Words of Wisdom

Scripture: Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Matthew 25:35-40
Date: 02/21/2015 
Lesson: 8
"A person's character is measured less by wisdom or even religious commitments than by readiness to help the poor and the needy."
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Good evening, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. I’d like to welcome our friends joining us on the various television networks, also on the internet – thank you for being a part of this live interactive international Bible study. I’d also like to welcome our local audience here, the members of the Granite Bay church, again, thank you for joining us. Once again we’re at the Amazing Facts studio filming our Sabbath School Study Hour program with great anticipation that, hopefully, in the next few weeks or so, we’ll be moving to our new location. So stand by for that.

Our lesson today continues in the study of the book of Proverbs and we’re on lesson #8 entitled words for wisdom. So, for our friends joining us, if you don’t have the lesson with you, you can download today’s lesson at the Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.org. We also have a free offer we’d like to let you know about. It’s a book written by Joe Crews entitled the surrender of self and we’ll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. The number to call is 866-788-3966.

Ask for offer #153, a book entitled the surrender of self. Well, before we get started in our study this evening, let’s just bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you for the opportunity to gather in freedom to study Your Word. Lord, we don’t want to take that for granted. We thank you for your providence and your watchcare and protection and, Lord, we ask that as we open up this book filled with wisdom, that you would fill our minds and hearts with heavenly wisdom that we might be able to receive the instruction that you have in store for each of us.

Bless our time together, for we ask this in Jesus’ name, amen. Our lesson today is brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Thank you Pastor Ross and, yes, maybe next week we’ll do a little mission highlight of what happened in jamaica. It was really a rich experience and I want to send greetings to our friends that are watching around the country of jamaica because, as we did our meetings there, it was very encouraging to see we’ve got a big Sabbath school class in jamaica – a lot of people there that said that they watch the program every week and it was just a joy to be with them.

We’re continuing in our study today, as Pastor Ross said, dealing with lesson #8, words of wisdom, and we have a memory verse. The memory verse comes from Proverbs chapter 20, verse 6 and our goal – our assignment – is to really be dealing with Proverbs 20, 21, 22 in our study today. But we’ll say the memory verse first. Are you ready? Proverbs 20, verse 6, “most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” You know, you find that question a couple times in the book of Proverbs. It says, ‘who can find a faithful man?’ And ‘who can find a virtuous woman?’ And so the whole book is talking about how precious truth and wisdom and integrity are in the world and the author is challenging people to model that.

So we’re going to dive right in. I think we gave out some verses. Before we go very far i’ll just double check – who has Exodus 4, verses 11 and 12? You’ll be up in just a moment here. I’m going to begin by reading the first few verses – i’ll maybe read Proverbs chapter 20, verses 1 to 5 and, with your permission, i’ll just sort of highlight them – this is what you would call a very ecclectic study. Solomon, in these chapters, is firing buckshot at life.

He is touching on a little bit of everything. There are things that he talks about here that he’s said other places using different words and you can find the material that he covers in Proverbs 20, 21, 22 scattered through the teachings of Jesus as well. Verse 1, “wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Then it goes on to another subject. Now, should Christians drink alcohol? But Noah drank and David gave drink to uriah and lot drank. Well, you know the rest of the story: Noah drank and he was wandering around naked.

And lot drank and slept with his daughters. And David tried to get uriah drunk so he would go against his conscience. Well, didn’t Jesus make wine? Jesus turned water into grape juice. Remember, in the Bible, the word wine is used interchangeably between the fermented and the non-fermented. Now you go to the liquor store today – and I hope you don’t – but if you do, you buy alcohol there and it’s required to say on every bottle what proof it is.

Is it one percent, five percent, ten percent, eighty percent? That’s usually what they call ‘hard liquor’ or white lightning or whatever it is when it’s virtually lethal. Is a little bit okay? What do we know today about alcohol and what it does to society and what it does to us physically? Is there anything good? People will say, ‘oh, but they’ve proven now that some red wine, you know, it could be good for your heart.’ Some of you heard dr. De rose and others say it has nothing to do with the alcohol in the wine that makes it good. You can get it out of red welch’s grape juice or just eat the grapes. But alcohol is a drug and when Jesus turned the water into wine – at the last supper - they offered Jesus fermented wine on the cross and he tasted it and turned away.

He said, at the last supper, ‘drink all of it, this is my blood’ when he gave it out he said, ‘i will not drink it again until I drink it with you new.’ New wine. The bread in the communion service was unleavened. The wine was unfermented. Now, you’ve heard this little rant before, but if you’re a Christian – even if it wasn’t for all the verses in the Bible that say, ‘give wine to him who is ready to perish.’ And ‘woe to him who gives his neighbor drink.’ And there are a number of verses in the Bible – ‘wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.’ Even if those verses weren’t there, the principles of Christianity should tell us that if there’s a substance in society where half the people that will be killed on the highway today will be either struck by someone under the influence of alcohol or drinking themselves. Over half the people that will go visit an emergency room, alcohol was involved.

