This is the sermon for Wednesday, August 13th, 2008. We are taking a break for a while from the book of John. On Wednesday’s we are going to cover proverbs for a few weeks. Not necessarily verse by verse and in order, but covering many of the proverbs listed.
This is the first sermon in the series.
Everyday Wisdom part 1
Growing up, I heard many sayings. Here are just a few of them. A penny saved is a penny earned. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. God helps those who help themselves. Look before you leap. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
These saying are modern day proverbs, passed down from generation to generation, culture to culture. Each country and society all has their own. They are unique to their culture. These sayings are around to provide wisdom to people within that culture.
I’m sure that you have heard many of those sayings I’ve mentioned, plus many more as well. You may have some that are unique to your family also.
The Book of Proverbs groups several collections of wise sayings which God inspired and directed to be kept in written form. From these proverbs we can learn how to deal with life, even before some situations occur. The way of wisdom is to learn and live, not live and learn. As part of His written Word, Proverbs aims at wisdom for daily living.
Before we get into the book of Proverbs, I want to look at three occasions that Jesus Himself used proverbs, and how we can learn some quick wisdom from them. Let’s pray and ask for the guidance of the Lord before we looked into the proverbs of Jesus.
1. A prophet without honor.
Matthew 13:57 ESV – And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
A. Here, the listener’s to Jesus message at a synagogue in Nazareth took offense at Him.
He wasn’t someone of noble birth, but a Carpenter’s son, the son of Mary, whom they knew, and he had brothers they knew as well (vv. 55-56). What gave Him the right to speak to them like one with authority?
B. It is in this setting that Jesus uses this proverb.
C. What is the truth or wisdom behind this proverb?
Everywhere else, Jesus was able to speak and perform miracles and people were more accepting of Him. But at His hometown, people knew of His lowly background, the son of a carpenter, they knew His family. It was this relationship that they couldn’t accept or believe in what He was saying.
2. Wisdom is justified by her deeds (children).
Matthew 11:16-19 ESV – “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, (17) “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ (18) For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ (19) The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.
A. What did Jesus mean by this proverb?
Well let’s look at the context.
B. The Generation that Jesus is talking about here is the Generation that was present for both the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus.
They rejected John because he pretty much isolated himself from them, like many Old Testament prophets did in times past. They rejected Jesus because He did not isolate Himself from society, but reached out to the common people, as well as those who were considered, “unclean.”
C. Wisdom is justified by her deeds (or children) is a proverb used to explain both the ministry of John and Jesus.
John preached repentance to those listening. Jesus preached repentance and reconciliation between God and man through His coming sacrifice. Whether those critics like it or not, John and Jesus ministry are going to be proved to be of God by the results they produced (deeds and children).
3. Where there is smoke, there is fire!
Matthew 24:23-28 ESV – Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. (24) For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (25) See, I have told you beforehand. (26) So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (27) For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (28) Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
A. Here I used a modern day proverb, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire!”
The reason I did this is because, “Where corpse is, there the vultures will gather,” has the same meaning as our modern day proverb.
B. What did Jesus mean by this proverb?
Well, let’s look at the context (vv. 23-28). The beginning of chapter 24, Jesus left the temple with the disciples. As they were leaving, Jesus told them, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” This prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 by the way. The disciples on the Mount of Olives ask him this question, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the close of the age?” So Jesus precedes to answer them in the remainder of chapter 24. He gets to v. 23, and He gives another couple of signs. One is, people will say that the Christ is at certain places. He says not to believe them. Another is false christs, and false prophets performing great signs and wonders will try to lead the elect astray. So when you see these things happening, it is like when there is a corpse, the vultures will soon gather. Or in our words, you see the smoke, you know the fire is not far behind. Or know, that His coming is certain and soon.
Through out this series, you are going to hear and read some of the proverbs found in the book of proverbs that may challenge you, and you may have to ask the help of the Holy Spirit to live it out. Don’t be afraid of letting the Word of God found in Proverbs challenge you to change. But embrace the change it is demanding because it is coming from the Lord God.
Just think, what would happen in our communities, families, and circle of influence if we actually endeavor to allow the Word of God to change us from the inside out?