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December 19, 2004 PM


PROV 4:3-8

INTRO: There are so many wonderful descriptions to be found in the book of Proverbs. Among them are various descriptions of a person of honor ... an honorable person. Now, honorable may be another of those words we would find difficult to define ... must easier to explain. That is why, perhaps, these inspired descriptions are so important. It may be, too, that the way we would typically used the word honorable falls very short of the way inspiration uses this word. So, what are some of the qualities of an honorable person ... from the Lords point of view?

1. A person who exalts the wisdom of God - 4:7,8

a. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee...

b. the culture of which we are a part puts a premium on success

c. we tend to categorize people as successes or failures!

d. and we may find ourselves falling mental prey to our societies definitions and categorizations ... even to extent of viewing ourselves accordingly

e. but if we embrace the wisdom from above, He considers us honorable!

f. note v. 13 - ...she is thy life

2. A person of careful morality - 5:8,9

a. in the context inspiration examines consequences, outcomes

b. the subject matter is clearly sexual immorality, impurity

c. a few years ago we began hearing about the sexual revolution - the breaking down of long standing standards of sexual propriety

d. and the social, physical and emotional results are clearly enormous, tragic

e. notice carefully vv. 8-11 ... not only is sexual impurity sin against God, it is a sin against self!!!

f. 1 Thes 4:7 - the context has to do with sexual integrity, purity ... as Gods people we are called...unto holiness

3. A person of graciousness - 11:16

a. gracious - pleasing, kind, courteous, tactful, generous of spirit, etc.

b. in todays world we find so many people who are crude, rude, lewd, classless, tasteless, etc. - and they seem to revel in their ugliness of character

c. listen to Jas 3:17 ... here is graciousness!

d. I wonder to what extent Col 4:6 might apply here - since it is with our speech that much of what is described as gracious is manifested

e. note Eccl 10:12 - The words of a wise mans mouth are gracious...

f. too, Ex 33:19 - the words gracious and mercy are frequently found together in reference to the Lord ... along with compassion - does that help us understand graciousness?

4. A person who accepts instruction - 13:18

a. are we every too good to learn? are we ever too knowledgeable to learn? are we ever too perfect not to need correction?

b. and learning and humility seem to me to be partners - it is a person of real humility who can still be taught, or learn, even as his own acquired knowledge may be considered by others to be great

c. I suggest particularly the instruction, reproof of scripture are so necessary

d. 2 Tim 3:16,17 - here is the way to honor!

e. Prov 8:33 - Hear instruction, and be wise...

f. and, of course, there are those times when we receive wise instruction or correction from others - such must be offered in love and kindness ... received with meekness ... evaluated in view of the word ... actualized in wisdom

5. A person who chooses not to be engaged in strife - 20:3

a. perhaps there are times when strife seems unavoidable

b. I wonder, though, if those times are truly few, and far between

c. some people (many people?) seem to delight, to flourish when they are in the midst of some sort of argument, squabble, strife

d. where Gods truth is concerned, I cannot negotiate, compromise, etc.

e. most strife, however, concerns human points of view - in many institutions there is a level of authority which resolves various viewpoints

f. but in human relationships such a level of authority usually does not exist - so, we must learn to deal with diversity as peacemakers (Jas 3:17,18)

6. A person who is concerned about the poor - 14:31

a. perhaps this is the place for the compassion of graciousness

b. and I well know the difficulty we may have determining legitimate needs

c. but a person of honor is touched by the plight of the poor ... and will do what he can to relieve that plight

d. Jas 1:27 comes to mind

CLOSE: Prov 26:1- Here is a good thought on which to close. A foolish person has no interest being honorable ... just foolish! I would hope that our desire, however, is to demonstrate the qualities of honorableness.

Cecil A. Hutson

19 December 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)