Over half of the police calls are for domestic violence and alcohol is involved. Over half of the birth defects could be connected with a variety of things that have to do with alcohol poisoning and how much of that should a Christian support? And if one out of seven people that drinks becomes an alcoholic and you don’t want to do anything to make your brother stumble, then why would a Christian want to support drinking at all? Wine is a mocker – don’t drink – he’s saying. “The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.” It’s because a king has unlimited power, you know, in a monarchy, and – so don’t provoke the King. “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” Now Solomon touches on this several times during Proverbs. He said, ‘you’ve got to know when to just do a soft answer, don’t provoke a quarrel.

Don’t get engaged in needless disputes.’ You know, Abraham lincoln said one time that any donkey can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one. And Solomon is saying that it’s honorable for a man to stop striving. Have you ever heard an argument where somebody always wants to have the last word and it goes on and on because everybody has to get the last – Solomon says take the humble position – it is honorable for you to just say, ‘this is pointless. I’m not going to argue anymore.’ That’s the honorable thing to do. Verse 4, “the lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing.

” Any of you know, what was it, aesop’s fable about the ant and the grasshopper? That, because the ant was so diligent at working through the summer, that he had plenty of food in the harvest and made it through the winter. But a lazy man says, ‘oh, it’s too cold out. Can’t go dig up the ground now.’ But people who find excuses to wait until they’re comfortable to work or if you wait for ideal circumstances, people that get ahead know how to push themselves even though it might not be comfortable. And so it takes diligence. Counsel – and I could say a lot more about each one of these, but we’re not going to get through our chapters if we do.

“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” You know it takes – it takes a relationship, sometimes, for a person to open up and tell you, you know, what they think. Sometimes people have things they’d like to share that would be of good use to you, that are good counsel, or good advice and you need to know how to have a relationship that you can pause and say, ‘you know, tell me, how am I doing?’ Or ‘what do you think?’ And they’ll bring out that wisdom and that deep counsel. And, now, our first section is called we are all equal and it jumps to Proverbs 20:12. I just wanted to introduce the chapter here. Proverbs 20:12, it says, “the hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.

” And everybody, you know, assuming you have some normal health, God gives us the ability to take in information and we’re responsible to God for what we see and – you notice it doesn’t mention the mouth in that one? It’s talking about the senses of reception – the optic and the audio senses. And the Lord can bless that for us to be productive. Go ahead, read for us – it’s, I think, Exodus 4, verses 11 and 12. And, by the way, this is the Lord speaking to Moses. ”So the Lord said to him, ‘who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not i, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.

” You remember Moses, when he was told to go to pharaoh he says, ‘look, I haven’t spoken Egyptian in 40 years. You don’t want me to be the representative. I’m quiet. I’m meek. I don’t want to go back to Egypt.

’ And he had really changed during that time and he said, ‘i don’t know what to say. I’m not eloquent.’ I mean, you don’t really learn a lot of vocabulary following the south end of north-bound sheep for about 40 years. And so he didn’t – he said, ‘i’m going to go. How can I stand in the court of the King?’ What did God say? He said, ‘i made the mouth. I will be with your mouth.

I will teach you what to say.’ And not only could he do it with a shepherd like Moses, he could do it with fishermen, he could do it with tax collectors. A few other verses on that subject, Matthew 11, verse 15. Jesus said, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Now was Christ talking as though a lot of people were missing their ears? What does Jesus mean, ‘he who has ears?’ Let me give you a couple more. Revelation 2, verse 7, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – If you’ve got a red-letter Bible you’ll see that’s in red. That’s Jesus also.

Matter of fact, six times in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus said, “he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” That’s Revelation chapter 2, verse 11, verse 17, verse 29, Revelation chapter 3, verse 6, verse 13 – big emphasis on ‘he that has an ear, let him hear.’ Why would Jesus say that so much? Are there a lot of people that have ears but don’t hear God? So when he says, ‘he that has an ear.’ What kind of ear is he talking about? Yeah, an ear that is open to hear the Spirit. Is that a different voice than you hear just when people are engaged in audio conversation? Being attuned to the voice of the Spirit? Does God’s spirit speak through His Word? Yeah. He that has an ear – now, can you hear and not – can you hear with your ears and still not listen? And so, when Jesus says, ‘he that has ears let him hear.’ He’s really saying, ‘let him obey.’ You know, hearing God is different from just hearing the noise. Jesus said, ‘these people draw near with their mouths but their hearts are far from me.’ He wants us to really listen. So all have been given this and all have an opportunity to see the Lord, to hear His Word, and to have that experience.

Next section, it says the test of life. And in a moment i’m going to get to someone who’s going to read Proverbs 27:2 – who? That’ll be mrs. Batchelor, alright. Proverbs 20:6, “most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” Of course, that was our memory verse. When it says most men, does it just mean men? Or does it mean – (laughter) yeah, just men proclaim their own goodness.

Isn’t it easy for us to compliment ourselves, directly or indirectly? Can you think of some characters in the Bible that did that? What happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he began to shower himself with compliments? Let me read it to you. Yeah, you can find in Daniel chapter 4, verse 30, “the King spoke, saying, ‘is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’” – Everybody’s ready to praise their own goodness. Go ahead, read that one, Karen, if you would. ”Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a straonger, and not your own lips.” Yeah, but what if it takes to long for other people to praise me? Someone’s got to jump in, right? Some of you heard the story about – there was a frog and he saw how his ducks left and went south every winter and he would have to just shiver, freeze, crawl under the mud and stay in the frozen territory and they’d come back and say, ‘oh, what a beautiful trip.’ And he said, ‘why don’t you guys take with me? – Take you with me? – You know, we all swam in the same duck pond.’ And he said they were friends – true story – (laughter) and so the ducks said, ‘well, I tell you what. We’d be happy to take you with us, but you don’t have wings.

