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The Last Word on Salvation, Heaven & Hell is Jesus! Listen to what Jesus the Judge said in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 7:16-20 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Proverbs explains genuine salvation is characterized by wisdom from God, and how the fruit of that godly wisdom verifies the person is truly saved!
Exploring Proverbs. The longer I spend in this Book the bigger this truth dawns on my heart. This course covers the top 10 areas that most reflect wisdom from God in a person’s life. These topics are the lessons we will share in these next ten hours of Exploring Proverbs. Wisdom is not just a topic or subject in God’s Word—it is THE message of God’s Word. Wisdom is found with God and nowhere else.
Wisdom is the dividing line. There are only two kinds of people on the planet, only two kinds of people in the world, according to Scripture. There are wise and there are foolish. Those are the only kinds of people that exist. The world is full of fools, and sprinkled among the fools are the wise.
Living life God’s way. Exploring the Book of Proverbs. Thanks for joining us in this course. If you take your Bibles, I have my Bible open to the book of Proverbs. We are going to be, over the next 10 classes, exploring the book of Proverbs. By exploring, we’re going to cover what I call the 10 key themes, but we’re also going to look at all the details, the authorship. We’re going to look at some of the interpretive challenges. We’re also going to look, most importantly, at how to take the book of Proverbs and apply it to living God’s way.
Now, if you look at the slides, living life God’s way. That’s really what the book of Proverbs is about. You can see the book of Proverbs here, and then what you’re seeing on the screen, that is actually my Bible. My Bible is marked up from all the times I’ve read through in preparation for this class of Exploring the Book of Proverbs.
Proverbs chapter 1 and verse 7, because as we study through this book and the longer that I have spent getting ready for this course the more it’s dawned on my heart that one of the topics of Proverbs is not wisdom. It is the main theme of the entire book. In fact, as you’ll see in this class, the entire Bible is talking about salvation being when we received the wisdom of God. Wisdom isn’t just a topic or a subject in God’s word, it’s the message of God’s word. Wisdom is found with God and nowhere else. So, if you want to know God, if you want to live life on Earth God’s way, it’s only through His wisdom from above becoming a part of our life.
Now, let me take you to the next slide. I’ll give you an overview of what we’re going to do. I call this the, Exploring the Proverbs class themes. Hour one, we’re going to look at salvation. How to know that we have biblical salvation and how the book of Proverbs summarizes the message of the Bible.
- Then when we get together next time, we’ll look at being servant hearted.
- Then how to be selective, getting friends in a biblical way.
- How to be submissive to God and not proud.
- Singular in our relationships especially talking about marriage.
- Being self-controlled and basically God wants us to live an unintoxicated life.
- The stewardship of our time and our money is hour seven.
- Being studious, having a godly work ethic.
- Being sober-minded, basically that’s how to have and retain and strengthen a biblical godly mind. We’ll get into spiritual warfare there.
- Then finally speaking wisely, the power of spoken words.
Those 10 themes are what we will cover in this class.
The next slide is actually the topic of this entire hour, and I’d like to emphasize it with you: How to be sure you are saved. How to be sure you’re saved is probably the most important question topic of anything that we could cover, more important than anything else. Jesus said, what profit if you, gain the whole world, you get it financially, you get it being the most important person socially, you get the most pleasure or experiences or possessions, but lose your own soul. How to know how to be sure you are saved. Jesus the judge, who determines who’s saved, said these words in Matthew chapter 7. If you open in your Bible, I’d like to read to you Matthew chapter 7. So, New Testament, first book, Matthew chapter 7, and starting in verse 16, this is what Jesus said.
“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit.”
Now, what Jesus is saying is that who we really are is demonstrated by the product of our life, the fruit. Jesus goes on to say in verse 18,
“a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”
Everything Jesus said is all about the fruit of our life. Now you might know fruit as the term works, what God does in and through our lives. That’s the evidence of salvation, verse 20,
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Jesus said.
Proverbs explains that genuine salvation is characterized by the wisdom that’s from above. When God’s wisdom comes into our life, Jesus was saying, it’ll show by the fruit of our lives.
So, back to that slide, how to be sure you’re saved. The reference there on the slide, Revelation 20 in verse 12 says, that everyone, the dead, small and great are going to stand before God. And as they stand before God, it’s going to be revealed whether or not they have come to know Christ.
