Living by Faith

Living by Faith

Scripture: Proverbs 29:25, Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 3:24
Date: 03/14/2015  Lesson: 11
"So many voices call to us from so many directions. How do people know what is right and what is wrong? "

Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor

Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor
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I'd like to welcome you all to the Sabbath School Study Hour. My name is chuck holtry and I'm the director of the amazing facts center of evangelism and I'm glad you're here. Pastor Doug and pastor jëan are out of town this week and so I have the privilege of spending some time with you. Our study this week is going to be lesson #11 - living by faith. But before we get to that, I'd like to tell you about our free offer.

It is hidden eyes and closed ears. This is offer #726 and if you do not have this, you will want to get a copy of this. You can call 1-866-788-3966 - that's 866-788-3966 or -study-more. Before we get into our lesson, I'd like to ask the Holy Spirit to be with us. If you don't mind bowing your heads with me.

Father in Heaven, we are thankful that we can come and study here today. We ask that as we open your word, you open our hearts and our minds. We ask in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen. Just recently I was flying into nashville, tennessee and it was after one of the largest ice storms they've had in a long time.

And as we landed on the runway, everything was going smooth and then we started to taxi off and I realized, we were going across ice and my heart sank a little bit. You may have heard that there was an airplane, just recently, that actually slid off a runway. It was going slow and got stuck in the mud. Every time you travel, especially by air, I think we're living by faith. But God's asking us to do a different kind of living by faith - a little bit deeper.

You know, the society we live in today doesn't live by faith naturally, we live by our senses - what we can see, what we can hear, what we can taste, etc. But God is asking us to live by faith. What does it mean to live by faith? We're going to look at five key points from the book of Proverbs. And so, that being said, we're going to be looking first in Proverbs chapter 28. So if you could turn with me to Proverbs chapter 28, there are several key passages that Solomon points out here that talk about living by faith.

Our first one is going to be living by faith means keeping the law. Somehow keeping the law has something to do with living by faith. Let's look at Proverbs chapter and we'll look at verse 4. "Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them." Verse 7, "whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father." The last verse - the final one I'd like to look at is verse 10 - actually verse 9, "he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination." So we're looking at three things taking place here: in verse 4 we have "those that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them." In other words, those who keep the law, the wicked don't like them. There's this animosity that's going on between the two.

And maybe you've seen this before or recognize this kind of action. Let's look at verse 7. Verse 7 says, "whoso keepeth the law is a wise son:" keeping the law makes us wise. So living by faith and keeping the law - keeping the law puts me at odds, if you will, with the wicked. It helps me to be wise, and what's that final point that we looked at in verse 9? It says, "he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.

" When we take time to hear the word, the law specifically, our prayers are also heard. So if I were to sum it up, these three points - they've been laid out here just in the beginning - once again, we're looking at living by faith and keeping the law is in connection with that. Those who keep the law are considered wise. Those who keep the law can hear God and God can hear them. The last one - yes, that is it.

Those two are the ones I was going to be focusing on. Wisdom is not based upon philosophy and I think that's where we're kind of connecting some things here together. The law sometimes doesn't make sense to, can I say, the carnal mind. We'll be looking at that a little bit more in another lesson. The law doesn't necessarily make sense all the time, but because God asked me to do it - he asked me to keep the law - in doing that I'm living a life of faith.

Faith is doing something that doesn't always make sense to you. Faith is just doing it because God said it. 'God's Word says it, I'll do it. I'm not trying to earn my way to heaven, that's not the issue here. I'm doing it because when God says something, it's what's best for me.

' It's that kind of understanding I think is very important that Solomon is trying to bring out here. Why is the law so important for wisdom? Why is it? Because we looked at here, keeping the law brings wisdom. Why is keeping the law so important for wisdom? If you don't mind turning to Romans, we're going to - it's kind of hard to talk about faith and not be in Romans, so I'm going to go to Romans here just a little bit. Romans chapter 3 - we'll look at Romans chapter 3 and verse 20. This text, we have used dozens of times.

We hear it, but I think it's very helpful in our discussion today. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:" - then it says this: - "for by the law is" - what? The knowledge of sin. So the law teaches me. It tells me what is sin. Romans chapter 7 and verse 7 - Romans 7:7.

Paul is continuing his dialogue a little bit later. He says, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, 'thou shalt not covet.'" Paul says, 'I know what sin is because the law tells me what it is.' The law gives me knowledge. Why do I need knowledge? Can't I just figure it out myself? Can't I just discern what's good and bad? Is it possible for us, apart from God, to simply discern what is good and bad? You notice how I couched that question? No, it's not. But there's a lot of things that talk about - you know the passage - Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9, "the heart is deceitful.