’ The frog said, ‘well, i’ve got an idea.’ He said, ‘if each of you grab a stick in your beak’ – because, you know, ducks don’t have talons like eagles – ‘if each of you grab one end of a stick in your beak and i’ll grab it with my mouth’ – he said – ‘when you take off i’ll just hang on. I’ve got this tongue I can wrap around it and – take me with you.’ And he pled with them. They said, ‘okay.’ So the day came for them to go south and they took off and started to fly and as they got up in the air someone on the ground said, ‘wow, i’ve never seen anything like that before. I wonder which one of the three of them thought of that.’ And the frog just had to unwrap his tongue and say, ‘i did!’ – Splat! So, yeah, we’re all each ready to praise our own goodness. Now, in the lesson it talks about Jeremiah 29, where should we glory? Should we glory in what we’ve done or what the Lord does? It says in Jeremiah 9:23, “thus says the Lord: ‘let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” The purpose of life is that we might bring glory to God. What did the devil want that brought about his fall? To be like the most high. Didn’t the devil want the worship and glory that belongs to God? So what are we doing when we’re seeking to funnel glory towards ourselves? Are we being Christ-like? Have you ever noticed that Jesus was always pointing the glory to God and he was humble and meek? And that’s really the Spirit of Christ. You know, i’ve often thought, in my quiet moments when i’m tempted to think i’ve accomplished anything – I know it’s hard for you to believe, but I have those thoughts. And it occurs to me, ‘could I do anything without God?’ You remember what happened to nebuchadnezzer immediately after he said, ‘is not this the great Babylon that I have built?’ What happened? He turned into an animal.

He lost his mind. All that wisdom that he thought was his own was gone in a flash. Could the Lord make a businessman prosper? Can he also make him go through what job went through? the Lord can lift you up, the Lord can put you down, and I think that any blessings we have – any ability that we have – what right do we have to be proud of it? All the glory goes to God so anyway, alright, another one here. Proverbs 25 – talking about the same principle, “it is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.” There’s another proverb that says, ‘eat honey for it’s good; eat too much honey, it’ll make you vomit.’ And so, you know, it is possible to eat too much honey. I remember one time I lived – when I was up in the cave, my favorite food was – i’d make banana bread and i’d eat it with some butter and honey and I usually had to spare the honey pretty carefully because I had these little – they’ve had them for years – plastic honey bears – you know what i’m talking about? You just – little clover honey in there, it was very good.

But somebody gave me a whole gallon can or something of cucamonga honey – i’ll never forget the name of it – cuca – any of you remember that? Big cans of cucamonga – it came in a can – and I thought, ‘wow, boy, i’m just really – now i’m knee-deep in clover’ – pardon the pun – and so when it came time for my muffins, I just said, ‘i don’t have to spare on the honey.’ And I think I probably ate a pint of honey in that sitting. My stomach got so sour. It’s not good. A little bit is good as flavoring. Making it a staple is not good.

So when John the baptist ate honey, he probably ate it with the comb, but eating raw honey – a lot of it – is not good. He probably tanked up on – he just sprinkled a little bit of that honey on the grasshoppers is what he did – the locusts that he’d eat – or carob pods. So it is with praise. Somebody said, ‘many a bee has drowned in his own honey.’ And so, you know, if the Lord has blessed you, just thank him and give him the glory and move on. Don’t take compliments too seriously.

Somebody said, ‘compliments are like perfume, sniff but do not swallow.’ So pride, it brought the devil down and it still works that way. And you’re never more like the devil than when you’re proud and you’re never more like Jesus than when you’re humble. Now this – speaking of Kings and pride and Nebuchadnezzar and how it’s bad – when hezekiah had the messengers that came from Babylon to find out about the God who worked the miracle to make the sun go back – and they came to find out about God. Hezekiah, ‘wow, they came to me because God worked this miracle for me. I must be really special if now abassadors have come from foreign kingdoms to visit me and bring me gifts because God looks upon me with so much favor he worked a miracle and made the sun go back.

’ I mean, you can see how it might go to a guy’s head, even though hezekiah was a good king. Isaiah said, ‘what do you want? The sun to go down ten degrees or backwards?’ Here he had the option of making a request, ‘hmm, which direction shall I make the sun go?’ That’s a lot of power. And hezekiah said, ‘make it go backwards.’ And he probably thought, ‘that was sure smart of me to do that. That really proved it. Even other nations took note of that.

’ And so when they came to talk to hezekiah – what an opportunity to talk to them about God. Those ambassadors could have taken the truth of jehovah back to Babylon and history would have been different. But instead, he said, ‘oh, you think that’s something? Let me show you what else i’ve got. Come look at all the treasure God’s given me. Look at the weapons that we’ve developed and look at the – all the – my castle and look at my tapestries.

