This Week's Gospel Sermons
Jackson Drive 2012 Fall Series
"Early Parables Of Jesus From Matthew"
Wednesday @ 7:00 PM
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Please Come And Be With Us For A Series Of Lessons From God's Word!
Presented By Paul Earnhart
October 21-26, 2012
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October 14, 2012
Working For Wisdom (3):
Staying On Track
My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:1-12)
Proverbs chapter 2 teaches us that we can be successful in working for wisdom if we meet God’s conditions. The chapter also tells us of the great benefits and reasons why we should work for wisdom from God. The next chapter, chapter 3, gives us important guidelines to keep us “on track” as we work for wisdom; the latter portion of the chapter once again emphasizes what happens if we continue in God’s wise ways.
Steps to Stay on Track:
The first verse reminds us that it is possible to know the Lord and His teaching, but later to forget and turn away. Too many think that if God’s teaching has been followed once, that is simply enough. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we can turn away and fall short. (Hebrews 3:12‑14; 4:1,11). Paul even tells us that he also could become “disqualified” (1Corinthians 9:27). It is a wise thing to follow God’s wise ways. If we keep His teaching, then long life and peace are given (v. 2). When we know we are following God’s ways, we can always have contentment (Philippians 4:11-13).
So that we don’t forget the things we learn from God, bind them around our necks and write them on our hearts (v. 3). This is always God’s advice (Proverbs 6:21; 7:3; Deuteronomy 6:8-9). Meditate on and apply these principles. The reward will be “success” with God, and not only that, but there will be a good reputation among men.
Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart.
God intends for man to think. He also intends for us to think on the right things and in the right way—His way. It is not safe for us to think, incorrectly, that we have the answers outside of God’s wisdom (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). The reason many lack enjoyment or fulfillment in their life is that they fail to trust in the Lord with all their heart! Those who seek happiness in temporal things (e.g. money, prestige, recreation, etc.) experience emptiness when these things fail, or their health falters.
To truly trust in the Lord means to seek understanding of God’s commandments, warnings, and promises. Living by faith may mean going against common sense, logic, or what friends or experts may say. Our understanding is incomplete at best. “Do not lean on your own understanding” (v. 5). In everything we do, we need to be thinking of God—acknowledging Him (v. 6). To stay on the straight path, trust completely in God; go to God for strength and wisdom. The philosophy of many Christians seems to be, “why pray when you can worry.” But the Bible teaches, “why worry when you can pray.”
Honor the Lord.
A lot of people do worry—they worry about “stuff” of this life. They don’t completely trust God. God has blessed us with so much and if we honor the Lord with our blessings, He will fill our barns (vv. 9-10). “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” (Malachi 3:10) You cannot out-give God who is the source of every good and perfect gift, James 1:17. God even gave us Jesus. How glorious! Should we not want to show our trust in Him by honoring Him with our all? This is a constant reminder of who God is and who we are. It keeps us “on track.”
Do not reject the discipline of the Lord.
All of us need correcting at some point. If we are to stay “on track,” we cannot ignore the wise rebuke of God. God’s correction is not something done to us, but for us. Whether we becomes “bitter” or “better” will be determined by our attitude toward God. Most people wouldn’t say, “I’m mad at God.” Do we get mad if someone is trying to bring us to repentance if we have strayed the straight and wise paths of God? This displays a wrong attitude toward God, not just men. Others, using God’s word as the standard can help us (Galatians 6:1-2; 1Corinthians 5:1-5).
What Happens If I Stay On Track?
Wisdom and understanding profit more than possessions.
(Proverbs 3:13-17) The profit and gain of wisdom is better than silver or gold. It is better to know where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here than to have all the things money can buy. It is better to follow God’s ways and have the security of our souls than to have all the world’s value (Matthew 16:26). Wisdom and understanding are precious treasures. No jewel—nothing on this earth is as valuable as divine wisdom to guide us in how to live. No ones days are cut short by following God’s wisdom. We have life with God. What better riches and honor could there possibly be? What pleasantness of ways and what peace of mind we experience when we walk God’s paths and work for His wisdom.
Wisdom Gives Confidence.
(Proverbs 3:18-26) Trusting in the Lord is easier to do when we remember that all things were created by His wisdom and understanding. Surely, He also knows what is best for us. Think of the sweetness and soundness of sleep for those who follow Him! What can there be to be afraid of? Those walking in God’s wisdom and understanding are not afraid of the unknown. True peace is not by might, but by peace with God (Philippians 4:7). The only thing that man can do is kill us and if we are in God’s paths, then we will have heaven. A thief may take away our money or we may go bankrupt, but didn’t we come into this earth with nothing? We have confidence in treasures that do not fade away.
Honor is the inheritance.
(Proverbs 3:27-35) Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. Pay all honest debts on time. If you do not have the ability to pay, promise to pay when you can. Honest men will pay even if it takes several years, but a crook will beat you regardless of the number of contracts. Do no mistreat your neighbor. Don’t be contentious. Do not envy the man of violence. It may look like he has the upper hand, but his ways are not God’s ways. Man and his devious paths are an abomination to the Lord, but He is ever close to the upright. The Lord blesses the righteous, but His curse will be upon the wicked. Those who humble themselves before God receive His grace (James 4:6). Those who are wise will inherit, or take possession of honor.
Will we receive honor from God? Am I working for His wisdom and seeking a discerning and understanding heart?
-—S. Scott Richardson Sr.