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November 28, 2004 PM


PROV 1:5,6

INTRO: When I go to a bookstore, I usually have some particular book or subject in mind. So, I spend very little time browsing. However, from time to time I do have a little extra time, and I often find myself glancing through the little books called Lifes Little Instruction Book. In fact, I have a couple of them in my own library. Each of them has scores of little pieces of practical advice. I have noticed that many of the points made are familiar ... I already know them and recognize their value. But the reminders are so helpful! I think that may be one of the values of the reading of the book of Proverbs. We probably know, either from study or experience, the advice given ... but it is such a good reminder to us. For example...

1. Living with guilt is not easy - 28:1

a. this little verse notes the guilty man is always looking over his shoulder!

b. the contrast is that righteous people do not have to waste their time and energy anxious about discovery

c. guilt is one of the most severe of slave masters - mental, physical anguish

d. read Ps 51 to discover the heaviness of guilt

e. notice especially vv. 11,12 - feelings of guilt do not just go away quickly and easily ... even when we know that God forgives us

f. it is far better, then, to live carefully and righteously ... to avoid any conduct which might result in guilt before God, man and self

2. Ignoring sin is very hurtful - 28:13

a. this adds to what we have already observed about guilt

b. the only constructive way to deal with guilt is to confess ones sins with genuine penitence - 1 Jno 1:8,9 ... shall have mercy

c. if other people are involved, openness about our sin is appropriate, helpful

d. but how many of us just cover, or ignore, our sins? tragic denial - we may refuse to accept that a particular behavior, activity is sinful ... but we really know it is

e. such covered sin has a way of eating at us to the point that it can affect our day to day lives and functioning

f. so, he...shall not prosper

3. Be careful of trusting unscrupulous people - 28:21

a. this is an interesting little verse

b. trusting people who have respect of persons is risky business

c. and the last part of the verse tells us why - such a person may be trustworthy until someone comes along with a better offer - and for advantage such a person would betray you

d. people want advantage, prestige, influence - and too many are willing to sell their souls to get these things

e. Jas 2:1-4 - why do we tend to behave in just this way? for some advantage

f. and we need to be so careful to be trustworthy - but its not always easy

4. Give honor and be faithful to your parents - 28:24

a. Mt 15:3-8 - here were religious people failing to honor their parents

b. apparently, Jesus refers to parents who are in need ... and children who have the material means to relieve those needs

c. but the children had found a way to be religious and keep their possessions

d. I recognize that not all parent/child relationships are happy, wholesome

e. but this does not absolve either of the responsibilities of the role!

f. few things look as distasteful, sad and adult children who fail to honor and respect their parents ... who are not faithful in their love and care for them

5. Dont trust your heart - 28:26

a. in movies, tv programs one often hears, What does your heart tell you to do? Go with your heart

b. I assume this advises emotional action or reaction

c. and there are many, many people who course of life is determined by their emotions ... what their hearts tell them to do

d. certainly, we want to have feelings, to have emotions which can be touched

e. but emotions, without the wisdom of Gods word, are terrible guides

f. the wise writer calls the emotion driven person a fool - this persons life will be topsy turvy, scattered, inconsistent, crisis after crisis ... walk wisely!

Close: One of my little books gives this advice: Take charge of your attitude. Dont let someone else choose it for you. Good advice. Heeding it, as with the advice in the book of Proverbs is the key!

Cecil A. Hutson

28 November 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)