Now, for just a moment, I want to introduce myself as the one that’s talking to you. You can see on the slide, I was saved at age six, called to the ministry at age nine. I’ve read the Bible over a hundred times. I’ve attended and gotten degrees from: I went to Michigan State, got a master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Bob Jones, was a faculty member at The Masters Seminar, got my doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. I’ve been a pastor for over 40 years, married to my wonderful wife, Bonnie for more than 35 years. In fact, we just celebrated our 38th anniversary. We’ve raised eight children. I’ve served in over 70 countries around the world.
What we’re looking at in this class is that God has given the guide to wisdom in Proverbs. Let me just talk to you for a moment. God has given us the guide in the book of Proverbs to wisdom and basically, it’s what you see here on the board. The book of Proverbs is all about a contrast. In fact, that’s one of the key ways that Proverbs is written. It’s written as a series of contrasts. Now, let me show you on the board what I mean by that. God’s way versus man’s way.
- God’s way is that, we be saved, an evidence of salvation is wisdom from above, and it leads to eternal gain.
- Man’s way, we were born lost, as we’ll see going through the book of Proverbs, we live right from the start foolishly and everyone is headed for eternal loss.
- The scriptures tell us that God’s way is the way of salvation. His way of salvation is wisdom.
- Man’s way is a way of damnation destruction and it’s characterized by foolishness.
Now, there are and if you look back at your slides, there is a contrast in Christ ministry. He talks about the narrow way versus the broad way in the sermon on the mount. Salvation in the book of Proverbs, take your Bibles and turn to Proverbs 1:7, salvation is a way of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7says this.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Now keep going over to Proverbs 9 and verse 10, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Now, look up from your side for a minute and let me talk to you about that. Jesus said this in John 17, it says,
“and this is life eternal, that they may know[…] the only true God.”
Salvation is knowing God. The evidence of salvation is that when we know God, His wisdom enters our life. Now, what is wisdom entering our life? Some people call it having Jesus in my heart. Actually, the book of 1 Corinthians says in chapter 1, verse 30, that of Him, God the Father, are we in Christ Jesus who becomes for us; wisdom and knowledge and redemption and sanctification. Do you see Jesus’s wisdom? The wisdom from above that’s lived out into our lives.
Now back to the slides. The narrow way is Christ’s way, the way of wisdom and salvation. The broad way, which the whole book of Proverbs describes is the way of damnation and it’s the way of foolishness.
Now, look in your Bibles at Proverbs 1 and verse 29. I’m going to read it to you,
“because they hated knowledge,” that means they didn’t want to know God, “and did not choose the fear of the LORD.”
That’s damnation because if you don’t fear God, if you don’t want to know Him, there’s no hope. Now, back up to verses 26 to 28. Look what God does.
“I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock, when your terror comes, when the terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind,” wow, verse 28. “You’ll call me, but I will not answer; you’ll seek me diligently, but you will not find me.”
Proverbs 1:26 to 29 describes the lost, foolish, eternally lost ones that are going their own way. The book of Proverbs, the entire book contrast God’s way of the saved, the wise, those have eternal life, and endless delights with the Lord versus the foolish ones, the lost ones, those who are headed to destruction and damnation.
The next slide is a chart that summarizes many of the key points of the book of Proverbs. What we see in Proverbs is God’s ways, we have wisdom. We already looked at chapter 1, verse 7, it’s the saved, those who have received His wisdom from above Christ. It’s narrow. We have the mind of Christ. We become, look what that says, they’re spiritually alive. We were dead in our trespasses and sin. See, that’s what Ephesians 1 says, instantly at salvation, we become sensitive to God. Whereas loss people are callous. They’re spiritually dead. Their hearts and minds are empty. They’re just living out the life of foolishness. We who are saved, worship God. In fact, that’s what the scriptures say. The essence of salvation is in the book of Revelation.
Now, look up from your slide for just a second. In the book of Revelation and chapter 14, when hailstones are falling on the Earth that weigh 60 pounds and crushing people, and demon hoards are unleashed from the pit and they’re inescapably tormenting the entire population of the Earth, God sends the gospel angel. The gospel angel tells everyone in the world that if they want to escape the destruction, if they want to escape eternal loss, that they should worship God. That’s an evidence of wisdom.
Now back to the slides, God’s way is that we worship Him. When we have wisdom, we flee sin. We’re being saved, that’s what sanctification is, more and more every day. The path gets brighter every day, that’s chapter 4 in Proverbs verses 18 and 19. We’re going to study those.
