Behind the Mask

Scripture: Proverbs 25:6, 1 Corinthians 1:20-21, Proverbs 26:11-12
Date: 03/08/2015 
Lesson: 10
"Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight. Truth is of God; deception, in every one of its myriad forms, is of Satan."
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Hello friends, and welcome once again to Sabbath School Study Hour. I'd like to, in a special way, welcome our friends joining us across the country and around the world. Thank you for being a part of this international Bible study. We're going through the book of Proverbs - that's our lesson quarterly for this quarter. Today we find ourselves on lesson #10.

So if you don't have your lesson quarterly, you can download today's lesson at the amazing facts website - just Download lesson #10 entitled behind the mask and you can follow along with us as we study together. I would also like to welcome the members of the Granite Bay church here for our mid-week Bible study. Thank you, again, for coming out and joining us. We do have a free offer that goes along with the presentation for this evening.

It's entitled satan's confusing counterfeits. And for our friends watching, you can call and ask for our free offer today or you can download the book at the amazing facts website and you can read it there for free. The number to call, if you'd like to receive this free offer, is 866-788-3966 - that's -study-more and you can ask for offer #191. Again, that number is -788-3966 - ask for the book satan's confusing counterfeits. Well, before we begin our study, let's invite God's presence to guide us.

Dear Father, once again we thank you for the opportunity to gather together and open up Your Word. And Lord, we ask for your blessing. Send your Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and our minds and may we understand more of the great wisdom that you have in store for us in Your Word. Bless our study together. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Amen. Our study this evening is brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. And good evening everyone.

Good evening. Good morning to many who I know are watching, because a lot of people view this program on Sabbath morning. I think they also air it on Thursday night. And a couple of exciting things that are developing - I think most of our friends that have watched Sabbath school for several years now know that we're, sort of, in transition and, God willing, in a couple of weeks the congregation is actually going to get to move into our new facility that we've been renovating. And so you'll be seeing the programs shortly be coming from that direction.

We still have a little media work to do to get that set up. Something else I thought I'd share with you. We had an interesting experience this week - a little mission story, if you will - Sunday. Two days ago. I was home preparing for our Bible answers live program.

Mrs. Batchelor went to a wedding down at central church, where some friends got married. And she said, 'doug, there's a man here who came from china and he's looking for you.' And I said, 'say that again, carefully.' And she said, 'there's a man here. He flew from china. He found some people who drove him from san francisco.

He said, 'I'm looking for Amazing Facts and Doug Batchelor.' And they drove him from san francisco to Sacramento and he's here at the church and, by the providence of God, Karen was at the church. It's interesting, I preached about providence the day before - and she wasn't even sure she was going to make it to the wedding. She made it to the wedding and met this man and he - he said, 'I have come to the Lord. I've accepted the truth. I looked all over china after becoming a Christian, visited all these different churches, went to hundreds of churches, and I discovered the amazing facts Bible studies.

' And then he showed us the Bible studies that he had filled out. And he said, 'and I've watched the Amazing Facts dvds - our evangelistic programs that were translated - and he brought them with him on the plane - showed them. And so I said - she said, 'could you come meet with the man?' I said, 'alright.' So we set up just about an hour for dinner and Karen joined me with - his name is mr. Wu - and he told us his incredible testimony through his friends that brought him from san francisco that translated. He's actually now staying in the area and he's finalizing Bible studies because he wants to be baptized and go back to china.

Sold his business. Bought a ticket to come to America just by faith. Didn't even know if I was going to be in town and we worked it out. He was here - we gave him a tour around the office yesterday and today. And he doesn't speak very much english.

I don't know - clarence is mr. Wu here tonight? We couldn't find him. We looked for him and, you know, we went to his hotel and called. Mr. Wu is missing.

No, he's - I'm sure he probably just went out for dinner. But anyway, so we were going to introduce him to you. Didn't know if we could tell him - at the last minute we called to see if we could have him come by. Just an amazing testimony. And so, we're so thrilled - the way the Lord is working.

Now he wants to go back. He said, 'you know, God saved me so that I could do his work.' And so just incredible testimony. It might even work out where the first baptism we have at our new facility will be, kind of, an omen of somebody who's come from the other side of the world because of the outreach of the program. Amen. So that is very exciting.

Our study, as Pastor Ross said, is we're dealing with chapters through 27, verse 6 in Proverbs. And it's lesson #10 - it's called behind the mask and we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from Proverbs , verse 6 - Proverbs 25, verse and this is, here in the lesson, from the new king James version. If you'd like to say it with me, are you ready? "Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the King, and do not stand in the place of the great." Kind of reminds me of where James said, 'be not many masters for you'll receive more severe judgment or greater condemnation.' You don't want to be seeking to exalt yourself in the presence of other people. He who exalts himself will be humbled. He who humbles himself will be exalted.