..and desperately wicked:" - really? Maybe you say, 'chuck, your heart's that way, but don't put me in that category.' All of our hearts are that way, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jeremiah 13:23 says the leopard can't change his spots, the Ethiopian can't change his skin and neither can you, who are used to doing evil, do good. Slight paraphrase. And that is important for us to realize. You and I can't discern apart from the law.

The law helps us. The reason why you, at any time in your life, know what is good and bad, is because it's been ingrained in you via God and the spirit, what is good and what is bad. And the law is that codification. We can actually see it spelled out. Beautiful.

There is one more passage: Romans chapter 8 and verse 7. The Bible says, "because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." My natural heart - my natural mind - tends to go away from the law and the law shows me what is wisdom. And so, when I look at the wisdom - I look at the law I say, 'okay wait, what is chuck? Not good. I desperately need God.' Remember, the law is not there to save me, but the law is there to help me have knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. You know, we're living in a world where that is very, very uncommon to know what is right and what is wrong.

You know, what is right is whatever you feel is right. What is wrong is, you know, as long as you don't hurt somebody else, I guess you're okay - that depends what culture you're in, of course. Some cultures say that right is killing people if they go against you. So how do we determine what right and wrong is? Very simple. It is what? The law.

The law gives me wisdom. So that's important. So, if I want to live a life of faith, the law is important to me because it shows me what is right and what is wrong. It can't save me, but it sure can teach me. And I think that's very important as we're looking at this picture.

You and I are not naturally wise, that's why God gave us the law. I hope that's not offensive, but it's true. You and I are not naturally wise. So living by faith obeys God by faith and not one's own self. That's the first step in living by faith we pick up here from Proverbs.

Let's look at our next lesson. The next day is seeking the Lord. I'd like to look at a passage in Romans - not Romans - in Proverbs chapter 28. And while you're turning to Proverbs chapter 28, I'd like to tell you a story. He was an okay guy.

He was a man who was gifted in his business. He was well-known - very wealthy. He had a lot of things going for him. He wasn't popular and sometimes that happens when you're in those kinds of positions. And one day he heard a teaching truth from the Word of God and he realized, 'I am wrong.

' Is that what happens sometimes? We hear the law, we hear what it's saying and we realize who we are because now we discern between truth and error and this man realized, 'I'm in error.' And then he did the next step - a very important step - he started seeking God. 'I messed up so now I must find a solution for my problem.' And he started seeking God. He sought, and as he sought he started to change. Some of the business practices that were a little bit shady were now swept away and he became a good businessman. He wasn't trusted by many people, because of his past, but he was a good man.

And eventually - you know the story because I'm about to switch to the Sabbath school version - Jesus was entering Jericho and this rich man, zacchaeus, started seeking even more. And in that seeking he found Christ. You know what it says in Jeremiah chapter 29? It says, "and ye shall seek me and find me when you search with all your heart." So zacchaeus finds - because he's searching with all of his heart and then something else happens: zacchaeus is changed. It's beautiful. That is the power - so if I want to live a life by faith, not only is the law involved, because it shows me, right? It helps me discern.

But living a life by faith involves seeking. I seek God with everything that I've got. That is what it means to live by faith. I found out that when people set up themselves on a path of seeking, you know what happens? Their lives change. If you truly are on a path of seeking God, you cannot be the same, just because you can't.

It's impossible. The seeking of God will change you. I remember I was - freshman year? Sophomore year - in college. We were getting together and we got in these little groups and we all shared our favorite texts and we went around - it was orientation - beginning of the school year - and this young man said in the group - and he shared a text with me and I've actually already quoted it - Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 13, "and ye shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart." But when I heard it was almost like this - for me a light bulb went on in my mind. God can be found.

I don't know if maybe you've had that happen to you in your past, but it happened to me then. God can be found. He can be sought and he will be found if you search with all you've got. And I determined I will do that because I want to find him. When I fell, when I was going through difficult times, and things were too confusing for me I would say, 'God, you promised that if I would seek for you I will find you and so I'm going to keep seeking even though I'm confused about where I'm at today, even though I'm not sure what's happening in my life today, you've promised that if I seek you I will find you.

' It's good news, isn't it? Let's look at Proverbs chapter and verse 5, "evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things." I like that they that seek the Lord, what happens to them? They understand how much? All. All. That is beautiful. Now there's two things that happen when you seek the Lord - you know, there's another passage probably popped in your mind not too distant from this. We sing a song all the time: 'seek ye first the Kingdom of God' - when you seek the Kingdom of God, what happens? 'And his righteousness' - thank you - what happens next? All these things.

