A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Scripture: Proverbs 6:23, Matthew 5:21-30, Proverbs 6:21
Date: 01/17/2015  Lesson: 3
"How can we be serious about the gravity of sin without falling into the trap of fanaticism?"
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Hello friends, I'd like to welcome you once again to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very warm welcome to our audience here in Sacramento, California - our Granite Bay church members - this is our regular Tuesday evening prayer meeting and we've all gathered here at the Amazing Facts studio to continue our study in the book of Proverbs. So for our friends joining us, across the country and around the world, you can follow along with our study today. It's our lesson quarterly on the book of Proverbs and we're looking at lesson #3. So you can go to the amazing facts website if you don't have your own lesson quarterly, and you can download tonight's study and you can follow along with us.

We also have a free offer we'd like to let you know about, it's a book entitled 'the flesh and the Spirit.' We'll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks. The number to call is -788-3966 and ask for offer #792. Again, that number is 866-study-more - 788-3966. Ask for the book 'the flesh and the Spirit.' We'll be happy to send that to you. Now, before we get started with our study, as always, we want to ask God's blessing as we open up His Word, so let's just bow our heads for a word of prayer.

Dear Father, once again we are grateful for the opportunity to gather together to study your word and to take a look at the book of Proverbs - filled with wisdom - practical wisdom for us in everyday life. So we invite the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds as we study together. We ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you Pastor Doug.

Thank you Pastor Ross. Evening. How is everybody? I want to welcome our friends that are watching via satellite or internet. We know that we have friends that are part of the class from around the world and we're glad that we could be studying together. Again, going through our study on Proverbs and we're in lesson #3.

My father used to say, 'youth is wasted on the young.' And what he meant by that is you sometimes get too wise too late and by the time you're old enough to figure out what life's all about, you don't have any strength left to live it. So Proverbs is really a wonderful opportunity for all of us, especially those that are younger - there's some things that Solomon especially says to the young man that we can apply to our lives and give us a better, more abundant life. Now this lesson, in particular, is talking about some of the priorities because it's titled, 'a matter of life and death.' And so, understanding the principles of truth, Solomon tells us it is a matter of life and death. Insurance companies make a lot of money by being able to estimate averages of who has greater risk. They'll charge you more premiums if you've got greater risk.

And your premiums will be a lot lower if you follow Proverbs. You will live a lot longer. You'll avoid a lot of trouble. You know, sometimes - I guess they say that your brain stops - your brain finally stops growing when you're about 25. It reaches its maximum maturity.

And you know when it is that insurance companies finally begin to lower your driving insurance? Age 25. And you kind of just settle in. And so learning some of these wise principles, I think, could make a big difference. Now we have a memory verse, Proverbs 6:23. Here we go.

"For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life." Nobody wants to go around and reprove anybody but, you know, sometimes if you love a person you need to say, 'hey, that is not the right way to respond' or 'that's a dangerous thing to do' and it's the loving thing. God gives us loving reproof in His Word to kind of keep us out of trouble because it's a matter of life and death. If you have young children, at some point along the way, unless you raise them on a leash, you've got to tell them how to stay - we've probably all gone to the store and seen kids on leashes, haven't we? And we've seen kids that should have been on leashes. But if you want them to learn how to conduct themselves when there's traffic out, you've got to tell them to stay out of the street. And if they don't listen when they're young, you have to deal with them in firm terms that they can understand.

Why? To make their lives difficult? To be oppressive? Or to keep them alive? It's because you love them. And so these are the appeals that Solomon is making here. We're going to get into our study with a number of Scriptures that talk about especially the idea of the law in our lives. And he uses some symbols and metaphors through - throughout this teaching. Somebody, in a moment, is going to look up 11 - Deuteronomy :18 - and who's going to have that? Okay.

We'll get to you in just a moment, ron. And I'm going to start out Proverbs 6:21, speaking of the laws of wisdom he says, "bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck." Now is Solomon literally saying that the - the words of wisdom should be tied physically on our heart and around our neck? Or is he using symbolic language? But when something is on your heart, what does it mean? It's close to your affections. Jesus said, 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' That means people tend to talk about what they love. You've probably met folks that are - they might be an aviation enthusiast - what do they talk about? Airplanes. Or you probably have met people before that are, you know, you can't hardly get their attention, but you bring up football or you bring up basketball or you bring up fishing - people get addicted on those things.