On the other hand, lost people following man’s way, worshiped themselves. 12:15 says that they become their own god. They mock at sin. They are perishing and their pathway gets darker every day.
Now in this next slide, I would like to show you Jesus wisdom, salvation, and what it means to know God. So, look up from your slides for just a second and I would like you to follow me in your Bibles. Take your Bible and I’m going to take you through this series of verses that really summarize the book of Proverbs. Then, into the rest of the scriptures, the entire plan of salvation.
Now remember, Proverbs in the Old Testament talks about a future coming wisdom, which we’re going to see in Ephesians and also in 1 Corinthians, is Christ. It talks about that coming one as being wisdom from above. It describes the effects of Christ in us, which is salvation, and which enters into us knowing God personally.
So, back to the slide, Proverbs 1 and verse 7. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools,” lost people, those who don’t know Christ, “despise wisdom and instruction.”
The second verse, look at 1 Corinthians right here. This is so vital. Chapter 1 and verse 30. 1 Corinthians 1:30, Paul reveals a wonderful truth about Christ. He said it is because of Him, that’s God the Father, that “you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.” That is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Now all four of those, wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption were ours in Christ the instant of our salvation.
The next verse, look at on your side, Colossians 2 and verse 3. I want to take you through that one. In Colossians 2:3 it says,
“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” that’s in Christ.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, the next verse it says, “and that from childhood,” this is Paul talking to Timothy, “you have known the Holy Scripture,” look at this, “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Titus 2 says, the grace of God that saved us, teaches us to deny ungodliness and then Jesus became the wisdom in the life of every believer.
As His brother James says, in chapter 3, verse 17 of James, this is a beautiful verse, but the wisdom that has come, that comes from Heaven or from above “is first pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
In the Proverbs we find the wisdom of Christ distilled in very practical terms. Now look up from your slides, that verse in James by the way, if I was teaching the book of James instead of Proverbs, I’d say that James was the first New Testament book penned. James wrote while he was pastoring, that first century church in Jerusalem, as Paul was out, launched out into his missionary journeys. James was teaching that congregation and he draws from the book of Proverbs immensely, as well as the sermon on the mount and many other things. James 3 as I just read, says that the wisdom from above when Christ comes into our life, transforms our character and our whole life from the inside out. That’s what we’re going to see as we go through Proverbs.
Looking at your next slide. In the next slide, wise living is how God explains His will for us in Proverbs. God is the source of true wisdom. God has reflected in our life, to the extent we exhibit, the wisdom He wants to produce in us. God gives us the surefire way to see if we’re wise, those around us are wise, and it’s by measurable and illustrated means. The book of Proverbs is God’s word about wisdom lived out in everyday life. A wise person grows in wisdom. They learn and they’re correctable. On the other hand, a foolish person decreases, flees from correction, and reflects their foolishness.
Now the next slide, wisdom is not the same as knowledge. If you look up from your slide for a second, let me show you something here on the marker board. If we were to illustrate all of human knowledge from the beginning, from the garden of Eden through the year 1845, and then from 1845 to 1945 it would be this one inch. If we could just measure all recorded knowledge, it would be one inch high. From 1845 to 1945 knowledge tripled. So, it would go from one inch to three inches. But from 1945 to 1975, now we’re talking about the computer age. Then we’ll go to the present. Do you know how much knowledge has grown – if in 1945 they had three inches of knowledge? 555 feet, that’s like the Washington monument. Now that isn’t even exponential, there has been an explosion of facts. Facts. A lot of facts. Triple the amount of facts. An almost in comprehensible amount of facts when we started doing radio telescopes and computers and nuclear research with cyclotrons and everything else. Look in the present, knowledge is doubling about every three year. Facts are doubling right now. It would be miles high, the stack of knowledge.
Back to your slide. Look at that, if all known or recorded facts were measured in inches, basically someone figured out that since knowledge began, from the beginning of man’s accumulated knowledge to 1945 it was an inch. From 1845 to 1945 would be about three inches in the hundred year period, it tripled. If you go from 45 to 75, it’s the height of the Washington monument. Wow. Today, it’s miles high.
The next slide I want to take you through, our core study. There are four important parts of our study.
- Number one, prayerfully read all of Proverbs through once. I’ll explain that more in a minute.
- Memorize Proverbs 3:5-6.
- Number three, do a devotional journal entry on either 10 verses, 10 topics, or 10 chapters.