All these things will be what? Added. Added unto you. So in Proverbs I find out that when I seek I understand all and, of course, Jesus makes it clear that when you and I seek him and his righteousness he adds all. All is part of coming - it comes with seeking - so I seek with all and I receive all. You got that? When I'm seeking, I seek with all that I am and I receive all that he is.

One of the most beautiful pictures, I believe. In my opinion, anyone who ever gets to heaven is a seeker. It's the seekers who make it - those who seek for God with all that they have are the ones who receive all that God is - and he has a lot to give us and that's another lesson for another time. I'd like to read a passage - this is actually from the Sabbath school lesson - very, very nice - can't say it any better. "For ancient Israel, knowledge of all things was not separated from religious experience.

Faith was closely tied to intelligence and rational understanding." It's kind of interesting how this is put: faith and intelligence were closely tied together. "It was inconceivable to have faith without thinking or thinking without faith because God was the foundation of both domains." I kind of like the way the editor of this lesson - the writer of this lesson - put that. It's only in God that we have true knowledge and that is - that concept is denied today, more than has ever been denied before. God and knowledge are not the same in the eyes of the academic world today. In God's eyes, knowledge and faith are tied together.

But in the world's eyes, they're separate. 'This is faith and the world of faith and God bless the pastors who are faithful. They help deal with our spiritual side.' And then here's the academicians and the scientists and they deal with our intellectual side and never shall the two come together.' But Christian education defies that and I would say 'praise God.' You're allowed to say that too if you'd like. It defies that. It says that's not the way it is.

Education - Christian education puts the two together. In fact, there's a school - you might have heard about it, it's called the school of Christ. What does Jesus say? 'Take my yoke upon you and' - do what? 'Learn of me.' We're supposed to learn of Jesus - sit at his feet. He's supposed to be the master teacher. That's the great school, the school of Christ.

Our connection with Jesus determines our amount of knowledge. Living by faith - that's what we've been talking about - living by faith recognizes the law - shows me what I need to know. It gives me wisdom - helps me discern between right and wrong. Living by faith does something else. It recognizes that true knowledge comes from who? God.

And so living by faith seeks God with all and receives all. That's the second point. Let's look at our third one. This next point I was trying to figure out how in the world to fit into the lesson. It does.

What are some of the rich people in the Bible who we consider great men and women? Some of the heroes of the Bible that are rich? Job. Job is one, that's right. Abraham. Abraham, of course, that's right. Solomon.

Solomon - Solomon, you get just a little bit of wealth there in Solomon, that's okay. Who else? David. David. David was a very wealthy man. I put you on the spot.

That's okay. Isaac. Isaac. It says Isaac would go out and he would sow and he would receive a hundred-fold. I mean, Isaac was just extremely wealthy.

He probably was more wealthy than his father. We really don't hear much about that. Someone said Jacob? Yeah. Jacob, he went from nothing to being an extremely wealthy person. These are some of the heroes.

Joseph. Joseph. Joseph was very wealthy. Wow. You gave me a lot of old testament people.

We have some very wealthy new testament people. They probably don't fit out in the hero section, but nicodemus would fit in, yes? Maybe Joseph of arimathea? We just mentioned one of them in our - zacchaeus, yes? So why do you think that some of the greatest heroes of the Bible were wealthy? I mean that was something that I kind of tried to wrap my brain around. Why were some of the wealthiest people also some of the famous ones? By the way, well you understand, I believe that God has his people that are wealthy and poor and we'll see that in our next day, so I want to be crystal clear on that. But have you ever thought about how hard it must be for a wealthy person to be a Christian? All my dear, rich friends out there, I'm not speaking it in a negative way, but Jesus himself said it's harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved. It's kind of a bold statement for Jesus to say, yet we have all these examples of rich people who were in living connection with Christ, so we know it's very possible, amen? So what are we seeing here? When you have a lot of something it takes a lot more faith to not depend on it.

Can you see that? When I have a lot of intelligence - I have a friend of mine who's a professor - brilliant man. He was thirty years old and he was head of a major department at a major university. Soon he was the president of three colleges, one in succession after another - just an incredible mind. But see, it's - it takes almost more faith for a really intelligent man to say, 'I don't trust my mind. I trust God's Word.

' Right? Then you have someone who may be very strong. I have another friend of mine who's a martial arts expert. Brilliant in his fighting ability, had his own dojo, did his own training. For him it takes a lot of faith that when you're attacked - and he was - someone tried to mug him - it takes a lot of faith to say, 'I'm not fighting you. God will protect me.