And all of a sudden they want to talk to you and they know all the little nuances and - why? Because it's on their heart. And when something's around your neck - it's not like around the neck, something choking, it means - have you ever known somebody that kind of kept their keys around their neck so they'd always know where they were? It means 'close to your heart' or 'you're not going to forget it.' You might drop something from your wrist or even your ankle, but when you've got it around your neck you intend to hang onto it. And so he uses a number of these symbols. Another example would be Proverbs 7, verse 3, "bind them" - these words of wisdom - "bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." Where is the new covenant supposed to be written? Yeah. So when God is talking - when Jesus tells us that 'if you love me, keep my commandments' and the Lord says, 'a new covenant I will make with the house of Israel.

I will write my laws on their hearts' isn't that saying that it's in our affections? How much easier is it to do the will of God and obey the law of God when you love God? When he's got your heart? And this is what Solomon is saying is learn that God gave you these laws because he loves you and wants you to be saved. So again, bind them on your fingers. You ever seen somebody - they hear a number or something and they don't want to forget, they take the pen out and just start writing on their hand so they won't forget it? Any of you ever done that? They used to say - I've seen one or two people do this before, where they actually take a ribbon or a piece of yarn and they'd tie it around their finger and you'd say, 'what's that for?' 'It's because there's something I don't want to forget and I'm absent minded and every time I look I think 'oh yeah, that's what that's for.'' And I haven't seen that in a long time, but I remember knowing a grandma, it wasn't my grandma, that did that. I said, 'what is that?' They said, 'it's something I've got to remember and whenever I see it, I remember.' Well, that's what he's saying. And did the law of Moses also have memorials to help them remember? What were the priests supposed to have on the borders of their garment? A hem of what color? Blue.

They were to put tassels and borders of blue on their garments and you look, you'll see many of the pictures of Jesus - he's often got a hem of blue. Some of the artists knew that. And you've probably seen the Jewish prayer cloths. They're almost always striped with blue and it's because this was supposed to be a reminder to them of the law of God. Whenever they'd see it, they'd remember having these memorials.

As the children of Israel traveled - sometimes when things happened they'd set up a pile of stones, you know, it just looked like a pile of rocks but it meant something. And when they crossed the Jordan river, they had twelve of the strongest men take rocks from in the river - probably water-worn and smooth, maybe carefully chosen to be pretty rocks - they put them on their shoulders - they're heavy rocks - they're not carrying them with one hand - and they brought them out and they made a stack of twelve stones there and that was to be a memorial about the time God parted the Jordan river and they crossed over. So they'd see it and it would visually remind them. What were the children of Israel supposed to do with the law of God to help them remember? Deuteronomy 6, verse 6 - now who knows, without peeking, what's in Deuteronomy five? The Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments you find in Exodus chapter 20 are repeated almost verbatim - there's a little difference - in Deuteronomy 5.

Deuteronomy 5 - Moses is paraphrasing a little bit - he does a little commentary in some of the commandments - but it's a repeat - matter of fact, the word 'Deuteronomy' means 'a repeating of the law' and so he repeats the Ten Commandments. So chapter 5 - remember, there's no chapters in the Bible. Deuteronomy is like the final sermon of Moses before he dies and he's rehearsing how God has led them. So he's just finished saying the Ten Commandments in chapter 5 and you get to chapter 6 when he says, 'and these words that I command you today' - what words is he talking about? He's talking about the law of God. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

" Now, again, is that physically or is it a symbol? Symbol. "You shall teach them diligently to your children." Now does he just say teach them? Or teach them how? Diligently. What does 'diligently' mean? 'Enthusiastically; faithfully; rigorously; carefully' - make sure that you don't forget. Teach these words diligently to your children. Why? Because that's where the - that's when the concrete's soft and you can make impressions that will last through their lives.

That's where they're developing their characters. "Teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." They were to surround themselves with the knowledge of God and the words of God and the laws of God. Why did they get? - I mean, I bet several of you could probably quote the ten commandments because you're good Granite Bay church members but, you know, the average Christian - really, the average Christian can't quote half of the ten commandments. The average Christian couldn't name them - even summarize - say, 'name the Ten Commandments' - I mean, even the abbreviated versions like 'remember the Sabbath day' - if that's all they had to remember. A lot of them would end up with seven or eight, believe it or not.

But that's why Moses said, 'lay down' - evening worship; 'rise up' - morning worship; 'walking by the way' - worship on vacation - just all the time surround yourself with the Word of God. And then he goes on and says, "you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Now, did he literally mean write them on the gates or was he saying just surround yourself with them so you won't forget? You'll find a lot of Jewish homes have a little placard with Scriptures rolled up - I'm trying to remember what it's called right now. Mezuzah. Yeah, on the doorposts they'd put their hand on it and kiss it when they'd walk in the door.