- Number four, if you’re taking this for credit, then you would need to watch the first video in this playlist, which talks through everything I’m saying now, unhurriedly.
Look up from your slide. Basically, if you’re either in the official four credit course you paid for, or if you’re just joining us online and studying through, both ways you need to read the book of Proverbs. Now, when I say read it prayerfully, I mean this, before we read the Bible, we do what Psalm 119 verse 18 says – we say Lord, open my eyes. In fact, I’ll just demonstrate. I’m going to pray.
Father in Heaven, I pray that you would open the eyes of my understanding to your word. I pray that I wouldn’t just read it like any other book, but I would read it knowing that as I read each word, I’m hearing your voice. Speak to me through your word, by your word, and the power of your spirit as I study your word today. In Jesus name, amen.
Now, you don’t have to say those exact words, but what you’re doing is inviting the author to help you understand this book. So, number one, prayerfully read Proverbs. Number two, this is the memory verse and all of us, whether you’re just kind of taking this course, you bumped into it on YouTube or you’re actually enrolled for credit and paying for credit hours, Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most powerful verses to have in our minds and meditate on. So, memorize it. Number three, do the devotional project, which means you pick either 10 verses, those are the ones you found as you read through the whole book of Proverbs, or 10 different topics that you have taken time on to study, or 10 chapters.
Now, what does that look like? Look back at your slides. This is what the prayerful reading of the word of God looks like. Every time I read the scriptures; I mark them. You just be an aggressive reader, anything that’s interesting- underline, highlight, whatever it takes. Look for repeated words. Look for things that really the Lord brings to apply to you.
Now, this is the assignment sheet. Here are the first three that all of us, whether we’re enrolled or not, have to do. But for those of you that are enrolled there is a point system. Your grade is based on a basic hundred percent points, 20 points are reading the book of Proverbs, the 10-chapter projects are half the course grade, learning the verses 10 points, the two quizzes over class notes, I’ll explain that, and the final exam are the rest.
What is the devotional project? A written devotional study that you do and in that first video I explained the amount and the number of them. All the students want to know how much. I say about, at least, a typed page on each one of these. So, you have a 10 typed page project that you turn in, for credit to your course. You write down the title, that’s the first part. You do a summary of all the lessons, truths, or doctrines and then you write out a prayer. The prayer is asking God to either change you, work in you, or impact your life by an application from some part of His word.
Here is the outline, if you see that slide, this by the way is going to be on your quizzes. The quizzes we’d be over this outline as well as the study we do on inspiration. Look how simple it is. God’s wisdom written down, that’s the first seven verses, Gods wisdom for the young. Many of you enrolled, I know that those of you in East Asia, are young and many of you online are. That’s chapter 1 through 9. Then God’s wisdom for everyone, that’s the rest of the book.
Now, this is critical. Did you know that Proverbs chapter 10 through 22 verse 16 was written by Solomon? Then wise men, we don’t even know their names, some of them wrote 22:17 to 24:34. Then God sent wisdom through Solomon collected by Hezekiah 25 to 29. Then Agur and then Lemuel. Now you say, Whoa, what do you mean? What’s going on? The book of Proverbs was written primarily by Solomon. So, Solomon is the primary author but others, God used too. Don’t forget that, that’ll be on your quiz. By the way, I want to remind you and you can look up from your slides that at any time, you can pause this and take a screenshot, especially those of you that are just joining us because, you don’t get class materials and we don’t have online materials for you. Just take a screenshot if you want that outline or anything else that I’m saying.
Let’s go back to the slides. Now we get into the bedrock, how do you understand the Bible? Proper biblical interpretation. We need to understand that context is vital. The first canon or the law of textual interpretation is: what did God mean when He spoke to the original recipients of that portion of scripture? That’s the primary interpretation. Thus, the historical framework, the geographical, the grammatical is vital to proper biblical hermeneutics. Now, the word hermeneutics is the theological term, or you might have heard the term interpretation, how to interpret the Bible.
Now look up from your slides for a second, understand this; there’s only one interpretation of any passage of scripture that’s, what God meant to whoever He originally addressed that passage of scripture to. One look at this one interpretation, but endless applications. See, once you know the interpretation, what God was saying to whoever the original recipients were, then you can apply that directly into your life, which is how we grow in wisdom.
