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January 2, 2005 PM

PROV 13:20 & PS 1:1

INTRO: I have no idea the number of times I was admonished by my parents to be careful of the company you keep. And I am positive that Joyce and I used those very same words in the course of our rearing of our children. We do need to be careful of our choice of companions ... of the company we keep. One of the great Old Testament texts on this subject says, Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil... (Ex 23:2). That, of course, is the negative side of the subject. There is a positive side, too. I suppose, though, that the positive side of the subject is assumed more than it is verbalized. As I have read through the book of Proverbs I have noticed that the wise writer is concerned about the company one keeps.

1. Do not walk in the company of sinners - 1:10-16

a. we all know that there will be some unavoidable situations

b. we are thrust into their company at school, at work (1 Cor 5:9,10)

c. but we will also be faced with opportunities to walk in the company of sinners by choice ... and this is a very dangerous choice (Prov 24:1,2)

d. the opportunity will be attractive, appealing, enticing

e. we must make the wise and right choice ... and refuse unholy company

f. Eph 2:2,3 - among whom also we all had our conversation... - such people as these have not acknowledged, accepted the same standards as those which govern our lives ... we have no place among them

2. Walk in the company of the wise - 13:20

a. this verse presents us with the two possible companionship choices

b. and it presents us with the consequences of the choice we make

c. for most of my life I have been fortunate to be often in the company of preachers and elders ... and I know that my life has been shaped thereby

d. the truth of this verse is demonstrated over and again in young & old

e. we ask questions; we observe them interacting with people; we see how they address problems; etc. ... and we learn

f. Ps 119:63 & Mal 3:16

3. Do not walk in the company of the angry - 22:24

a. notice v. 25 carefully

b. here is one of the reasons we should be so careful of the company we keep - we tend to learn from our companions!

c. we should avoid the company of a person whose anger is always surfacing

d. anger is the way this person responds, reacts to real life challenges - he probably leaves a trail of broken relationships (his marriage?)

e. you want to learn to be a problem solver - a resolver ... and forgiver

f. I suggest we remember 1 Pet 2:23 as our goal in all situations

4. Do not walk in the company of the intemperate - 23:20,21

a. this is obviously the party crowd - and the party mentality lives for another party (Prov 28:7)

b. theres nothing wrong with a party - if theres nothing wrong at the party! (a little later in the chapter there is a discussion of abstaining from inebriating substances)

c. these verses emphasize a spirit of intemperance - harmful extremes

d. intemperance harms body, character, relationships

e. 2 Pet 1:6 - add...temperance (self control)

f. one of the most difficult things I know is the finding of balance in our lives - a person who is able to maintain balance in all sorts of situations is a person to be admired! remember 1 Cor 9:25 - ...temperate in all things...

5. Do not overstay your welcome in your neighbors home - 25:17

a. Proverbs has a great deal to say about neighbor relationships

b. for example: Prov 27:10 or 3:29

c. it is possible, though, to tread on this beneficial relationship! and this book of wisdom does suggest some of the ways this can be done

d. one way, though, is to presume upon your neighbors time - staying too long

e. certainly we want to be able to visit and to enjoy this special relationship - but do we ever take our neighbors time for granted?

f. we need to be aware of our neighbors needs, what is happening right then and borrow his time accordingly ... leave while he still is enjoying your visit!!

CLOSE: There is a beautiful thought at Rom 15:24 - ...if first I be somewhat filled with your company. The desire to be in the company of good and honorable people is a wholesome desire. There are such wonderful benefits to be found in such company. But remember, too, 1 Cor 15:33.

Cecil A. Hutson

January 2, 2005

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)