Practical Proverbs, Part 2
This is the type of sermons you should go over several times. We need to store God’s commands in our hearts so we will not sin against him. They are practical, every day things we can put into practice all the time. If we think we don’t have anything more to learn in God, just read through Proverbs and ask, “How does this apply to me day to day? How much of this do I have in my life?”
Proverbs 1:1 – The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
These Proverbs help attain wisdom and discipline, and to understand words of insight. If we understand the Proverbs, then we might be able to understand some of the things Jesus had to say in a deeper way.
Proverbs 1:3 – for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;
Proverbs equips us to know what to do, and what to say or not say in any given situation or circumstance. The Holy Spirit can remind us of the Proverbs without a long explanation or detailed insight. God can stop us, move us, or tell us just to hold up a little bit by speaking the Proverbs to us on a moment-by-moment basis. We do well to go back and make sure they’re deep in our hearts so God can bring them out, so the sword can be swung. Then we can lead a prudent life and be able to hear the Holy Spirit. Some very small things will make a big difference.
Proverbs 1:4 – for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young
Even those young in the Lord should go back and look at Proverbs because a lot of things you do or say you will regret later. If you had paid attention to the Proverbs when you were young, then when it came time for you to serve God you’d be in a much better position to move on with the Lord.
Proverbs 1:5 – let the wise listen and add to their learning…
We must continue to go back to Proverbs and look at them again and again to gain new insight and revelation and apply them in a new way. If we are wise if we have been in the Lord for a long time we can go back to Proverbs and continue to learn more and more all the time.
Proverbs 1:5-6 – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
In this body many times we don’t always give the answer right away. Especially when mothers deal with their children. They have a tendency to give the child the answer. In fact, they ask the question and then give the child the answer. That’s not really learning or teaching anything. Many times I tell Carla, “Give them a chance to answer. Give them a chance to be wrong or give them enough rope to hang themselves.” Sometimes wisdom is applied in riddles, parables, or by asking questions. Many people don’t like that because of their pride. They need to venture out and learn to say things, either right or wrong. Learn for yourself rather than be a mocker who has been told the same thing repeatedly. Don’t think you are correct just because you say or do certain things. God comes to us as he came through Jesus. He spoke in parables, riddles, or things that were hard to understand at first. That’s how we should counsel one another if we listen to the Holy Spirit. We don’t lay everything out step by step but ask the right questions and phrase things in a proper way. Sometimes we need to give people a chance to think and reason it out to discover it for themselves. Then they retain it more in their heart.
I want to go through fourteen areas. First, we will review what we looked at last time.
1. Don’t be so simple.
Proverbs 14:15 – A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
We see within the church, especially those who claim to be Christians, that almost everybody believes anything. In fact, you’ll hear different stories and circumstances and think, “Wait a minute these facts don’t add up.” We want to think and be wise.
2. Do good if you can act.
Proverbs 21:26 – All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.
We should give freely, put forth all we have, and not hold back anything sparing nothing.
3. Pick your friends carefully.
Proverbs 26:6 – Like cutting off one’s feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool.
We should know the people we associate with. As we share the words of life and talk about Jesus Christ, they can take the message out, apply it, and live it. So we need to choose our friends very carefully.
4. Move forward.
Proverbs 4:25 – Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
We should know the course God has called us to. We need to get to that course, fix our gaze, and focus on moving in that direction.
5. Work hard.
Proverbs 16:26 – The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.
Instead of complaining that we don’t have enough, are worried about the future or concerned about a particular issue, we should let our hungerwhat we need and what we have to havedrive us to work hard. When people look at the Church and Christians, they should see us working hard, not playing hard.
6. Add to knowledge.
Proverbs 8:34 – Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
This is never-ending. We need to listen, wait, and be in a position so that wisdom can speak to us.
7. Enjoy commands.
Proverbs 13:13 – He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.
If you don’t want to be corrected, or receive counsel, you will be the one to suffer. A lot of people want suggestions, hints, or good, positive things told to them. Some times God sends commands to us by working through individuals, circumstances, or whatever. We need to be soft and humble enough so when God commands something, we can accept it with humility.
8. Use the same measurement for everyone.
Proverbs 20:10 – Differing weights and differing measures the LORD detests them both.
