their supposed superior level of knowledge; when in fact, they expose themselves for the chattering fools they really are. H. The hear of fools speak whatever is on their minds. I. They, thinking they must have an opinion and that it must be expressed on every topic discussed, usually contribute fragmented, incomplete, incoherent, and unconnected ideas. J. Thinking they are impressing people with their vast body of knowledge, they reveal themselves to be the blabbering fools they are. Verse 24 A. Prudent – def. Steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent; B. A prudent man, one who is industrious and faithful to his assigned duties, will always increase and be promoted to higher levels. C. He takes great care to perform his duties, exercising the highest standards he is capable of producing. D. Often, when he is excelling, those around him, because of their willful negligence in their duties, despise him and criticize or harass him. E. But, even in the midst of their persecution for his diligence, he faithfully carries our his responsibilities. F. He proves through time and tests he is dependable and skillful; and because of his superior character, often finds promotions being offered to him. G. This infuriates his critics even more; but does not deter him from accepting promotions that present him with greater responsibilities, and allow him greater opportunities to impact more lives positively. H. The slothful, the lazy, on the other hand, while ridiculing and persecuting the diligent, find themselves slipping farther and farther down the ladder of success, and often end up under the authority of those they have persecuted. Verse 25 A. Here we see the importance of offering encouraging and uplifting words. B. Heaviness, often caused by negative circumstances, makes a persons heart to stoop – to bend low; to hang down, as a weeping willow. C. But, when a good word is introduced to the stooping heart, a remarkable transformation takes place. D. The stooping heart immediately makes a 180* turn; and becomes glad, as the heaviness seems to just dissipate with the power of a positive comment. E. Haven‟t you been having a bad day, with everything seeming to go wrong, when out of nowhere someone speaks a cheerful positive word into your discouragement; and an immediate change occurs? F. You are then lifted above the circumstances that seem to be dragging you down into them. G. A good word at a bad time is like a healing balm applied to a putrid sore. 68 Verse 26 A. The righteous, being more excellent than his neighbor, is able to rise above the opposing or irritating efforts of his neighbor to discourage him. B. When his neighbor strikes out at him, with words, ideas, actions, court actions, treachery, or just out of frustration because things are going bad for him; the righteous is able to rise above these things and not respond in kind. C. Instead, he treats him with the same consistent, positive manner he usually does. D. In doing so, his neighbor can see that what drives him, is far different than the natural passions that seem to control him, and that are usually driven by the circumstances of the moment. E. In seeing the difference, often the Spiritually righteous find an opportunity to witness about the righteousness they have received from the Lord, and offer their neighbor the opportunity to receive it as well. F. The wicked though, instead of providing a hopeful model for their neighbor, look for ways to seduce them into becoming involved in the same wickedness they are involved in. G. Instead of becoming a blessing to their neighbor, they become an instrument of destruction to him. Verse 27 A. Do you notice how lazy people never have anything; or never maintain anything in good order. B. You could give a slothful or lazy person a Rolls Royce and in a short period of time it would look like a dilapidated old rusted out Chevy. C. Why? D. Because they have no initiative to take care of anything they have, regardless of how expensive or important it is. E. They have no initiative to better themselves; and when someone feels sorry for them and tries to help them to rise above their circumstances, they don‟t have enough initiative to seize the opportunity offered them. F. They don‟t appreciate what they have, or try to maintain it in good order. G. The diligent man though, appreciates what he has, and is careful to take good care of it. H. A diligent man can take far less than a slothful man, and appear to be much more prosperous because of how he carefully maintains it. I. An item far inferior and less expensive than what a slothful man may own, will last the diligent man far longer, for he takes good care of it. J. It all has to do with the state of the heart concerning the substance a person is blessed with. K. Does one appreciate what he has been blessed with; or, is he unappreciative of his material blessings? L. The answer will determine whether he is diligent or slothful; and the result will be blessing or poverty. 69 Verse 28 A. Death is a result of sin. B. Death comes to many things and people. C. Marriages die; relationships die; businesses die; ministries die; opportunities die; privileges die; countries die; people die; all because of unrighteousness. D. But, where righteousness reigns, there is no death; only prosperity and expansion. E. The contrast is stark; and the benefits or consequences clear. F. We have many choices in life. G. When we choose righteousness as the way we will approach an opportunity, we will find that it will always end in life and blessing. H. If we choose unrighteousness as the way we will approach an opportunity, we can always expect the death of something or someone. I. We must be careful to weigh the options when we are presented with a choice concerning any given issue. J. Once we have considered the options available to us, if we wish life and blessing, we must choose righteousness, regardless of how unpopular or boring the choice may appear. 70 Proverbs Chapter 13 Verse 1 A. God has established the father as the primary trainer of his family, as I have preached before. B. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” C. Our verse here in Proverbs assumes the father is fulfilling that role; that he is teaching and training his son according to the principles of scripture. D. The wise son, it says, heareth his father‟s instruction; meaning he not only listens with his ears, but that he also heeds the instruction given. E. The wise son hears with his heart; listening to his father‟s instruction intently, desiring to learn what is being taught, to the end he might obey it and put it to use in his life. F. Scorner – def. A scoffer; a derider; in Scripture, one who scoffs at religion, its ordinances and teachers, and who makes a mock of sin and the judgments and threatenings of God against sinners. G. The scorner, the scoffer, the one who mocks at serious matters, refuses to hear, or heed, rebuke. H. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” I. You see, a scorner is often a know-it-all who refuses to listen to good advice, especially if it contradicts his actions or intentions. J. A wise man is one given to wisdom, and appreciates any wisdom he can garner, even if it means he must be corrected. K. The quality that determines if one will become wise or foolish, is his willingness to accept instruction and rebuke. Verse 2 A. Proverbs 10:21a says, “The lips of the righteous feed many…” B. In other words, as we have learned in Matthew 12:34, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” C. Thus, the righteous man that feeds others with his mouth out of the good treasure he has laid up in his heart, will by the same words eat good himself. D. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” E. So, God repays us according to the way we distribute our resources. F. The same is true with our words. 71 G. The soul of the transgressors shall receive, or eat, the violence they intend and perpetrate upon others; for, again, it is returned to them like the good words are repaid to those who issue them. Verse 3 A. The principle stated in this verse applies in many ways. B. One who cannot keep his mouth shut will inevitably set a trap for himself and be caught in it. C. He can generate destruction for himself by starting something he cannot stop or clean up. D. James 3:5 & 6 say, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” E. Another way to set yourself a trap with your mouth is to promise something out of haste that will entrap you and bring damage to you. F. Proverbs 6:1 & 2 say, “My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou has stricken thy hand with a stranger,” “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” G. Ecclesiastes 5:4 & 5 say, “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.” “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” H. Another way to bring damage to yourself is to disclose private information you have been entrusted with. I. Proverbs 11:13 says, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” J. Proverbs 20:19 says, “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” K. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” L. A talebearer‟s wounds are deep wounds indeed. M. So, as you can see, there are many ways a person can let his mouth get him into trouble; and many ways he can cause trouble for others with his mouth. N. The wise person will learn to keep his mouth shut; and open it only when it is helpful to do so. Verse 4 A. The sluggard, one who is lazy and sluggish, has the same desires that others have; but their desires go unfulfilled because they are unwilling to do anything to produce the resources necessary to meet their desires. B. They are consumers, but rarely, or never, producers. C. Those who are diligent, on the other hand, work hard and have the blessing of God added to their work, so that they are able to procure their needs and desires because of their efforts and God‟s blessings. 