Or you've seen the Jewish - some of the orthodox jews they have the phylacteries - they have a little box with Scripture on their wrists. It's wrapped with leather a certain number of times and they'll have one hanging on their forehead. And when it says 'between your eyes and in your hand' Moses meant in your actions - in your thoughts - because didn't he also say, 'in your heart?' So if in your heart's a symbol, putting them in your hand and putting them on your forehead, that obviously meant in your thoughts and in your actions. Now, I think ron's going to read this next verse and that kind of helps illustrate that point. Deuteronomy 11:18.

It says, "therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." Now there you have it again, a sign on your hand - frontlets between your eyes. I'm going to read you one more - this is actually coming from Exodus - Exodus 8 - 13, verses 8 and 9 - Exodus 13:8 and 9, "and you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'this is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt.'" - He's speaking of the passover - "it shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord's law may be in your mouth;" - now there's a clue - out of the abundance of the what? The heart the mouth speaks - "for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt." Now this is very important because everyone in the world, when they hear about the Mark of the beast in the forehead or in the hand. What do they think of? Have you heard it said before that that means 'watch out, in the last days the beast power's going to get everyone to line up and they're going to tattoo you on your hand or on your forehead - and everyone wonders, 'is it a bar code? Is it the number 666? Is it a tattoo? Is it one of those computer chips?' - What do they call those? Microchips. Microchips. There's another word they use for them.

Nanochips. Well, yeah, microchips, but it's a chip - an i.d. Chip - they put them in pets. Now when you locate - I guess it's helpful - you'll get a stray dog and they just scan it and say, 'oh, we know whose dog this is.' So big brother is even watching the dogs - no. And so people are wondering, 'is that what it means - in the hand - in the forehead' - 'how are they going to do that?' - Or 'maybe it'll be ultraviolet' or 'what kind of - is it a visible tattoo?' Or - they're totally missing the point.

When it says, several times - I read you three, right now, times in the Bible where it says 'in the hand and in the forehead.' In Revelation, where's the seal of God? They have their father's name written where? In their forehead. Where does 'mystery, Babylon, mother of harlots' appear? It's on the forehead of that woman in Revelation, right? Where did Goliath get struck with the stone? In the forehead. In the forehead. It's kind of interesting. What was the only thing left of jezebel after they went to check on her? Her skull and the palms of her hands.

'In the hand and in the forehead' - it's kind of interesting. It's a symbol. So when it says, in Revelation, the beast is going to Mark people in the hand or in the forehead, it's very simple. Everybody's Marked in Revelation - those that have the law of God - the new covenant - in their hearts. That would, of course, include that commandment that says, 'be holy' - which you only find in the Sabbath commandment.

If you don't have the law of God, you've got the law of the beast, right? There's only two groups in the last days. And so, when it says 'in the hand and the forehead' it's not talking about a tattoo no more than it means that God is going to tattoo the seal of God in people's foreheads. It's a symbol of who you worship and your works. So Solomon's talking about these kind of metaphors, when you - not only do the jews have - they have the Scriptures on the phylacteries on their forehead and their hands, are there churches, both muslim and catholic, that pray with beads? Just all these outward symbols and do some Christians wear crosses? Now some might do it ornamentally or as an accessory to their dress, but I think we've all known that that cross holds some kind of almost supernatural significance or good luck, even. I had a friend that he drank and partied and I just - he - you know, this is back before I was a Christian and I got in his car one day and he had a cross hanging from his mirror.

I said, 'rick, I didn't know you were a Christian.' He said, 'I'm not. That's so I'll be safe when I'm driving.' It's like it was a good luck charm. I mean, you know, people in our culture are trained if you run into vampires hold up a cross. You don't even have to be a believer. It's considered - and so, this is not what Solomon is talking about.

He's using these as symbols for just having the Word of God and the law of God in your life. Alright, now somebody's got Romans 7:7 - who - we'll have you read that in just a second. I've got one more verse here, Proverbs 3:3, "let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." There you have those same metaphors again. So we're to surround ourselves with the Word of God and just keep it ever present as a priority in our lives. That's why Jesus said, 'seek first the Kingdom of God.

' Alright, go ahead. Please read for us Romans 7:7. Romans 7:7, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'you shall not covet.'" Now this is important because as we tie off this section in Proverbs - this is our first study - we just want to make it clear that we're not saying that we're saved by the law, but having the law around us as a reminder - it's like that mirror that James referred to that we look into that leads us into the truth and helps us be aware. Sometimes conviction is a healthy thing and, you know, it's hard to litter right in front of a sign that says, 'do not litter.

' So even though the best thing would be not to litter anywhere, having those signs around us are good reminders. Alright, moving on to Monday. And here - by the way, during this lesson, our mission is we're going to be going from Proverbs 6:21 and, God willing, we're going to get through Proverbs 7:27 so that's kind of the section of verses we're going to hope to cover. Alright, Proverbs 6:23, "for the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life," - here Solomon, again, is employing another metaphor of how the law of God is a light. What could be a better symbol? Is Jesus sometimes referred to as a light? There were three pieces of furniture in the sanctuary, what were they? Table of show bread.