’ And he showed them all his perfumes and – and you know what they did? People will tend to covet your treasure. If your treasure is God, good. You’ll never run out. You want them to covet God. If your treasure is earthly things, they’re going to want that.

And they started to make some notes of all the treasure that hezekiah had and they left. And Isaiah said, ‘where’d these men come from and what did they see?’ God knew. He said, ‘oh yeah, they’re from Babylon. They came to see me.’ And Isaiah said, ‘well, here’s what the word of the Lord says: everything you just showed them is going to get carried to Babylon.’ They would have taken h is religion to Babylon, but instead they took his treasure. They took his sons – well, Daniel was actually from the royal seed and shadrach, meshach, and abednego, they were – they were made – he said they’ll – ‘they will be made eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon’ and that’s exactly what happened.

So why? Every man’s quick to praise himself. That doesn’t ever happen in the church, though, does it? Someone said once that the most dangerous time in a church’s unity is nominating committee. Why? Because if someone’s had a position for a long time and they don’t automatically get renewed, they are offended. What part of them is offended? Typically – or if somebody thinks, ‘here i’ve offered my services for this position.’ And they’re not asked, their pride is hurt. And you can see where people might feel slighted or unappreciated.

We ought to try and get over that pretty quick but do you all know that that can be a very dangerous time for a church because there’s high potential for people being offended and for someone to say, ‘they’re not near as good as I am’ - every man’s quick to praise themselves – ‘in this position’ – or to sell themselves. 2 Corinthians verse 10 – 10, verse 12 – 2 Corinthians 10, verse 12, “for we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Now who – the book of Proverbs is about wisdom? Wisdom is ‘don’t be thinking horizontally – comparing yourselves among yourselves and by yourselves. A Christian is not a follower of Christians, a Christian is a follower of Christ. We need to think vertically.

He’s the one we compare ourselves to. That’s our standard. You don’t think horizontally or the standard will continue to go down. Did the disciples argue among themselves? Yes. Which of them was the greatest? And so there’s just a big capacity for misunderstandings and offense when it comes to those themes.

Alright, so that’s under the test of life – is really giving the glory to God and praying that you could have the humility of Christ. Proverbs 20, verse 17 – this is under the section of Tuesday waiting for the Lord. And it says in 20:17, “bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.” Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten bread in a foreign country where the way they thresh the wheat is a little more primitive. You know, in America now, they’ve got some very sophisticated ways of separating the wheat once they harvest it. And back then they used to kind of, you know, rake it off the threshing floors and you might bite down on your flour and get gravel and break your teeth.

And its’ not – have any of you ever bitten into a rock because somehow it got into your food? It’s bad enough when you bite into a pit – you don’t know if the olives or the dates were the seeded variety and you just crunch down and go, ‘ooh, wasn’t ready for that.’ But to get a mouthful of gravel. I remember when I lived up in the hills I used to eat a lot of macaroni and cheese. You know, you boil the macaroni five minutes, you put the kraft cheese sauce on, voila! You’ve got a meal. It’s real easy cave food. It’s light – you can carry it up there – it’s not heavy.

Someone said, ‘doug, you’ve got to save some money. That’s too expensive. Just buy some beans - eat beans.’ I said, ‘i like beans.’ And so I went up into the mountains and I poured some beans in a pot and I boiled them five minutes. I thought, ‘man, these things are hard.’ And I thought, ‘maybe I didn’t boil them long enough.’ So I boiled them ten minutes – twice as long as the macaroni. Man, they were hard – and I was hungry and I just, you know, I kept eating one or two beans and going ‘crunch, crunch.

Man, I can’t eat this.’ I boiled them 20 minutes and finally, you know, I don’t know, I boiled them a long time. But I finally was so hungry, they started to soften a little bit – I tried to eat them and it was like gravel and it didn’t sit very well. So bread gained by deceit, it might seem sweet at first but, ultimately, it will fill your mouth with gravel. You’ll be sorry. He’s not talking about bread here, he’s talking about deception.

Someone read for me Proverbs – whose got Proverbs 21:5? You’ll be next. I’ll go ahead and i’ll give you a moment. I’m going to read Proverbs 21, verse 21 – we jump around a little bit – “an inheritance gained hastily” – you see, we’re talking, in this section, about waiting for the Lord – the reason a person tries to get something by deceit – it’s usually impatience. They’re trying to get something quick. “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.

” And what does it mean, ‘an inheritance gained hastily?’ Can you think of a story in the Bible about somebody that wanted an inheritance soon? The prodigal son. And was it blessed in the end? No. You wonder if Jesus was thinking about this – ‘he squandered it with riotous living.’ He went into a foreign land. He said, ‘dad, look, you just seem really healthy and I can’t wait for you to die. So if you could just – whatever you’re planning on giving me – i’m the younger son anyway – if you just fork it over and let me just go.

’ With a broken heart The Father gave it to him, but it didn’t go well. You know, it’s a good idea – if you’re going to set up a trust for your kids – depending on if it’s significant – do it in stages because if you give it to them all at once, they blow it and they have nothing to fall back on. Give them a little bit. Let them learn to make some mistakes with that and they’ll go, ‘oh, i’ve got another payment coming in three years, i’d better be a little more careful how I spend and invest this.’ And stagger it like that and - because if – getting everything all at once – have you heard the stories about people who win the lottery? It’s amazing, the statistics of how quickly they are either conned by family and friends or they make bad investments or they squander it with, you know, riotous living or whatever it is – but very few of them – some do. Matter of fact, I know one guy that I read about – I should say one guy that, you know, he won some fantastic lottery and he was like a driver.

