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WISDOM

A Series in Proverbs

Part 9–"Individual Challenges"

Part 8–"What if..."

Proverbs 5 • July 25, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

"What if..." Proverbs 5 As we have journeyed through the first 4 chapters of Proverbs we have been presented with two different paths. - Path #1 is the way of the foolish - Path #2 is the way of the wise In this message we take a look at Proverbs 5 the father invites his on to imagine what it would be like to try the way of the foolish. Main Idea: Wisdom will recognize and reject immorality 1. Recognize the Trap (vv. 1-6) - See the words "honey" and "bitter" (vv. 3 & 4) 2. Reject the Temptation (vv. 7-24) We've seen already the person who lets their untamed sexual desires lead the way is repeatedly shown by Solomon to be a fool who is walking to his own funeral. Yet, the temptations can be rejected. Solomon gives an action plan, a blueprint to reject the temptation. - Remaining Sharp (vv. 7-8) - Remaining Serious (vv. 9-14) - Remaining Satisfied (vv. 15-20) - Remaining Steadfast (vv. 21-23) God created his world good and everything worked right, including relationships and sex. But sin broke our relationship with God and with each other, so nothing right now works as it was designed. Instead of intimacy and satisfaction in marriage, there is distrust, barriers, and unfaithfulness. Sex is still a good, God-given gift, but it is not used properly because we are sinners. Because of human sin, our vertical relationship with the Lord is off; and as a result so are our horizontal relationships like marriage. We need to be brought back into right relationship with God in order for our marriages to work properly. That's the point of Proverbs. Your relationship with the Lord–fear Yahweh–is directly connected with your relationship with your spouse. Here's the good news: Jesus Christ–the Wisdom of God–Paid the price for our sexual sin upon the cross, and he came back victorious three days later. Through his death and resurrection, we can be reconciled to God. In Christ, there is no condemnation for our sexual sin. And by the power of Christ's Spirit and our new hearts, we can be transformed to live out God's plan for our lives, including sexually. That is good news indeed!

Part 7–"Wisdom for Daily Living"

Proverbs 4:20-27 • July 18, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Your heart affects who you are, so guard it purposefully. Text: Proverbs 4:2-27 In Proverbs we see the word "heart" frequently. It refers to the center of one's inner life and orientation to God, from which a person does all thinking, feeling, and choosing. Taking words of wisdom into the heart is vital and wisdom's presence in the heart is worth guarding because out of the heart flow all the thoughts and words and choices of a person's life. - Your Responsibility to Guard Your Heart (v. 23a) - It assumes that the thing kept will be attacked, and that the keeper should be sufficiently aware of the attacks that he will be on guard. - The spiritual battle that rages around us is a battle for the heart. God wants your heart; so does Satan. Whoever or whatever has your heart has your devotion. - Your Reason to Guard Your Heart (v. 23b) - It is important to understand why the battle for the heart is so important; because it is the source of life. "Everything we think, say or do is a manifestation of what is in the heart. Whatever is at the source will be produced. Remove wisdom and godliness from the heart, and wisdom and godliness will soon cease from the life. If we pollute the wellspring, the infection will spread; before long, hidden appetites will become open sins and public shame." ~Warren Wiersbe - Sin is always a heart issue, and it must always be dealt with at the heart level. Our sinful words, thoughts, and actions flow from a corrupted heart. See Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 12:2, Proverbs 28:14; 21:4, Hebrews 3:12, Matthew 24:12, Psalm 51:10, and Jeremiah 31:33 - Your Results of a Guarded Heart There are four implications of a guarded heart: 1. Clean Heart 2. Cautious Mouth (v. 24) 3. Controlled Eye (v. 25) 4. Careful Foot Change must take place at the heart level. That, not behavior modification, is the message of Christianity. You need to be born again by Jesus, and then the Spirit of Jesus will empower you to work on your heart issues. Proverbs hopes for this here, and Jesus gives it. Ask yourself some probing questions: - Do I have a clean heart? - Am I guarding my heart purposefully? - Your heart is prone to wander. Ask, "What do my struggles reveal about my heart?" - Ask Jesus to change you at the heart level. He can. He will. Want to talk with a pastor about a heart change in your life? Reach out to us at Contact@LHBC.me or 662-895-1900.

Part 6–"The Worth of Wisdom"

Proverbs 3:13-35 • July 11, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Main Idea: God's wisdom revealed through Jesus is everything you've been searching for. Text: Proverbs 3:13-18 1. Wisdom is Infinitely Significant (vv. 13-18 How valuable is the wisdom that God offers? The gain from her is better than silver, the profit, better than gold, she is more precious than jewels and then there is this profound statement that nothing you desire can compare with her. If today you consider yourself to be looking for something, that's because God has made us to look for something. Every adventure into the unknown that seeks the promise of happiness is meant to show us that we were made to find that here in God himself. That's the value of wisdom. Vv. 3:16-18 Solomon references the "tree of life to those who embrace her..." We see the Tree of Life first in Genesis 2:16-17 in the Garden of Eden when God provided the Tree of Life but Adam and Eve chose to disobey and eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a result sin and death entered into God's perfect creation separating man from God. We see the Tree of Life once again in Revelation 22: 1-3 "Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city's Main Street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him." Here we see that it is in God's wisdom that he begins his work to win creation back to what sin broke. Wisdom, God's wisdom, is not book smarts or street smarts, it is realizing that God has worked in Jesus Christ to restore sinners through his cross. 2. Wisdom is intrinsically supreme (vv. 19-20) God created us to view the world through the lens of his wisdom. God created this world by his wisdom, established it by his understanding. He also sustains the world with this wisdom. Wisdom, then, is reading our world through the eye of God. Everything you see regarding the world's brokenness, every desire in your heart for satisfaction is meant to lead you to the fact that the world is broken but Jesus has come to bring you back to God's joy on the cross. 3. Wisdom is Invariably Satisfying (vv. 21-35) This passage assumes that despite our efforts to follow God's wisdom, to trust in the future hope laid up for us in the tree of life, this world makes much noise to shake our confidence. How many of us afraid of: - The state of politics? - The health of our family? - All the things that seek to threaten us in this world? Please hear this: When walking in God's wisdom, the things that cause us fear are not removed but our experience in our sleep is. The sleep of one who relies on God because they have seen the wisdom of God solve everything in Jesus Christ is a sweet sleep. To choose to follow God's wisdom is to choose to lean into following Jesus as actively as we can even when the world offers alternative options. it is to trust the confidence of God and not the confidence of man. Are you seeking or chasing after the wisdom that is Christ? Or are you in pursuit of the misunderstood prosperity that is believed to be fulfilled through earthly gain? Want to talk with someone about your next steps? Contact us at Contact@LHBC.me or 662-895-1600 Remember, "God's wisdom revealed through Jesus is everything you've been searching for."