We must apply the same measure to ourselves that we apply to other people. The same call to righteousness, or holiness is applied to us as well as everybody else. Also, the same applies to mercy and to grace.
9. Watch what you say.
Proverbs 11:12 – A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
The world loves to ridicule somebody else. A great deal of discussion in the workplace, school, and everywhere else you go is to run somebody else down. It’s a type of conversation we enjoy. Yet we are called to hold our tongues, knowing that if we speak negatively, or we deride our neighbor, there has to be a reason and a purpose. It must come out of love, grace, and knowing what is best for that neighbor not because we enjoy ridiculing, speaking of their faults, or being critical of who they are. Basically, we treat others as we want to be treated.
Proverbs 11:13 – A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
Some things we need to judge and measure within ourselves. Perhaps somebody has told something to us, or we know what happened in somebody’s life, but we keep it secret because it is not necessary to bring it out. It is of no benefit for everyone else to hear. How do we contrast this with walking in the light? Very simply, we do what is best for someone else. Everybody likes to gossip just for the sake of discussing a situation about somebody else whether you are correct, or if you have the information or not.
Proverbs 11:13 – A gossip betrays a confidence…
When somebody tells you about something, wrestle with it. Before you even open your mouth and tell somebody else about iteven if it is brothers and sisters in this body you need to ask yourself, “Is this for their benefit or for myself?” That is all that matters. Certain things go on in the body, in the world, or with people that we know and we run out to tell everybody about it. We don’t have to hold everything in private. We need to speak and pray about some things, and people need to be dealt with, but ask yourself a very simple question, “Will this benefit the person I am speaking to?”
Proverbs 26:2 – Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
It says “an undeserved curse.” It doesn’t mean that we never speak a curse. Paul said if anyone does not love the Lord, a curse would be upon him. This is about an undeserved curse. If we speak curses on a person’s life, it will go around darting from place to place, never stop, and finally will come back on the person who spoke the curse. We know of an individual who drove by the church building we had in Denver, stopped, held up her child to the window, and said, “May God curse that church building, and may God curse those people.” So that curse continued to float around, looking where it could light, then came back into her life. Let us seek to bless and pray for people to repent and come to their senses. Pray that God will open their eyes.
Proverbs 12:13 – An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble.
Go home and consider what kind of things you have talked about. What kind of discussions have you had and who were you talking with? Why did you talk about them, was it really important? We are either freed by our words or condemned by them.
Proverbs 12:14 – From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
What we speak, how we speak, and the way we say it, whether it comes from the Lord or not, we will reap from what we say about other people. If we are critical and complaining, then we will reap the destruction we deserve. If we spread knowledge and wisdom, we will reap a benefit from that. If we worry all the time, and continue to talk about that worry, then we will reap destruction and fretting. If we complain then we will reap frustration and bitterness. We see this in our own daily lives. People who are sick all the time talk about their sickness. They complain and become more and more sick. We reap what we speak, so let us be very careful of what we say.
Proverbs 13:2 – From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.
Our conversations can increase people into sin, violence, and wickedness. Get a group of boys together and they talk about what to do. It usually comes out in terms of destruction, ridicule, or running somebody else down.
Proverbs 13:2 – From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things…
If he looks for good things and speaks about things that are holy, wonderful, and pure in the Lord, then he will reap pure and holy things in his life.
Proverbs 13:3 – He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Righteousness works a slowness to speak and considering the exact words to say. When you were young, especially in your young zeal in the Lord, you spoke and said anything you wanted to say, whenever you wanted to say it. If you had a little bit of wisdom and a little bit of knowledge you’d put it out there for everybody to see.
Proverbs 13:3 – He who guards his lips guards his life…
We need to get to a place where we weigh exactly what we say and what we put forth. We should choose our words very carefully. Think how God created the universe. He didn’t say, “Let there be, well let’s see, uh, maybe some planets and maybe something over there.” He said, “Let there be light and let there be darkness” He divided the waters, etc. We need to consider very carefully what we say, why we say it, and what will be the consequences of what we say, or don’t say.