And they said, ‘so what are you going to do?’ He said, ‘well, i’m going to go to work tomorrow.’ And a few weeks later they interviewed him, ‘what are you doing?’ ‘Well, i’m working.’ ‘Well, what about all that money?’ He said, ‘well, we’re going to get another home. I’m going to help my family.’ He said, ‘but I like work.’ And I thought, well, that’s unique. Some of these people said, ‘well, I can’t wait to go in and quit and i’m going to flaunt my money to my boss.’ And those stories don’t usually end well. Alright, read for us, Proverbs 21:5. ”The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

” When it says ‘the plans of the diligent lead to plenty’ – well, diligence there – he’s talking about if you think ahead and you lay things out and you anticipate – because you’re being patient. You’re being proactive. That tends to prosperity. But those who make rash, hasty decisions, tends to poverty. If you ever go buy a car – a little tip – if the salesman says, ‘we’ve got a deal but you have to buy it now.

’ That is almost never true. And you will be pressured – usually it’s greed and fear drive those things. Greed and fear is what drives wall street. People buying and selling, it’s usually they’re afraid or they’re greedy. Those are the two emotions.

Not the best of human characteristics. But if you’re hasty like that, you often make bad decisions. So you’ve got to wait for the Lord. ‘They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. Now the next section here is compassion for the poor and someone’s going to read Proverbs 28:27 in a moment, but i’m going to start out with Proverbs 21:13, “whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.

” Now I don’t know about you, but that proverb makes me shudder a little bit. Does that mean that every time – you know, you drive on certain intersections here in Sacramento, there’s always an interesting array of people that are there with their signs saying, ‘help – hungry – will work for food.’ Sometimes they’ll just say, ‘need beer. Why lie?’ I’ve actually seen that. So does that mean that if you drive by and you don’t give – periodically we’ve helped because you kind of size it up case by case. Sometimes you look and you just pray – you use the Spirit and judgment and say, ‘that person really looks like they need help.

They really look like they need food.’ Sometimes they are out of drugs. You don’t want to hurt a person by contributing to their prodigal life or self-destructive life but, you know, the Lord is going to present, through your life, people who have genuine needs and I think he does that to teach us to be more like Christ. You know the best way – if you have a tendency to be selfish, which we all do, the way you starve covetousness is by giving. You kill covetousness by going against your natural inclination to grasp and to hold on to things by choosing to give. And you start realizing, you know, it feels good.

Doesn’t Jesus say it’s more blessed to give than to receive? And so as you do that – but if you’re grasping and if you’re clinging – do you all know the story of nabal? Nabal – you may, some listening may not. David, when he was living in the hills in northern Judea, hiding from king Saul, he had 600 men with him and they were living out in the wilderness and in caves. There were a number of shepherds and there was this one very wealthy rancher named nabal, who had a beautiful wife named abigail. And David and his soldiers watched over his flocks, protected them from other invading nations and tribes and never molested them, never took any sheep, respected them, even though, you know, they were something like robin hoods in the day. They didn’t bother the people, he was just running from king Saul.

When the harvest came, David very politely sent some of his soldiers down to nabal and they used to have a feast and there was usually a time when you’d throw a feast for your servants, you’d give them gifts and you’d feed everybody and David’s soldiers came down – he was a very wealthy man. He had, you know, like job, thousands of everything and he said, ‘could you please give your servant just a little of whatever comes to your hand – whatever your heart is stirred, but could we please ask an offering during this time of rejoicing? We’re hungry soldiers living up in the hills and we’ve watched over your flocks and we didn’t bother the shepherds and…’ – and nabal gave just a really selfish grasping. He said, ‘yeah, there’s a lot of slaves that run away from their masters these days.’ – Insinuating David was a runaway slave from Saul. He said, ‘am I supposed to take my food for my servants and give it to runaway slaves?’ It was a really rough answer. Matter of fact, the name nabal means ‘fool.

’ And abigail, even speaking of her own husband, ‘his name is nabal and folly is with him,’ she said. Well, he was trying to hang on to everything. Before the story is over what happens to nabal? He has a stroke and ten days later he dies. Did he get to enjoy all that he had hoarded? Does Jesus tell a similar parable about a certain man that God blessed his harvest and he had so much that he couldn’t fit it into his enormous barns. He said, ‘what am I going to do? If I only had bigger barns I wouldn’t have to work again.

This is such a tremendous harvest, i’ll tear down my barns and build bigger barns and then i’ll say to my soul, ‘soul, thou hast many goods laid up for many years. Eat, drink, and be merry.’’ And then God says, ‘thou fool, this night is your soul required of thee. Whom shall those things be for which you provided?’ Instead of thinking, ‘God has given me such a great surplus, I want to thank the Lord and share with others.’ His instinctive reaction was to cling to it. Now i’m sharing that with you because I see a little bit of nabal and a little bit of that fool in me. Some windfall – some blessing happens and you go, ‘oh, good.

