INTRO: Years ago I was first introduced to a ladies class book entitled Far Above Rubies. I imagine that literally thousands of ladies Bible classes have used that book as a resource for study. Well, the title of the book is taken from Prov 31:10 which begins a wonderful tribute to a wife mother and mistress of the household. Writers from long years ago have suggested that every young woman should memorize this section of the book of Proverbs before they marry. I certainly believe that it gives us a wonderful picture of a woman whose value is incalculable to her husband. In fact, the text suggests that such a woman as this is a rare find! Consider some of the points of this description with me.
1. Her role as a wife - 31:10-12
a. her fidelity to her husband is above question
b. she has demonstrated that she is worthy of his total confidence
c. he places in her the fortunes of the family, and she is so efficient in this that the family is secure
d. she does not become a temptress enticing him into evil (cf. Eve)
e. her life is given to devotion to her husband (1 Cor 7:34)
f. from 31:23 it is apparent that her husband is involved in matters spiritual and civic within the community - she shares him with many others - but it is her own qualities which make it possible for him to be know in the gates
2. Her role as a homemaker - 31:13-24
a. v. 13 - she works willingly - no resentment of her responsibilities
b. v. 15a - she is an early riser who provides meals for the household
c. v. 15b - she directs the affairs of the servants
d. v. 16,17 - she understands business affairs and purchases a field - and she plants a vineyard with her own hands
e. v. 18 - she takes pleasure in what she is doing - and keeps working even after quitting time
f. v. 19 - after others may have quit for the day, she is making cloth
g. v. 20 - in her great devotion to her own family and household she does not forget the poor ... those who are not as blessed as she
h. v. 21 - she clothes her family appropriately (with cloth she has made?)
i. v. 22 - and she takes care to cloth herself nicely, neatly, femininely (in view of the sort of schedule she keeps this is a bit of a wonder)
j. v. 24 - she even finds time to make clothing of quality to sold to merchants
k. are we reminded of Titus 2:4,5?
3. More of her personal qualities - 31:25-27
a. strength and honor are intangibles which clothe her - strength might be the inner quality and honor that one endowed upon her because of her inner qualities (so, 1 Pet 3:3-5)
b. ...rejoice in time to comeis a promise to women of her caliber - it would seem apparent, however, that she finds pleasure in the present, too
c. ...with wisdom - when she talks, what she says is worth hearing - she is not a shallow, air headed person saying the first thing that comes to mind
d. ...the law of kindness - this definitely sets her apart from many women ... and, yes, men
e. v. 27 seems to be a summation of this womans qualities
4. Her pay for it all ... and final observations - 31:28-31
a. the praise of her children and her husband (do husbands praise enough?)
b. v. 29 - the sound of their praise - she is the very best mother and wife of all ... without equal!!
c. externals have not been of primary concern to her - what has been the underpinning of all of her life is this: she has feared the Lord
d. v. 31 reminds me of Acts 9:39 and of Rev 14:13
e. but there is also the suggestion at v. 31 that in life we can expect to receive in keeping with what we give!
CLOSE: Young men, as you begin to think of marriage, seek a wife whose mother demonstrates the qualities of the wife and mother described here. Young women, seek to grow into the qualities described here. The man you marry, and, ultimately, your children, will praise you over and again ... and the pleasure you derive from their praise is will pay enough if you fear the Lord.
Cecil A. Hutson
March 6, 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)