"Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you." ~John C. Maxwell Sometimes we face important choices in life that are incredibly important but may not have clear answers. Choices like: - Where should I go to college? - Should I look for a new job or stick with this one? - How do I handle the coworker who drives me crazy? - What should I do with my money? - Is it time to break up with this boyfriend/girlfriend? The Bible, God's Word should be our "go to" resource for seeking wisdom and application for the nitty-gritty, daily details of our lives. Ephesians 5:15-16, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” As we begin this series on proverbs we will see how to walk wisely, to make the most of our time, and how to make the best decisions in a day filled with evil. What is a Proverb? “a short saying that expresses a general truth for practical, godly living.” The purpose of a proverb is to present wisdom in a short, memorable format, think zingers/axioms. Proverbs are simple yet profound. Many deal with the commonplace yet clarify the deepest realities of life. Why Proverbs? 1. Because of the Person (Prov. 1:1) Solomon sought wisdom from God and it was pleasing to God that he asked for wisdom so God granted his request. (see 1 Kings 3:9-14; 4:29-31) Even though Solomon was "wiser than anyone..." he himself made some very unwise and sinful decisions in his life. This does not change the credibility of the Proverbs but goes to show that it is easier to preach a sermon that to practice it. Yet, the truth should still be taught and proclaimed. 2. Because of its Purpose (Prov. 1:2-4) - Teaching wisdom, discipline, and understanding - Building a wise and disciplined life "A price has to be paid for anything of value, and nothing is more valuable in life than wisdom." - Instructing the inexperienced in discernment and equipping the young in decision making (Prov. 1:4) 3. Because of the People (Prov. 1:5) - Wise people have teachable spirits - Wise people continue to grow and learn - Wise people seek counsel when making decisions Ask yourself: 1.) Do I have a teachable spirit? 2.) Do I pursue opportunities to grow and to continue to learn? 3.) Do I seek the counsel and advice of others? 4.) Do I actively seek to understand truth and those things that will increase my wisdom? 5.) Do I exercise my mental faculties and sharpen my ability to think? Do I stretch myself to understand new or difficult things? 6.) Do I ask questions and seek the help of others in learning and understanding truth? 4. Because of the focal Point The right key to genuine wisdom or knowledge is: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." How do I gain this wisdom? - Posture/Willingness - Practice - Priority Take the Daily Proverbs challenge: Read a chapter of Proverbs each day corresponding with the day's date. Ex., June 6=Proverbs 6, June 7=Proverbs 7, etc.
Part 1–"Everlasting Wisdom for Everyday Life"
June 6, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor
Part 2–"Peers vs Parents: Choose Your Path"
Proverbs 1:8-19 • June 13, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor
We can safely say that throughout life we go through a strange cycle in estimating our parents' intelligence: > When we are little, we ask lots of questions because we think our parents know everything > When we become teenagers, we think our parents know little to nothing; they are "out of touch". > When we're adults we finally realize that our parents were smarter than we gave them credit for. The first nine chapters of Proverbs include the instruction of parents to their children, as well as a primer for parents. It could be viewed as an instruction manual on how to rear children. Parents who learn to apply the lessons in these chapters will see these life-shaping truths sown into the young, fertile hearts of their children. "The person you will be in five years is determined by two things: the books you read and the people you surround yourself with." ~Dr. Howard Hendricks Solomon's wisdom for us points to the things and people which influence us. The people who determine "how we think" will always determine "how we act. Sooner or later everyone must choose which influence we will follow. Proverbs 1:8-19 Notice 3 main points: 1. The Pleas by Parents (vv. 8-9) God's plan is that parents are to be the primary teachers of wisdom. See Deuteronomy 6:6-9 > Their instructions will prosper you - Listen to their knowledge - Learn from their experiences 2. The Persuasion by Peers (vv. 10-14) > Their pressure will destroy you - Hide (v. 11) - Hurt ( vv. 11-12) - Have (vv. 13-14) 3. The Peer Pressure Response Plan > Avoid the people > Avoid the paths Why? (vv. 16-19 Going along with peer pressure is self-destructive. Peer pressures ambush themselves. If you join them in their practices, you join them in their plight. Jesus can rescue you from your foolishness. As he, a completely righteous and innocent man, hung on the cross between two robbers we see: - He took the punishment that thieves deserve so that thieves like us could be forgiven - He took the punishment for our greed, our cravings, our violent hearts, so that we could be set free - He gives his Spirit to his followers to empower them to walk in his wisdom. - He empowers us to avoid easy money, to be content, and to use our money to help others instead of using others to help us get more money. - He gives us a new community–the church–a community that does not entice us to sin but spurs us on to love and good deeds. The reward of wisdom is far greater than any allurement from peer pressure or ill-gotten riches that shimmer and fade and ultimately destroy you. They're not worth it. Remember: > Parental instruction will prosper you. > Peer pressure will destroy you. > Jesus will save you.