Part 5–"Gift of Confidence"

Proverbs 3:1-12 • July 4, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Scripture text: Proverbs 3:1-12 Proverbs shows us how God designed us to live. Proverbs 3 teaches us to "Submit our whole lives to God and He will take care of the rest." As we walk through this life God gives us the gift of confidence in him–that if we submit to him and his ways, he will make it worth it. In this passage the Father is saying, "Pay attention to me... Only my teaching will lead you into shalom, wholeness, peace." 1. Submit Your Personality (Heart) (vv. 3-4) See also: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the Shema The Shema ties loving God with loving and knowing God's Word. You can't love someone without listening to them. Love takes time. The more time you spend in God's Word the more you will grow to love Him. 2. Submit Your Preference (Will) (vv. 5-6) It all comes down to trust. Do we trust God, who made us and created us and knows how we work, or do we trust ourselves? When faced with decisions like, "What job does God want me to have? Where does He want me to live? Where will I go to school?" God rarely tells us what to do but He always tells us how to do it. That's what it means to walk in the way of wisdom. 3. Submit Your Perspective (vv. 7-8) Avoid thinking that you are wise and therefore forgetting that the Lord is the source of wisdom. Submit your whole life to God and He will take care of the rest. 4. Submit Your Possessions (vv. 9-10) When we start to worry about the future what's one of the first things we doe? We close our wallets and our generosity dries up. We cling to our money. If we trust God will provide for all our needs, even in want we can still find ways to be generous and give to the Lord and others. We can give confidently and joyfully that He will take care of us. 5. Submit Your Pride (vv. 11-12) Godly parents don't withhold loving discipline from their children. The more you love, the more you correct what is wrong and train in what is right. The Father loves us so much that He was willing to discipline His one and only Son in whom He delighted so that You and I can be forgiven. The Father allowed His perfect Son, a Son who had done no wrong, a Son who always submitted to his Father's will, to be punished as a guilty sinner so that you and I can be counted as righteous. The Father sees us through red colored glasses because of the blood of Jesus. Your faith has practical applications. As a follower of God you cannot separate your spiritual life on Sundays, with your practical life the rest of the week. Genuine faith produces good works and will yield tangible fruit. It's impossible for us to perfectly submit to God, but Jesus did. When we surrender to Christ, He empowers us through the Holy Spirit to walk the path of wisdom and gives the gift of confidence. SUBMIT YOUR WHOLE LIFE TO GOD AND HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST.

Part 4–"Is Wisdom Worth It?"

Proverbs 2 • June 27, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

What advantages are there to being a follower of Jesus? is Christianity really worthy it? Aside from the promise of eternal life, how will it help me here and now? What would the results be if we think of Christianity only in terms of our future reward in heaven? - Dangerous delay - people will delay faith as long as they can, then sign up for their heavenly insurance policy before the end - Half hearts - People will not pursue Christ or holiness with vigor because there's no immediate advantage - Clinched teeth - Christians adopt a "grin and bear it" approach to the Christian life. We just must put up with present losses in hope of eventual future gain. - Cold legalism - We instruct our children to do things merely because they are commanded. - Spiritual blindness - We don't see the glory and beauty of Christ, only commands to follow with little reason why. As we look at Proverbs 2 we will see that Christianity IS worth it, not only for future rewards but because of present advantages. As we practice seeking wisdom we will experience her productive benefits. Wisdom defined: The skill of Godly living so that a life of lasting value is produced. 1. The Practice of Seeking Wisdom (2:1-4) - Must Be Receptive (2:1) - Must Be Responsive (2:1b-3) - Must Be Resolute (2:4) - "Seek" emphasizes the earnestness required–the sincere desire of the heart for wisdom. - "Search" emphasizes the diligence required to gain wisdom. The diligence to stay with the task is the fruit of the earnest desire. 2. The Products from Seeking Wisdom (2:5-22) Benefits: - Delight in the Lord (2:5-10) - Deliverance by the Lord (2:11-22) - From Devious Men (2:11-15) - From Dangerous Women (2:16-19) - From Destructive Paths (2:20-22) True wisdom is found in Christ alone. He is the very embodiment of wisdom. The road to life begins at Calvary with the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. When we believe in Christ and accept His gift, we receive everything He has to offer, everything that comes with Him. This includes God's wisdom for living. There is only one way to heaven–only one road that leads to life–and that way is Jesus.

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

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 1–"Everlasting Wisdom for Everyday Life"

Proverbs 1:1-7 • June 6, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

"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.