INTRO: As I have read and studied the book of Proverbs over the past few weeks, I have sought for themes to present in this series of sermons. But I also realized that it might be useful to highlight some of the seemingly isolated bits of wisdom. Some of these little bits of advice and wisdom are so important and are easy to remember. In fact, some of us may already be familiar with some of them. The challenge, however, is to put what we know into practice in the daily activity of our lives. So, lets look at some of these passages which can help us with real life.
1. Give praise and honor now - 3:27
a. I recognize that the text may be directed more toward benevolence
b. certainly, the next verse (v. 28) would confirm that
c. but there is another direction which is suggested by this little verse
d. people who are due our honor, respect, praise, good should have it now
e. withholding such robs that person of a blessing of great value
f. but why would we withhold such? do we feel that praising another diminishes us in some way? could envy keep us from recognizing praiseworthiness?
2. Learn to be a liberal person - 11:24
a. this little verse sets out a very important spiritual principle
b. using our material blessings to bless others will make us wealthy
c. holding on to our material blessings will make us poor
d. liberal people lay up treasure in heaven ... and receive the incalculable joy of joy and gratitude in this life
e. note 1 Tim 6:18,19 with 2 Cor 9:9-14
f. taking the risk of liberality may seem a bit daunting at first ... but the blessings of liberality will quickly remove the risk of it!
3. The great value of encouragement - 12:25
a. there is no doubt that there are many hearts that stoop
b. Heb 12:12 refers to hands which hang down, and the feeble knees
c. the causes of heaviness in the heart of man are many ... and too frequent
d. so we live in a world of hurting, disappointed, burdened people - people for whom there are few, if any, encouragers
e. there is such a vital role, then, for encouragers - people with a good word
f. if you want people to be glad to see you coming, be an encourager - a spoken word, a note, a pat on the back, a sincere hug ... make hearts glad!
4. Promote genuine love in your home - 15:17
a. are all affluent homes/relationships happy? far from it
b. but I have given you everything you ever wanted - classic words
c. fact: things (a stalled ox) can never replace genuine love
d. still, the emphasis of our time is on the providing an abundance of things - too often in the belief that enough things can insure happiness
e. in the midst of the affluence there is so often strife, conflict ... because it takes much more than things to make a house a home ... and right here in our town this is real life for so many people
f. step back ... look at your marriage, your home - is love there? or is it just toleration?
5. Do nothing to tarnish your good name - 22:1
a. your name and your reputation travel together
b. and it takes so little to tarnish, injure your good name
c. your reputation is one of the most valuable assets you have ... this truth is played out over and again in real life
d. if you have a reputation for:
1. paying your bills on time
2. telling the truth
3. working hard and smart
4. high moral values
5. dependability ...
e. ... your road through life will probably be pleasant and easier
f. throughout your life when people hear your name, what will be their first thought?
CLOSE: Each of these little bits of inspired advice is so very useful. Each of them, put into practice, will enrich both our own lives and the lives of those whose lives are entwined with ours.
Cecil A. Hutson
14 November 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
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
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)