And so we're going to dive in to some of the verses. If you go to Proverbs chapter 25 - matter of fact, let me turn here in my Bible very quick and - the reason we're kind of starting with verse 2 is because Proverbs chapter 25 says something we've alluded to earlier - verse 1, "these also are Proverbs of Solomon which the men of hezekiah king of judah copied:" - and, of course, all the Bible has been written down by scribes. When it says 'copied' it's saying more than that. It's really saying that they organized or they collected and put into these following chapters. And so then it really begins with verse 2.

In verse 2 it says, "it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of Kings is to search out a matter." And that reminds me - well, tell you what, first let's find out - somebody's going to be reading, in a moment, Deuteronomy 29:29 - okay, we'll get to you on mic in just a minute. And that reminds me of a verse where Jesus says, in Luke 8, verses 9 and 10, "then his disciples asked him, saying, 'what does this parable mean?' And he said, 'to you it has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'" 'It's the glory of Kings - the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of Kings to search out a matter.' What does that mean? Have you ever noticed that you appreciate something more when you search for it and you find it? Did Jesus try to hide the truth in parables or did he plant them in parables so that we would have the experience of looking for them and seeking to understand them? You notice Jesus doesn't say, 'you will find?' He says, 'seek and you will find.' In fact, in another place he says, 'you will search for me and you'll find me when you search for...all your heart.' And so, the truth - it seems the Lord has concealed it, but beneath a layer to say, 'do we believe it's precious?' Why is it gold nuggets aren't just laying on the ground? You kind of have to dig. And this is a treasure and it's the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of Kings to search out a matter. Go ahead, read for us, Deuteronomy 29:29, please. "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

" Now God - there's certain secrets that, you know, man is never going to be able to penetrate because, as the heavens are high above the earth, so are my ways above your ways. But there's a lot that the Lord has made manifest and if we'll look for it - the Bible says, 'if you search for me you'll find me.' If we draw near to him, he'll draw near to us. He wants us to invest an effort in recognizing that the truth is precious. And so these things should be sought out. The glory of Kings is to search a matter out.

Solomon took great interest in studying things and when you read about Solomon it says he studied everything. He studied ants. He studied eagles. He studied people. And you go through and you look at the Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs of Solomon - The Song of Solomon - and you can see he was quite a - quite a scientist of life.

He talks about clouds, he talks about rivers, he talks about, like I said, animals and just everything. And so that requires search. It requires curiosity. And then there's wisdom of the world and there's the wisdom of God that it talks about here. If you look in verse 3 - Proverbs 25, verse 3, "as the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of Kings is unsearchable.

" Why would a heart of a king be more unsearchable than someone else's heart. Does the Lord raise up leaders and put down leaders? Yes. The responsibilities - who was it? Shakespeare or somebody? - That said, 'heavy rests the head that wears the crown.' I misquoted that. You know what I'm talking about? It was close. Yeah, with all that a king is dealing with, his heart - his mind - is burdened with many different things and so, I think this is alluding to that.

That it's hard to understand everything a king is grappling with. Now, if you look in Corinthians chapter 2, verse 6 it says, "however, when we speak wisdom" - and this is under the section called the mystery of God - "however, when we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory." Have you heard before of the mystery of iniquity? Paul speaks about 'the mystery of iniquity doth already work.' And he talks about the mystery of Godliness. Can you think of some things that would be a mystery of God? How can God become man? Karen said, 'how can God become man?' Have you ever heard people try and ponder, 'did Jesus die on the cross?' 'Was Jesus God?' 'Did God die?' 'How could God die?' 'How could the universe keep going if God died?' 'Did only part of God die - the part that was in The Son?' - Some of these things are a real mystery. How do you get 100 percent of divinity compressed into humanity? There are mysteries.

The mystery of God - I heard someone say one time is how God could become a man. The mystery of iniquity is how the creature would want to be God. And, I mean, think about how crazy it is that the devil - that creation would think that he could overthrow his creator. It's the mystery of iniquity. Where did sin come from? It's like someone says - you know, you ever get a cold and you say, 'well it's not my fault, I got it from so and so.

' Well, where'd the first cold come from? Where did aids originate? Who had the first case? Where'd sin come from? Some of these things are a mystery. You know a question that evolutionists like to ask literal creationists - people that literally believe in a divine creation - they say, 'well, who made God? Where'd he come from? How could he just?' - And you say, 'well, he's always been - from everlasting to everlasting - he's always existed.' Did you ever try and wrap your head around that? Or I've thought before - and you probably have - just imagine you could be - put a saddle on a cannon ball and you get fired into space. You know, you don't have to. You could do a unicorn if you ladies don't think a cannon ball would be good. You get fired off into space and - you know, a thousand times faster than the speed of light.

And when you go past the known universe, what's out there? Do you ever reach an end? Or is it like a big circle? Once you get to the end it's actually - you start at the beginning again like, kind of, going around the block. I mean, can you - can your mind comprehend these things? Evolutionists have the same problem. Where did everything come from? How do you get something from nothing? How do you get organization from chaos? How do you get matter from non-matter. Those things defy all we know about science. So they're faced with the same thing about how you have all the intelligence and design and organization and beauty in the world from nothing.