If we speak rashly or quickly, if we confess all the sins in our life saying, “I know that was sin,” but not weighing what we say, we will reap destruction, because we just throw out idle words. We hope these words will cloud and mask. We are not clear, truthful, or searching our own heart.
James 3:6 – The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
The tongue itself is a whole world of evil. It’s not just an individual part or section of the body, it contains all kinds of wickedness. We have to get into the prayer closet and admit before the Living God that our tongue is set on fire by hell. What we speak comes from hell.
James 3:7-8 – All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Proverbs says the same thing. “He who guards his lips guards his life but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” We have to admit that if we can control our tongue, Scripture says we can control our whole body. If we weigh carefully what we say or if we need to be silent, then we will be able to be holy. But if we talk a lot, talk rashly, expose everything, and don’t give any consideration to who we are, then we will reap destruction. Our tongue has been set off by the fires of hell.
We talk, flatter, and say, “This person is good,” or “This is good.” Many times someone sends me an article or a message and say, “Isn’t this really good?” without really stopping and considering before the Lord, “Is this good, is it holy, and is it righteous?” We declare things “bad” because we feel that way, so we also declare things “good” because we feel good. We don’t sit down and think, “Should I say this and does it really come from God? Does it come from the new nature and have his life in it?”
Proverbs 26:8 – Like tying a stone in a sling…
As you tie a stone in the sling and begin to whirl it around to try to throw it out, it will come back and hit you. You take all that force and effort to sling it around and then throw it out with all your might. As you let it go it will come right back at you and do harm and destruction and cause you pain.
Proverbs 26:8 – Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.
It only causes pain and hurt as you throw out worthless words that will encourage the fool to be a fool. It’s better to remain silent and not say a thing than to use a little bit of flattery or to agree just a little bit. People will try to box you into a corner. A lot of fools try to get you to acknowledge what they say is true. If we give that acknowledgement if we say it is true we only harm ourselves when we know that it’s just a fool. Be very careful with your compliments, or declaring if something is true and righteous.
Proverbs 16:28 – A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Again, we see the consequences of our sin in what we say. When you talk about somebody, ask yourself “Is this really necessary? Does this help the person I’m talking to?” If it does not help, then don’t speak. There’s no need to declare it at all.
A lot of these are common sense things that we need to take to heart.
Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
He who covers by the blood of righteousness and by the holiness of God promotes healing and grace. But he who talks about the injury that was done separates close friends.
I see this happen a lot in homes where a lot of women live together or where a lot of men live together. One person does something that irritates another person and they talk to everybody else in the house about how it irritates them. It divides and separates everybody. Even in marriage; a husband or wife does something against the other person, and instead of working it out and wrestling before the Lord they seek counsel on it and talk to everybody else. This can separate marriages and even separate those who are friends with the husband or wife. Instead of seeking to resolve the issue and work it out before the Lord, it starts to separate people. Jesus said when somebody sins against you go tell them privately. Then if it’s important enough, take along two or three other people. Then if it’s that important and they will not change or repent, tell the whole church.
Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers over an offense promotes love…
The idea is to promote love by helping work things out between people, not separating them by talking about it to others. It will happen that we will bump, wound, or offend in the body. As we irritate, wound, bump, or offend one another, do we gain in promoting love? Do we look at it as an opportunity to love the individual and increase love in the body or will we begin to separate one another?
Proverbs 26:18-19 – Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
That used to be one of my favorite styles of joking. I would set up the situation and then say, “I was only joking.” Indeed, it was a joke to me, but it wasn’t to anybody else. But like a madman who shoots flaming arrows anywhere, he causes trouble and destruction. Somewhere that firebrand will stick and destroy.
Be sure to watch that in the body. I still fall prey to that from time to time by making a joke and in the end say, “I was only deceiving you, it’s just a joke.” Really it teaches that my words can’t be trusted. What I tell you could be a joke or there could be some deception behind the scenes. We need to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” We need to be clear about what we say and mean exactly what we say. Don’t go around joking and causing all kinds of fires to break out.
Proverbs 26:20 – Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
There’s a lot of gossip and quarrels going on right now in the body of Jesus Christ. If everybody would just simply shut up it would die out. Yet everybody wants to keep it stirred up and the discussions going because our sinful nature loves gossip. Remember, our tongues are set on fire by hell itself. Men love to talk, debate, and find controversy, and that is what a lot of magazines, books, and discussions are about.