' Because I'm not depending on what I've got an abundance of, I'm depending on what God can do. And wealth is the same exact way. Sometimes, I would guess - I'm not an extremely wealthy person - I wouldn't even say a moderately wealthy person - but if I was, I could imagine it would be difficult to not trust in my wealth and to, somehow, depend on God. Sometimes it's just easier to do it with what I've got. I act that way and I don't have a lot of any of the above categories.

So it's amazing - I think that's something that's a struggle that maybe those who are rich face. And, dare I say, those who have an abundance of any of the areas we've looked at. There's some counsel that Proverbs gives so we're just going to go through them step by step. There's four in a lesson - I added one so I have five. Let's look at number 1 - Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 8 - Proverbs 28, verse 8 - this is some counsel that is being given here.

Living by faith when you're rich - "he that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor." Don't take from the poor. Don't get rich at the expense of the poor, I think is what Solomon is saying here. I have a friend of mine who was struggling financially and there was a multimillionaire attending the same church that he was attending. And what this multimillionaire did is loan him several thousand dollars interest free. Now, he knew that my friend was trustworthy - trusted him implicitly - he said, 'you know what? I know you need it and I can give you a whole lot better deal than the bank can give you.

We're brothers. God bless you. You have to pay it back, but we'll do it interest free.' That was kind of a nice thing that he did. He obviously was not determined to make money off of his poorer church member. Do you remember the story of laban and Jacob? Laban was a rich man who was trying to get everything he could out of the poor man Jacob.

And it was only because of God - I think that's what Jacob said - this is Genesis chapter 31 - he said, 'it's only because God intervened that I'm not leaving you penNiless after working for you for twenty years. It's only because God intervened.' Of course, you and I both know that Jacob left with a lot of wealth because God intervened. Point number 2 that's given here - and this is kind of the opposite of the first point - and that is chapter 28 of Proverbs and verse 27. The first was 'don't get rich at the expense of the poor.' Now we're looking at this - verse 27 - it says, "he that giveth unto the poor" - what? He shall not lack. He will not lack.

Wow. So a word of wisdom: if you want to live by faith, if someone has wealth, don't gain your money unfairly and give to the poor - give to those who have need. So it's another part that comes out here. In fact, 29 - Proverbs 29, verse 7 does more than just say 'give to the poor.' Notice what it says here: verse 7 of Proverbs 29 says, "the righteous considers the cause of the poor." Considers the need of the poor - he looks out and he's trying to figure out 'what are their needs? What can I do to help?' What a beautiful picture we're seeing here in Proverbs chapter and 29. I have two gentlemen that came across my mind as I was thinking about it - I probably shouldn't name them by name, so I won't, but who have given what they have to the cause of God.

One of them felt that there was a need for a school to be developed in his area - a training school - and so he poured his life into developing and setting up a training school to train other people to share Jesus. Beautiful. He had enough income that he could survive, support his family, and provide. And he set aside to make that happen. Beautiful.

And there is that kind of need. He considered the cause and said, 'let's do it.' Let's look at number three. Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 19 - Proverbs 28, verse 19, "he that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread:" - I'll just stop with that first part. It's kind of the part we're going to focus on - "he that tilleth his bread - tilleth his land" - excuse me - "shall have plenty of bread." Wealth should not come by stealing - as we looked in point number one - or by chance, wealth should come from working for it. You know, when I was - I have a - I had an uncle who, at the time of my story, was quite wealthy, and I was going to see him just to spend a little bit of spring break with him and I was working on a missionary stipend and my car would work and then not work, and then work and not work and I remember I was going off to tell him - spend some time with him - we had a great time - a very good uncle of mine - and in the process, I happened to tell him what my car was like and he said, 'you know chuck, my first ten years of working I had a car just like that.

But you know what? You just keep faithful in what you're doing and you'll get what you need.' It's not the answer I wanted. I was kind of hoping a new car from, you know, the local parking lot. But he was giving me a very, very wise answer. Work for it and you will respect it. Does that make sense? And that's the picture that's being given here, that God's actually given to the wealthy.

And let's look at our next one: Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 20 and verse 22. It's kind of connected with what we just looked at in our third point there. Verse 20 says, "a faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." If you're given - if you're just trying hard to get rich quick - have you heard of the get rich quick schemes? You can see them posted on - around Sacramento. I drive around and they say, 'if you want to earn additional five grand a month, try this. If you want to earn this from home and you only have to work ten hours a week and you're going to make a hundred thousand a year.

All these are is schemes. And we can smile when we look at them and I think most of us realize you've got to work a little harder than that if you're going to get that kind of finances. But he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. In verse 22 it says, "he that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and consdiereth not that poverty shall come upon him." In other words, the end result is not going to be good. That's what we're seeing here.