They say that all the universe - I don't know if you've heard this before but it - if it wasn't sad that some people believed it, it would be hilarious. They say everything in the known universe was once compressed to something smaller than the head of a pin and it exploded and caused the big bang. How many of you heard that? I don't know what physics could explain that, but it is easier for me to believe in God than to believe everything in the infinite universe exploded out of something smaller than the head of a pin. How you get all that matter out of non-matter. All I'm saying now is there's mysteries.

And there's some things that we just have to accept that we don't know. You know, it talks about the Kings several times in chapter and it made me think about going - it's actually in the lesson - Deuteronomy chapter 17, verse 14. Now was it God's will that the children of Israel pick a king? No. No. Did he know that they might do that anyway? Yes.

Because he made a provision - it was never his will - for several things - it was never his will that a man have more than one wife. Amen. Or a woman more than one husband. Yeah, or slavery. But did God make laws to protect multiple wives and slaves? And Jesus said he allowed divorce - not that divorce is his will, but because of the hardness of your hearts.

And so there's a lot of times when God made a provision - not that he approved - he made a provision for a king. And he wanted the Kings to be accountable. Deuteronomy 17:14, "when you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,'" - that's exactly what they did there in 1 Samuel - "you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you," - we have a law like that for president of the united states - has to be u.s. Born, right? - "Who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, 'you shall not return that way again.

' Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself." You know who Moses describes here? What king multiplied wives, horses, and gold? Solomon. The one who wrote Proverbs. And he says, 'lest they draw your heart away.' Did that prophecy come true? Yes. That's exactly what happened. By the way, that's another good prophecy.

We're doing a prophecy dvd - I've got to remember some of these. We're doing a dvd about the 50 most compelling prophecies that prove the Bible. And then it tells us again in Proverbs 25:3, "as the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of Kings is unsearchable." Kings 4:29, "and God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore." So here it talks about as the heavens and the earth for depth, so the heart of a king. Who was Solomon's father? David. So here you've got this king, who is The Son of David, who had a largeness of heart.

And what it says here in Proverbs 3, 'as the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of the King is unsearchable.' By the way, that's kind of a - something Isaiah almost quotes - it's a type of Christ. Christ is The Son of David whose heart is unsearchable. So it's, I think, an allusion to him here. Alright, let's go on now to Monday. The fool as the wise.

And, in a moment, we're going to be jumping into Proverbs - some of the Proverbs from Proverbs . Now how do you feel about when we start talking about fools? As a Christian, does that make you cringe just a little bit? Would you ever want to label anybody that way? Is there a verse in the Bible that tells us not to do that? Matthew 5 - that was called a leading question - Matthew 5, verse 22, "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." Well that's kind of frightening. That's almost like the unpardonable sin.

Why would you - yeah, it's Matthew 5:22 - why would you ever want to risk calling anybody a fool or stupid or something like that? And it says 'in danger of hell fire.' Do you know that word is only found once in the Bible? It's a different word. Did Jesus ever call anybody a fool? Think about it. 'O fools and slow of heart to believe. All the prophets have spoken.' 'O you foolish ones, how could you be so foolish? We took bread with us.' Or, you know, 'because I said you forgot bread.' Several times Jesus used that talking to the apostles. So obviously, and if Solomon makes so many defining statements about what a fool is, then how many of you would be brave enough to acknowledge that there are people who do foolish things? Okay, that's what we're talking about.

So, it's not a sin. I used to really worry about ever wondering 'how you apply these verses about someone being foolish because I don't want hell fire.' It's a pretty strong statement. Now, Solomon goes into several definitions and we've just got to be plain about it. Someone's going to have psalm :1 in a moment, okay? This is bea. Proverbs 26:11 and 12, "as a dog returns to his own vomit," - not a pretty picture - "so a fool repeats his folly.

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Now, we've all seen people that do things that they know hurt them and they go back and do it again. And that - that adage about the dog, is that also found in the new testament? Used by Peter? He not only talks about the dog - he says, 'as a dog returns to vomit' - I don't like saying that on television and video, but it's in the Bible. 'And as a pig who is washed to wallowing in the mire, so are these people who knew the truth and turn away from it.' So what is the fool? The fool is somebody who knew the truth - who knew God - and turns away to the sin that made them sick. Alright, go ahead and read psalm :1. "The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.

' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good." So has everybody done something foolish? >Mmm hmm. Yes. Now don't we all hope that we would be used by God? Will we all admit that at some point in our life we've probably been used by the enemy? Mmm hmm. To just - even the apostle Peter. I mean, it's amazing, the same day that Jesus says, 'thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.

' And some people say, 'voila, Peter must have been the first pope.' And, of course, he wasn't talking about Peter being the rock, he was talking about the truth that Peter spoke, 'you are the Messiah.' That is the rock upon which Jesus builds the church. Same day, Jesus said, 'I'm going to Jerusalem. I'm going to be betrayed. I'll be placed in the hands of gentiles. They'll crucify me.