Proverbs 26:20 – … without gossip a quarrel dies down.
Without all the talk behind the scenes the quarrels would cease. People would be unconcerned and get on with what is really important. As long as everybody quarrels and gossips in the background, then everybody wants to continue the argument. You’ve seen this happen a lot of times; a situation dies down and then someone begins to stir it all up again by their gossip and talk.
Proverbs 26:21 – As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
He causes it to happen then fuels it, and keeps it going. Watch what you say and your conversations.
Proverbs 27:14 – If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
I say this with all love for my mother, but she used to love to come into the room in the morning and sing loudly, “Good Morning to You”I don’t even want to go through the song. I didn’t know I was biblical at the time, but I thoroughly detested it. Of course she turned the light on and kept singing. Both my brother and I would say, “Shut up and be quiet!” It got us going in the morning, but not in the way she had in mind.
Give a man time to get up and get going before you try to start blessing him. Don’t walk in happy, cheerful, and full of excitement, saying “Lord bless you,” and “Isn’t the day grand?” Let a man wake up and get on with the day.
Proverbs 20:25 – It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.
Consider what you say or vow before the Lord. Let it come down to our “yes” and “no.” That is to say, if we say we will be somewhere, then let us make every effort to be there. If we say we will do something, then let us do it. Let us weigh our words carefully, before we make that kind of commitment. Let us be known for our trustworthy words to be able to complete that which we say we will do. Let us do it quickly. It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly, only later to consider his vows. Many people do this. They say they will go here, give this, sacrifice that, or whatever. Then later they think, “Maybe I can or maybe I can’t.” We should think, “Maybe I can,” or “Maybe I can’t” before we say we will do it. The world has everything backwards, so think carefully when you begin to say you will do something. The assumption within the church is that you have already weighed carefully what you will say and then finish the work. If you promise to give something to somebody, weigh it carefully before you say you will do it. If you say you will repay someone for something, make sure you have every intention of repaying them. We must weigh what we say to one another in our conversations. Let us love one another and not back down it, by saying, “I don’t want to say anything because then if I can’t do it I will be in sin.” That’s a lack of love and self-protection. Let us think about what we say and do before we say we will do something or not.
Proverbs 21:23 – He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
Let us guard our mouths in every way and keep ourselves from sin. Think about what we say and do before we act. If we don’t, we set ourselves up for trouble and destruction.
Proverbs 24:28 – Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive.
These are practical, everyday things, but we need to consider them as we speak. Do I say things in such a way to deceive my neighbors about who I am and what my real intentions are?
There will be times you have to testify against you neighbor, but let it be for a just cause, and a proper reason. Not because you enjoy doing so, or you have found the freedom to do so.
Many people don’t really believe this next Proverb. It is risky to live this Proverb.
Proverbs 28:23 – He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.
It doesn’t say he will gain the favor in the beginning; it says it will happen in the end. Often when you rebuke and correct it will take years to be proved either right or wrong. It may take some time for God to work before a man can humble himself to accept what you gave him. A flattering lip is accepted right away and people like to listen to that.
Usually what happens within the church is a combination of the two. We seek to use flattery in the middle of our rebuke. We are about as unstable and impure as we can get when we do that. When we use flattery, “I know you’re a good brother and sister in the Lord and I know you try to do the best you can and God has really answered your prayer, but you need to repent of this particular sin or this needs to change,” we are impure in our speaking. But he who openly rebukes a man clearly and from love in such a way that he understands and knows what he needs to change will gain favor in the end. He might hate or reject you and he may not be your friend for a long time, but in the end, when all is said and done, you will gain more favor, if not from that man then from God.
This is important within the church and the body. Many discussions go on in the church. Some are private things about other people, and others are private things about your life with other people out of concern, hopefully not out of gossip. Proverbs 25:9 tells us how to conduct ourselves as we talk to one another.