Lampstand. Yeah. That lamp - light - the Bible tells us Jesus said, 'I am the light of world.' But you know what else he said? 'You are the light of the world' - as we reflect his light. And so without light, what do you have? Darkness. Can darkness put out light? You know, you can never really turn up darkness? The only way darkness increases is because light fails.

And the only reason that darkness increases in the world is because the light and the salt that we're supposed to be is failing? And so he says keeping the law before people, this is what brings the light into their lives. He gives us another one, psalm - and this is, of course, from David, which probably influenced what Solomon wrote - psalm :105 - we all know this, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119 - what's the principle message in that chapter - the longest chapter in the Bible? The law. Yeah, it's the Word of God. There's probably more references to the law of God in Psalms 119 - someday I'd like to preach just on psalm 119, but you'd almost need to make like a three-week series or something because it's got a lot of verses in it. But so he's not only saying, 'thy word is a lamp, everything David says around that verse is talking about the law of God, it illuminates our feet.

It's a light to my path. Proverbs 7:2, "keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye." The apple of your eye - it's talking about something - I think it's just - sometimes that's translated 'the pupil of your eye.' It's talking about just as the middle - the focus of your eye. You go to the eye doctor and you have an exam, one of the things they'll do is they'll say, 'look at that dot.' And then they'll take this light and go over here and you want to look and he says, 'no, I didn't say look over here.' He says, 'I want you to look at the dot.' I said, 'why do you want it over here?' He said, 'I was checking your peripheral vision.' And he'll take - and they'll wave a pen or something like that and say, 'tell me, can you see it? Can you see it? Can you see it?' And at some point out here - I can see right now - I can't see with my left eye because my nose is in the way, but with my right eye I can. But that's your periphery. When it comes to the law, it's not supposed to be in the periphery, it's supposed to be in the apple of your eye.

It's supposed to be a central point of focus in your life and - that's guiding you. It's your - it's the core of your world view that calibrates all of your decisions, is having that right in the middle. And go ahead, read for us psalm :8. "...the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;" so here it's keeping the law before you as the apple of your eye, but it even tells us that the law itself enlightens our eyes. It has an illuminating property to it.

Peter 1:19 and it says, "and so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;" here he's talking about just a light that keeps getting brighter. So as we focus on the law, do you ever reach the bottom? If a person is to study the ten commandments for a year - I know it seems - it's only about three hundred words - about the length of the gettysburg address - if you were to study the ten commandments for a year, could you ever get to the place where you say, 'I've finally plumbed the depths of God's law?' There's - you know, I did a series just last year, on the Ten Commandments, and I kept finding all of these things I wished I had said. I could have gone weeks on any one commandment because I kept finding more and more and I'd say, 'oh I left this out.' And 'I left that out.' And there was so much, every time you'd read it you'd say, 'how did I miss that?' And it just - it's so deep and it enlightens your eyes and it guides you. You know, one of the things is when you just study the law of God, it seems so simple, but the longer you look at it, you realize it is a supernatural genius in the wording and the organization and all the little nuances of what's in just the Ten Commandments and, of course, the law of God is bigger than that. Now, while we're still talking about that subject, let me jump to the new testament and Jesus has something to say about this.

If we look in Matthew chapter 5, verse 17 - and I think it's important just to pause - we have, most of us here believe that the Ten Commandments are eternal. They don't change. They've not been abrogated but, you know, there's a lot of Christians - it just always shocks me to think it and say it - there are a lot of Christians out there that somehow think that the Ten Commandments - Jesus came to fulfill them and what's meant by that is to do away with them. And when you really drill down and ask a person 'what do you mean by that?' And you say, 'does that mean, then, is it okay for a Christian to lie?' They say, 'no, no, of course not.' Christians should be even more careful about that. Is it okay for a Christian to steal or to commit adultery or is it okay for a Christian to use God's name in vain? They'll say, 'oh no, no, no, no, no, if you've got the love and the Spirit we don't need the letter of the law, we just need the Spirit of the law.

' But, in reality, the whole theology about eliminating the law of God is usually because there's one commandment, in particular, that is annoying. It's true. Nobody - you go back fifty years ago, I can show you billy graham sermons and a lot of sermons from Sunday pastors and they all are talking about the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments and they used to be on the walls in all the churches and a new theology started to come in basically saying, because of some verses in Galatians and a couple of other places that, you know, 'we don't have to keep the law anymore.' And Paul is usually talking there about ceremonial laws. Or even those who think we're saved by the law, which we're not. But what did Jesus say in Matthew chapter 5, verse 17? "Do not think" - now what does that mean? Simply, don't think this.