I'll rise the third day.' Peter chastised Jesus - says, 'not so Lord. Don't even talk like that.' And Jesus says to Peter, 'get behind me satan.' And so - so the devil will sometimes try to work through people that are close to you and sometimes he might even do it through us. If you are in a family situation you've probably had moments where you've played the part of the not so wise. And so, all of us, this is speaking not just to those out there - sometimes these statements about being foolish - it says, 'a fool says in his heart there is no God.' Are there times when we sometimes act like we don't think there's a God? Like there's not consequences for our lives and our words? Is atheism foolish? Yes. I don't want to sound judgmental, but I think it is.

You know why? What does atheism say? 'A fool says 'there's no God.'' Atheism says - not 'I don't know.' That's an agnostic. An atheist says, 'I don't believe there is a God.' I heard it explained this way one time: how big is the universe? You know, milky way galaxy - just a little bitty - I mean, there are billions of galaxies with billions of stars and we are living in one galaxy that's, you know, 200 million stars. Those stars are suns - other - they have planets around them and it's 93 million miles from us to the nearest star or sun. It is so big - I - you know, we're just wondering if in our lifetime we can get to mars. That's in our little solar system.

And you think about how big - you travel 186,000 miles a second, it takes you four years, going the speed of light, to get to the closest star. How much do we know about the universe? Not much. We haven't even left the front door - by going to the moon and going out towards pluto with the voyager explorers. So isn't it a little arrogant for us to say we know that there's no God? If we only know one fraction of one-hundredth of one-thousandth of a percent of the knowledge of the universe, for us to say, 'I know there's no God.' Isn't that really reckless? We've watched a lot of nature videos in our home - probably ad nauseam. We like - I just - you've got Amazing Facts and there's some of them - and we've seen a number of them with David attenborough - you've probably seen - he's a famous naturalist and he's done some - he's hosted some just beautiful series.

I always get a little bit frustrated when they say, 'millions of years ago.' And, you know, I've told my kids that that's, you know, you just translate that into thousands and it usually works. But anyway, someone was interviewing him and asking him - they said, 'are you an atheist?' He said, 'no, I could never say that.' They said, 'why not?' Because he's got dawkins and all these friends in england that are atheists. He said, 'no, I'm not going to go on that.' He says, 'I think it's unscientific.' He said, 'because it would be like a termite saying he knows everything about the world from the vantage point of his termite mound.' And he said, 'you know, we're so small and we know so little.' And I thought, 'well that's - at least he's admitting he doesn't know. So it's foolish for a person to deny God. And I've talked to people - I've studied with people before and they say, 'oh doug, don't preach to me.

I don't - I'm not sure there's a God.' I said, 'alright, let's suppose you're not sure. Suppose I'm right. Just suppose there's a chance that I'm right and that if you believe in God you have everlasting life and if you don't, you have everlasting loss. And you believe that you just die and you turn into nothing.' I said, 'if you live like me and you, at least, explore these things, you have the opportunity of everlasting life. Do you know how reckless it is to throw away your one chance at life, which is your only opportunity to secure eternal life? If there is truth in that are you so sure that there is no God, no Jesus, no everlasting life, you're going to gamble eternity and the eternity of your friends and your family on that guess? Really, that's dangerous when you think about it.

That's why I started studying the Bible. I thought, 'it'd really be foolish not to explore it if these Christians are right. I'd better find out. Of course, back then I believed in an ever-burning hell too and I thought, 'well, I don't want to go there so I better find out.' Now there's several statements here about fools that are interesting. Proverbs 26:4, "do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

" That one's saying, 'if a fool is trying to engage you in an argument, don't argue with him because you're going to sound like a fool. You know what I'm talking about? But listen to the very next thing that Solomon says: "answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Meaning, if a fool makes an outrageous statement and you don't correct him, he's going to think he's right and he'll be smug about it and you've got to, sometimes, reprove people. And so here Solomon's saying, 'don't answer a fool or you'll be like him. Answer a fool or he'll think he's right.' You know what the subtle emphasis is of Solomon here? When you're arguing with a fool, you don't win either way. If you do answer him you sound like a fool.

I remember I had a teacher, I'd ask a question and she'd say, 'a foolish question deserves a foolish answer.' Of course, other teachers say 'there is no foolish question.' But I had the other kind of teacher for a while. And - but you get involved - you ever heard someone - a news reporter ask someone a question and they said, 'that question doesn't deserve an answer?' Sometimes it's because they're guilty. They say 'it doesn't deserve an answer. But sometimes it's just because you give credibility to an outrageous question by arguing with them. But then, if you don't, they'll say, 'aha! I'm right!' Meaning you just can't win.