Proverbs 25:9 – If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another man’s confidence,
Say, in the body, you try to convince somebody of sin and you have talked to somebody else and said you know that the individual is in sin, and it needs to be brought to them. You try to get the person to see the sin, but they don’t see what you bring to them, so you say, “I talked to Tim about this,” or “I talked to so and so about this,” you betrayed the confidence of the individual who gave you the information. You acted on it in love, but because you couldn’t make your point, you used that confidence and created a problem all the way around. The person you talked to will feel cheated and boxed in. They will feel like that person was against them and not thinking of their benefit. You betrayed the confidence of the person who shared the information with you. So when you argue your case, and present your viewpoint, do it on your own standing by your own argument. Do it by your own wisdom, don’t pull somebody else in to try and prove your point. A lot of things I don’t discuss with other people, but if I tell someone something, it is in confidence and only to use in such a way as to bless the other person. So when you talk to them, understand this isn’t to prove your point, or to show that you’re right, it is to present this person perfect. Don’t resort to a cheap trick and say, “I talked to another person and have information you know nothing about. I will continue to box you in until you agree with me.” That doesn’t change the person, or doesn’t make them more receptive to what you say. You have simply boxed them in. Then they feel trapped and have to agree, but it doesn’t help them to see their heart at all. You destroyed a personal relationship you had behind the scenes.
Proverbs 25:23 – As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.
Again, these are practical, everyday things. They might not be the most exciting things to look at, but they will bless your life in your relationship with God.
Proverbs 29:5 – Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.
Paul said he never used flattery when he preached the gospel. I have never used flattery to motivate somebody to do anything. If you deserve a compliment, you get the compliment. Nothing else is behind the motive to get you to do anything. You never flatter somebody to make them receptive to what you say. That is the problem; most people want to be flattered before they will listen to what you have to say. If you use flattery as a technique you use to win people over to your camp, then you spread a net for your own feeta trap you will fall into, and I will tell you why. Over time you will become swayed by flattery yourself, you will begin to believe the flattery, and somebody else will be able to come along and begin to draw you, and you will follow them hook, line, and sinker.
10. Look for good.
Proverbs 11:27 – He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.
I used to be like this. I could point out the bad in any situation. I had all the facts down, and they were all true. I found the evil in any and all circumstances. I was determined not to be married or have kids because the world was headed for destruction and hell which I found out later was true anyway, so I was proved right. Once you begin to look for evil in everything, then evil searches you out and you see it happen in everything that takes place. Then when God works good in a situation it may not appear good on the surface because all you can see is the evil and not what God does behind the scenes.
As you complain about how bad things are, you associate with people who do the same kind of complaining. You gather around yourself evil people, and all you experience is evil happening in your life. I guarantee you, God will answer what you look for. If you want a good and loving God he will enter your life and bless. If you look for evil in your life, he will send that also. He will answer your prayers and allow you to have what you want.
Proverbs 17:22 seems to be difficult for parents (and others) to live out. When we become sick, or get a cold, we like to sit around, complain and whine, and take our medication. We like to talk about our aches and pains. Watch at old folks homes how people get together in a circle and it becomes a contest of who has the most pain, or the worst surgery back in 1935.
Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones.
Scripture says it brings health to our bones. If we whine and complain about all of our aches, pains, and sufferings, and all the things we go through, our bones literally begin to dry up and not have life or health in our bodies. We can make ourselves sicker than we really are. I see young parents do this a lot with their children. They catch a cold and you’d think it was the end of the world. It is time for the emergency room. They talk about it to the kids all the time, “Do you feel better? Do you feel sick? Do you want some water or a drink? Do you want some medication? How about a cough drop?” It goes on and on and on. Pretty soon the kid is focused on himself; “Yeah, I want medication, I want a cough drop, I want CPR . . .” Teach them to rejoice and be cheerful instead.
Paul was able to say, “I preached the gospel to you because of an illness.” Isn’t that a cheerful heart? He was happy he was sickhe was thankful he had an ailment. “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” So if you really want to get well, and be made healthy, then become happy and cheerful in the Lord no matter what goes on. But if you crush your spirit and whine and complain, it physically affects you in some way. It will wear you down and then you’ll really become sick. I knew one mother who did that with her child. She gave him cough drops almost every day. The medicine became candy and that reinforced the illness. She almost destroyed those children.