72 D. The sluggard, the lazy person, always finds an excuse not to do what he knows he is responsible to do; no matter how lame that excuse may be. E. Proverbs 22:13 lists one of these lame excuses. It says, “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” F. Proverbs 21:25 & 26a say, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.” “He coveteth greedily all the day long…” G. The pronounced contrast between the sluggard, or lazy man, and the diligent man is clearly portrayed here. Verse 5 A. Here, we see the difference between the nature of the righteous man and the wicked man. B. The very nature of a righteous man is to despise falsehood; but the nature of the wicked man is loathsome (disgusting, detestable), and will bring him to open shame; shame that others will witness; all because of the wicked nature that guides his life. Verse 6 A. Here we see that righteousness, a commitment to right living, living a principled life directed by the precepts laid out in scripture, acts as a guide to steer us and keep us in the way. B. The word of God is that steering wheel; which, if a man commit to following its prescriptions, will keep him in the way. C. II Timothy 3:16, that I often quote, describes the steering mechanism of the word of God, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” D. Righteousness then, a commitment to following these guidelines, allows us to be steered, whether we are going the correct way or are turning aside, so that we always safely end up moving in the right direction, on the right road. E. Wickedness, though, is a prescription for disaster; for it will overthrow the sinner. F. It will be his downfall; for sin must be supported on all sides in order to prop up a dishonest way, and when it is exposed and reaches its conclusion, that conclusion is always damage and destruction. Verse 7 A. Remember Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” B. Making ourselves rich at the expense of others, or at the expense of violating the principles of scripture, is a sure prescription for financial ruin. C. God oversees our personal economies. D. When we operate according to the principles of scripture, his blessing is added to our acts. 73 E. But, when we operate our financial lives by violating scripture, he makes sure what we do will not prosper. F. He is the overseer of our financial lives, and when we think ourselves to be the masters of our own destinies concerning our finances, we fool ourselves and bring financial poverty upon ourselves. G. Proverbs 11:24 says, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” H. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” I. Here, again, we see the hand of God intervening to impose His will in our financial lives. J. This is the problem with gambling; 3 problems that play into this scenario: (1) The difference between investment and scheme (2) The difference between trusting God and trusting luck or our own prowess (3) The difference between profiting with others and profiting from others K. Much is said in scripture about money and the way we handle it. L. God is generous by nature, and expects those who name His name to be the same. M. When we operate by the principle of generosity, and putting others before ourselves, He blesses our finances. N. This doesn‟t mean we will not experience financial difficulties; but it does mean God will work in our difficulties to make a way for us. O. Psalm 112:4a says, “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness…” P. So, though the generous person experiences financial difficulties, these difficulties are not his financial undoing; for God will cause a way to emerge in the midst of his difficulties. Q. The covetous hoarder though, will not be delivered from the financial reversals he encounters. R. God will use his deficits to teach him the importance of ministering to those in need; for he will experience acute need himself, and will be able to relate to their plight. Verse 8 A. “The ransom of a man‟s life are his riches…” has a number of implications. B. First, the apparent indication is that, naturally speaking, those of wealth have means to redeem themselves when threatened with harm by man, by hunger, or by ill health. C. Another indication is that riches attract the attention of thieves and robbers, and one‟s riches serve only to redeem, or purchase, his life from destruction. D. The counter to this indication is that had he not had riches, he would not have been a target of robbers to begin with. E. “…the poor heareth not rebuke.” Also has a couple of implications. F. First, the poor are poor and remain so because they refuse to heed rebuke when the rebuke would alert them to the cause of their poverty, affording them an opportunity to escape it. 74 G. But also, there is the implication that because of their poverty, the poor will not experience the rebuke of those who target wealthier individuals for exploitation to steal their wealth. H. The poor will not hear this type of rebuke. I. Neither will the poor in spirit hear the rebuke that often accompanies great natural wealth, for that wealth causes me often to err from the way of righteousness and invites the rebuke of God for doing so. J. Neither will the poor is spirit hear the rebuke of God in eternity, for instead of material goods, he has made his God his strong tower and source of protection. Verse 9 A. A light is fueled by its source. B. The light of the righteous, fueled by righteousness that remains and cannot be extinguished, has an eternal source of power that will not allow the light of the righteous to ever be extinguished; but will instead be an eternal source of rejoicing. C. Hebrews 12:11, talking about chastening, says that it does not seem to be joyous in the present, but that “…afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…” D. In John 15:16, Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” E. So, the fruit of righteousness is the kind of fruit the life produces that remains forever, and is a constant, never-ending source of light that brings continual rejoicing to those whose lives produce it. F. The lamp of the wicked is altogether different; for it will be put out, extinguished. G. Remember, a light is fueled by its source; so the lamp producing the light of the wicked is wickedness; and wickedness will have an end. H. Therefore, the lamp of the wicked will experience an end; it will be extinguished. Verse 10 A. ONLY by pride cometh contention… B. This is a very clear and direct statement concerning the source of contention. C. Contention – def. 1. Strife; struggle; 2. Strife in words or debate; quarrel; angry contest; controversy. D. The source of ALL contention (strife, struggle, quarrel) is pride. E. It is ALWAYS someone‟s pride that refuses to be appeased; or that causes him to be unwilling to relent; and because of this, contention is spawned. F. Proverbs 22:10 says, “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” G. The way, then, to eliminate contention is to remove the source of that contention, the scorner with the prideful heart. 75 H. Until he is removed, the contention and strife and reproach will continue; for it is his pride that generates the scorning that fuels the contention. I. Pride prevents the prideful from accepting advice or reproof; for no one is going to tell him what to do. J. But, those who are wise, are well advised; are willing to accept advice, reproof, correction, and instruction. K. Therefore, their willingness to hear advise, especially from scripture, develops them into wise individuals who are willing to submit, to relent, to accept what is right, even if it means acquiescing to someone else‟s idea or instruction. L. Thus, those who receive advice are well advised, and have wisdom. Verse 11 A. Wealth acquired by vanity (n. L. vanitas, from vanus, vain. 1. Emptiness;) shall be diminished. B. The words „shall be diminished‟ indicate there will be an outside force acting to assure that wealth obtained by vain means will be reduced. C. Wealth gotten by vanity would include: (1) by illegal or immoral means – such as theft, drug sales, or prostitution (2) by circumventing God‟s plan of working for money – such as gambling (3) such as by excessive borrowing (4) such as withholding the tithe from God to increase your personal net worth (5) such as using the ministry as a means of gaining excessive wealth (6) such as gaining wealth by consulting evil spirits (7) Do you have others? D. Let‟s read Proverbs 20:21. E. Here, we find that trying to get money more quickly than just working to produce a consistent stream of income, may seem to have allowed us to circumvent God‟s system; but when all is said and done, we will have in reality done so to our own loss. F. The opposite side of this coin states that “…he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” G. When we simply follow God‟s prescription of generating income, we will find that He will prosper our efforts. Verse 12 A. Here we find that when we hope for something, and the realization of that hope is delayed, it serves to sicken our hearts; to make us disappointed, discouraged, and depressed. B. But, when the hope is finally realized, it serves to resurrect the life that was sapped by the unfulfilled desire. C. There are many ways we could approach this issue; but the one I‟d like to explore is this: 76 D. When someone lacks the resources, knowledge, or opportunity to realize his life‟s dream; and someone comes along who will take interest in that person, and help him by providing the resources or training; or by helping connect him to the opportunity necessary to fulfill his dream; that person becomes an instrument to infuse life and rejoicing into a life where there once only existed hopelessness. E. You and I have that privilege; to become difference makers, life givers, rejoicing infusers, to people who have no hope otherwise of fulfilling their life‟s calling. F. You and I have seen how God can take a little mountain church that, to the rest of the world, is a non issue; and provide the resources and opportunity that makes that tiny church a major player on the world scene. G. He can do the same in the life of an individual. H. But, just like the little church, He uses individuals who envision a greater purpose for that individual than just to help them survive to another day; individuals that pursue that vision to the degree they invest themselves in being God‟s instruments to fulfill it. I. When we take such interest in someone‟s life; someone who would otherwise end up being a nobody; we can become the difference maker that God uses to connect him to the means necessary for him to fulfill his God-given calling; and we can be the instrument that launches him higher than even he would ever have dreamed he could go. J. Don‟t you want to become someone‟s launcher; to launch an otherwise forgotten, and insignificant life into a realm larger than life? K. Hope deferred is a heart-sickening experience; but when someone comes along that is the instrument of hope, life revives, and, like the growth of a tree, expansion occurs! Verse 13 A. In this verse we see the importance of God‟s word to our survival. B. First, from a practical perspective, God specifies what will keep us safe, give us a sure path, and cause us to prosper along our way. C. He also warns of what will cause damage to us; and what will even destroy us. D. Those who heed the word, have a sure guide to protect and prosper them. E. Those however, who refuse the instruction of scripture, have chosen a path of foolish and reckless living that will eventually end in destruction; because they have disregarded the advice of the One Who knows how to do life. F. Second, God honors His word by blessing those who honor it as well. G. Those who dishonor and disregard His word, will feel the sting of His judgment for doing so. H. So, as in many other things, there is a natural and a spiritual protection afforded those who regard the word of God; but there is a natural and a spiritual danger for those who disregard it. Verse 14 77 A. Let me give you a sister verse in the New Testament. B. Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” C. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, to those who are wise enough to receive it by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives, “…shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14b) D. He then, shall not taste death, “…but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24b) Verse 15 A. A good understanding in natural and civil matters gives a man favour among men; and a good understanding in divine and spiritual matters gives a man favour in the sight of God. B. Convexly, those who practice transgression walk a hard way among men; for no man trusts or favours them; and they also walk a hard way before God, for His chastisement is upon them, as well as the guilt of their transgressions that pursue them, and are ever there to remind them of the judgment of God that looms over them. Verse 16 A. Prudent - Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; B. One who is cautious, or practically wise, deals with knowledge; or according to the appropriate manner given the circumstances that exist. C. He is cautious, acting carefully, considering the consequences of his actions before proceeding. D. Therefore, he makes wise, well thought through decisions, and in so doing, protects himself from foolish and dangerous choices and actions. E. One who is a fool, on the other hand, throws caution to the wind, and acts according to present impulses, not giving adequate consideration to the consequences of his actions. F. Consequently, he often makes very foolish and damaging decisions; and takes unnecessary risks, exposing himself to avoidable damage. G. Prudence is the way of safety; impulse is the way of regret. Verse 17 A. A wicked messenger can be so in a number of ways: (1) By the message he carries – carrying messages or tales of false accusation, or of discouragement (2) By falsifying the message – by lying to the one he takes the message to (3) By giving a true message, but one that he knows will damage the one to whom the message is given, or the one the message is about B. Wicked messengers think themselves to be crafty and sneaky; and to be beyond the reach of the consequences of their actions; often even justifying their wickedness by thinking or saying the damaged party deserved the damage they have inflicted, because of his/her actions. 78 C. These wicked messengers forget that there is a God in Heaven that holds them accountable for their actions and words. D. He it is Who will allow them to fall into the pit they have digged for someone else. E. A faithful representative, though, is health to the one who sends him; and to the one to whom he is sent; for he will deliver the correct message for the right purpose. F. In doing so, his message will bless the life of the one to whom it is sent, even if it is a message of reproof; for the good purpose of repentance will be his intent. G. Also, he will bless the life of the one who sent him, for he will be faithful to deliver the message as given, without adding to, or subtracting from it; and will present it in the way and for the means purposed, so that the sender of the message will be appropriately represented in the communicating of his message. H. What kind of messenger are you? Verse 18 A. There are 2 areas where danger lurks for those who refuse instruction – economic and social. B. The know-it-alls expose themselves to economic damage. C. Refusing to listen to Biblical advice, they surge on ahead with their self- devised plans, often driven by selfish, greedy, covetous motives, ignoring sound Biblical guidelines, and reap for themselves the consequences of violating scriptural principles. D. Thinking themselves to be more crafty than those who patiently wait for the Lord‟s supply, and than those who give generously from the Lord‟s supply, their covetous, greedy practices generate the negative consequences scripture tries to warn them about. E. The know-it-alls also expose themselves to social rejection. F. Attempting to circumvent scripture‟s instructions to gain the respect of others, they fail to take into account that God‟s plans always work, and that His warnings are given to protect from damaging consequences. G. The choices they have made and the actions they have taken to bring honor to themselves, when everything plays out, instead, brings the shame they thought they could avoid. H. Godly, reproof, if followed, is invaluable; for it redirects the erring one from the way that will result in his damage; and steers him onto the course that will lead to his enlargement and success. I. Many offer reproof; but only those who offer Biblically accurate reproof are to be regarded. J. For example, people will continually find reasons to reprove you; usually because they think themselves to be wiser than you. K. Sometimes they have good intentions, but are simply wrong in their evaluation or their advice. 79 L. Sometimes, though, they simply want to feel or appear superior to you, and so offer reproof for impure motives. M. All reproof should be considered upon its merits, examining it in the light of rightly divided scripture. N. If it is not scripturally sound, it should be disregarded. O. If it is scripturally sound, regardless of the motive for it being offered, it should be regarded. P. It is the reproof that needs to be evaluated; not the motive. Q. Even when the motive is wrong, if the reproof is Biblically sound, you would be wise to heed it. Verse 19 A. Regardless of what your desire is, when it is realized, there is a sweet sense of accomplishment. B. Many desires though, can only be accomplished by relinquishing your sin so God can get involved in your situation and bring your desire to pass. C. Fools desire the same things wise people desire – peace, joy, pleasure, a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, love, belonging, etc. D. The problem with fools though, is that they love their sin so much they refuse to give it up, even when it costs them the achievement of their goals. E. They foolishly and wickedly cling to their sin, searching desperately to find a way to accomplish their desire without having to surrender their sin. F. They never listen to sound advice, or learn lessons from their persistent failure. G. The definition of a fool is someone who keeps doing the same thing but expects different results. H. Fools keep failing to achieve their goals because of their sin; but never learn, or accept the fact that accomplishing what they want to accomplish will only be possible when they abandon their sin. Verse 20 A. Here is one of the most important life lessons you can teach your kids; a lesson that hopefully will last their entire life. B. The friends we choose; the associations we get involved in; determine our success or failure in life. C. The power of influence is great. D. We are often influenced even when we don‟t realize we are; and often even when we think we are refusing to be. E. Influence is subtle; it makes its mark; often unnoticed. F. The mark of influence is often not recognized until it is too late for someone who has been influenced by the wrong inspiration. G. The mark of influence often goes unnoticed in the life of the one who has been rightly influenced, until his advancement can be linked to his former associations. H. This truth underscores the importance of learning to differentiate between wise men and foolish men. 80 I. How do we distinguish between a wise companion and a foolish one? J. Some of what we have already learned helps us in making this determination. K. Fools disregard scripture, advice, and reproof. L. In short, they are prideful, arrogant, and think they know more than everyone else. M. One who is humble, meek, obedient to scripture, careful in decision making, and who fears God is a good choice for a friend. N. The choice of our associations also speak loudly of the nature of our character; for one who is wise will select wise people to associate with; while those who are foolish will select those of their own persuasion to link themselves to. O. Again, the lesson – the friends we choose; the associations we get involved in; determine our success or failure in life. P. Let us everyone be careful to walk with wise men. Verse 21 A. Those who pursue the evil of sin shall themselves be pursued by the evil of punishment. B. Though they think themselves to be beyond the reach of sin‟s consequences, they shall find out soon enough that sin‟s conclusion cannot be avoided. C. Other scriptures support this fact. D. Numbers 32:23b says, “…be sure your sin will find you out.” E. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” F. God has instituted a system, a law of cause and effect. G. Simply stated, it is the law of sowing and reaping that we have talked about so often. H. The problem man often runs into is that he expects to reap immediately after he has sinned. I. When he does not, he then is emboldened to sin yet the more; and often continues to do so until the consequences, the harvest of his sin, is reaped. J. This reality is clearly stated in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” K. The same law of sowing and reaping that yields a harvest of punishment to the sinner, works in the same way to the righteous. L. The fruits of his righteousness pursue him, and will eventually overtake him. M. While the benefits of righteousness, or the consequences of sin may come immediately, more often than not they follow at a distance; but each will overtake the one who practices either sin or righteousness in due time. N. I Timothy 5:24 & 25 put it like this, “Some men‟s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment, and some men they follow after.” “Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand, and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” 81 Verse 22 A. A good man‟s inheritance cannot be measured only in dollars and cents, in houses and lands, or in businesses and kingdoms. B. For these all are subject to theft or losses of other kinds; or the foolish choices of the children; possibly not leaving anything to the man‟s grandchildren. C. Psalm 39:6 says, “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.” D. Ecclesiastes 2:18 – 19 say, “Yea, I hated all my labour which I ahd taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.” “And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.” E. But those treasures that are those of character and wisdom, and the treasures of the word of God taught; are so firmly implanted in the lives of his children, that they can but pass them on to their posterity, also. F. Thus, a good man it is said, and not a rich man, “…leaveth an inheritance to his children‟s children…” G. A seemingly unconnected principle in the latter part of the verse, but one that God has in fact connected, is that those who accumulate their wealth by wicked devices, do so for the benefit of the posterity of those just men they have defrauded. H. God makes this happen; so that those who seem to profit from wickedness really only serve those they have stolen from. Verse 23 A. Even a poor man who properly and timely prepares his land, sows his seed, cultivates his plants, and harvests his crops when it is time, provides plentifully for his family; for their present food needs and seed to plant next year‟s crops. B. Wisdom and diligence with what we have been given can make a man prosperous; even in what appears to be poverty stricken conditions. C. But, even when one owns much property, has many resources with which to grow his crops, has many servants to do his work, and has revenue to pay his hired help; if he is foolish, lazy, defrauding those employed by him, or untimely in his plans, he can be impoverished despite his abundance of available resources. Verse 24 A. Here is an extremely important principle of child rearing. B. Sparing the rod, thinking to be kind and understanding, when a child is rebelling, is the folly of wicked parents. C. The parent who refuses to discipline his child, who is stubborn and rebellious, in fact, hates his child; for he is teaching him by his refusal to discipline him that his actions produce no consequences. 82 D. Consequentially, the child will eventually destroy himself, thinking he will not be subject to consequences for his actions because of his parent‟s refusal to accept responsibility to discipline him. E. The young rebel all too soon grows into an adult rebel; and the life of a stubborn rebel is a downward spiral to destruction. F. Early intervention will spare a child this fate. G. If you love your child, you will chasten him betimes (early). H. Proverbs 19:18 warns us to chasten our son while there is hope; informing us that there is only a window of time when chastening will be effective in your child‟s life. I. Most of us have seen children who have not been chastened, and who have become teenage delinquents as a result of his parent‟s negligence. J. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” K. How often do we see a mother crying out “Why have you done this to me, son?!” L. Too often, it is because she left him to himself instead of correcting him while there was still hope. M. Consequently, the window of opportunity to shape his character and his life has closed; leaving an undisciplined, uncontrollable son (or daughter) whose lot in life seems to be to find ways to break his mother‟s heart. N. Sad to say, too often acts of rebellion and disrespect are dismissed, overlooked, or simply neglected. O. Some parents even support their children when their children are in the wrong, instead of correcting and disciplining them. P. These parents then are surprised when their child begins to wreck havoc on a much larges scale when he grows up. Q. When a child shows disrespect for his parents, or for other people, discipline should come swift and stiff. R. Things are much different, though, for the parent who recognizes his child‟s rebellion and sets himself (or herself) to rid the little guy of it. S. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” T. Proverbs 23:13 & 14 say, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” U. A stinging behind may prevent an eternity in hell. V. Is chastisement worth it? The choice is yours‟ parents. Verse 25 A. The righteous eats and is satisfied because he eats in peace. B. The belly of the wicked cannot be satisfied, for he has no peace. C. Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” D. Notice what our verse in Proverbs says; the righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul; not his stomach. 83 E. The emphasis of the righteous is on thankfulness for what he has been given; whether it is little or much. F. But the abundance of the rich who covet all the day long will not allow him to relax; he has to be on guard at all times to insure the security of his possessions. G. We can conclude then, that satisfaction in eating, or in anything else for that matter, is derived from the disposition of the heart; not from the amount of food in the stomach. 84 Proverbs Chapter 14 Verse 1 A. Notice the word every. B. This indicates that there is not one wise woman who does not build her house. C. Every single woman who is wise builds her house. D. She is wise because she follows God‟s prescribed principles and methods in dealing with her children and her husband; and in handling her business. E. That is, she enhances, increases, improves, and enables those of her household, including her husband and children. F. A wise woman can make a mediocre man much better than anyone would ever have expected him to be by her encouragement, assistance, and support. G. She raises her kids according to the principles and guidelines in the word of God. H. She conducts her business according to Biblical principles. I. She is kind to strangers, and discreet with her words; so that all who are the subject of her words are made better, and none who are the subject of her words are diminished. J. She is a comfort to her family inside her home; and a credit to her family outside her home. K. A foolish woman, on the other hand, is just the opposite. L. She is a discomfort inside her home; and a discredit outside her home. M. She is big-mouthed, often quarrelsome, dissatisfied, self-centered, prideful, craving attention, a waster; some are lazy, disorganized, expecting that her husband, her children, and others around her attend to her. N. She is one who in many and varied ways is a drag on her husband, a discomfort to her children, and an embarrassment to her family and friends. O. It is as if she is bent on destroying anything and everything her husband, children, or friends attempt to build. P. Sadly, but justly, she will reap the reward of her own wicked ways; and who will come to her aid when she falls? Q. She has isolated her husband, distanced her children, and offended her friends and neighbors. R. The wise woman, though, will have her children rise up and call her blessed. S. Review the qualities of a Godly woman in Proverbs 31:10 – 31. Verse 2 A. If we fear the Lord, that fear is demonstrated by walking uprightly – morally, decently, honestly, respectably. B. But, we can identify those who despise the Lord by their perverseness. C. Perverse means – wicked, vicious, stubborn, headstrong, willful, disobedient, rebellious, unreasonable, difficult. 85 D. Our walk, meaning our manner of life, exhibits our attitude toward God. Verse 3 A. A rod or stick or branch grows from a root. B. Here the rod is pride; therefore, the root from which it has sprung up is pride. C. This rod of pride most often expresses and exposes itself by our words; for the foolish display their foolish pride through their mouth. D. Another application of this truth is that a rod or stick of pride causes the foolish to smite with their words at will; without discretion and without concern. E. He/she enjoys the damaging blows to others, thinking these blows of words make him/her a larger person in the eyes of those being spoken to. F. Soon enough, though, the rod that smote the innocent, becomes a rod that smites back; building a trap that entraps the one who wields it. G. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” H. The lips of the wise preserve them; for they are discreet in their mutterings; not laying for themselves a trap as does the foolish one who smites with the rod, unwittingly setting himself/herself up for an embarrassing confrontation of the foolish words they have unleashed. Verse 4 A. The ox is the labourer that labors tirelessly and unrelentingly in the course of his duties. B. It is by the hard labour of the oxen that fields are plowed, sowed, cultivated, and reaped. C. The ox cannot make the crops grow; he cannot make the rains come to water the crops; he cannot keep drought away. D. But he can work the fields in the way ascribed to him; and then must depend upon the Master of the fields to produce the increase. E. See I Corinthians 9:7 – 11, & 14. F. In these verses, especially verse 9, Paul compares oxen to ministers of the gospel. G. So, with this comparison, we see that where there are no ministers of the gospel, the crib (the church) is empty. H. While those who share the gospel cannot save anyone; while they cannot cause the word of God to be effectual; while they cannot force an affirmative response in the heart of one into whom the gospel has been sowed; they can and must work the field they have been given to work, in the way God has called them to. I. Then, depending upon the word of God accomplishing what it has promised, and God to give the increase, they bring in the harvest as God adds to the church such as should be saved. J. The last part of Proverbs 14:4 says, “…but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” 86 K. Using the comparison of the ox and the minister, here we see that when ministers of the gospel labour in the field in which they are placed, God is faithful to add His blessing to the field, and much fruit is produced by their labour. L. In Matthew 9:37 Jesus said, “…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laboureres are few;” Verse 5 A. Here we see the difference between the faithful witness and the false witness. B. The difference is simply their commitment, or lack of it, to truth. C. A faithful witness will not lie; even when he is under pressure to mislead, a faithful witness can still be counted on to speak truth. D. Truth is often not popular