This is the Wednesday night sermon for Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
Everyday Wisdom part 13
Good, practical advice.
My Dad was in the ministry for 40 years. That is a long time, to continually be pastoring. During all that time, Dad never pastored large churches. He never appeared on TV or Radio or the Internet to spread his ministry. In fact, he pastored relatively small churches all those years. Those churches never grew beyond 150 people. And like most pastors, Dad had people come, and people go. People who loved his ministry, and people who thought he wasn’t truly called of God. Like most pastors, he had many people who spoke well of him, and people who spoke bad about him also. On the surface, it appears that he wasn’t anything really special. But when you look beyond the surface, there you would see the treasure that God has placed inside my father. You see, he may not have been the deepest preacher (though he spent hours in preparation and studies for sermons), he may not have been the most charismatic and outgoing person that people just flock too; but there is one thing that he was – he was a pastor’s Pastor. I don’t know how many preachers God raised up through his ministry and his churches that received one on one special training through him. He would not only train them in the art of preaching and sermon preparation, but he would also provide a wealth of good, practical advice for everyday living. When he died, the ministers that he knew, those whom he mentored, and local ministers as well filled both the church to over capacity and the next day the gravesite as well. All of them telling stories of how his one on one practical advice, both for ministry and just everyday living, greatly affected their lives.
I wish all of you would have had the opportunity to have met him.
Now I know that I have gone on and on about my father, and this sermon isn’t about him really. But he taught all those people some good, practical advice.
How many of you wish that you would have somebody to teach you some good practical advice? Well there is somebody. No, it is not me; I’m nothing more than the messenger delivering it too you. It is none other than Solomon. Let’s imagine that we are sitting listening to Solomon share his wisdom with us, this good, practical advice.
Tonight, the main point of this sermon is: Wisdom gives us good practical advice on how to act and how to live.
Now tonight, we are going to do something different, we are going to read most of chapter 15 as if Solomon himself is delivering this advice. I’m going to try to keep my commentary of the text down to a minimum for sake of time.
Daily watch what you say!
Proverbs 15:1 GW – A gentle answer turns away rage, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
• When getting into a conflict respond or discuss in a gentle, calm manner. Don’t become angry and lash out in anger.
• Harsh words are bitter words. They are words that are spoken, not caring about the consequences. They stir up anger.
v. 2 GW – The tongues of wise people give good expression to knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out a flood of stupidity.
• A wise person gives out good beneficial information. They know what, when, where, and how to speak.
• The foolish on the other hand only speak out stupidity, or foolishness.
v. 4 GW – A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue breaks the spirit.
• Soothing, comforting words can bring life and healing in difficult situations.
• A deceitful tongue breaks the spirit of others.
v. 5 GW – A stubborn fool despises his father’s discipline, but whoever appreciates a warning shows good sense.
• This verse is talking about youth more than likely.
• The stubborn fool is one who thinks their father is old-fashioned and outdated. They refuse and even despise their father’s discipline and in v. 20 they despise their mother as well.
• But a wise person will accept the warning of their parents and appreciate their love and concern for them.
• In the same way, we should appreciate the warnings of Scripture and the word as it is preached.
The Lord sees, and loves some things, and finds disgust in other things.
v. 3 GW – The eyes of the LORD are everywhere. They watch evil people and good people.
• There is nothing and no one, both good and evil, that can hide from God’s sight.
v. 8 GW – A sacrifice brought by wicked people is disgusting to the LORD, but the prayers of decent people please him.
• The worship of the wicked are disgusting to God because they insincere and blasphemous (Prov. 15:29; 21:3; 28:9; Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 1:10-17).
• These are those who are religious, but have not been truly converted.
• However the worship of those who are decent (those who have been truly converted) please the Lord.
v. 9 GW – The way of wicked people is disgusting to the LORD, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
• Not only is the worship of wicked people disgusting, but their very lives are disgusting to the Lord.