Proverbs 23:17 – Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
That happens a lot in the body. “I wish I were out having fun,” people would say. “I wish we could do other things; I’m tired of this cross.” By letting your heart envy sinners, you tell the Lord; “I want to do what the world does and I’m not happy or content with you.”
If we were zealous about the important things, we wouldn’t envy anything. We should be excited about the things of God and who he is. Then when we go out to declare our zeal, our joy will continue whether we go to the mountains or skiing or whatever fun we think we want.
Proverbs 23:17 – Do not let your heart envy sinners…
Their time and joy is short lived. This is our time of work and labor. This is our time to hold our tongue, or to weep or rejoice. It is their time of fun, enjoyment, and all they can grab hold of. Always be excited about making people afraid of God, be happy when you made your neighbor afraid of the Living God. When you’ve told them about the gospel and it resulted in their fear of God, instead of saying, “We’re a church that can have fun too,” we should boast, “We will make you afraid of the Living God.” The sign out front should read, “Come in here and become afraid, very afraid.”
Proverbs 24:19 – Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked,
Again these are very practical things that will bring health to your body. First, we fret because we see all the evil men around us with all their scheming and the things they do. This is a very short, clear command. We should not fret but instead, we want to know what they’re up to. Blessed is the man who can sleep, who says, “I could care less what they do.” In fact, look at Jesus Christ he knew where to go, when to hide, when to come out in the open, and what to say to people. For example, some people came to him and said, “Herod wants to see you,” and Jesus said, “Go tell that fox I have work to do and three days later I will die. Tell him to mind his own business.”
We fret because of evil men, we secretly become envious of who they are, their position and their power. We forget the Living God and whom we are associated with. We become envious of the opportunities they have for evil, how they’re able to party and to have fun. We’re not content in the Lord and that’s why we have this commandment. We envy their opportunities and become jealous of what they are able to do. Whether it is something they speak evil of or whether they act upon evil, we secretly want to do what they do. We’re just mad that we can’t do it.
Proverbs 29:25 – Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
If you fear one man, you will act in such a way as to avoid whatever it is you think he will do in your life. There will be another man, and you will have to act differently with him. Eventually you will trap yourself because you’ll never be able to please all men or avoid all evil, so the best thing to do is not worry about any of the evil, and trust God to deliver and work. Have an attitude that says, “I’ll be where God wants me to be, I’ll say what he wants me to say, and I’ll stand where he wants me to stand. I’ll represent what he wants me to represent and I don’t care what other men think about that.” Then he will guard your life and be your protection. But when you try to please man and present the gospel in such a way that it will be accepted by them, it will be a trap to you. Somebody shares the gospel with someone but they don’t like the rough edges of the cross. They don’t like to talk about hating for Jesus and its clarity for that person’s life. So when they share the gospel and talk about hating your life, denying self, and all of those things, they present it in such a way that the person will accept it. Then the person comes to church, and all of a sudden they meet the roughness and offense of the cross. They wonder what happened and take off. So you prove to be a snare when you don’t really present the gospel to them. If we present the gospel, clearly as we should, God will keep our lives where they need to be.
11. Be even-tempered.
When I was young I was not even-tempered.
Proverbs 12:16 – A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Carefully consider if you need to respond to an insult or maybe just forget it. Think of all the bad things you said or things you said about other people that you didn’t really mean or you didn’t want to be taken seriously. Perhaps it’s just the hell fire in your tongue talking and you hope somebody ignores it. Do the same to one another. Not in every evil thing we say, but it is to our glory to over look annoyances that come our way.
A fool responds to it, from his gut reaction. He doesn’t consider if it is really worth responding to. Satan wants to keep us busy responding to insults. He can use plenty of people to insult us. If I responded to every negative e-mail, conversation, or phone call that I received, I’d be a very busy man. That’s why I did one tape and left it at that.
Proverbs 14:17 – A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.
This is very simple and very practical.
Proverbs 15:18 – A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
A hot-tempered man who reacts because of his emotions will cause trouble and divide people. In this body we want to be very even tempered and not become easily unsettled. If you say something negative about me, or say, “Tim, that sermon was a little boring,” I won’t fly off the handle. I’ll just get you next weekend. (Smiling)
Proverbs 17:27 – A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Weigh what you say, and when you do speak, use restraint. My wife tries to get me to write that way, to say more, but say it with fewer words.
