Summary: Good intentions need Godly action to benefit the kingdom of God
"Good Intentions Are Not Enough"
+ In the 18th Century James Boswell is said, "Hell is paved with good intentions." Actions must be taken and followed through in order for the intention to become a reality. Boswell’s quote is a summary of human nature not to follow through on what is right. James tells us this is sin. (James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.)
+ I believe there are people listening to sermons preached today that know that Jesus is the only way to heaven and plan to make a decision for Him sometime, but not now. A good intention, but not enough for salvation.
+ Churches are full of believers who sincerely desire to grow closer to Christ yet never seem to change much for Christ. Why? Good intentions are not enough. What then is the answer? Let’s look at our scripture text today:
+ READ TEXT (Proverbs 16:1-3 NASB)
16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.
3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established.
We can see from the text 3 elements to making intentions reality:
1. Good Plans
2. Godly Motives
3. Great Commitment
1. Good Plans (v. 1)
16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD
If good intentions are to become reality then Good plans must be made.
+ The plans (NIV or NAS) or (preparations KJV) of the heart belong to man¨ - The Hebrew word for heart here comes from a root word "lebab" which means ones inter being. Plans are important in life.
+ Parenting - Does any parent intend to bring up a bad kid? Why then are some kids bad? Could it be that proper planning didn’t take place when the child was younger? God created us to be "hands on" parents that set and live by God’s standards.
If life were only making good plans then we all could succeed. But we all know that good plans alone don’t always work out. Why? Because man is not in control. It is a sovereign God who is in control.
+ the answer - Man can make the plans but it is God who has the answer to those plans. It is God who allows those plans to become reality. When things don’t go the way we thought or hoped for He teaches us our error in our lack of planning or our error in wrong plans (that go against what He desires for us).
Christians need to plan to grow spiritually otherwise they will remain "babes in Christ." Babes never move on to maturity. Our plans need to be centered on God’s will for us and we need to be flexible so that we can adjust to the trials and tribulations that go with following God’s best plan. Will you commit to growing closer to Christ today? We want to help you. How about making plans to:
+ Read the Bible daily (read it through this year).
+ Take time to pray (pray your heart - not just a memorized prayer you always say)
+ Learn your Spiritual Gift and use it to minister in this church.
+ Be faithful in your attendance at church (especially Sunday School or home Bible study)
TRANSITION: If we are to do God’s will our good intentions need good plans but also they must come from Godly Motives.
2. Godly Motives (v. 2)
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.
+ All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight¨ - We can rationalize anything. Christians can even rationalize sin. We see ourselves as clean and if we are caught it is not our fault it is someone else’s fault. Do you see the victimization of America? - everyone is a victim, no one is at fault. We have no-fault divorce no fault auto insurance. With the secular world we can have such a thing as "no fault" but with God that is not possible.
But the LORD weighs the motives¨ - God sees beyond the external to the internal. He knows us to the core of our being. He knows all of our ways are not clean and our motives can be impure.
Godly motives are essential if our good intentions are to become a reality. Only God knows truly what our motives are. We need to let the Lord weigh our motives and then respond accordingly. It may mean that we "turn the other cheek" (Matt. 5:39) more often than always standing up for what we think is right - remember when we are in the flesh all our motives seem clean in our sight.