- "Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." Now if fulfill means 'do away with' - as some people interpret that - that would mean Jesus is saying, 'don't think I came to destroy the law, I did not come to destroy it but to do away with it.' Would that make any sense? No. Fulfill means to fill full - keep it - to show us how to keep it - to live it out in his life. Not so we don't have to, but as an example. The Bible says he's walked that we should walk in his steps.

"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law" - he didn't say 'until I die on the cross.' He said, "till all is fulfilled." What he means by that is 'all is kept.' It's eternal in nature. Then he goes on lest there's some who still may misunderstand. Jesus now is in verse 19 - Matthew 5:19 - "whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven." Now, if anyone misunderstands even that, he says in verse 20, "for I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven." Now they were the most fastidious, legalistic - God isn't telling us we should be even more legalistic than the pharisees, he's saying, 'you need a higher quality of righteousness than the scribes and the pharisees.' They would say it but they wouldn't do it. Jesus said, 'you'll bind burdens on men that you won't lift with one of your fingers.' He called them hypocrites. They prayed long prayers then they robbed widows' houses.

He said, 'you need the kind of righteousness where you're not just saying, 'Lord, Lord' but you're doing it in your life.' - You're living out the law of the Lord, which is all summarized, really, in love. And then he goes on and says in verse 21, "you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'raca!' Shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'you fool!' Shall be in danger of hell fire." So Jesus said, 'you've heard it said by them of old, 'you'll not commit murder.'' Now, that's a very important verse for a couple of reasons: 1) what does that commandment say? 'Thou shall not kill.' Jesus says it's really more accurate, 'thou shall not murder.' Because every time you step on a bug you kill. You're not breaking the law of God.

It's saying, 'don't murder.' It's talking about taking innocent human life. It's not talking about soldiers that go to defend the country, it's talking about people who are wrongfully taking innocent life. So after he quotes from the ten commandments, does he say you don't have to keep that commandment anymore as long as you're not angry with your brother in your heart? Or is it obvious that the bare minimum is you don't murder, but he's saying it goes beyond that so you need to be keeping it in your heart. And this is what Solomon is talking about. The law of God needs to be at the core of our lives - in your heart.

So it's not just actions. Then he talks about adultery, "you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman" - and it works both ways - with lust in your heart, you can be breaking the commandment that way - not just actions, it's attitudes as well. And then you look in Matthew :17 - a young man came to Jesus and said, "'good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So he said to him, 'why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life,'" - do what? Keep the commandments. "Keep the commandments.

" And then he went on and he said, "which ones?" And Jesus quotes from the ten commandments. So was Christ saying that once he died on the cross that observing the Ten Commandments was not necessary? No, of course not, it's still the same. The reason I'm saying all this is because I'm going to great lengths to try to reinforce the truth because you can't understand what Solomon is saying when Solomon is talking about the law - keeping it in your heart, keeping it in your mind, tie it around your head, put it around your neck, it'll be as the apple of your eye - he uses all these metaphors. And then you jump to the new testament churches that say, 'but once Jesus died on the cross, you don't need to worry about the Ten Commandments.' What does that do to everything Solomon says about the law? Of course it's still intact. The same thing that God said to David, 'keep my commandments,' that David said to his son, 'keep the commandments of God,' Solomon is saying to us and Jesus reiterates.

By the way, Jesus is The Son of David, like Solomon, who was a type of - Solomon was a type of Christ. Alright, Revelation chapter 14, verse 12. Now these are all in - they're still in Monday's section here. "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Then, of course, I bet most of you here could quote Revelation chapter 12, verse 17, "the dragon was" - wroth with the woman. "Wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed that" - keep the commandments.

"Keep the commandments of God, and have the" - testimony. "Testimony of Jesus." And then Revelation chapter 22, "blessed are those who do his commandments, that they might have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates of the city." And so what's separating those who have the Mark of the beast from those who have the seal of God is you've got this one group that's identified as the ones who keep the commandments of God. We don't do it to be saved, we do it because it's in your heart, as Solomon said in several verses. John 8:12 - Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

" So we're talking about that light and that life. So you've got life on one hand, which is one of the points in our lesson, and the opposite of life is death. You can have the light and the life or the death and the darkness. God's law - what's the last thing Moses said - almost last thing he said before he climbed the mountain and died? 'Hear o Israel, I have set before you two options and that I command you to love the Lord your God. If you obey God' - it says - 'you'll be blessed, it'll be good, and it's for your blessing.