Proverbs 26, verses 7 through 10 - there's several in a row here, in Proverbs 26, on the fool and the wise. "Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools." It means it doesn't go anywhere. You ever heard - some people are really good with timing, if they're going to tell you a funny story, and they have a way with words and they know how to just plant it and they just - their timing is great and everything like that? Have you ever heard a person try and re-tell a joke they've heard and they don't know it and they mess it up and it just is pathetic? Well, I know Solomon's not talking about jokes, he's talking about a proverb, but a proverb is a witticism that's supposed to be delivered in a wise way and he said, 'a proverb in the mouth of a fool, it's like limp - someone who's limp - lame - whose limbs are hanging limp and then it says, "like a thorn that goes into the hand of the drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools." It's like you lean down on something and you find out you're leaning against thorns. You're wasting your time. "The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.

" Now it's a fool that says there is no God and so everybody's going to be paid someday and even the fool will someday discover the foolishness of their lives and their choices. Judges 21:25, it describes here - and this is in the lesson - that there was a day when there was no king in Israel and everybody did what was right in his own eyes. What does Solomon say is the end when a person says 'there's a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof...' Is death. Are the ways of death. Everybody did what was right in his own eyes.

You know one reason we go to church? Because you are wiser when you are - a multitude of counselors, there's wisdom. You ever met anybody that lived like a hermit? I'm not talking about me. But people who don't worship with others? You become eccentric. You know what I'm talking about? If you don't bounce your ideas off somebody else you can start coming up with some private interpretations. You say, 'well it feels right to me.

' Well, if you're your only guide, you have a good chance of making a mistake. It's like trying to live on one leg - good chance of falling over. So don't do what's right in your own eyes. Corinthians 1:20 and 21 - talking about wisdom again - the section's talking about the fool and the wise. "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since the wisdom of God, the world, through wisdom, did not know God.

It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." Does the world think that Christianity is a wise religion? Or does the media and the culture try to portray Christians as bigoted ignoramuses? But when you really think about it, I mean, some of the greatest minds and scientists - everyone from Isaac newton to da vinci to Abraham lincoln and faraday, and all of these brilliant people, they were believers. The founding fathers all believed in God. Some were deists, but they all believed in God. Most were Christians. Some were pastors that signed the declaration of independence and the constitution.

So to say that it's not wise - it's the fear of the Lord that's the beginning of wisdom. But the foolishness of preaching is what God has chosen to transform people's lives. What did Jesus do? Did Jesus ever write a book? Did Jesus ever compose a symphony? You've probably heard that statement called one solitary life - an excerpt from a sermon that says, you know, he never went more than a hundred miles from the place of his birth. He never wrote a book. He never painted a picture, yet most of the art in the world is dedicated to him.

He never sculpted a sculpture yet there's more sculptures dedicated to Christianity than any other religion in the world. And you can go on and on talking about the great things - I think it closes by saying, 'all the armies that ever Marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that have ever sat have not affected life on earth as much as this one solitary life.' How? He preached. It says when he was - didn't even - wasn't known at all publicly except by his family and a few people in town until he was thirty years old. And then in three and a half years it says he began preaching - saying - and then he taught and preached and those who went to hear him said, 'never a man spake like this man.' Words - and the ideas and the words that he shared affected every area of life and it turned - it revolutionized the world. He made a lot of enemies too.

Alright, talk about the sluggard. You ever have those little creatures in your garden called slugs? We've got some up in the hills by our cabin and they call them banana slugs. They're big old honkin' that's how wide they are. No, they're pretty long. And you can always tell they - I don't know, they like to kind of go up one side of our house and down the other and they leave a slimy trail everywhere they go.

But they don't move very fast, which is why they're called slugs. And so, a sluggard, what is that talking about? Slow. Someone who is lazy or - why is a sloth called a sloth? You ever seen one of these jungle sloths? They've got the three-toed sloths and they - and that's when they're running. You know what I'm talking about? Climbing up the tree and down the tree - and they're very vulnerable. But so, when it talks about a sluggard or a sloth in the Bible - and that's where these creatures get their names - it's talking about someone who's lazy and Solomon had a lot to say about that.

If you read in - let's go - Proverbs 26, verse 13 - someone's going to read Proverbs 15:19 - you, cathy? Okay. Proverbs 26:13, "the lazy man says, 'there's a lion in the road - a fierce lion in the streets. As a door turns on its hinges, so the lazy man turns on his bed." Alright, let's stop here before I start to extrapolate a little bit. What does it mean, 'there's a lion in the road - a fierce lion in the streets?' 'I would go out and work but I heard there's a lion roaming so I better stay home.' They can always find some crazy reason not to go anywhere. And, as a pastor, sometimes it's exasperating because every now and then you'll meet somebody and they're ostensibly a Christian and the man hasn't worked in years and it's not because of the economy.