because it is not what an offender wants to hear; but regardless of its popularity, or lack thereof, a faithful witness is committed to speaking truly. E. A false witness, one who is not trustworthy, will adjust his story to accommodate the circumstances. F. When looking for someone who can be entrusted with responsibility, one of the most important traits to look for is faithfulness, or truthfulness. G. Because if someone will lie for you, they will lie against you. H. If they will lie to you, they will lie about you. I. Honesty builds credibility; and credibility builds confidence. J. A man with less skill but who has credibility is more likely to be entrusted with resources, responsibility, and respect, than one who is more skilled, but whose credibility is suspect. Verse 6 A. Scorner – def. A scoffer; a derider; in Scripture, one who scoffs at religion, its ordinances and teachers, and who makes a mock of sin and the judgments and threatenings of God against sinners. B. Here, we learn that one who scoffs and mocks, even when he seeks wisdom, is unable to grasp it. C. The depravity in the heart of a scorner prevents him from comprehending wisdom when it is well within his reach. D. Good judgment comes with welcoming God‟s judgment. E. When one rejects the judgment of God, meaning the word of God, even to the point of mocking and scoffing at it, this establishes a barrier that keeps him from God‟s wisdom. F. Therefore, a scorner will often appear to be a fool when wisdom is all around him, for he is detached from it because of his rejection of God and His truth. G. But, one who accepts and appreciates God‟s righteous judgments, found in His Holy word, will have no problem understanding the knowledge that is so apparent and accessible to him. Verse 7 A. This is a simple directive, a command. 87 B. When we perceive that a man is foolish, and that he speaks foolishness, falsehood, or detrimental words, we are simply to get away from him. C. You‟ve heard me say that there are some people I don‟t like being around and that I avoid. D. Here is scripture for that. E. If someone is always negative, always having something bad to say, you just need to avoid having conversations with them. F. If someone is trying to garner support for something that is out of the will of God, just get away from them G. If someone acts as an authority on something that he knows nothing about, get away from him. H. If someone never wants to talk seriously about serious things, avoid him. I. If we will follow this simple, straight up command, we will avoid getting involved in many foolish and hurtful situations. Verse 8 A. Prudent – def. Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; B. A person who is prudent, is wise because he takes time and effort to understand his way before proceeding. C. He is cautious and practical; so that he avoids taking foolish chances that could bring him damage. D. His caution, his care, his foresight, is his wisdom; for they preserve him from subtle or hidden danger. E. Folly – def. Weakness of intellect; imbecility of mind. want of understanding. F. A fool‟s weakness of mind is deceit. G. The fool uses deceit to manipulate others into following his wishes. H. The fool, however, deceives himself, too. I. His folly is not only his deception of others; but also his self-deception. J. He thinks he is not subject to the laws and principles of God. K. He thinks that if he violates God‟s plain commands, he will not suffer the consequences; but is deceived because all men are subject to the laws of God. L. “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7b) M. The fool deceives himself into thinking that he can achieve his goals without having to operate according to the will of God. N. Thus, what he had intended to avoid, he suffers; and what he had intended to accomplish, he fails in. Verse 9 A. People who make a mock at sin are fools. B. They act as if sin is sport. C. Proverbs 10:23a says, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief…” D. They do not take sin seriously, and therefore are bold in their disobedience, until the repercussions catch up to them, and they fall by their own foolish hand. 88 E. Fools enjoy the damage they perpetrate upon others. F. Therefore, they are hated because of their cold disregard for the welfare of others; and avoided because of the danger they pose. G. The righteous, though, never mock at sin as if it is a light thing. H. They never boldly violate others as if it was sport. I. Instead, they are bent toward doing good to others; and so are found in favour with man and with God. J. Instead of avoiding the righteous, people seek them out because they feel secure with them; they know these kinds of people will have their best interest at heart. Verse 10 A. The experience and content of the heart are exclusive to each of us. B. No one can know the full extent of the bitterness that resides in our hearts. C. Some may see a little of that bitterness by one‟s countenance, words, or gestures; but no one knows the full extent of that bitterness; only the one experiencing it is able to grasp its full impact. D. This is important to remember, because sometimes one‟s erratic, unexplainable behavior may be an expression of bitterness in his heart. E. Bitterness has different sources. F. It can come as a result of one having been violated or offended, of deep loss, or of personal sin. G. In either case, the bitterness that results is often overwhelming until he finds healing or forgiveness. H. In the same way that no one knows the full extent of bitterness in another‟s heart, he can not be a participant in another‟s joy. I. While he can rejoice to a certain degree with him, the one experiencing the joy alone knows the full extent of the joy he is experiencing. J. Thus, the experience of the heart is exclusive to each of us; leaving us alone before God to process our bitterness or joy, though there be others all around us. Verse 11 A. Notice the terminology used: house of the wicked; tabernacle of the upright. B. Each statement denotes the involvement of God in one‟s life; giving to each according to his works. C. The house of the wicked indicates he is building for himself a place of residence. D. However, it being overthrown means that God is at work in his life, though he thinks he is avoiding God and His involvement. E. God Himself will personally overthrow the dwelling place of the one who builds his home by wicked devices. F. Thus, though he thinks and attempts to avoid God‟s hand in his matters, in the end it is the hand of God that brings down his wicked construction. G. But notice the term used for the upright‟s dwelling: his tabernacle. 89 H. You see, the upright has included God in his plans, and has built his life as if God was the building and he just inhabits it. I. The tabernacle is the house of God; and the upright dwell in the house of God. J. The tabernacle was a mobile tent that could be taken down and moved to a different location as the need arose. K. One who is upright is not so settled in his life that he is resistant when God chooses to move him, or change his surroundings. L. People set in their ways and in their comfortable lifestyles are not upright, because they are not mobile; meaning they are unwilling to uproot themselves or their routines in order to do the will of God if God decides to do something new with them. M. Those who are upright though, are ready to be taken down and moved as God sees the need and directs them to do so. N. Question is, how settled are you in your life? How willing to adapt to God- sent change? O. Do you dwell in a house; or in a tabernacle? Verse 12 A. Here, we see the necessity of depending upon the judgment of God instead of our own judgment, when it comes to our decision-making and actions. B. We are not capable of seeing all the variables that may come into play in a decision or a course of action we are considering. C. Likewise, we are not capable of seeing all the resulting affects of a decided course of action. D. Only God is capable of taking every possible variable and result into account, and giving us the absolute best course to choose. E. We, seeing things from a limited perspective, think a way to be the right way, when in fact, it is often the wrong way. F. If we are wise, we will always seek God‟s guidance in making our decisions, and in choosing the course we will follow. G. We can most often find directions in His word, either by command or by principle. H. If we cannot find the principle we are looking for, then we need to just pray that God will make the right choice clear to us in a way we can understand. I. When we follow God‟s prescription we will always achieve the right results. J. God always has our best interest in mind, and will always instruct us in ways that will make our choices and paths successful. Verse 13 A. Laughter, when one is enjoying himself in his sin, cannot erase the sorrow, and grief caused by the guilt that accompanies a breaking of the law of God. B. Laughter can be a means of one attempting to rid himself of his guilt; it can be a cover for his guilt; or it can be a way of trying to convince someone else of the enjoyment of sin without disclosing the misery that accompanies it. 90 C. Mirth - Social merriment; hilarity; high excitement of pleasurable feelings in company; noisy gayety; jollity. D. After the laughter and mirth of sinful activity or sinful jest, there remains nothing but the heaviness of realization that the sinner stands guilty of breaking the law of God. E. Sinful pleasure never yields lasting enjoyment; only present pleasure that is accompanied by guilty sorrow, with a great heaviness left as a residual consequence of one‟s sin. Verse 14 A. Notice the way a backslider in heart differs in his future from the good man. B. The backslider is called so in heart. C. It is in the heart that gravitation away from God originates. D. It is in the heart that one begins to stray from what he knows is the will of God. E. Once this heart determination begins to demonstrate itself in action, this backsliding produces a cache of negative results that will be suffered on beyond this present world; it will accompany him into eternity and will dwell with him during his eternal punishment. F. Imagine knowing the will of God; knowing you need to be saved; and sliding back from the knowledge of your impending judgment so that you can fill your life with your own pursuits. G. Then, when you least expect it, you slip out of time into eternity, having never returned to receive the deliverance available to you. H. Having filled yourself with your own desires and cravings, your eternity will now be filled with the same; only they will never be satisfied; you will endure the same desires and cravings throughout all eternity without having any way to have them satisfied. I. The one who sees the will of God and seizes it has a far different fate, though. J. His satisfaction will be from the right choice he made to forego sinful pleasure pursue the will of God instead. K. He, too, will experience the fruit of his decision throughout eternity. Verse 15 A. The simple, those who are weak in intellect, are easily deceived; they are prone to believe anything anyone says; especially if that person speaks with an air of authority or convince ability. B. Sadly, Americans have become simpletons. C. Any politician that comes along and makes ridiculous promises that anyone with even a small measure of common sense knows he will not keep, will get the ear and attention of simple thinkers, who beg to be duped. D. Sadder still, there are simpletons in the church; who believe any wind of doctrine that is presented to them in a convincing way. E. The prudent, though, take time to examine what is being presented to them; considering more than just the personality of the one speaking; and make an informed decision of whether or not to believe something. 