There's one that's not in the lesson. I thought I'd add it, if that's okay. Proverbs chapter 28, verse 11 - Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 11 - it says, "the rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out." The rich man is wise in his own conceit - there is a possibility - and this is counsel that God's giving - if you're rich, don't trust in your riches. Don't depend on it. Don't get wise like 'hey, I got this money and I got it through my hard work and my hard labor and so listen to me.

You know, I've been to - you always have to be aware of what you're about to say, but I have been to congregations among God's people where some people are given a position on a board simply because of their financial capabilities and that is not a reason to choose a person. Wisdom is a good reason, amen? Faithfulness to God in wealth is a good reason. But simply wealth itself is not a good reason to choose. I have seen this happen with a lot of small churches. 'We're going to let the businessmen be on our board.

' And I have no problem with that if they're Christian businessmen, amen? If they've dedicated their lives to doing God's work. So I think it's important for us to realize - think about Nebuchadnezzar. Would you say Nebuchadnezzar was a wealthy man? Very wealthy. And what did he say? There it is in Daniel chapter 4, 'look at this Babylon that I have built for myself.' And I completely paraphrased that, but that's the concept. But there's another greatly wealthy man, his name was job, and how did he respond when things fell apart for him? 'the Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away.

What I had came from God.' That kind of recognition is powerful. I think it's a very important thing. That would be a sixth point, but since that didn't come from Proverbs we'll just stick with the five we've got. I believe the greatest exercise of faith - and that's going to be the summation of this section on - it's called words for the rich - the greatest exercise of faith is when you and I don't trust in what we have an abundance of. I think that's one of the greatest exercises of faith.

So living by faith - if I were to, kind of, go where we've been so far - living by faith is keeping the words of the law, why? Because they tell me what is and is not right. I can't trust my own mind and my own philosophy. Living by faith is seeking God. If I seek with all I will receive all. And living by faith is also this element of - especially found in the words of the rich - to the rich - that faith is not trusting in what I have an abundance of.

Good lessons, I think, that Solomon's bringing out for us. Let's go to the next one - and this would be, I think it's Wednesday's lesson - handbook for the poor. Now after everything we talked about, we started out with the last one saying about here's these great leaders and all these heroes in the Bible and they just happened to be rich. So are the poor second-rate citizens? Of course you know by the way I'm saying it the answer is no. What are some examples of some heroes in the Bible that were poor? Jesus.

I was hoping you would say that, sir. Jesus. Absolutely - the classic example. Anybody else? John the baptist. John the baptist.

He's the other person in my notes? Who else? The widow and her mite. The widow and her mite and - incredible - that act will be talked about forever. A beautiful picture. We could almost list out most of the disciples. We'll skip Matthew, of course, but most of the disciples were poor people.

We look at Peter, James, and John - I mean, they just see Jesus die, they know he's been resurrected, they go up to the sea of Galilee and they say, 'we better go fishing.' I think it was more than just the fact that they loved fishing, they also had financial needs and none of them were independently wealthy. So this is definitely a picture we see. What are some words that God has for the poor - or those who don't have the same amount of means as the wealthy? Let's look at Proverbs chapter - no, I'm actually going to jump out of 20 - let's go back to Proverbs 23 and verse 4. Probably one of the first counsels that we see being given here, Proverbs 23, verse 4, "labor not to be rich:" - don't make this your whole focus in life - to be rich. I have - I have met people who have grown up in poverty and they've determined that they will not die in poverty and they pour every ounce of their being to become fabulously wealthy.

And some do become that; they find at the end that it doesn't satisfy their soul, but they pour their heart into reaching that. So here's the counsel, it's not wrong to labor, amen? I think you and I should be laboring for the Kingdom of heaven, but laboring simply to have wealth is not something that would be good for you and I to do. Laboring to help the cause of God, be it through our wealth or our time or our energy, I think that's great. So they're looking at motive here and, of course, I'm taking the King James reading here and playing with that a little bit, as you may have noticed. Let's look at our next one.

Proverbs chapter 24 and we're looking again - words to those who are poor - we're going to balance out what we just said about laboring not to be rich with this one, Proverbs 24 - let's look at verse 32, "then I saw and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth; and thy want as an armed man." Would you like a summary of this? Lazy will be poor. Now this is not saying that all poor people are lazy. It's not saying that at all, because I know a lot of people who work extremely hard - pour their hearts out - just barely able to survive. In fact, I would say a majority of our planet is like that.