So, the one interpretation of the book of Proverbs. Much of it was Solomon writing to his son, that’s who got this. His name was Rehoboam by the way. I don’t want to give you a spoiler, but you know what the end of the story is? Solomon didn’t follow the wisdom that God used Him to communicate. He communicated it; he just didn’t live it. And guess what? His son Rehoboam absolutely abandoned any semblance of following that wisdom. There are many applications, endless in my life, in your life.
Now back to this, the slides, because if proper interpretation has to do with the history and the geography look where Solomon was when he wrote this. Solomon’s kingdom, this is the Mediterranean. This is modern day Cypress here. This is modern day Iraq and over here is Iran. So, look where Solomon was. Saudi Arabia is down here. Now, sacred geography is everything happens somewhere. The book of Proverbs was written by the king that was in this area geographically.
Secondly, the next slide, sacred history. Here’s the book of Proverbs right here. Here’s the book of Proverbs, in a timeline. King Saul, King David, Solomon, then Solomon’s son Rehoboam and Jeroboam split the kingdom into the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. Remember Rehoboam who did follow the bad example of his father? So, Proverbs was written right here in Solomon’s time. Look what is parallel to it, during the time of the book of 1 Kings and the prophets, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum. Right in here, this is the time period. So, sacred history is everything happens some time. Sacred geography is everything happens somewhere. Sacred history, everything happened sometime. That’s just a quick thumbnail of sacred history.
Now, let’s look at the details of Proverbs. For all of you that are auditing this class, I use… and you can look up from your side for just a second… I use the MacArthur Study Bible. During the years, as I showed you on that earlier slide, when I was on staff at Grace Community Church with Dr. John MacArthur, I was a faculty member at the Master’s Seminary. John said, I’d like to take everything from my life of teaching the Bible and all of the Master’s Seminary that’s being taught and I’d like to combine it into a study Bible. I use the MacArthur Study Bible because it’s a summary of everything that one of the greatest living Bible expositors in the world, has studied for the last 50 years. He has taught through nearly every word of the Bible. The MacArthur Study Bible, each page of it, the top half is a scripture, and the bottom half are the study notes. There are 25,000 notes and before each book there’s an introduction to the book. Let me just take you through that.
As you look back at your slide, if you read the MacArthur study Bible, these are the details on Proverbs.
The title in the Hebrew Bible is the Proverbs of Solomon. It’s also the Greek Septuagint title, The Proverbs of Solomon. Proverbs pulls together the most important 513 of the 3000 Proverbs that Solomon spoke. Now that’s interesting, look up from your slide. We don’t have all of his Proverbs; we only have the 513 that God said were the inspired word of God. The other 2,487 were great, they were very wise. They were not the living and abiding word of God. So, we have captured for us, those Proverbs God wants us to have. Now, look back down at your slide. The word proverb means to “be like”. It just is a Hebrew word that means to “be like,” it’s a book of comparisons between common concrete images. It’s the sum of wisdom that’s personified in Jesus Christ. As far as the author and the date, it’s the Proverbs of Solomon. As I said to you in the outline of the book, it’s also a compilation of the sayings of the wise. That’s actually what it says in that section, 22 to 24 and also 25 to 29 chapters. 25 to 29 Solomon wrote boat, but it was collected by King Hezekiah, pulled out of those 3000 Proverbs. Solomon by the way, also wrote Psalm 72, Psalm 127, the book of Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.
In the next slide, what’s the background for this? Well Solomon, and you can look up from your slide, Solomon is connecting his father and mother, David and Bathsheba, to him and communicating it to his son Rehoboam. So actually, the book of Proverbs is connecting three generations. David and Bathsheba; their son, Solomon; their grandson, Rehoboam.
The themes, the historical and theological themes. Basically, you know the story. One of the lessons, one of the hour’s coming, we’ll be actually looking at Solomon’s life. Solomon was raised by the man after God’s own heart. Solomon inherited the throne and God appeared to him in a vision at night and said, I’ll give you anything you want. What do you want? Do you remember what he asked for? The Bible says, he asked for this. He asked for wisdom and God gave it to him. He became the wisest human being that ever walked the planet Earth, apart from Jesus Christ. Yet the sad thing is, and that’s what the historic and theological themes are, Solomon didn’t follow through. In fact, if you’ve ever watched the Walks Through the Bible presentation, you can find those online, it’s a quick summary of the Bible. This is what Walks Through the Bible said, that David his whole heart served the Lord, Solomon only half his heart served the Lord and then King Saul, no heart for the Lord. Remember King Saul, he had his last supper with a witch. So, he had no heart for God. Solomon only had half a heart for God. David was a man after God’s own heart, had a whole heart for God. That’s the, back at your slides, the historical and theological themes.
