INTRO: Mr. Rogers usually sang a little song in each of his thoughtful programs - Its a beautiful day in your neighborhood ... would you be my neighbor. And in his neighborhood there were those very important people who would interact with Mr. Rogers. Joyce and I have been privileged to liver in a number of places ... and to have near neighbors in all of them. Our neighbors have certainly been diverse and interesting. For the most part, we have felt very secure with our neighbors. I have discovered that the book of Proverbs says a good bit about neighbors! And, once again, we see the very practical nature of this Old Testament book so concerned about everyday life.
1. Give assistance to a neighbor at the time of the need - 3:28
a. obviously, the neighbor has a need, a significant need
b. and it is well within my capability to assist with that need
c. why, then, would I tell my neighbor to come back tomorrow?
d. it is this a delay tactic which hopes the neighbor will forget?
e. is such a delay tactic evidence of selfishness, disinterest?
f. Titus 3:1 - to be ready to every good work
g. Lev 19:18 - this is what James, the Lords brother calls the royal law
2. Do not engage in devious misconduct toward a neighbor - 3:29
a. notice he dwelleth securely by thee
b. this, I think, is what all of us would want from our neighbors - security
c. I recall a neighbor who bought a piece of property from his neighbor on the other side ... years later that neighbor entered into a conflict over the property boundaries ... having led his neighbor to believe he had bought more than he did - a nasty conflict ensued and was never happily resolved!
d. there was no longer security ... there was no longer civility between them!
e. oh, neighbors do not have to be good friends, etc. - but there is usually an understanding between them
f. Ps 55:12-14, 20 - he hath broken his covenant
g. Prov 3:30 - some folks just dont seem to appreciate the security of peace
3. Give your neighbor no cause to question your honesty - 11:9
a. hypocrisy is one of those sins I personally find so distasteful, so ugly
b. a hypocrite says one thing to your face - another behind your back
c. so, the hypocrite is telling others things about/on his neighbor - things that are not true ... or, they are the sorts of things one considers confidences
d. Rom 3:13 - the poison of asps is under their lips - hidden poison!
e. 1 Tim 3:8 - not double tongued
f. certainly, honesty is one of the reasons for neighborly security
g. Prov 11:12 - does this verse explain such hypocrisy?
4. Be very, very careful about the neighborly relationship - 24:28
a. would I be far afield in concluding integrity of this relationship is very important?
b. notice without cause - this may relate to the hypocrisy issue
c. and I sense here the natural reluctance to have to give such testimony
d. after all, we have dwelt securely as neighbors for a considerable time
e. note, too, and deceive not with thy lips - carefully consider such testimony
f. Rom 12:17,18 - surely this would be so needed in this special relationship
g. could we also suggest that rushing to judgment might be the caution here?
5. In neighborly disagreements consult with your neighbor - 25:9
a. 25:8 might suggest the offended sets off on a crusade because offence
b. but wisdom cautions that one should carefully consult, discuss with him
c. this is exactly the way scripture teaches us to deal with such things which involve our brothers in Christ - Mt 18:15
d. in the vast number of cases a loving discussion resolves disputes
e. so often, though, everyone knows the dispute before the neighbor does!
f. discover not a secret to another
g. and that makes resolution so much more difficult - hes on the defense
6. Do not become a nuisance to your neighbor - 25:17
a. I mentioned this passage in an earlier sermon study
b. but it is worth our mentioning again - enjoy a neighbors hospitality
c. do not abuse his hospitality by overstaying your welcome
d. better to leave while youre still wanted that to stay so long youre unwanted
CLOSE: As I collected these thoughts, I mentally recalled the neighbors we have had. As enjoyable as most of those relationships were, Robert Frost was right when he wrote, Good fences make good neighbors.
Cecil A. Hutson
January 23, 2005
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)