I can buy one of these gidgets or widgets or something else.’ And ‘i can upgrade’ – and instead of thinking, ‘maybe the Lord blessed me so I can be a channel of blessing to someone else,’ I instinctively think, ‘good for me. Now what shall I get? I’ll buy two instead of one or three instead of two.’ You know? And when we think that way all the time, do we sometimes go through hard times or where there’s needs? It says, ‘whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he will cry and not be heard.’ Now did we read Proverbs 28:27? No. Okay, you’re on. ”He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” Can you find promises more plain than that? If you shut your ears at the cry of the poor, you will cry someday and not be heard. Give and it’ll be given unto you – isn’t that what the Lord says? On the streets they call it ‘what comes around goes around.

’ But, conversely – not only does he have the negative side of that, in Proverbs 19, he’s got the positive side of that. “He who has pity on the poor” – this is Proverbs 19:17 – “he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and he will pay back what he has given.” Now, lends to the Lord, lends to the Lord, where does that thought come up? Matthew – this is in your lesson – Matthew 25:31, speaking of the great judgment day, “when The Son of man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Now i’m not going to read the whole parable to you because I think most of you are acquainted with the essence of it. He puts the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left and he says to the sheep, ‘well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord, for when I was hungry you fed me; when I was thirsty you gave me drink; when I was naked you clothed me; when I was sick or in prison – when I was a stranger you took me in.’ There’s six things that are mentioned there. And they said, ‘Lord, we missed it.

We don’t remember when we saw you hungry or thirsty or naked or a stranger or sick or in prison.’ And he says, ‘ah, but when you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.’ Does it say, ‘he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord?’ So you really do. And then what does he say to the goats? ‘Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, because ‘when I was hungry you didn’t feed me. When I was thirsty you didn’t give me drink.’ Stick with me – all these six things i’m mentioning actually have particular meaning – ‘when I was a stranger you didn’t take me in; when I was naked you didn’t clothe me; when I was in prison or when I was alone or sick you didn’t come to me.’ And they said, ‘Lord, when did we see you in these conditions and not minister to you?’ And he said, ‘inasmuch as you did it not to the least of one of these, you did it not to me. And the sheep go away into everlasting life and the goats – have you noticed – I didn’t finish that sentence. The goats are burnt with the devil and his angels.

Have you noticed that the goats – he doesn’t say, ‘depart from me you cursed goats, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels because you lied and you stole and you killed and you committed adultery.’ He doesn’t mention a single sin of commission. He mentions only sins of omission. Do we all know what the difference is? I’ll repeat it because though you may know, some may not. I was surprised to learn this. There’s a couple of different categories of sin.

A sin of commission is when you do something wrong. You proactively are doing a bad thing. You’re telling a lie, you’re stealing something, you’re doing something wrong. A sin of omission you’re doing nothing, but you’re neglecting a duty that you should do. So you can be guilty of sin while you sit in your chair all day long, by doing nothing.

You haven’t done anything bad, but you’re doing nothing right. And so Christ is saying, as Christians, we aren’t just to say, ‘don’t sin, don’t sin, don’t sin, don’t sin.’ That’s not our message. Of course, he doesn’t want you to sin, but the message is do good. And so he wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to those that are thirsty. Alright, so Jesus Names – and it’s also in the lesson, i’ll quickly reference because he’s talking about compassion for the poor here.

The idea – the principle is that if we would just raise taxes and have the government do more for the poor people, we’d be a better nation. Was that the answer? Couldn’t they have had higher tax? Solomon had pretty high taxes as it was, if you know the story, but they’re not talking about that, they’re talking about each of us personally. One of the problems in a society where the government keeps taxing to help less fortunate – while there’s a point for that and there’s a place for that – I admit that – it can get where the Christians start to depend on the government to do things Christians only used to do. Believe it or not, when this country was formed – and many parts and places in history – there were no public hospitals. There were no orphanages.

There were no asylums for people who had mental problems. Christians did all of that – through history in many different places and they didn’t get paid by the government to do it. And so, we’re kind of spoiled in western cultures now because we shun off to the government things where we used to feel the burden for a hurting world. So, you’ve got the parable of the good samaritan. Man falls down – falls among thieves – he’s beaten, he’s robbed, he’s half dead, he’s wounded.

Levite goes by – priest or pastor – priest goes by, an elder goes by – they don’t do anything. And along comes this samaritan and he has compassion on him. Binds up his wounds, pours in his oil – it costs him something – puts him on his animal, uses his wine to cleanse his wounds, wraps him up with his – takes care of his garments – he probably didn’t have a first aid kit in the glove box of his donkey. So he, you know, tears up his stuff, he wraps up his wounds, he puts him on his donkey, he says, ‘you ride, i’ll walk.’ He takes him to an inn and he pays for his – he cares for him personally then he gives money to the innkeeper and says, ‘i have to go but i’m giving you money. Please take care of him, he’s making a comeback now.