You disobey, you die.' He said, 'I set before you this day, life and good and blessing, death and evil and cursing.' - Two choices. And so he says that in the context of obeying God. But you know what else he says? 'I command you this day to love the Lord and keep his commandments.' Can you really keep them if you don't love him? It's impossible to be keeping the law, in its truest sense, if you don't love God. But if you're thinking, 'well, I don't love God, should I still keep his law anyway?' Yeah, you'll be better off. You should be a cheerful giver.

But let's suppose you're not cheerful. Should you still pay your tithe? Yeah, and you'll still be blessed. You may not want to honor your father and mother - may not feel like it - might not even think you love them - but should you honor them anyway because God said so? Yes. That's right. So do the right thing because it is right.

Best thing is to do it because you love the Lord, okay? Tuesday - 'fighting temptation' - now if you go to Proverbs 6:24 - matter of fact, we're going to be reading verses 24 through 29 but I'll pause here. Proverbs 6:24 - he's going on. He says, "to keep you from the evil woman," - so one of the things he's saying - tying the law of God around your heart - "to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress." - Now, we talked about this in our last lesson. Solomon returns to this subject several times through Proverbs and he was something of an expert in this category. I mean, if you just read the history of Solomon, he got in trouble because it says, 'Solomon loved many strange women.

' That's what it says. That meant foreign women. But - and his wives led him away and he got in trouble. He was reproved by a prophet for it. But it's more than just talking about temptation to infidelity or adultery or fornication, here this woman that he's talking about - it's temptation.

Like you have jezebel - remember when jehu came to the city? She thought ahab was dead - now her son was dead and she thought, 'my last chance is to seduce him.' But I don't know that she realized that she turned into a grandmother over the years and what she was able to achieve before was not nearly as effective. But it says that she fixed up her hair and painted her face and looked out a window and then she began to try to rationalize with jehu and jehu asked some eunuchs that were in the building to throw her out the window. But that woman in Revelation 17, she's called the mother of - harlots. Harlots. Is that talking about physical adultery? It says, 'with whom the Kingdoms of the earth have committed fornication.

' Or is it talking about compromising of truth? When we follow the falsehoods of the devil, doesn't the Bible use the metaphor of infidelity? When the children of Israel would pray to idols of other Gods, God called it 'adultery.' And so this metaphor of a seductive woman is something that's being used to describe temptation in general and - but it works, I think, literally as well as as a symbol. And you read on here, it says in Proverbs 6, verses 25 through , "do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" - Well, I don't know if that's the best analogy because people do that now at these motivation seminars, but back - I don't know if any of you ever went camping before - summertime - have a camp fire and somehow a coal popped out of the fire and you stepped on it, but when I lived up in the cave, it doesn't take you very long to find out that that's happened and you'll - you do a dance - but so I know what he's talking about, 'can you walk on coals and your feet not be seared?' - "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent." Now he bears that out in a number of ways throughout the passage here. If you look, for instance, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul talks about this too - he's talking about it in a more literal sense, "no temptation has overtaken you except as such as is common to man.

But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able, but will with the temptation, make a way of escape that you're able to bear it." So, of course, there he's - three times in that verse he talks about temptation. He says, 'no temptation' - 'God will not allow you to be tempted, but will with the temptation, will also provide a way of escape.' Now I'm saying all this to lead up to a point: Solomon is saying, 'put the law before your eye, tie it around your finger, put it around your neck, put it on your heart so that when temptation comes do you have to think about whether this is right or wrong? You know where a lot of people get in trouble with temptation? Is they start to rationalize. Joe Crews wrote a book that was really great, years ago, it's called "the power of a positive 'no.'" And he says, basically, so much temptation could be avoidedband we'd have so much more victory, if we would be decisive about that temptation before it ever comes. So you prepare yourself and you say, 'my answer is going to be 'no.' And I'm telling you in advance my answer's going to be 'no.' I know when I quit smoking that - or when I quit drugs - when I quit drinking I knew I'd get around my friends and that - I made up my mind, 'I've got to stop this, this isn't right.' And I knew when I got around some of my old friends that I was going to be tempted. They were going to offer me - and I had to tell myself ahead of time, 'you've got to say 'no.

' You've got to say 'no.' It's going to happen. You know what your decision is and you prepare yourself.' I kept it around my neck. I kept in on my finger. I kept it before my eyes so that when it came, you got your answer right away. And it's the power of a positive 'no.