91 F. As we studied in Sunday School this morning, I Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” G. Also, I John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” H. Prudence, caution or practical wisdom, demands we carefully consider ideas to determine if they are consistent with scripture. I. If they are, we are to hold fast to them; if they are not, we are to reject them. Verse 16 A. Here we see the folly of misplaced confidence. B. Confidence is essential for boldness and courage to press forward aggressively with your calling and ministry. C. But, confidence is only beneficial when it is placed in truth. D. Here we find that the fool is foolishly confident. E. He rages in his sin as if he is untouchable by God and His judgment, or by the consequences of his choices and actions. F. Foolishly he boldly continues his evil pursuits until the consequences take him down. G. Also, we learn that fear performs a very important function in the life of people. H. Healthy fear is fear of danger; in this case the danger of the consequences of evil. I. This fear dissuades one who heeds its from committing the sin that would generate the damaging consequence the fear warns is imiment. J. Unlike the foolish man, the wise man heeds fear‟s threat and chooses another course of action. K. Thus, confidence is only beneficial when it is placed in truth; it is damaging when it is placed in a lie. Verse 17 A. One who is quick tempered often does foolish things as a reactionary. B. He does not think through his response before responding; he simply strikes back because of a real or apparent violation of his personhood. C. How many are the times you have responded without thought and done or said something that made you look more foolish than the offense you responded to? D. Proverbs 22:24 & 25 say, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go;” “Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” E. Proverbs 19:2b says, “…he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” F. Self-control and patience will serve us good; for they will enable us to wait until we can respond in a well thought through way. G. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” 92 H. The last part of the verse reminds us that someone who wickedly spouts off at the mouth, or foolishly strikes back at someone who has offended him, is not respected, but rather hated. Verse 18 A. Here, we‟re reminded that the simple (weak minded) inherit folly (foolishness, madness, silliness, recklessness). B. We need to graduate from simple mindedness; we need to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15) C. The prudent, those who are careful to ascertain the truth or validity of a matter before responding or accepting it, are rewarded with knowledge; for they spend time making a realistic determination concerning the matter in question, and in so doing develop their knowledge in that area. Verse 19 A. This is often a present reality; but will be fulfilled completely in the future. B. Now, often those who have pursued evil to the disregard of Biblical advice, come to the righteous for help. C. Think of the drunkard or drug addict that must seek the assistance of Christian individuals or agencies because they have dug themselves a hole of sin they are unable to escape on their own. D. Many are the times people who have destroyed their bodies, families, or lives ask the child of God to pray for them because they are hopeless unless God steps in and does something on their behalf. E. How sad that people who are so bold in their sin, soon find that their boldness and foolishness have brought them to ruin; and that the only hope for them rests with the wise who can still call on God and be heard. F. But, it is also a wonderful time for children of God to demonstrate the grace of God in praying for them, and in offering help when it‟s needed most. G. This is not a time to take a “he made his bed now let him lie in it” approach. H. It‟s not a time to take a „holier than thou‟ approach. I. God not only extended grace to you when you didn‟t deserve it at your salvation, He extends it every day to you because you still don‟t deserve it. J. I‟m not saying you shouldn‟t take proper precautions to protect yourself and your family from someone who is dangerous or just trying to take advantage of you. K. And, I‟m not saying you can force a person whose life is being destroyed by some sin to give it up and accept help. L. But, if someone genuinely wants help, what a wonderful time for a child of God to be the agent of deliverance Jesus uses to deliver one who was on their way to destruction; but who has decided they want help. Verse 20 A. Here is a sad but true observation. 93 B. From the world‟s perspective, a person‟s worth is often judged by his financial status. C. If he has little of this world‟s goods, he deemed to be of little value; and is all too often brushed aside or treated with contempt. D. On the other hand, if someone has an abundance of money, he is all too often treated with respect and valued, even when he is undeserving of the honor. E. Thank God, though, for James 2:5, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” F. Verses 6 & 7 of James, Chapter 2 explain the absurdity of giving preferential treatment to those who are wealthy. G. Verse 6b asks, “…Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” H. You see, oppression comes most often at the hands of rich powerful people who think themselves to be brighter and more valuable than those they oppress. I. Thus, for the child of God who knows these things, it is an absurdity: first of all, that he thinks he is more important than someone less fortunate than himself; and second of all, because he understands that that is precisely this type of individual that causes him the most grief. J. James 2:9 explains that God holds one who takes this approach to others in violation of His royal law, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” K. True, the world shows partiality; but the child of God should never even entertain the thought, much less act upon it. Verse 21 A. The first part of the verse is very blatant and very true! B. To think yourself better than your neighbor, regardless of how low your neighbor is sinking into sin, is nothing more than the sin you were supposedly delivered from. C. Sadly, you, who were no better than they are, needed the same forgiveness and deliverance they do now. D. Yet, some seem to think themselves to be above others because of present circumstances. E. How sad to witness a sinning saint who thinks more highly of himself/herself than he/she ought. F. Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” G. The last part of the verse, though, reminds us of the happiness that comes to us in meeting the needs of people instead of using their need as an opportunity to assert our superiority to them. H. It‟s clear, here, that often our condemnation or happiness is dependent on the way we treat those in need around us. 94 Verse 22 A. Here, we are taught the error of devising (inventing, contriving) evil. B. Where is evil devised, or invented? C. Genesis 6:5 says, “And God say that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” D. It is in the heart that wickedness, error, is contrived. E. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” F. We‟re often told to „just follow your heart‟. G. The fallacy of this notion when it comes to doing the right thing, is that you will be deceived by doing so. H. Man‟s heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked; and to follow your heart thinking it will lead you in the right path is just wrong. I. It is in the heart that evil imaginations give birth to erroneous ideas and sinful plans. J. But, when one receives Jesus Christ into his life, he now has the ability to devise good. K. It is not in man to devise good; that is not in his flesh; for in his flesh dwelleth no good thing. L. In Romans 7:18 Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” M. What is the answer to forcing your thoughts in a direction that devises good then? N. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” O. I Corinthians 2:16b says, “…But we have the mind of Christ.” P. We who are children of God must strive to allow Jesus to think His thoughts through us. Q. What part do we play in our processing our thoughts and developing Biblical though patterns. R. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” S. Truth is, we have more control over our thought life than we give ourselves credit for. T. We need to discard thoughts that are sinful, negative, disrespectful, and unholy; and instead force your thoughts to dwell on the things listed in Philippians 4:8. U. This way, Christ can lead our thoughts into conformance to His will; and we will begin to devise good things rather than things of error. 