But I tell you what. If you're lazy, poverty is a much more sure thing. You know what I mean? Just sit down and relax and twiddle my thumbs and hope that somehow the food falls in my mouth. That's the picture that we're seeing here. Don't labor to be rich, but please don't be lazy.

This is kind of a picture that's being laid out. Let's look at our next point. Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 3 - and I like - I'm really glad that this was brought out in the lesson. It brings out something I had not thought of before and I think it's very, very helpful. Proverbs 28:3 says that "a poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

" A poor man oppressing the poor? Do you know the poor have the same duties as the rich do? The rich are not supposed to oppress the poor and the poor are not supposed to oppress the poor. Isn't it interesting that the poor ones are being oppressed? In both cases - the poor get oppressed by the poor and the poor get oppressed by the rich. And God tells both of them 'don't oppress them.' And I have to say, I wish more of our planet followed this commendation, don't you? That they would do this - not commendation - recommendation - that the poor would not be. It's interesting, I think a lot of times there's a tendency sometimes to oppress those that are lower than you. No matter how low we are, we can almost always find someone lower and that's the one we would tend to oppress, unless you're a Christian.

Because Christians realize that living by a life of faith, this is not the kind of thing I'm going to do. It's just not the thing that God has called us to. So Proverbs chapter 28, verse 6 - probably the main focal point of this day looking at a handbook for the poor - Proverbs chapter 28 and verse - what verse was it? - 6. "Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich." Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness. There is much to be said here, but God is looking for men and women who value righteousness - uprightness - more than anything else.

That's what he's looking for - people who will say, 'there's nothing more important to us than righteousness itself. So, based upon this, let me ask you a question: is righteousness more to be desired than wealth? Yeah, without a question. Is it more desired in your life? Don't answer. You know, I think a lot of people struggle with this, especially, I would say, maybe those who have less means. 'I want this.

' I used to dream of having a brand-new car. That's the kind of thing I used to dream about when I was a kid. I'd have my friends who - I had one friend, when he was 16 his family bought him a corvette - brand new. Of course he crashed it so he was downgraded to a brand-new jeep cherokee. You know, the tough life some people live.

I remember my first car. Yes, I came home and I had in my mind the kind of car that I never wanted - maybe you can think of that right now in your mind - a car you would never, ever want. I had that in my mind as a young man. And I came home from college and there sitting up on jack stands, because the transmission was out of it, was the car that I wanted never to have. And the problem was I had to put the transmission in and if any of you have known me well, I have more than two thumbs - at least sometimes it feels like that in mechanics.

I just don't have that gift of putting things together and so my dad said, 'part of having a car is learning how to work on it. I'll help you work on it, but you've got to do it.' And I used to dream, 'oh why did I have to get a car' - by the way, the drive shaft was bent and so once you got over 65 miles an hour, the whole car started shaking like this. 'Why, God? I want something different.' So I would desire wealth, I would say, more than righteousness. It's probably not an uncommon thing sometimes. But I realize, as we're looking at here, God is clearly saying, 'wealth is really insignificant in comparison to righteousness.

Now, if you were to say, 'God, I want you to bless my life.' Based upon this verse, what is his priority going to be? Righteousness. Righteousness. 'God, I want blessings in my life.' 'Okay, I'm going to do whatever it takes to help you become righteous.' 'Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! That's not the blessings I was asking for God. Let's try this again.' Right? Because oftentimes when we think of blessings, what do we think of? Health, right? Health, wealth, fame, or comfortability at least? And God said, 'that's not my main priority. My main priority is what?' Righteousness.

So when you ask for blessings, you're asking God to help you have righteousness. It's kind of scary. You might want to think about it twice before you start asking God for blessings - unless you say, 'God, I want blessings according to my understanding. Is that okay?' Now we wouldn't pray like that, right? But I think sometimes that - that is something we - at least stuck out to me as I was looking at this. I believe that this is truly living by faith.

Living by faith is realizing I want whatever God wants to give me. And the most important thing is righteousness. And that righteousness, by the way, doesn't come through anything that I've done. Righteousness only comes through the indwelling in the life of Jesus Christ. Beautiful - powerful - and there's nothing like that.

You know, my dad said once this: 'oftentimes the only time a man will look up is when he's laying on his back.' Scary thought but I think it's true. Sometimes we are put in such difficult situations that the only way we're willing to say, 'hey, I need you God.' Is to be in the situation where life isn't pleasant or it's not comfortable. When you live by faith, you value righteousness more than anything else. By the way, look at the life of Christ. What was the most valued thing in the life of Christ? It wasn't his nice mansion, because he didn't have one when he was down here - at least not one on earth, right? It wasn't his fancy donkey - didn't have one as far as we know.