' Young people get into trouble - or a young man, young woman go on a date and they don't have things carefully planned and they don't have their minds made up about what's right and wrong and what lines will not be crossed and you've got to know that stuff ahead of time, otherwise you get yourself in a compromising situation and you just say, 'well, I'll just see how I feel at the time.' You're going to make all the wrong decisions. If a person's on a diet - we're talking about temptation - and you're invited to a potluck, you've got to know ahead of time what you're going to do and claim that promise, 'God will not suffer you to be tempted above what you're able but will, with the temptation, provide a way of escape.' But it really helps a lot to know ahead of time and have that all planned out. Now I said I was going to read something from Paul on this subject of temptation and adultery and I got two Scriptures swapped around. Now, what I want to read is 1 Corinthians 6:13 - 1 Corinthians :13 - and someone, in a moment, is going to have Mark 14:38 - who will that be? Over here, okay. "Now the body" - and I'm going to read verses 13 through 20 - 1 Corinthians 6:13 - "now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication.

" - Now, when you flee it's like when you see a snake - you're not thinking about it, you have to react right away. What did Joseph do when he was tempted in that area? He fled. It also says 'resist the devil and he'll flee from you.' That's the same thing but it's just like two magnets pushing each other away. You've got to know right away that is wrong and run from it. Don't give any opportunity - now whether it's a temptation to immorality or whatever the temptation is - avoid those places of temptation.

When I go to the Market still - I haven't had a drink in -something years - but still, when I go to the Market, I don't want to take a shortcut down the liquor section to get to where I'm going. I don't even want to - the Bible says avoid the appearance of evil. So, you know, on either side of the aisle it's all booze and I think, 'what if a member walks by and even sees me in the aisle? I don't even want to go through that aisle. I don't have a problem. When I quit drinking, I didn't quit drinking - I'll just be honest with you - my mother drank, my father drank - both till they died, I mean, so it was in our dna.

I was cleaning out my father's martini glasses when I was like five years old, so I started drinking when I was very young. So I quit, not because I didn't like it - I quit because I knew God wanted me to quit and it was bad. But it wasn't because I didn't crave it. And so I just had to stay away - don't even go down that aisle. Don't even give the devil opportunity.

Flee from temptation. Stay as far away as you can. And he's saying that here also about immorality. "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

What?" - And, of course, this is men or women - "what? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Alright, you're going to read for us, I think, Mark 14:38. "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Now Jesus is making this statement to the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane when they're struggling with praying for him. the Lord knows that they're getting ready to just be hammered with all kinds of temptation to deny him and to forsake him and to give up their faith. And he's saying one of the ways that we avoid temptation is what? Watch and pray.

So how do you watch? Peter says, 'be sober. Be vigilant.' Vigil - what are you doing when you keep vigil? Do you sleep through a vigil? To be vigilant means to be like watching as though an enemy is approaching and could be sneaking up, because that's how the devil works and Jesus is saying 'the devil's sneaky. Keep your eyes open.' Don't think a lot about the devil, but understand your weaknesses and don't give him opportunity. One of the ways we resist - pray that you enter not into temptation. And what else did Jesus do to avoid temptation? The law of God around his neck, between his eyes, on his hand, tied on his finger, in his heart.

First thing he said when temptation came - he fought with - what Solomon's talking about - the law of God is what kept him from these things. Satan - and this is a quote that's in your lesson - from e.g. White, testimonies volume , page 495 - "satan offers to men the Kingdoms of the world if they will yield to him the supremacy. Many do this and sacrifice heaven. It's better to die than to sin.

" You don't hear that very often, do you? What separates those who receive the Mark of the beast from those who don't? The ones who refuse to receive the Mark of the beast are willing to die rather than sin. I mean, isn't that what the beast says? If they don't worship the beast they'll be killed. So we've got to have our minds made up. Was there a death sentence threatened against shadrach, meshach, and abednego if they didn't at least one time bow down - just once? How about Daniel? He only had thirty days - he just - all he needed to do was close his windows thirty days and - but he wouldn't do it at all - not once. And what did that mean? He was going to die.

And he said, 'i'd rather die than sin.' I know that sounds heavy, but this is - this is the Bible ideal for that truth. I know I've met people before that say, 'Pastor Doug?' - Church members - and they say, 'you know, I've struggled looking for work and I finally got a job and they say I've only got to break the Sabbath for thirty days and then I'll get seniority' or 'just a few months and then I'll get - during the training period - I've just got to work a few Sabbaths while I'm training and then I get it off.' I say, 'boy, once you open that door, brother,' I said 'you start selling your soul it makes it easier next time. And if you're willing to do it now for a job, what will you do when your life's on the line?' Right? It's better to die than to sin. Better to want than defraud. Now what that means is don't steal.

You're better to be in want or in need than to defraud. Better to hunger than to lie for a piece of bread. Alright, Wednesday - 'you shall not steal.' Now I've got to move right along here. Proverbs 6:30 to 31, "men do not despise a thief if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry. But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold;" he may have to give up all the substance of his house.