I'll talk to them and I'll say, you know, 'how's it going?' And they'll say, 'well,' - you know, the wife's working herself to death and she's taking care of the kids and keeping a job and - he says, 'I'm praying that God will help me find a job.' I said, 'well, what are you doing to help God answer your prayers?' 'Well, I'm just putting it in God's hands.' I said, 'well, have you - how about that job at taco bell?' 'No, no, that's - I don't think that's my calling.' And they've just got a thousand - you all know that person? They've got a thousand excuses for - you know, they imagine some big calling and they've got a thousand reasons to do nothing. And so while they stay home and watch football, they think the Lord's going to reveal to them, without searching the hiring ads in the paper or anything, that suddenly an angel's going to knock on the door and say, 'I've found the job for you. There's something to be said for diligence. I know this very successful salesman - he's actually a Bible salesman. He's got all these funny one liners.

And he says, 'the harder I work the luckier I get.' You know what that means? It has nothing to do with luck. It means God blesses - it's not in the Bible, but ben franklin used to say - he wrote a lot about sloth in poor richard's almanac, but he used to say, 'God helps those that help themselves.' And God helps those that are diligent. Ben franklin had a proverb that he kept before him in his life. It said, 'see a man diligent in his business? He will stand before Kings and not mean persons.' Mean doesn't mean mean like - mean means people of no esteem. And franklin, who was like one of, I don't know, sixteen kids, he had an enormous family - very poor - left home with nothing but a shilling in his pocket and just had nowhere to live.

Ran away from home - he ended up standing before Kings. He became an ambassador for the United States. But one thing you could never accuse him of is he was not lazy. You ever look at all the experiments that he did? I mean, not only was it bifocal glasses and the franklin stove and the electric experiments. Any of you ever seen the glass harmonica he invented? He had this glass harmonica - it was a wheel.

You ever see somebody take their finger and they run it on a glass so it sings? He made a whole row of these, different sizes, and you would crank it through water and you'd put your finger on it and they'd - it played this enchanting music. And, I mean, he just - his mind was going all the time and he was a printer and he was a writer and just incredibly diligent and the Lord blessed his diligence. But that was a promise that he claimed. He said, 'I'm going to work hard.' And if that's true, then we can also believe the opposite is also still true, that if you don't do anything, that you will not prosper. Proverbs 19:24 - oh wait, I didn't even finish Proverbs 13 through 16.

Yeah, it says "a lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly." Lazy man - you ever known someone that's all talk and no action? They've got lots of opinions and they've got lots of ideas and they've got lots of intentions and they can tell everybody everything everyone is doing wrong, but they aren't really doing anything with their lives. They - yeah, they - wiser in his own eyes. Proverbs 19:24, "lazy man buries his hand in a bowl" - similar to what we just read here in Proverbs 26:13 - "a lazy man buries his hand in the bowl and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again." He's too tired to even lift the food to his mouth. Go ahead, read for us, cathy, I think it's Proverbs 15:19.

"The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns; but the way of the righteous is made plain." Now, what does that mean? The way of the slothful man - or the lazy man - is as a hedge of thorns? Just he sees obstacles everywhere and he won't plow through anything difficult. And so, you know, he just can't see the way. But a plain man, he says, 'that's where I need to go' and if there's thorns in the way, he just goes around them or through them or over them or something like that. But a lazy man has a lot of ways of seeing obstacles. Now, Bible's clear enough that we're supposed to rest every seventh day, right? What else is commanded in the Ten Commandments? Work - six days.

People always say, 'thou shalt not work on the Sabbath.' But, you know, it says 'six days thou shalt work.' By the way, that's three times in the old testament: six days thou shalt work. Now, I know there are people that because of age - you slow down - they're maybe handicapped - I'm not trying to make people out there that for some reason they can't work feel bad, we're talking about people who can work that don't do anything. And so, we're commanded to be busy - to be diligent and to - God - what did - even before sin, why did God make man? Build hammocks and swing back and forth on sandy beaches and? Or did he put them in the garden to work, dress and keep it? And so, you know, there's really great satisfaction having - don't you feel good when you get something done? When you create something, you stand back and you look at it - whether it's a quilt or a house that you build or whatever it is? God created us to be creators, to be productive, to do things, to make things, to produce, and he wants us to have lives like that, where we make the world better through creativity. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work." Romans 12, verse 11, "not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." So Christians, we're to do all things as unto the Lord. Do things diligently.

Do things with fervency. Christians ought to be - the pastor who baptized me, and I've quoted it many times because I thought it was cute. He said, 'we ought to have zip in our hip and pep in our step and spunk in our trunk.' And he did - up - you know, this pastor who baptized me, he was just so phenomenal. Karen and I were talking about him the other night because we were reading these old - any of you remember the old eric b. Hare stories from burma? Well, pastor Phillips and his wife, they were missionaries in burma, now myanmar, and he retired and built the church in covelo before I was born.

He baptized me when he was 87. He was still giving Bible studies and doing evangelistic work and he lived into his nineties, as did his wife. Just busy right up to the end. And that just has always inspired me to have a full and a productive life. Alright, enough about that, I hope I've made everyone adequately guilty about not being more diligent.

