Summary: A survey of Proverbs 16-20

Islington Baptist Church March 12, 2006

Sermon: Selected verses from Proverbs 16-20

Scripture reading: John 17:6-25

9 ways to be wise

Helpful hints for approaching the book of Proverbs. (taken from an article written by Greg Parsons)

Proverbs is designed to teach people how to steer their lives properly under the command of God

Because the proverbs are wise observations based on experience, they must not be understood as unconditional promises but as a good and wise principles to follow. The proverbs tells what generally takes place without making an irreversible rule that fits all circumstances.

At times the proverbs overstate the case and oversimplify without including “fine print” or “footnotes” with “lists of exceptions”.

In seeking to apply a proverb, be sure to validate the application through the context of the entire Bible.

The book of Proverbs proves over and over again how relevant and timely the Scriptures are.

1. Put God in whatever you do. Proverbs 16:1-4, 9, 33; 19:21; 20:24

All too often we bring God in last. Put Him first. Don’t make plans –whether it be to move, sell your house, change jobs, get married, select a school, etc, without coming before the Lord first.

In James 4:13-17 the Apostle James says “Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

2. Double check to make sure your motives are right Proverbs 16:2, 25; 20:9

Many times our motives for doing things are layered, complex, and mixed. We have a hard time owning up to this and recognizing it for what it is: sinfulness.

Often we declare in our minds or out loud that we are doing ___ for such and such reason, yet in the back of our heads there floats another reason that we dare not speak.

In Jeremiah 17:9 it says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

3. Pride comes before a fall. Proverbs 16:18; 18:12

You are not the cats meow. Contrary to what you may sometimes think, you cannot walk on water.

In Romans 12:3 the apostle Paul says “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”

4. If you want your friendships to last, use your tongue wisely. Proverbs 16:28; 17:9; 17:14; 20:3

In James 3:6-10 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

5. It’s better to have peaceful relationships than lots of money. Proverbs 17:2

Pursue peace with others

Don’t fall into the trap of envying what other people have. They might have more material items, yet be incredibly miserable.

6. Work hard at whatever you do. Proverbs 18:9; 19:24; 20:13

We made to work. It is part of our creative design. God put the man in the garden to work it. It’s good to work up a sweat.

Not working hard, according to Proverbs 18:9 is equivalent to sabotage and destructive behavior. It’s also a form of theft.

In Ecclesiastes 10:18 it says “If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.”

In Colossians 3:23-24 it says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

7. Jesus is the best and most faithful friend you’ll ever have Proverbs 18:24

Recognize that in Jesus you have the best and most faithful friend you are ever going to have. All sorts of people swear allegiance to others yet time, conflict, etc sometimes leads to the breaking of these bonds. This never happens with Jesus.

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