95 Verse 23 A. Penury – def. n. L. penuria, from Gr. needy. Want of property; indigence; extreme poverty. B. Here we find that there is profit in all labor. C. In America we have an illegal alien problem due in large part to the fact that Americans think themselves above doing certain jobs. D. Therefore, they hire Mexican illegals to do the jobs they feel they are too good to do. E. Here, though, the Bible contradicts this arrogant perspective. F. It says that all labor is profitable. G. The only labor that is not profitable is the labor that was never done. H. You and I who are children of God must learn to look at things from God‟s perspective, not from the distorted perspective of the world. I. Anyone who is performing honest, honorable work is producing profit for himself and for the world God has placed him in; and should never be looked down on because of the type or pay level of the work he is doing. J. Conversely, simply talking to the exclusion of putting your hands and feet where your mouth is sets you on a course to abject poverty. K. Anyone can talk a good talk; but talk is cheap; it gets nothing accomplished. L. I told all of you when I first came here I have little interest in talk; I‟m interested in action. M. Here, the Bible confirms the validity of this approach to one‟s business; whether it is his business of making a living or his business of ministry. Verse 24 A. Crown – def. 3. Honorary distinction; reward. B. One, who by wisdom has built a substantial net worth for himself, has his riches as an honorary distinction, testifying to the wisdom he has employed in acquiring his wealth. C. There is a wealth though, that is most often not recognized or honored in this world; the wealth of spiritual richness. D. As a matter of fact, God warned us about acquiring material wealth to the neglect of acquiring spiritual wealth. E. In Luke 12:16 – 21 Jesus told a parable about a rich man who had had a bumper crop one year. F. He quickly made plans to tear down his barns and build larger ones that would hold all he had grown. G. Then, he planned to live many years enjoying a life of luxury supplied by his good agricultural success. H. There was nothing inherently wrong with enjoying the fruit of his labor; but where he went wrong was, he neglected to build spiritual wealth toward God, and God called him a fool, informing him he would die that very night. I. Thus, all his worldly wealth that was a crown to him in the eyes of men, only served to be his downfall because of his neglect of richness toward God. J. Verse 21 sums up the principle of what Jesus was teaching, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 96 K. The true crown of the wise, then, is made of the spiritual riches he has accumulated while walking with God. L. The second part of the verse explains that the folly of fools is foolishness. M. Folly – def. A weak or absurd act not highly criminal; an act which is inconsistent with the dictates of reason, or with the ordinary rules of prudence. N. A fool is known or recognized by the foolishness of his actions or words. O. Too many words are also an identifying mark of a fool. P. Ecclesiastes 5:3b says, “…a fool‟s voice is known by multitude of words.” Q. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” R. So, foolish talk, foolish actions, and too much talk are the marks of a fool, for all of these are inconsistent with the dictates of reason. Verse 25 A. There are many approaches we could take to this statement; but the approach I would like to explore is the importance of truth in delivering souls – in people getting saved. B. In John 17:17 Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” C. So here we see that the word of God is truth. D. I Peter 1:23 says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” E. So, the seed of truth that gives birth to our salvation is the word of God planted in our lives. F. We can all be a part of planting the seed of truth, the word of God, in the lives of others. G. We can do this personally by personally witnessing to others; and we can do it corporately by supporting the distribution of the gospel through the ministries of our church. H. We can do this by physically distributing tracts, Visitor Information Guides, CDs, etc.; or by giving and praying as the word of God is distributed via the media outlets that we are using, i.e. internet and radio; and by giving and praying for the hard resources being distributed. I. But, we must strive to be Biblically accurate in the way we give out the word of God. J. Only the witness of truth is capable of delivering a soul. K. We have many false witnesses in our area and in our nation. L. Some call themselves by legitimate church names, but preach a confusing message of falsehood that can never deliver a soul from hell. M. “…a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” N. We must study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15) O. We must be careful to accurately present the word of God, so that it can do the work God has sent it to do. 97 Verse 26 A. Matthew Henry says, “The fear of the Lord is here put for all gracious principles, producing gracious practices.” B. The fear of the Lord enables us to hold fast to both our purity and our peace simultaneously. C. Sometimes to hold fast to purity will cost you your external comfort. D. Sometimes to hold fast to external peace will cost you your purity. E. But, the fear of the Lord enables us to hold fast to purity though we must sacrifice external comfort for peace is not derived from external comfort but from internal and external purity. F. The fear of the Lord instructs us that regardless of the cost of our purity, we will be rewarded generously in time to come; and that to relinquish our purity for temporary comfort, is to forfeit eternal reward and procure for ourselves harsh consequences. G. The children of those who fear the Lord will have set before them a sure place of refuge; having witnessed the fear of the Lord in their parents and recognizing the safety it provides from future, and even eternal, damage. Verse 27 A. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life because it warns and motivates to depart from the snares, or traps, that would destroy us. B. Remember Psalm 19:11a from this morning‟s message? “Moreover by them is thy servant warned…” C. Life is treacherous; a spiritual minefield with many a hidden mine just waiting to explode, destroying our lives. D. The fear of the Lord causes us to search the word of God to see what to avoid; and then the fear of the Lord provides the motivation that moves us to avoid those things that would damage us. Verse 28 A. The king, or ruler, of a people is honored when his people are numerous. B. Thus it behooves him to establish policies which promote and encourage trade and profit for all; and to rule by a mild and gentle government, seeking the benefit of all his people; not just his own or the benefit of a few elites in the governing body. C. By seeking the benefit and welfare of all his subjects, the wise ruler encourages his kingdom to grow and prosper, which in turn makes him a great and prosperous ruler. D. On the other hand, if a ruler rules with harshness and severity; or if a ruler sets in place policies that discourage individual profit, he forces those who wish to live in personal peace and to generate personal profit to go elsewhere; causing his population to shrink, and thereby weakening his power to the point he is susceptible to conquest by his enemies. E. Think of how America, by its legalization and promotion of abortion, has decreased its population by over 50,000,000 citizens, and by the offspring of those 50,000,000. 98 F. This has weakened America economically because we have fewer people to produce the goods and services that make life more comfortable for us all. G. It has also decreased the tax base of our nation by millions of hard working, tax paying citizens. H. Because of this serious error by the leadership of America, she has been dramatically weakened as a world power. I. Now, policies are being adopted that work against the average citizen, increasing the tax load on him; but are designed to benefit those in power by allowing them to fund their pet radical projects. J. Little do they know that what is detrimental to the average citizen will ultimately come back to destroy the leadership. K. Sadaam Hussein was a man who ruled for his own profit and honor, and cared little for his citizenry. L. Foolishly, this approach to leadership ultimately cost him his life. M. God has set government in place for the benefit of all involved; the citizens under its jurisdiction and those who hold the positions of leadership. N. Ultimately and always what is good for one long term, is good for the other; and what is bad for one long term, is bad for the other. Verse 29 A. A quick temper will usually cause damage to others and embarrassment to the one who is quick-tempered. B. Those who are quick to get angry and respond in anger often miss the cause of the incident that made them angry. C. Being slow to wrath, taking the time to learn all the elements of why something has been said or done, displays wisdom. D. How many times have you responded quickly, only to learn that what you thought was happening was really not, and that something entirely different than what you thought was taking place? E. Wasn‟t it embarrassing to learn that you responded wrongly to something you had misjudged? F. Also, when you respond in haste, you often create animosity in others toward you that cannot be rectified. G. James 1:19 says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Verse 30 A. This morning we examined the state of the heart and how it affected the rest of the life; especially as it relates to the health of the body. B. Proverbs 17:22a says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” C. The condition of the heart, here called a sound heart, determines the health, or lack thereof, of the body. D. Envy, though, literally destroys the bones. E. Envy - to fret or grieve one's self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account. F. To grieve over someone‟s superiority or success is detrimental to your health. 99 G. It is a negative emotion and disposition that literally takes a toll on the health of your body. Verse 31 A. When someone takes advantage of someone because of their lack of resources, or abuses them by words or deeds; it is as they are abusing, or reproaching, God. B. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” C. But, one who honors God, extends mercy to those who are having financial difficulty. D. Mercilessness toward someone in need reveals a heart that opposes God. E. Mercy shown to someone in need reveals a heart that honors God. F. James 2:9 says, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” G. James 2:6 & 7 show the absurdity of showing preference to the rich over the poor, “But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” “Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” H. It‟s the rich that cause you problems; yet will you prefer them and look down on those who are poor in this world‟s goods but rich toward God? I. James 1:5 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” J. We should do likewise. Verse 32 A. Here we see the contrast of the lives of the wicked and the righteous. B. God Himself opposes the wicked and intervenes in his wickedness to drive him away. C. A wicked man clings to his sin as if nothing can drive him from it. D. But, in his death, his life is taken; he is literally driven from his sin that he loves so much; and the consequences of his taste for sin accompany him into eternity; into a lake of fire. E. But, even death has no power to separate the righteous from his righteousness; for he has as his righteousness, the righteousness of Christ; from which he can never be separated. F. Even death has no power to destroy the righteous; for his righteousness remains even beyond the grave; just as the wicked man‟s sin remains beyond the grave. Verse 33 A. A man with understanding has a reservoir of wisdom dwelling in his heart; from which he can draw out and distribute to those who have need of its instruction. 100 B. Though his wisdom be distributed to many, yet there remains a full reservoir of wisdom for himself, from which he can draw out as the need arises. C. A fools reservoir of foolishness, on the other hand, will be exposed. D. His foolishness is often revealed by his words, actions, and decisions. E. But, God Himself will be the Exposer of the folly of a man filled with foolishness, if he does not expose himself. F. Just as wisdom is revealed from the storehouse of a man of understanding; so the foolishness is revealed from the storehouse of a fool. Verse 34 A. It is not a great economy, a great military, or an educated people that exalt a nation. B. These advantages result from the one virtue that will exalt a nation – righteousness. C. Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man‟s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” D. Such is the case with a nation, as well. E. Righteousness causes a nation to rise; but, on the other hand, sin is a reproach (4. That which is the cause of shame or disgrace. ) to any people. F. No people, or nation, is exempt from this reality. G. If a people choose to exalt sin in their midst, the people will diminish in terms of power, honor, and wealth. H. If, however, a people exalt righteousness, the people will increase in terms of power, honor, and wealth. I. When a people choose wicked leaders, they increase the proliferation of wickedness within their borders; and allow the wickedness of wicked men in their midst to bring that people to ruin. J. Psalm 12:8 says, “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.” K. We see this truth in action by the dramatic rise in activity of vile people within our own borders, emboldened and empowered by those wicked people we have elected to our federal government. Verse 35 A. Here, we see the earthly example of a heavenly reality. B. The king, picturing the King of kings, shows favor to a servant that demonstrates wisdom. C. But, the king, picturing again the King of kings, shows his wrath to a servant that causes him shame. D. It is the same with the King of kings: Jesus extends favor to wise servants who honor Him; but, He reveals His wrath against the wicked servant who causes Him shame. E. Romans 1:18 supports this truth, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” 101 Proverbs Chapter 14 Verse 1 A. Here is a simple but profound observation. B. A soft answer, or response, even to a cruel comment, is the means of quenching the progression of hostility. C. The last part of the verse gives us the alternative: to respond with grievous words. D. If we do, this will only continue to fuel the flames of anger and hostility. E. The more we respond in kind to antagonistic rhetoric, the more aggressive the rhetoric becomes. F. James 3:6 says, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” G. Our words, improperly used, can kindle a fire of hostility, or can fuel the fire that has already started. H. A soft answer, though; or a response of kindness, can quench the fire of nature‟s fury, and give peace an opportunity to develop. I. Here is a perfect example of what Romans 12:19 & 21 are talking about: 19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” 21. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” J. The way to destroy aggression is to let it not be met with aggression; let it play itself out with on opposition. K. One cannot argue or fight with someone who is kind. L. Thus, hostility and aggression end in kindness; one has overcome evil with good. Verse 2 A. Knowledge, properly used, is a wellspring of wealth to the one who possesses it. B. Knowledge can be used to speak truth in such a way it blesses the life of the hearer. C. But, knowledge improperly used, can be very destructive. D. The wise person knows how to use knowledge in a constructive way when he speaks. E. But, a fool pours forth information, correct or incorrect, that neither improves nor protects the one he/she is speaking to. F. Fools delight in causing damage to unsuspecting victims with their words. G. They destroy reputations; they discredit ministries; they damage testimonies; they ruin churches; and they feed their fool‟s heart in doing so. H. Proverbs 10:23 says, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” 102 I. Knowledge wielded in the tongue of the wise is a healing balm, and an inspiring encouragement. J. But the mouth of fools gusheth out thoughtlessness. Verse 3 A. Though sin and internal iniquity be hidden to men‟s eyes, God sees everything. B. Likewise, though one‟s good deeds and right attitudes seem to receive no recognition or notice, God sees and will reward them in due time. C. In either case, we can be assured that what is hidden to man‟s eyes, good or evil, is always seen by God Whose eyes always behold our works, words, and attitudes. Verse 4 A. Here we see the importance of being wholesome speech (2. Sound; contributing to the health of the mind; favorable to morals,) with our tongue. B. Not only should we dispense words of knowledge wisely, we must also be clean and moral in our speech. C. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (Building up in christian knowledge; instructing; improving the mind.), that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” D. Perverseness of speech (1. Perversion.), on the other hand, is a rupture, a break, a gap in the spirit; not only of the hearers, but also of the one who speaks perversely. E. It‟s like creating a wound, or an open cut, in the spirit of the one who uses perverse language; but also in the spirits of those abused by the perverted language. Verse 5 A. A wise father‟s instruction is given as a guide to aid the child in negotiating the treacherous paths of life. B. The prudent (Cautious; circumspect; practically wise;) child regards, or gives heed to the instruction his father provides. C. Conversely, a fool disregards his father‟s instructions and goes straightway into many foolish and harmful indulgences that he could have avoided should he have only listened and heeded them. Verse 6 A. Wealth, obtained by righteous means is kept and enjoyed by those who have earned their treasure. B. Wealth acquired by wicked devices, though, comes with trouble attached. C. Let‟s look at some examples: the drug dealer, though he makes more money than many of us, is always on guard, keeping an eye out for law 103 enforcement, knowing that he is subject to arrest and imprisonment at any moment. D. Though he has plenty of money, he knows he is only a door-knock away from losing his money and his freedom. E. The bank robber, the crooked politician, and the embezzling employee is subject to the same trouble as the drug dealer. F. So, the moral of the story is that treasure, whether great or small, can only be enjoyed by those who obtain it by righteous means. Verse 7 A. The lips of the wise disperse, or give out, knowledge – information that is a blessing and benefit to those it is dispersed to. B. But the heart of the foolish will not allow them to disperse beneficial knowledge. C. They either disperse foolishness or folly; or, keep beneficial knowledge concealed so that those who need it are allowed to have it. D. Either way, the foolish disregard the welfare of others, somehow thinking this advances them in some way. Verse 8 A. We discussed this very truth in Sunday School this morning. B. The sacrifice of the wicked, though they present their offering strictly by the code of technique specified in scripture, is considered by God to be an abomination. C. So, by this that God will not accept form without substance. D. Though we worship by the methods presented in scripture, if it is born of a heart of wickedness, one‟s worship is an abomination to God; because it is a farce. E. But, when those who are obedient to His word pray, God delights in them and in their prayer. F. This is the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees. G. Outwardly they were faithful religious men. H. But, inwardly, they were vile; making their outward worship and religion abominable to Him. I. Matthew 23:25 & 26 say, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” J. So, inward iniquity always equals outward abomination; regardless of the appearance of scriptural integrity. Verse 9 A. Here we see that God is not only interested in the inward condition of the heart; but that He also is concerned about the outward working of what lies in the heart. 104 B. He cares about the way we conduct ourselves. C. In verse 8 we saw that correct outward expression without inward cleanliness is unacceptable to God. D. Here, though, we see that he also demands outward cleanliness as well as inward cleanliness. E. Saying that God is not interested in the outward appearance or expression; that He only looks on the heart is false. F. God does look on the heart; considering it to be the wellspring from which our outward appearance and expression arises. G. However, sometimes we mask the iniquity of the heart by feigned, or pretentious, conduct; pretending we are righteous individuals by our works only. H. But, God not only looks on, and demands heart adhesion to His will; He also considers our outward actions a part of the complete expression of our submission to His will. I. God‟s gospel affects the entire person; inward attitude, and outward words and actions. J. If any of these are missing from our Christian experience, then something is very wrong. K. We need to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith.
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