Now he's going on and he's comparing somebody who might steal to somebody who might violate a marriage. Are there varying degrees of sin? While all sin is bad, there are varying degrees. What's worse, to steal something or to murder somebody? What's worse, to lie or to commit adultery? You don't ever want to say anything's good, do you? But yeah, I think we all know if you had to choose between experiencing one of the two, you'd rather have someone tell you a lie - of course, it depends on what the lie is - than to have your marriage violated. So there are varying degrees of sin and that's what Solomon's saying. He's saying, you know, at least if a thief steals it's because he's starving, but people who commit adultery - do you know you can live without sex? Believe it or not, you won't die even though you might think you will die, you won't die.

And that's what Solomon is saying. But people that destroy another family, there's no excuse for it. Proverbs 30, verses 8 and 9, "remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches - feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny you, and say, 'who is the Lord?' Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God." So he's saying, 'I don't want to deny the Lord and I don't want to steal either.' Then - now, when he's talking about stealing, is Solomon just talking about a thief stealing bread or does he talk about stealing in the context of stealing another woman's husband or another man's wife? Is that stealing? Is adultery stealing? When you steal affection that's been given to someone else in a covenant before God? Did David steal uriah's wife? He took it by fraud. There's another verse where Paul connects the two - Thessalonians 4 - Thessalonians 4, verses 3 through 6, "for this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel" - his body - "in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter," - you know what defraud means? It's a type of stealing. Why is Paul jumping from adultery to defrauding? Or is he making that same connection that Solomon made, that they were defrauding each other.

I mean, 1 Corinthians he talks about one man taking his father's wife. That's stealing your father's wife, not to mention it's adultery as well. Ellen white says, in 'patriarchs and prophets' page 308, "thou shall not commit adultery. This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts or desires or any practice that tends to excite them. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly a sin as the unlawful deed.

" Now whenever I read something like that, I need to make it clear that I've run into people before and they say, 'well, Jesus says if you think it in your heart it's the same as doing it, so I'm thinking it - I may as well do it.' No, God forbid, as Paul said. It's not what Jesus is saying. It's not what Paul is saying. They're just saying we want to avoid the thought also, because James says it's the thought that leads to the act. So just recognize the sin begins with the thought - the deed is obviously much worse, why? Well, the thought's still just in your head.

The deed that involves another person - another family - and it's much more sinister. Last section - Thursday - 'the threat of death.' Proverbs 7:22 and 23 - and somebody's going to read Proverbs 7:26 and 27 in a minute. Okay. "Immediately he went after her," - he's still talking about this metaphor again, of the man and the harlot - "as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare," - you know, if you got hit in Bible times - if you got hit by an arrow on a lot of your body, you could probably be bound up and healed, but if it hit your liver it was fatal and that's basically what he's saying here, that this - and that's what this whole section's about - the threat of death - "as a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.

" This is, you know, what's his name? John - that's his name - he talks about a sin that leads unto death and this is just a dangerous thing. It's not that God doesn't forgive it. He forgave David. He forgave sampson in this area, but the wages of sin is what? Death. Death.

And that's what Solomon's saying here. Go ahead, read for us Proverbs :26 and 27. "For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death." Again, he's emphasizing that the end of temptation - it's not just talking about sexual temptation, Solomon is speaking in a very comprehensive way, using this metaphor to kind of encompass all temptation. You know, all temptation is summed up in three areas: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

When Jesus was tempted with bread, which one was that? He was hungry, it's a physical temptation. Sex is a physical temptation. Then you've got the temptations of pride and you've got the temptations of covetousness - the lust of the eyes - and just about anything could be summed up in those categories. Those are the areas where eve fell and adam. Those are the areas where Jesus overcame - three main areas of temptation.

And then Romans 8, verses 5 and , "for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally" - or fleshly - "minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." I'd much rather end on those words. So he said it's a life and death thing. If we are carnally minded and living for the things of the world, it leads to death. That's why we've got to keep the law and - by the way, just in closing, all of the law that we're talking about embodies Jesus because he lived it out in his life - he fulfilled it.

So when you keep Christ before you - in your heart, around your neck, between your eyes, on your hand - that's really just keeping the law before you because Christ is the embodiment of the word, isn't he? And that's what keeps us from sin. Thank you very much for joining us, friends. I want to remind you, if you didn't hear at the beginning, we have a special offer, it's 'the flesh and the Spirit' by Joe Crews. It goes along very well with our lesson. We'll send it to you for free.

-788-3966 - Better yet, you can download it for free right now by going to the amazing facts website - just 'amazingfacts.org' and you'll find this. It's called 'the Spirit and the flesh' and you can download it and read it right now. Tag it along to a friend. God bless you till we study his word together again next week. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo.

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