Watch over him; feed him and when I come back again i’ll pay you everything you spent.’ And Jesus said, ‘who is neighbor to him that fell among thieves?’ And, of course, the lawyer answered, ‘he that showed compassion on him.’ We’re told to love our neighbor. How do you show love to your neighbor? How did the good samaritan show love to his neighbor? He found out – here was a person that God put in his path – you see now, I may not be able to go everywhere in the world and help everybody. I may not be able to stop for everybody broken on the interstate – you know what I mean. People say, ‘how many am I supposed to witness to? Am I – if i’ve got a responsibility to witness, am I supposed to grab everybody that’s not a Christian by the nap of their clothes and say, ‘repent! Believe in Jesus!’ Or is their blood on my hands? Am I supposed to help every hungry person? Am I supposed to give to every person that’s panhandling? No, but if they’re in your path and God has given you a connection with somebody, that’s an opportunity. I was on three different airplanes yesterday coming back from jamaica.

Three different opportunities – I spoke all three times to people that were in the seat – now, i’ve got an advantage over you folks who, you wonder, how do I bring up religion? They always ask me, ‘so what do you do?’ Right away it just leads right into it. You know, I always start off, ‘so what do you do?’ And then they feel like the polite response is, ‘so what do you do?’ I say, ‘oh, glad you asked. I’m a pastor.’ And that usually opens the door for witnessing. But you have – those are people in your path. Now there were six things – I almost forgot – I was hungry and you fed me – I may not be doing the same order as Matthew 25 – I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was naked and you clothed me; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was sick and you visited me.

And each one of those represents the collective suffering of humanity. Think about it for a minute. Name for me any kind of suffering that you can think of that is not at least covered generally by those categories – those six categories – they cover everything. Lonely, clothing, shelter, prison, sick, hunger – food, thirst. Now, when Jesus died on the cross he took all the suffering of humanity.

Was Jesus thirsty on the cross? Yes. You don’t have to guess about that one, he told us so. Was he naked? Yes. Was he in prison? If you – I can’t think of a person shackled more permanently than being nailed and suspended between heaven and earth. Was he a stranger? He came unto his own.

They didn’t know him. They received him not. Was he hungry? Hadn’t eaten since the ceremonial meal 24 hours earlier. Was he sick? Would you feel sick if you’d been beaten like that and whipped and abused like that? You’d feel pretty puny. Everything that’s described, Christ took on the cross because he was taking the suffering of humanity.

Alright, now, i’m just tying this all – because this is a very important section. You lend to the Lord – ‘inasmuch as you’ve done it to one of the least of these, you’ve done it to me.’ God is described in three big categories of being omnipotent – what’s that mean? All powerful. All powerful. Potency – power – omniscient – all knowing – and omnipresent – he can be everywhere. I have a friend who once suggested that there’s another sub-category to being omniscient and it’s called omnipathic.

You know what ‘pathos’ is? When you say a person – someone has sympathy, that means you feel for another. Omnipathic means you feel everything. Now, there are politicians that tell us they feel our pain and we all are probably dubious about that. But is there someone who really feels everything? If God knows everything, than does he feel everything? Now, i’m not getting into pantheism here, this is just – this is clean Bible theology – because he’s all knowing, you don’t ever have to tell God how you feel and have him go, ‘i had no idea.’ He knows how you feel. Not only you, because he’s all knowing, if your puppy’s hungry, does God know? Does the Lord tell us he knows when the sparrow falls? That he feeds the birds? There isn’t a worm or a bug or a bird or a bee or anything else that the Lord does not fully – because he’s all knowing, he knows not only what is going on, he knows how everything is feeling.

Alright, with that in mind, how much suffering is in the world today? Does the Lord feel all of that? Is he aware of all that? Does that break his heart? Was that his plan? Anything you do to relieve the suffering of any creature – especially people but also animals – does the Lord feel better? Anything that you do to make someone else smile or to make another person experience joy – because the Lord is aware of everything, he really feels better. And so it is quite true: inasmuch as you’ve done it to one of the least of these you’re doing it for the Lord because the whole creation, right now, groans and travails and you and i, as Christians, can make the world a better place by blessing others and caring for the poor. So it’s not just giving to the poor. Not only are we, as Christians, supposed to give clothing to the naked, we’re supposed to give Christ’s righteousness – his robe – to those who are spiritually naked. Not only do we give water to people who are technically thirsty, but we’re to give living water.

Jesus said, ‘you can give me physical water’ – to the woman at the well – ‘but i’m offering you to drink from that living artesian well.’ Not only are we to visit people in prison – and i’m thankful for the prison ministries. We hear wonderful stories at Amazing Facts, of prisoners hearing our radio programs, tv – lessons – especially our Bible school. But there are people who are imprisoned by sin and you and I can help liberate them. Visit them in their prison like the angel did Peter. There are people who are sick in sin.

As Paul said, ‘from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot they’re full of wounds and bruises and putrifying sores.’ They’re sick. And so, what did I leave out? Stranger. There are people who are alienated from the Lord. You and are to make atonement, as a kingdom of priests, and bring them to the Lord. And so this is not just talking about people who are poor, but the poor in spirit that we’re to minister to.

Okay, one more i’ll give you – Ecclesiastes 11, verse 1, it says that the poor will not lack, but Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Someone from australia told me a story where they went to the beach for a picnic and the wife had baked some bread a few days earlier, but for whatever reason, it had been pulled out and left out and it got very stale and hard and so when they went to cut the bread it was so hard they said, ‘oh, we can’t eat this.’ And they just threw it out in the ocean. They came back a few days later and it had washed back up. They said, ‘hey, it really is true. We cast our bread on the water and it came back.’ But that’s not what they were talking about. In the Bible it says whatever you do – what does water represent prophetically? Multitudes of nations, tongues – it’s people.