Proverbs 19:11 – A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
It is to our glory to ignore the offenses and things that come our way, to overlook them and not respond but to just love.
Proverbs 19:19 – A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him you will have to do it again.
Somebody begins to become a hot-tempered man and he doesn’t pay for it. He’ll come back and say he’s sorry, but he is blown here and there by his emotions. If you start to become hot tempered you will pay the price for it because we don’t want to repeat it again. There was a man in this body not too long ago who was hot tempered. He came down to give me some of that heat, and I rebuked him to his face very sharply. It is probably one of the sharpest rebukes I have ever given in my life, and I was in his face. If you don’t make them pay the price, you’ll pay it over and over again. Had I not done it at that time and place we would still be paying the price.
Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
We are to speak with a godly and holy anger, but we remain in control. We are always under self-control.
12. Reality checks.
By reality checks, I mean these are basic everyday things that we should fully accept. Some are not all that deep, but they are very significant.
Proverbs 12:17 – A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.
That seems as obvious as can be. People think, “I need a Proverb for that?” Most don’t believe men lie and purposefully spread lies. They enjoy doing that. You have to convince someone that most people are like that, yet it is the truth. We need to be able to walk away from a situation and say, “That man was a false witness” or, “He was a true witness.” We need to say it with the surety of Proverbs 12:17, that this is what certain men are like or not like.
Proverbs 12:23 – A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.
God will tell you a lot of things and will give you a lot of wisdom. That doesn’t mean you throw your pearls to pigs. Keep your knowledge to yourself, treasure it, hold on to it, and when God sees you holding on to that wisdom, he will give you deeper things. When a man wants to be puffed up or declare his foolish pride, he’ll get a little bit of wisdom and tell everybody about it. He writes a book or letter about it, and even preaches about it. He declares it all at once without treasuring what God has given him.
The prudent man thinks very carefully before he speaks. He is very prudent. He doesn’t share the truth God has given him with just anybody; he weighs very carefully before he gives it to someone. In this body, we have been given a lot of treasures of knowledge, and understanding about the cross, so before you give your seal of approval to someone or give them deeper wisdom, be very careful that God wants you to tell them. Because they may go out and use it in a way you don’t want it used.
Proverbs 23:9 – Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.
There it is again. Keep knowledge to yourself; be very prudent about what you declare before it ever leaves your mouth.
Proverbs 14:5 – A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.
You can spot a false witness because they tell different lies and go off into a different directions and different ways. If a truthful witness tells a lie, so to speak, you can detect that one lie. A man who is a liar has to pour out enough lies so that you can’t get to all them at once. Then you don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true. That’s why they pour out lies.
Proverbs 17:4 – A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.
It’s just what we discussed the last time we looked at this. You can tell where a man will go by the people he likes to hang with. If you like to listen to people who are evil, you enjoy listening to the evil they say.
This is a Proverb with a sharp rebuke. Think of the troubles and circumstances you have had in your lifewhether it is financial, physical, spiritual, or whatever.
Proverbs 24:10 – If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
If we’re not able to stand out of the way and the trials that God allows in our life are too tough, we need not say to ourselves, “The trial was too much.” What we need to say is, “I have very little strength in God.” For everything that happens in this world, we have his Holy Spirit, his word, and a cloud of witnesses. We have everything in our favor. If we falter or cave under those trials, then we need to declare before God that our strength is very, very small. Think of all the strength that is available for us, the witnesses around us, and the people who can help us. Remember everything that prayer can do and all of the promises God has for us. If we falter (not just if we fall), but if we falter, struggle, and can’t seem to come through it with flying colors, then we can’t praise God when it’s all said and done. Then we have to declare before God that we don’t have much strength.
Proverbs 18:17 – The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
This is rather obvious, but the churchand everybodyneeds to take it to heart. A man will seem right when he presents a story to you. He outlined it from his vantage point and altered the story just enoughthat’s just naturally who we are. I don’t even believe my own stories when I tell them myself. I need to hear the other side of it. I need to get before the Lord and ask him what is true. When the other person comes forward, then we hear a different side.