In fact, he said, 'I have nothing.' Right? 'The birds of the air and the foxes, they have places to go. I have nothing.' So what was valuable to Christ? His connection with the Lord. His connection with Jesus - connection with God - and for you and I it would be our connection with him, amen? That is what is of value. So, recapping again - the teacher side: living a life of faith, keeping the law, helps me understand what is right and what is wrong. Then it points me to who? Jesus Christ - and when I seek with all, I receive all.

Then I have looked at this concept of God spoke specifically to the poor. What kind of lesson to those for us who want to live by faith - what was the lesson, I forgot? Those that - for the rich - living by faith is not trusting in whatever you have the abundance of. And I guess we use it as rich, but it could be an abundance of anything that you may have. And then, of course, as we looked at the counsel to the poor, the most valuable thing in the world is righteousness. It's wealth, no? Strength? No.

Health? Not even health. It's righteousness and that's the picture that we see being pulled out here. Alright, this last one is a - this is loving the truth and, of course, this starts from 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse and because I'm trying to stick in Proverbs, I'm not going there. So if you can stay in Proverbs, we're going to look at Proverbs chapter 29 - 29 verse 15 - a favorite verse, I'm sure, of my father. Proverbs chapter 29 and verse , "the rod and reproof give wisdom - the rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

" Now, our subject's been living by faith, but if I were to have a second subject, it'd be wisdom. Why? Because we're studying Proverbs. Keeping the law gives me wisdom. Seeking the Lord gives me wisdom. And now, reproof gives me wisdom.

Those are some things that we've seen in today's lesson - kind of a subset of topics. How can reproof give me wisdom? Why would I want reproof? I, personally, don't like reproof. But reproof is something - is it to be desired? Yes, a wise man desires it. You've obviously been reading the book of Proverbs, sir. Absolutely.

Let's look at a couple of these ones. Proverbs chapter 9, verse 8 - Proverbs chapter 9 - there's a lot that's actually said in the Bible on this concept. Proverbs 9, verse 8 says, "reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will" - do what? Love you. He will love you. So if you're wise - I'm going to do some reverse reasoning here, if you're wise and you're rebuked, you will love the person who rebuked you.

That's one to work on. If you're a wise man and you're rebuked, you will love the person who did it. Why? Why would you love someone who rebukes you? To keep you from making a fool of yourself. Keeping you from making a fool of yourself, that's right. You learn from - someone else can see things that you don't and they bring that to your attention - if you're wise you will not get upset with them about it, you will go, 'thank you, that's - I hadn't seen it that way.

' And you will learn - and then the second thing is to apply it. People see things that you and I can't see. I'm going to repeat it just because we've got it here. Other people can see things that you and I can't see. I know it's hard to believe, but none of us are perfect.

And there are people from an outside perspective who can see things we can't see and we should be thankful that they're bringing it to us. I remember when I first started doing public evangelism. We were - I don't know if I've told this story before. Well, you probably haven't heard it. We were traveling - my wife and I - 45 minutes back and forth from where we were staying to the meeting site - and after the first night - it was my first time ever preaching a public seminar like this.

I finished preaching. We got on the road and we had our 45-minute ride back and I said, 'so honey, what did you think?' Yeah, some of you are looking at me saying, 'why did you ask that question?' I asked it and my wife would be very kind. She decided to make a sandwich - maybe you heard this in psychology. She gave - 'wow, I think it was really nice. You seem to know your subject well.

' And then 'but...' Da dunt, da dunt, da dunt.' I was like 'aaaggghhh.' Theoretically, what should I have been doing? "Thank you honey, that's great.' But after two nights - that happened two nights in a row - I said, 'you know, honey, could you just not tell me the night that it happens? Just wait until the next day and then tell me what I did wrong, but just don't tell me the night of the preaching, because' - but you know what? I found out something took place. My wife doesn't think like me, praise God, and because she doesn't think like me, I try to understand where she's coming from. There's a lot in my audience who think like her and if I understand that, I have a better chance of being successful in what God has called me to do. Love rebuke. Be thankful when a rebuke comes.

Let's look at another one - Proverbs chapter 27 and verse 5 - Proverbs 27 and verse 5 - common passage that's used - "open rebuke is better than secret love." Yes, we'll go on to another verse. Proverbs - Psalms chapter 141 - Psalms 141 - and this is David speaking and he says this - David actually puts into words what has not been written yet, but I've said it a few times - Psalms 141, verse 5. He says, "let the righteous smite me;" - David said let some who's righteous - someone who's good - let them hit me. Tell me what I'm doing wrong. Let them do it and - "it shall be a kindness:" - have you ever decided you're going to go up to someone in the church you know really loves God and say, 'hey, could you tell me what's wrong with me? I need some kindness today.