The friend as an enemy - Proverbs 25:5 "take away the wicked from before the King and his throne will be established in righteousness." You know, it's really important for a government - and sometimes it may even seem a little harsh, but it's really important for a government to establish righteousness - that the laws will be kept. Now, you've probably heard that singapore has some very strict laws. And some of you may remember when a young man named Michael - a few years ago he was caught painting graffiti or something on some vehicles in singapore and he was arrested and the penalty was that he was going to be whacked with a rod. That's what their penalty was. And a lot of people in America came unglued and they said, 'that's barbaric.

' And they tried everything they could to intervene and to stop it and some interesting things came out at that time. First of all, very few people are arrested for such things and very few people are punished that way - yeah, they were going to cane him. And it wasn't a candy cane - it's a bamboo rod and it leaves a welt and it hurts. But the crime rate and the vandalism rate and the cleanliness of singapore are legendary and they have strict laws that they enforce and their streets are very safe. But you go to countries where they're always so concerned about the rights of the criminal and what do you think happens to the crime rates there? It soars.

Now when Solomon became king, he did some things that probably would be viewed, in our day, as brutal. One of the first things Solomon did when he became king is he followed through on some things his father advised him on. He said, 'there's some people that may not be loyal and you need to deal with it. David said, 'I'm not going to tell you. You're a wise man and you'll know what to do.

' Well, one man, who had cursed David, Solomon said, 'you're not supposed to leave town. You are to be restricted to Jerusalem. His name was shimei and he said, 'if you leave Jerusalem, on the day you leave, you'll die.' He said, 'fair enough.' He couldn't control himself and he chased after some runaway slaves and the King found out and he died. Joab, who had been David's general, but had also killed two other competitive generals that were innocent men, he tried to make Solomon's brother adonijah king. Joab was slain.

Abiathar the priest, who had also conspired, he was taken out of the priesthood. Solomon did several things right at the beginning, to establish righteousness in the Kingdom, and then you know what it says? There were forty years of peace. But right at the beginning he said, 'this is the law and the law is going to be obeyed. And in case you think that I'm going to be wishy-washy, I'll let you know right now that I mean business.' And once he did that - that's, I think, kind of what he's talking about. It says, "take away the wicked from before the King; his throne will be established in righteousness.

" There was kind of a purging that happened at the very beginning. Proverbs 25, verses 6 and 7, "do not exalt yourself in the presence of the King and do not stand in the place of the great" - we read this - "for it is better that he say to you, 'come up here' than you should be put lower in the presence of the prince whom your eyes have seen." Now somebody's going to read the next verse, which is Matthew 23, verses 5 and 6. Is that you katrina? Hopefully they're ready for that. Alright, go ahead. "But all their works they do to be seen by men.

They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues." You know, in synagogues they would have seats based on authority and different people got to sit in different places based on their esteem and their prestige and their degrees and whatever it happened to be, and they all kind of clamored for the highest seats. I've seen it at dinners, at weddings - there are places where the family and certain guests sit and folks want to be closest to the bride and groom. Jesus said - Luke 14:8 - he's talking about this very principle - "when you are invited by anybody to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place lest one more honorable than you be invited by him and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'can you please give up your seat for this man?' And then you begin, with shame, to take the lowest place. But when you're invited, go and sit down in the lowest place so that when he who invited you comes, he may say, 'friend, go up higher.

' Then you'll have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted." And so this is what Solomon is saying: do not exalt yourself in the presence of the King. Much better that the King say, 'oh you, come sit by me.' Or 'come and sit in this place of honor' than for the King to say, 'what are you doing here? Get back in - go back to the press box.' This is - that goes back to that very simple principle, 'whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he that humbles himself will be exalted.' Who is it in the universe who exalted himself more than anybody? Satan. The devil. Who is going to be humbled the most? The devil.

Who humbled himself the most of anybody? Jesus. Jesus. And he who humbled himself is going to be exalted higher than anybody. Right? So that every knee will bow at the name of Christ. Alright, our last section is the friend - the enemy as a friend.

And if we look here in - someone's going to read, in just a moment, Proverbs 5:17. I'm going to read - I'm sorry, you'll be reading job 5:17. Proverbs 26:17, "he who passes by and meddles in a quarrel that is not his own, is like one who takes a dog by the ears." Now, is there ever a time to meddle in a quarrel that isn't yours? Yes. Yeah, I came upon a man that was beating his wife and, you know, one side of you is saying, 'this is a family problem.' The other side of you - you know, at least the way my father raised me, is you never hit a girl and that you're - men are supposed to defend. It makes it kind of awkward when it's a married thing, but there are times when somebody's being harmed.

You just - you need to get involved. But you get involved in, you know, just a typical street argument, you know, vendors and people fighting over stuff that - you just sometimes - you just say you're going to let them work it out. Hopefully no one's armed. And, you know, let them deal with it because otherwise it's like taking a dog by the ears. Your kids ever do that with a dog? Our son Daniel's got a scar on his face from grabbing a dog by the ears.