Proverbs 18:18 – Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.
Sometimes we get in the middle of all kinds of debates and arguments. If we would simply flip a coin, then everybody would be happy. We might want to try that with a pre-rapture issue. Get a bunch of people to argue and debate then flip a coin and cast the lot. It is impartial and not swayed by emotion. But we can look and ask the Lord what is true.
Proverbs 25:16 – If you find honey, eat just enough too much of it, and you will vomit.
Eat just what is necessary and enjoy what God has given you, but do not eat too much. It’s a very simple thing, but one we need to apply to our life. We don’t need to get up from the table again saying, “I’m just thoroughly stuffed. I’m about ready to be sick.”
Proverbs 19:2 – It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
God might give you a calling. He might open a door for you, but he wants you to gain knowledge and wisdom before you move forward with that. God wants you to do certain things in your life and certain courses he wants you to run. But he wants you to go back and get knowledge not just step out and begin to do it. We try to slow a lot of people down in this church, as God will try to get them to repent of certain things in their life. They’ll say, “I need to repent” and start to head out to do that. We’ll say, “No go back, and seek God first. Get some wisdom and knowledge and consider well what you do. Don’t run out and trip and fall, you just make the run that much more difficult.”
Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Have this Proverb ready for the world. This is one you can share with them. You’ll be surprised how powerful the word of God is to convict. We might say, “You shouldn’t do that,” but there’s no power in our words. The power is in his words, so quote to them Proverbs 20:1.
Proverbs 25:17 – Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house too much of you, and he will hate you.
How do we reconcile that with the fact that the church used to meet daily? As a church they were in one another’s lives and they walked in the light. Very simply, we’re brothers and sisters we’re not neighbors. We’re family, we will be together forever. It still doesn’t mean you can’t apply this. Think carefully before you run over to someone’s house whether we might hate you when you show up.
This is just practical advise about how to associate with other people. You have to give people room for them to live their lives. You know how you resent someone always being there all the time, never giving you any space. Some of these homes have got a lot of people living there. We’ve also had a lot of people living in our house so you have to back up and give people space. You have to give them time to live their life and to wrestle things out. They won’t be perfect when they get up in the morning. And they’re certainly not going to be everything you want them to be. Husbands and wives, you still have to back up and give time for God to work in each other’s life in deep and serious ways. So backup and give people some time for God to work.
Proverbs 20:24 – A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Very simple, very direct. So don’t tell me you understand what you’re supposed to do next week.
Proverbs 26:10 – Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by.
Those of you who own a business or need something done, if you hired someone who was passing by, you commit some extreme foolishness.
Read carefully this next proverb;
Proverbs 22:16 – He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth…
We would condemn and ridicule this behavior, but we don’t do the next part.
Proverbs 22:16 – …and he who gives gifts to the rich―both come to poverty.
If you know somebody who is richdon’t give them a gift. They don’t need it, and you will come to poverty before the Lord.
Proverbs 23:6 – Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies;
If you know somebody who is stingy don’t even bother to sit down and eat with them.
Proverbs 26:17 – Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
That is not very intelligent. If you take a dog by the ears and make your face available to him, then go ahead. Stay out of things that are not your business. Indeed when God tells you they are your business, ask again to make sure. Anything God brings us to wrestle with will be that quite a wrestling match.
One time Carla and I were called to go from one town to another regarding a lawsuit. People always want to get you involved in their quarrels and take their side. This happened with us. We found out the person who asked us to come was just as guilty as the other person. But of course they didn’t present the story that way. Indeed, we did go, but we went with our eyes wide open. We knew when we arrived the situation could change. In fact, it did. We stayed with the person who invited us and found out they were just as guilty as the other person. We rebuked them and left the house that night. But go with your eyes wide open. Don’t get involved in matters that are not yours unless God has called you to. Mind you own business.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father we ask that you glorify your name. Make these things real to us, make them alive and exciting, and make them words of truth. These are what Proverbs talk about Father. They’re silver and gold and are worth more than treasures and rubies. Things that we looked at today, Father, are the most treasurable things that you lay before us to work out by your spirit. May you work them by your grace, Father. May you glorify your name in every way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.