' We probably wouldn't do that, but that's what it's saying here - "let the righteous smite me and it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excEllent oil, which shall not break my head:" - if it's coming from someone like this, it's going to be like excEllent oil. Now we're speaking a little bit here - oil was something that was positive. This is something that's good for me. That reproof will be something that helps me be healthier, if I could put it in a modern context. That reproof will make me a better person.

So, I'm going to go to a righteous person and say, 'tell me what's wrong. I'm ready to take it.' I don't know if I would suggest that, per se, but David is saying that's a good thing. Let it happen. But what about our generation? Surely we don't need rebuke and reproof. We have been around so long as a movement, we have fine-tuned everything so we are basically ready for translation.

You can't speak much more tongue-in-cheek, as you realize. You know, there's a message the Bible has that's specifically for you and for me. It's for the time period that you and I are living in and it's found in a book called Revelation - Revelation chapter - Revelation chapter 3 -there's a talk here of rebuke. The speaker here is Jesus, the subject: the church of laodicea. Revelation chapter 3 and verse , our Bibles read "as many as i" - what's that next word? Love.

"Love, I rebuke and chasten:" this is how God shows us love. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:" you know, when my parents rebuked and chastened me as a child, that was not - it did not feel like love. It just didn't. There was no feeling of love in it - at least from my heart's perspective - but as I look back at what my life has been because of the rebuking and chastening of my parents, I can tell you right now, my parents love me. They did.

My daughter, right now, does not feel that I love her all the time. I know that. There are some times when I will say, 'you are not doing this.' 'But daddy I want to.' 'It's not an option.' Someday, Lord willing, two decades from now, I might get a 'thank you, daddy.' But you know what? I love her and so I'm willing to rebuke and chasten her. And that's what God does with us. You know, I believe that living by faith is not avoiding the rebukes of God, it's cherishing them.

Living by faith is completely opposite of what we would expect in the world we live in today. Living by faith is embracing the rebuke of God. Five points we've looked at in our lesson tonight: keeping the law is living by faith. It helps me to discern between right and wrong. Seeking the Lord is living by faith because when I give all, I receive all.

Not depending on what I have a lot of is living by faith and it's pretty easy to explain. Valuing righteousness above all else is living by faith. And this last one, cherishing the rebuke of God is living by faith. This is the kind of experience I want to have. I think it's an experience we all want to have.

To have this kind of walk where, step by step, we're getting closer and closer to Jesus Christ. You know, I believe that that kind of walk is something that can be real. That kind of walk where, as Enoch had, we get closer and closer - and I think there's an old spiritual that says this: 'one day God looked at Enoch and said, 'you know what? We're closer to my home than yours. Why don't you just come home with me.' That is the kind of experience God wants for us - closer and closer by faith - that walk - trusting him in every facet of our lives. I want to have that experience, don't you? Amen.

Let us ask God - spend some time right now - just ask God to work out his will in our lives and to help us have that kind of faith with him. So could you bow your heads with me as we pray? Our Father in Heaven, we want this kind of faith. We ask that, Lord, increase our faith. Help our unbelief, father, and help us to have faith. We want that experience of walk with you.

And now we pray, father, that you would draw close to each one of us. Fill us with your spirit. We ask in the mighty name of Jesus, amen. I want to thank each one of you for joining us for the Sabbath school study hour. We're glad that you came and we're looking forward to being with you again next week.

I just want to remind you, if you're interested, we have a free offer - #726 - hidden eyes and closed ears and if you would like this, our number is -788-3966. God bless you as you walk and live by faith. Amazing Facts changed lives. My mother passed away when I was three and my paternal grandparents decided that they would care for my two older sisters and I so that my father would have time to mourn. We never really had a mother or a strong fatherly figure - and I'm not blaming my dad, I'm just saying that's how things worked out.

When I was in high school, my older sister got into an argument with our father and my sister and I decided that we would take her side and so that caused a split in our family. For four years we lived in the same house, we ate from the same pot, we used the same restroom, we walked by each other, but we never said anything to our father and he never said anything to us. A year later I had decided I would move out for college. He wasn't very happy with that. We got booted out of the house.

We went back to apologize but we weren't really accepted back. I have felt so alone a lot of my life. I felt like I've had to fend more for myself. I've been missing a fatherly love. I don't have family with me.

I don't have a lot of things but I have God and I've been fulfilled. I've been satisfied. God has been my father. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week.

Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift. Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'.

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