Now, let’s look at the promises of God in the book of Proverbs. The reoccurring promise of God is that the wise, those who are righteous, who obey God, those who know Him, who are saved:
- Generally, number one, live longer.
- Number two, prosper in whatever they do, you can see that. Some of you might want to screenshot that because the wise are described in the 9:11 as having length of days, prospering too. Chapter 2, verses 20 and 22.
- They experienced joy. That’s 3:13-18,
- They experienced the goodness of God in temporal things. In other words, everything they do, Earthly speaking, prosperous.
- But fools, it says in Proverbs 3:35 suffer shame and death.
In the next slide, this is probably the heart and look up from your side for a second, I want to emphasize this; God’s will is revealed in the book of Proverbs for what He wants in my character. I want to go through this, rapidly, with you. When I put these slides back up and these, by the way, are in your class notes. So those of you, I know those of you in the class can’t, screenshot because you’re watching this on the screen. This is the heart of this session, so look back at your slide, I want to go through it with you. This is the doctrine of knowing God. Chapter 1, verse 7. We’ve already read that, but look at verse 23,
“Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”
God wants us to know Him and when we know Him, look at it on the slide, we are to reflect His character. What is God like?
- Number one, God is wise. God is loving. God is omniscient. God is omnipotent from the verses. You see here, 3:19 says,
“the LORD by wisdom founded the Earth; by understanding He established the heavens;”
If you want to know how wise God is, just look up at night and look at the complexity of this universe.
- He is loving Proverbs 28:13 says.
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” God is loving.
That verse is another one, if you’re looking for a verse to either do your devotionals on or to memorize. Wow, whoever confesses and forsakes their sins have mercy from God.
- God is omniscient, Proverbs 5:21. “The ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And he ponders all his paths.”
Look up from your side for a second, do you know what that means? God’s watching right now. Sitting in class or some of you are just on your digital device, watching this on YouTube.
In fact, Bonnie and I, the way this is coming to you is right over here, sitting at a table with the switcher studio is my wonderful wife, who is going between the marker board, me, and the slides. We just got a note from an amazing woman riding the subway in London. She had her cell phone, she was on her way home from a concert in Northern England, she had just wasted the weekend drinking, using drugs, and having gratuitous sex at this concert. She’s in her fifties acting like she’s in her twenties. She was sitting on the train and she punched into Google “finding hope”. Guess what God directed the Google search engine to look for? The first thing that came up was a message, a Christmas concert message, I did on hope in Christ. She sat watching that seven-minute message. I said on the message, if you want Christ bow your head right now; while I was talking to the people in the auditorium, she was sitting on a subway in London. So, she bowed her head. She kept listening with her Air Pods. I said if you’d like to receive Christ, I would like to pray for you right now, raise your hand. What she did on the subway, she wrote to me and told me. She said I was sitting there and listening on my iPhone, and I raised my hand on the subway. She said, I cried out to the Lord there. Long story short, do you know what happened? This 50 year old woman wrote to me, six months later after that event. She said, I just finished throwing away the last trophy of my immoral godless, drug filled, alcohol fueled, immoral life. She said from every concert she went to she would bring back either a poster, or the CD cover, or a record cover. She said that was like my Memorial, to all my parties, and immorality, and everything else. She said, every time I came to my apartment, I thought wow, I had such a good time at that concert, that concert, that concert. She said, I changed so much over these last six months since I reached out and called on the name of the Lord. She said, I just wanted to tell you, I don’t know if I’ll ever meet you on Earth, but I’m going to see you in Heaven.
Did you know, look back at your slides, God is loving. He’ll absolutely forgive you of everything. He’s omniscient, He’s watching your paths right now.
- He is omnipotent.
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”
The Lord knows everything going on in this world and He’s directing them omnipotently, for His glory.
Next slide. God wants to make me wise, not foolish, so these six areas of my life point toward Him. Number one, God wants me to fear Him. That’s basically what Proverbs 9:10 says.
- “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” That’s the first step of salvation.
- It leads to us trusting Him. Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.”
