The Benefits of Living for God.
• There is a song from my generation.
• I believe one of our members, Ron Carter, personally knows the writer of this song.
• It says, "Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind. Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"
• Signs are important to give us directions, warn us of danger, and even invite us to some pleasures.
• God has put signs in the Bible to direct us to the best of life. We can say that these signs direct us to the Benefits of Living For God.
Illustration: A museum once had an ancient wooden throne from the German dynasty of Hohenstaufen, dating back to 1212 AD. The museum had only one place to display the peace of furniture, but unfortunately, it wasn't a place out of reach of patron. Despite signs of warning saying "Do Not Touch", people could not resist the temptation to rub their hand over the old wood in awe of its age.
The problem was, the hand oils were breaking down the crude finish and ruining the priceless throne. Finally, a low paid custodian of the museum had a suggestion. Instead of the sign saying, "Do Not Touch", it was changed to "Caution, please wash hand thoroughly after touching."
No one ever touched the throne again. (Paul Seely)
• Let's look at Proverbs 3:1-12 to see the signs God has given us to direct us to the great life to which He has called us.
• The Bible always points us to morality.
Pro 3:1-2 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”
• "Do not forget" Always remember. Always look to the moral.
• The implications is that this instructive father had taught his children the commandments.
• The picture here is to follow the right with all your heart and all you head.
• The way this must be done is for the head to know what the scriptures say.
• That is the only way to please God always.
• Psa 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
• The Israelites were instructed to write God's word all around them.
• Deu 11:18-20 - "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”
• I want to make something clear, especially for our young ones tonight.
• Most scholars believe there somewhere around 613 Old Testament commandments.
• Why do we not major on the Old Testament commandments?
• Because we are under a new covenant, purchased by Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.
• Heb 8:7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.”
• Heb 8:13 “ In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
• What about this new covenant.
• Listen to how Paul the Apostle described the new covenant and how it perfected God's plan.
• Gal 3:23-26 “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
• Jesus fulfilled the 613 commandments and by faith, we are offered His righteousness, with our commandment to love God and love other. Look.....
Pro 3:3-4 “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
• The Bible always points us to love and kindness.
• Do not let love and faithfulness leave you. Grab them, hold them and never let them go.
• Jesus shows us how love and faithfulness replaces all 613 commandments of the Old Testament in His new way.
• Mat 22:35-40 “And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ 37 And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’"
• If you act in love and faithfulness to God in every situation, you will please God and make your way good.
• The Bible always points us to faith.
Pro 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
• God gave you a mind, but part of being intelligent is to admit you cannot figure this life out.
• Begin by trust in God with all you heart and not trusting your thinking.
• "lean not on your own understanding."
• The instructive father here tells his children, use your mind, but use it to find God in everything you face.
• "In all your ways acknowledge him".
• He promises, this will straighten everything out.
• The Bible always points to humility.
Pro 3:7-8 “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
• One of the most common flaws of men is the idea that we can handle it.
• We are good enough, smart enough, and by golly, people like us.
• When you are complementing yourself about how well you handle life and life situations, the most loving thing God can do is show you your weaknesses.
• Job 11:7-11 "Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? 8 It is higher than heaven--what can you do? Deeper than Sheol--what can you know? 9 Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. 10 If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? 11 For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?”
• Oh what a difference it makes when you live in humility and fear of the Lord.
• Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
• The Bible always points to stewardship.
Pro 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
• These verses instruct the children, don't get blinded by what you own.
• Don't forget to honor God with what you possess and produce.
• Don't forget God in your Facebook.
• Don't fail to honor God in your clothing.
• Dating, friendships, family.
• When you do, those will be blessed. When we don't we hurt ourselves and have to be taught better.
• The Bible always points to obedience.
Pro 3:11-12 “My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
• Don't fight God and His way.
• Don't despise His discipline and resent His teachings.
• God loves you. He disciplines those He loves.
• Some times God's correction will come through Church and Church leaders.
• We do our best to teach you the right way and respond as responsible teachers when you do something that is not permitted.
• It is an awesome responsibility.
• Let me speak to the youth for just a moment.
• We try to be right in our correction and discipline.
• That means, we don't correct you because we are agrevated, belittled, or any selfish reason.
• But we are not perfect and we mess up some times.
• Our correction does NOT diminish our love for you.
• If we seem to come down hard on you (that will be how it feels sometimes), it is not a loss of respect for you, a lack of love or anything about us.
• When we mess up, over step, and sometimes absolutely fail, forgive us and love us.
• We will try to be perfect as youth leaders, won't we guys.
• But, just as we will continue to love you when you slip up, and you will, we just ask you not to get mad at us and give up on us.
• You have all of our youth workers word that we will try to seek God in how we love you, discipline, teach and guide you.
• When we mess up, it will be hard to keep loving and forgiving us.
• But the Bible always points to loving one another, even when we really mess up.
Ill. Norman Cates shared the humorous story of a guy who prayed this prayer every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him. The bus was nearly empty but this guy sat next to our praying friend. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep. He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner and I need the Lord. Won’t somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, is this a sign?" Are you looking for a "sign" to start witnessing?( Richard Crow, Sermon Central)