• On the other hand, followers of Christ pursue righteousness – they long to be Christ-like.
v. 11 GW – If Sheol and Abaddon lie open in front of the LORD how much more the human heart!
• If God knows and sees the grave and punishment, he also knows the true condition of the human heart!
• He sees beyond the religious disguises to the heart of the matter.
• He knows who is truly following Him and who is only giving lip service.
There are consequences in what we say and our actions.
v. 10 GW – Discipline is a terrible [burden] to anyone who leaves the [right] path. Anyone who hates a warning will die.
• When believer strays, the Lord loves them enough to discipline.
• Sometimes that discipline will be difficult and painful.
• However, the wicked that do not heed the Lord’s warnings will die, will not even truly walk the right path at all.
v. 13 GW – A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.
• Many times, when you are happy, it will show on your face.
• But deep heartache can also show to others as well as depression setting in.
• Depression here is not of the clinical kind, although it can lead to that, but it is of the broken heart kind.
• The good news is God will not despise or reject our brokenness as we take it too Him.
• He can make a broken heart whole and cheerful again.
v. 14 GW – The mind of a person who has understanding searches for knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on stupidity.
• We should always be learning, particularly from Scripture. We all should seek to know the Lord better and understand Scripture better.
• We should also be ever learning on how to be better spouses, parents, employers, employee’s, etc…
• On the other hand foolish people only feed on foolish things.
• They may always complain about church, family, friends, and jobs – never seeking to grow in understanding.
v. 15 GW – Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
• There are some people who are not happy unless they are miserable.
• They look for misery around every corner.
• Don’t be that person.
• Be a cheerful person in the Lord.
• Declare each day as a day that God has made and brought about and rejoice in that fact.
• Whether good or bad happens too you, give God glory.
• Feast on Him daily.
vv. 16-17 GW – 16 Better to have a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil. 17 Better to have a dish of vegetables where there is love than juicy steaks where there is hate.
• It is better to not have anything and be struggling and fear the Lord and worship Him than to have the whole world at your beck and call and no love for God.
v. 18 GW – A hothead stirs up a fight, but one who holds his temper calms disputes.
• Some people live to fight, or live to start a fight, or cause division. They are hot-heads.
• The consequences of being a hot-head is you will be in constant struggle with someone.
• However those who know how to hold their temper can calm disputes by their soft spoken words.
Use good common sense.
v. 19 GW – The path of lazy people is like a thorny hedge, but the road of decent people is an [open] highway.
• Don’t be lazy but work hard in the position of life that God has placed you in.
v. 21 GW – Stupidity is fun to the one without much sense, but a person who has understanding forges straight ahead.
• Stupid in Hebrew means, “One who has not trained his mind to make wise choices.”
• For them, they have fun in their foolishness and stupidity, and lack of understanding.
• But a person of understanding fines enjoyment in continually learning and understanding.
• They continue to grow.
v. 22 GW – Without advice plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed.
• Always seek the advice of good trusted believers before forging ahead with your plans.
v. 23 GW – A person is delighted to hear an answer from his own mouth, and a timely word–oh, how good!
• Doesn’t it feel good to give an answer to someone that will help them and help them along their journey of life?
• This is what this passage is talking about.
v. 24 GW – The path of life for a wise person leads upward in order to turn him away from hell below.
• A wise person will follow the path dictated by Scripture.
• It will turn them away from the ultimate grave, separation from God.
v. 27 GW – Whoever is greedy for unjust gain brings trouble to his family, but whoever hates bribes will live.
• Don’t be greedy for money and not only refuse to take bribes, but hate the bribes.
v. 33 GW – The fear of the LORD is discipline [leading to] wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
• Live a life fearing (giving awesome respect too) the Lord, and seek humility above honor.
• God brings down the proud, but He lifts up the humble.
We didn’t cover all the verses and didn’t go into complete detail either. All we did is scratch the surface on this chapter. I would encourage you to go home and study this chapter out.
Seek the Lord in and His wisdom, you won’t go wrong in doing this.