Casting your bread – bread of life – physical bread – when you cast it on the water it will come back to you. And so that’s a promise. ‘He that lends to the Lord gives – who lends to the poor gives to the Lord.’ Education is our last section here. Now the world ‘education’ both in english and also in Hebrew, comes from a word that means ‘to build up.’ You know, in english, what’s an edifice? It’s a building. And if any of you speak spanish, an edificio – to edify – it’s to build up – education.

Well, in Hebrew, it’s very similar. It means ‘to build up.’ And so, when we read about Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go,” – or she – “and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That’s a principle – that if you want people to be in the way of the Lord, train them up in that way. Right at the beginning of Proverbs, how does Proverbs begin? Isn’t it saying ‘my son, listen to my wisdom?’ Proverbs is David passing on some of these Proverbs to Solomon, which Solomon wrote down and you can hear where David says, ‘my son, be courageous. My son’ – and he gives him lots of advice. David messed up with some of the other kids.

Solomon was one of the youngest and he said, ‘i want to train him for the Lord. And Solomon was doing the same – while they’re young – and, you know, while their minds are malleable and they’re listening, make the very best impressions and root them in integrity because it lasts through their lives. You know how hard it is to break bad habits? And it’s very easy to develop bad habits. So you want to help your kids grow good habits, even though they resist it.’ Don’t give them everything they want. That won’t do anyone any good.

Even though they resist it and they complain, someday they’ll be glad they learned to play the piano, you know what i’m saying? And – I know, nathan – he’s taken guitar lessons for several years and there were times – I think he went today, didn’t he? He had another guitar lesson – and he was like, ‘ehhhh’ but then he started getting really good and now girls see him play the guitar and I see a little twinkle in their eye. Now he’s glad that he took guitar lessons. So, you know, it pays off. Go ahead, who’s got Ephesians 6:4? Alright, richard, are you ready for that? I don’t know if the camera’s ready. You go ahead.

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” So here Paul, in Ephesians, is basically quoting the same principles of Solomon. You train them up in the way of the Lord. And you can even look here where it says, in 2 Timothy 3:15, why was Timothy such a great elder in the early church? “And that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is Christ Jesus.” So train them up with what? Rooted in the word. Make sure that they’re founded on the Bible – they’re building on the rock of truth and this is going to affect them for their whole lives. What did Solomon – what did Moses say in Deuteronomy? He said, ‘these words I command you this day, be in your heart, write them for a sign on your hand, put them between your eyes, posts on the door of your house, teach them to your children’ – and in another place it says ‘your children’s children – grandchildren – ‘when you lay down, when you rise up, going out, coming in, surround them, immerse them, saturate them with the principles of God’s word.

It will define who they are and guide them through their lives. I’ve been thinking a lot this week – i’m working on a message and a video about why we end up believing what we believe. And how you defend biblical truth. And i, you know, i’ve just tried to come at the grand purpose of life from as many perspectives as I can and I keep coming up with the conclusion that if you don’t have a solid foundational absolute truth to start from, nothing is certain and nothing can guide you and I don’t think the world has any idea how much it owes to a people in the world that believe there are certain Scriptures that are absolutes from God that guide us. There’s some moral absolutes and, without that, I think this world would be – it already is pretty looney – but it’d really be bad if it wasn’t for the Word of God.

That needs to be impressed on children because it develops their world view that guides everything else they do in life. You may not know what God’s plan is for their life, but if you give them the fundamentals of truth then God’s commandments – when they’re old, they will not depart from it. They might take a prodigal trip – a detour – most do to varying degrees. But you pray that when they’re – when they stabilize – when they’re old enough to lower car insurance, then it’ll guide them. Well, our time’s up.

I do want to remind you, we have a free offer if you didn’t catch that at the beginning. It’s a book by Joe Crews called the surrender of self and we will send it to you for free if you ask. It’s offer #153 and you can call the number – 866-788-3966 – that’s 866-study-more. Or go to the website amazingfacts.org and under our free library you can download it and read it right now. God bless you, friends, and we always look forward to studying together.

We’ll do it next time. (Dramatic music) (rain falling) (creaking doors) throughout recorded history tales of ghosts and spirits could be found in folklore in nearly every country and culture. The Egyptians built pyramids to help guide the Spirits of their leaders. Rome sanctioned holidays to honor and appease the Spirits of their dead. Even the Bible tells of a king that used a witch to contact the Spirit of a deceased prophet.

Today, ancient folklore of spirits and apparitions have gone from mere superstitions to main stream entertainment and reality. Scientific organizations investigate stories of hauntings and sightings, trying to prove, once and for all, the existence of ghosts. Even with all the newfound technology and centuries of stories all over the world, there is still no clear-cut answer. So how do we know what’s true? Why do these stories persist? Does it even matter? We invite you to look inside and find out for yourself. Visit ghosttruth.

com. 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. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, Biblehistory.com is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God’s word. Go deeper.

Visit ‘Biblehistory.com’.

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