- Number three, God wants me thinking of Him. That’s what Proverbs 3:6 says. Basically, “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” What that means is, look up from your slides for a second. Do you know what that means? Treat God like your phone. What does that mean? Do you know where your phone is right now? As soon as you get it, you look and see if it’s got service, you’re constantly monitoring whether or not it has enough power so that it’ll keep working. Most people sleep with their phones. It’s just become something they can’t get along without. You know what God said in His word? I want you to be thinking about me as much as you think about whatever’s important to you, like your phone.
- Back to the slides. God wants me choosing His way. That’s basically Proverbs 8:10 “Receive my instruction.”
- God wants me submitting to Him. That’s Proverbs 1: 2 and 3.”To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom.” That’s what God wants.
- Number six, God wants me confessing my sins. I just went through that verse with you, “whoever confesses and forsakes,” God wants me confessing.
What’s the conclusion? God wants me to know the benefits of His wisdom, which by the way are also the benefits of salvation. Turn with me to Proverbs chapter 3 and let me read to you starting in verse 13.
This is salvation, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom.”
Jesus said in the sermon on the mount “blessed are those.” It’s the same word. It’s Psalm 1. Oh, the blessedness of those who know the Lord.
Verse 14 “for her proceeds are better than silver, and her gain than find gold. She is more precious than rubies.”
God wants me to know the benefits of knowing Him. Look at verse 18.
“She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.”
So basically, look at the next slide, the book of Proverbs confronts us with God’s way and man’s way. God’s way – He offers wisdom, when we know Him, we’re saved, and we start walking down the narrow way. We received the mind of Christ. We’re spiritually alive. Sensitive. Worship God. Flee sin. We’re being saved and the path gets brighter every day. Wow.
Look up from your slides for a second, let me read to you Proverbs 4 starting in verse 18. Now this should be marked and highlighted in your Bible.
“The path of the just,” those who are justified, they’ve been saved, Christ is forgiven their sins, I am justified in God’s sight because Jesus Christ took my place on the cross. “The pathway of the just is like the shining or rising sun.”
Tomorrow morning get up and look for the sunrise. I was sitting, I got up at quarter to five this morning and I was sitting in my office working. I looked out the window and I could just see the darkness receding and a little thin red line. Then, the sun rose and all of its brightness. Look what, it says, the pathway of those of us that know Christ is like the shining sun.
“It shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
Every day of our life we’re getting closer and closer to the perfect day when we see Jesus, when He comes for us in the air, or He calls us through the valley of the shadow of death. The instant we see Him we become like Him. That’s the perfect day. That’s salvation. That’s wisdom and the narrow way. In the mind of Christ, we’re spiritually alive. We’re sensitive. We worship God. We flee sin. We’re being sanctified. Our path gets brighter every day.
Here’s the other side and look back at your slide. Man’s way. This is the way of foolishness, the lost, the broad way, empty mind, spiritually dead, callous, unfeeling, worshiping self, mocking sin, perishing more every day. Let me read to you verse 19,
“The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”
God, in this next slide, has given a guide to wisdom in Proverbs. God’s way of salvation is moving into us the wisdom from above in Christ. How does it happen? We call on Him. Man’s way is hating knowledge, it’s damnation, it’s living in foolishness. Proverbs is all about God wanting us to live His way.
Class one is all about how to be sure you’re saved. The way to be sure you’re saved is, do you have the wisdom that’s from above? Do you know, and look up from your slides, do you know today that you have cried out to Jesus Christ and said I’m helpless, I’m hopeless, I’m a sinner, I can’t save myself. Jesus, you died on the cross to take my place. Like the lady on the subway, reach out to Him. Did you know, she didn’t go to church. She just read her Bible and her life so changed over six months, that all of her neighbors said what’s happened to you. Do you know what happened to her? The moment she called on the name of the Lord, said Jesus saved me now, I believe that you died in my place; He moved in His wisdom. Began to change her from the inside out. She’s walking in the light.
That’s what the book of Proverbs is about. That’s what I invite you to study, these 10 sessions with me. Get started before we get to the next class, reading prayerfully, the book of Proverbs. Get started, find some means to memorize, and I’ll talk about how to memorize fast. I have a whole video on that, that you can see in the playlist. Then start those devotionals as you read. Find verses that jump out at you or topics you want to study. Look them up and write down what you’re finding. Then, make a prayer, that’s the hardest part and say, Lord I want … like my prayer from verse 18 of chapter 4 would be… I want to see you more clearly and look forward more each day to the perfect day. Help me to long for your coming.
Thanks for joining us. Proverbs: Living Life God’s way.