The dog was normally nice, but he didn't like a little kid grabbing him by the ears. "Or like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, 'I was only joking.'" How many times has someone said, 'oh, just kidding.' Right after they uttered sort of a scathing little sarcasm - a little cut - and they say, 'oh, I'm just kidding.' No you're not. Usually, when someone says, 'I'm just kidding' they've at least veiled an element of truth in what they said and - but then they say, 'oh, I'm just kidding.' And that's why he said, 'so is he who said, 'I was only joking.'' He goes on and says - same passage - Proverbs , verse - oh, I guess I'm in verse 20 now, "where there is no wood the fire goes out and where there is no tale-bearer" - and that word there is 'gossip' or 'slander,' 'whisper' - "strife will cease." Just about every church has a member named gabriella gossip. Of course they could be a man. His name is garth gossip.

But you can sometimes see that when those people transfer their membership, all of a sudden things calm way down. If someone is not - you know one of the sins that God hates? He talks about lying. He talks about pride. He talks about all kinds of things and then he says, 'he that sows discord among brethren.' And so, God wants us to be careful with our words to bring unity and not to bring division or strife. "So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

The words of a tale-bearer are like tasty trifles and they go down to the inmost body." Something where someone says, 'oh man, you know what I just heard?' Tasty trifle - let me get - 'I've got the hot gossip. You're not going to believe this.' And people always like to have that inside information and they go down into the inmost body. "Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like an earthenware covered with silver dross." People that speak with passion with evil intent - it's like taking something that's nothing more than clay and silver coating it. It's just misplaced. It's just still going to be clay.

I think Solomon also said, 'like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word in due season.' Proverbs 27, verse 5, "open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Don't you appreciate people that really just are honest, I mean, in a nice way, but they'll tell you really how they feel. I've got a number of australian friends and they're legendary for being very abrupt sometimes - and I hope I'm not saying anything that's not allowed but I think they'll admit it. I've got australian friends, they'll say, 'ah, an American.

You'll stab each other in the back. Australian, we'll stab you in the front.' And they said, 'we'll tell you right what we think right up front.' And they have some very healthy arguments but you don't have to guess. My grandmother was that way. She would just say - you never had to wonder what she was thinking. I think some of it rubbed off on me.

Hopefully God's used it for good. But it helps, sometimes, to just be honest with people - in a nice way. You want to be diplomatic. Alright, read for us job 5:17. Job 5:17, "behold, happy is the man whom God corrects.

Therefore, do not despise the chastening of the almighty." There's a lot of positive things in the Bible about rebuke. You know, even in the Christian church it talks about Jesus rebuked. Paul says, 'rebuke those' - to Timothy - 'that need it.' Matter of fact, in 2 Timothy 4:2, "preach the word. Be ready in season, out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with long-suffering and teaching.

Sometimes rebuke is just a kind way of telling a person 'this behavior is unacceptable.' Or 'what you said is patently wrong and you need to apologize.' Or whatever it might be, but some people actually - if you love them, you need to confront them. And you need to have those healthy conversations even in a church. It's a good idea to have them alone. You don't want to openly rebuke a person for something that may be a private issue and - but there's - does God - happy is the man whom God corrects, right? And so it's good that a loving father chastens his children and so there needs to be this kind of loving accountability, even in a church. We have run out of time but I want to remind you, before we sign off we have a free offer - you may have missed this at the opening of the program.

It's called satan's confusing counterfeits - offer #191 - and you can just either read it online at the website or type in - or call, rather, 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study more. Thank you for joining us again for this week of our Sabbath School Study Hour. God bless. Amazing Facts changed lives. You know, I wasn't raised to be a methamphetamine manufacturer.

I wasn't raised to be a drug dealer. I was raised in the church. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be in the in-crowd. I wanted to feel accepted so I got into all the things that my friend was into.

She was an avid drinker and by the time I was 16 I was drinking quite a bit. And pretty soon someone asked me if I wanted to have some cocaine and one thing led to another and pretty soon I started to sell cocaine and I thought, you know, I can quit anytime I want - that this really doesn't have a hold on me. And one day, my friend, she was driving - a train had went by and somehow she didn't see the other train coming and she didn't make it and that right there just devastated me. It was at that point that I just cried out to God and I said, 'God, you know, do whatever you have to do. I don't care what it is.

Intervene in my life.' My parents, in the meantime, had been praying for me - that I would come back to the Lord. They actually had invited me to a prophecy seminar. I decided to come, but I went there high. And I'm not proud of it - why I even mention it today is because I just want you to know the holy spirit is much more powerful and he started working on my heart. It's like I knew that the holy spirit was convicting me but yet it wasn't even like it was me.

I literally, I was picked up and taken down to the front. You can be raised in the church and do all kinds of things and the devil will make you think that God won't accept you back. But God is merciful. He is loving and he - it doesn't matter what you've done. He just wants you to come back home.

Together, we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support.

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