INTRO: Most of the advice I have been given over the years I honestly do not remember. I am sure, however, that I have received from dear and well meaning people some good advice. Perhaps I better remember the advice I have found in the sayings of Benjamin Franklin ... after all, I was tested over some of the sayings of Poor Richards Almanac! The best advice of all has come from the scriptures. It is advice from my heavenly Father. It is advice from Him Who knows me (and human nature) better than I know myself. It is advice which, if followed, guarantees blessings. This evening I want to continue with some of those bits of advice from the book of Proverbs.
1. Some things should never change - 22:28
a. my lifetime has been literally filled with change
b. changes in creature comforts; changes in fashion; changes in moral values; changes in social norms
c. many of the changes have no doubt been for the better
d. but there are some things which should never change!
e. Gods pattern for marriage; Gods pattern for the church; Gods pattern for Christian living ... and all of these are under attack from within!
f. 2 Tim 1:13 - Jude 1:3 - does Rom 1:22 describe those who would tamper with the ancient landmarks?
2. Never ignore, compromise the truth - 23:23
a. everything I have is for sale for the right price - a modern sentiment
b. truth in this passage is objective - revealed truth/wisdom
c. it should be bought no matter the price - and never be sold no matter the offer
d. Jno 8:32 ... but Gal 5:1 - the liberty can be lost if truth is sold
e. is our world enamored with this truth? no ... our world is enamored with feelings and my truth
f. you will have daily opportunities to sell the truth - dont do it!
3. Good men will not stay down - 24:16
a. its true - sin will come into a good persons life
b. 1 Jno 2:1 - yes, we are given all of the tools we need to keep from sinning - but sin will come ... what then?
c. the just man riseth up again - he does not let sin have dominion over him
d. the just man recognizes his sin, confesses his sin and moves on in life
e. the just man has a great love for God, values his son ship, honors his family name with renewed devotion
f. Im afraid, though, that many Christian people do not quickly repent and rise up ... by delaying, the hold of sin grows stronger
4. Make the very best of every day - 27:1
a. I like the sentiment of Ps 118:24 (yes, it can apply to the Lords day, etc.)
b. and what about decisions which need to be made? put them off to another day? thats often the human way
c. suppose those decisions impact eternity ... and there are no more days?
d. are you waiting to put on Christ in baptism? why? what if there are no more days? procrastination encourages more procrastination ... and waste
e. yes, we should be preparing for tomorrow ... but living our lives as if there would be no tomorrow!
f. if you knew today would be the only day left to you, how would you live it?
5. Be careful about letting your eyes control you - 27:20
a. this passage certainly speaks to the issue of contentment
b. Gen 3:6 - And when the woman saw... - the end of contentment
c. the world is geared to appeals to the eye ... the best thing for me to do is stay out of stores! my eyes go too quickly to desire
d. and remember: the lust of the eyes (1 Jno 2:16)
e. our eyes will not stop seeing ... so, we must discipline our eyes by deciding what we will let them see and not permitting them to go beyond appreciating, enjoying, learning
f. remember that the what enters through the eyes makes a virtually indelible impression on the mind - if you dont want it in your mind, dont look at it!
CLOSE: Its excellent advice from the Father Who loves us. That is above questioning. But how will we use the advice? Thats the question.
Cecil A. Hutson
21 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)