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September 12, 2004 PM

PROV 4:26

INTRO: Robert Frost wrote a poem called The Road Less Taken. It and his Mending Wall are two of my favorite poems. Like has many roads down which one may travel. But, in point of fact, there are really only two roads, or paths. One of the roads leads to life, and the other leads to death. One is obviously less taken than the other. The Lord is quoted by Matthew as saying there is the broad way and the narrow way ... and the narrow way is traveled by few. And it is the narrow way which leads to life. The wisdom of the book of Proverbs talks about ways, paths and walking. It is to some of these I would like to turn our attention for a few minutes. Think about the path of thy feet.

1. Prov 4:26 - We must give thought to the way in which we are going

a. the word ponder suggests more than a passing thought! serious thought

b. we must not let life and circumstances determine our path, our course

c. we must be careful that our ways be established (confirmed, certain, sure)

d. Ps 37:23 - here is how our way can/must be established

e. along this way, there will be many opportunities to turn to the left or right - to be diverted into a way that is not safe

f. but we must make a firm decision, commitment that we will not be detoured

2. Prov 2:6,7 - We must walk uprightly

a. walking uprightly necessitates a standard by which one walks

b. in the text we note that the Lord gives wisdom, knowledge, understanding

c. thus, one who walks uprightly can only do so by holding fast to that wisdom and knowledge which comes from the Lord!

d. Prov 10:9 - walking in keeping with the standard one walketh surely

e. Gal 2:14 - note that walking uprightly and the truth are partners here

f. in your day to day life and choices are you living by the God given standard?

3. Prov 2:20 - Walk in the way of good men

a. the idea here is certainly one which has to do with companionship

b. so, who are your companions? who are those people whose company you keep? who are those people in whom you invest your time?

c. we have a choice to make here ... righteous people with help us be good!

d. Prov 13:20 - the attributes of our companions is catching! (Ps 1:1)

e. 2 Cor 6:14-18 - how seriously do we take such instruction as this?

f. yes, we must be in certain situations with unrighteous people ... but who are our friends? thats the question which we must answer ... for it will have a decided impact on our lives and destiny

4. Prov 28:26 - Do not walk in ways of your own devising

a. notice the contrast in this verse

b. it is foolish to trust our way through life to our own hearts, desires

c. Prov 12:15 with Prov 14:12 - we can find ways of making paths of our own devising acceptable ... Whats so wrong with this?

d. Jer 10:23,24 - this is so true ... and so hard to accept

e. those words, O Lord, correct me... are such significant words ... and a very appropriate confession

f. listen to Zeph 3:2 and to the verdict upon ancient Israel ... and this must be ultimately the verdict upon any who insist on walking in their own ways

5. Prov 6:23 - Walk in the path of life

a. did you notice these words: commandment, law, reproofs?

b. in your life you cannot ignore the fact that Gods word sets the boundaries, the course for your life! and these are not flexible, optional, arguable things

c. Jno 6:63-68 - ...words that I speak unto you...are life

d. there are many good how to books ... many wonderful counselors whose advice can be so valuable

e. but if we do not spend adequate time in the word, we may find our path to be away from life

f. each step of the way must be under Gods supervision ... His loving, caring supervision leads us to life!

CLOSE: Are you thinking carefully about the path of your life? What is the destination at the end of the path on which you are now walking? If your eternal life should be judged by the path, the course on which your are right now traveling, where would you be spending eternity?

Cecil A. Hutson

12 September 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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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)