Part 3–"Listen & Learn"
Proverbs 1:20-33 • June 20, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor
Maybe you've heard the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, "Simple Man". The theme of the song is a mother pleading with her son to not forget what she has told him. She wants him to remember the simple things in life as the central things. Lyrics: ""Mama told me when I was young, Come sit beside me, my only son. Listen closely to what I say, and if you do this, it will help you some sunny day. --Take your time, don't live to fast, troubles will come and they will pass. You'll find a woman and you'll find love. And don't forget that there is someone up above. --Forget your lust for the rich man's gold. All that you need is in your soul. --And you can do this if you try, all that I want for you my son is to be satisfied." "And be a simple kind of man, oh won't you do this for me son, if you can." Written by: Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington This passage in Proverbs 1:20-33 helps us today to show us the call of wisdom- to LISTEN and LEARN to respond to it. "Wisdom is everywhere, yet it is found in someone." Wisdom, a definition: The skill of Godly living so that a life of lasting value is produced. Wisdom is results from the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the Lord is a reliance upon God; the realization that we were created to be wholly dependent recognizing the obligation we have in delighting in the God who created us for his glory. It is the whole of life through the eyes of the Creator. We see wisdom in this passage personified as a lady. She represents a personification of a right relationship to a God who knows all things. LISTEN: - Listen to Her Calling (Vv. 20-23) - She is vocal. She shouts out to everyone, "Be wise! Do the right thing! Do exactly what you should do!" - Wisdom is not hard to find. It is intentional and it is everywhere. The problem, however is that not everyone who hears it heeds it. People willingly reject it. It calls loudly to us to fear the God who created us, but we have made a habit of ignoring that call. - Listen to Her Critique (Vv. 24-32) - She publicly and directly confronts: 1. The simple 2. The mockers 3. The fools Observe wisdom's attitude toward those who do not know the fear of the Lord. She... - calls (v. 24) - stretches out her hand (v. 24b) - Offers her counsel (v. 25) - corrects (v. 25b) Observe the contrasting attitudes of sinful people. They... - refuse her (v. 24a) - pay no attention to her (v. 24b) - ignore her counsel (v. 25a) - refuse to accept her urgent, loving correction (v. 25b) Our problem is that we look for answers to our problem in all the places except where God has already reached out and provided an answer for us. - Listen to Her Comfort (v. 33) - We can lay claim on the promise that has been proclaimed by Lady Wisdom by listening. In Proverbs, Lady Wisdom called out and no one turned. In the Gospel, Jesus, the one who Isaiah (ch. 11) said would be filled with the Spirit of God's wisdom did more than callout to us. He came down for us. Jesus' message doesn't call for us to do better or try harder, instead Jesus grabs the heart of the sinner and brings us back to the cross. If you want this heart change it requires a turning which only Jesus can do. A turning which might seem painful because it admits what you have rejected your whole life. But if you would be changed by this Jesus and turn by the power of his grace away from your sins and towards the God who redeemed you, then you will finally find peace and dwell securely. LEARN: - Learn the Tendency of Human Nature - Learn the Tenderness God Has for the Wayward - Learn That the Time to Respond is Long but Limited