Series: Practical Proverbs
Thesis: The primary message of Proverbs is “Get wisdom or act and look like a fool!”
Sermon 1 & 2: Wise vs. foolish
We learned that wisdom is God given not manmade but foolishness is manmade not God given. We learned that wisdom is given by God to us so that we use knowledge rightly and correctly and if we don’t have God then we don’t have wisdom and therefore we are unable to use knowledge correctly or rightly.
Sermon 3: Wickedness vs. godliness
We need to be able to recognize and avoid wickedness in our lives and instead embrace godliness.
Sermon 4: Laziness vs. diligence
The writers of this ancient wisdom literature inspired by God try to convey the message to us of “Don’t be lazy - be diligent!” In other words “Make a commitment to work hard at being all God wants you to be!”
Sermon 5: Pride vs. humility
Pride is very subtle and crafty and loves to work or weave its way through our lives, our hearts and our minds. It wants to convince us that all the blessings come from our work, our talent our pride tells us that God did not help or intervene – you did it all yourself – it’s your gifting – it’s your insight – it’s your knowledge. God had nothing to do with it --- you did it all! Humility is the opposite of pride because it knows it needs God! Humility knows it cannot do anything in life without Him and His assistance. Humility recognizes what Jesus did for them! It sees the sacrifice and it sees the love!
Sermon 6: Poor versus Rich
Proverbs reminds us that wisdom from God looks at what is poor and rich different than the world does. A person with money can be called poor and a poor man with no money can be called rich in the eyes of God.
Sermon 7: Giving versus Receiving
Thesis: We need to remember that God gave us the perfect gift of Jesus and we in return need to give Him the perfect gift which is our hearts!
Scripture Text: Proverbs 11
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
26 People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
27 He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.
28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
26 All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—how much more so when brought with evil intent!
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
35In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Proverbs addresses how giving and receiving is suppose to be a part of the life of the wise or the godly. Remember the wise are those who have surrendered their life to the Lord and in turn received God’s divine wisdom which enables them to use knowledge rightly and correctly. This means that because the Holy Spirit lives in them then they know how they should be using the money, the resources and the gifts that the Lord has given them.
The New Testament also reminds each of us as Christians the following about using our gifts, money and resources wisely:
John 3:27: John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows
Hebrews 13:16: And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Gifts –giving and receiving just all get wrapped up in our Christmas celebration – don’t they? The book of Proverbs along with other teachings of the Bible tell us to make sure we give, and we receive as wise people of God do.
Prop have some Christmas gifts up on stage – or under the trees.
Many have been in search of the perfect gift:
Question to group about their shopping: How is your Christmas shopping going? Or if you are done - How did it go this year in regards to finding each of your loves ones the perfect gift?
Many this time of the year search and search for that special gift for that special person in their life. For those who are in love this is a special project, finding or discovering that perfect gift. Some people will search store after store, or the internet to find that perfect gift.
They will seek, observe and listen for any information that could give them a clue as to what it is their loved one wants the most. Now some of you don’t have to guess because your loved one gives you list of the perfect gifts!
But -- Did you find that perfect gift? Are you eagerly excited about giving it to them on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? If you found it I bet you are just as excited as the one who will get the gift – right! You smile when you think of what their reaction will be!
Kathy, I and the rest of our family gave each other the perfect gift this year. We gave each other Christa. My Christmas morning happened this last Thursday afternoon when we met Christa at the airport.
There was screaming and laughing and crying and rejoicing when our present walked through the door. It was heart throbbing, joy filled as we all reunited for Christmas. We all had joy at receiving the perfect gift and giving the perfect gift to each other.
Have Christa come up and say hi- and update what is happening in her ministry in Africa.
In that moment I said to the Lord, ‘Thanks for giving us Christa the perfect Christmas gift!”
T.S. - I stand here before you at this Christmas season and I am compelled to ask you a few questions.
I. What has God given you as a precious gift?
a. Many do not realize who, what or why we are celebrating this Christmas season? Do you agree with me? But many realize that the Christmas season is all about giving and receiving would you agree? But do the majority of the people really understand with the wisdom of God what this giving and receiving is really all about?
i. Question: Are you so caught up in the events and planning of Christmas that you have forgotten what Christmas stands for?
1. The "Christ" means Christ – our Savior and the "mas" means mass which is a celebration or service of the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus?
2. I am sure many of us do not intentionally forget about the greatest most precious gift we all received at Christmas 2012 years ago.
a. Maybe because it was so long ago?
b. Maybe because of the stress and pressure at this time of the year?
c. Maybe because life has delivered us some unexpected blows?
d. Maybe because we get caught up in the lights, the decorations, the Christmas movies and holiday food?
e. Maybe because we go too far in debt and we only see the dollar signs?
f. Maybe because our family is splintered and broken and it becomes more painful this time of the year.
g. Maybe because we have lost a loved one and the pain and grief of that loss has blocked our view of Christmas?
b. What is the greatest gift of all?
i. Christmas is about giving and receiving the greatest gift that was ever given, no one has ever toped or matched this priceless gift of Christmas. No one has ever given a gift like this one which has reached as many people as this one gift has. This precious gift has become an intimate gift for billions of people, for them their most prized and adored gift. This gift has caused people to cry when they received it – to cry tears of joy. This amazing gift has caused people to drop to their knees when they have opened it and embraced it. This personal gift has caused people to jump and rejoice when they received it. Many have done dances and jigs upon reception of this gift because of the joy and happiness it has brought into their life. This gift has blessed people in different generations and geographical regions of the world and throughout history. This gift has reached people in different cultures and climates bringing smiles of joy. This gift has been opened in the midst of depressions, war and calamity and brought hope and peace to the ones opening it. This incredible gift when opened and received has brought hope and love to destitute lives and families. This exciting gift has been opened in the house of the rich and famous and in the house of the poor and unknown. This powerful gift has been given to kings, to presidents, to queens and to their servants. This gift has been opened on the battlefields of the world and under the trees in the small quiet villages of the country. This inspirational gift has impacted so many people and brought so many people happiness that songs have been written about it. This inspired gift has touched the hearts of so many people that stories have been written about it. Testimonies have been given in honor of this glorious gift. This gift – this timeless gift – a gift that never loses its impact and has been being given for 2,000 of years is still be passing on to others.
1. Video Illustration – sermoncentral - Jesus the greatest gift.
a. Yes, the best gift you could ever get at Christmas is Jesus – and that is why millions around the world are celebrating this precious –priceless gift this week – it’s a gift that keeps on giving and many still are receiving it into their lives and hearts. It’s a gift that has and will change billions of lives.
2. I am reminded by God’s Word what makes this gift so precious and priceless:
a. Text: John 3:16-17: 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
i. This section of Scripture tells us why God the Father sent Jesus to the world over 2,000 years ago into that manger in Bethlehem. It was an act of love so that mankind could be saved and delivered from the power and the destruction of evil. God opened up his heart and sent Jesus the Light of the World to a barn, a stinky gross place to be born so that you and I could be saved from our sins. He gave us the gift of Jesus!
ii. Scripture text on Jesus birth.
1. Matthew 1:18-24:
a. 18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
i. What Christmas really means first of all is Christ's birth. His name and birth were foretold centuries beforehand (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 42:8) and Christmas honors his birth which for us meant our deliverance from sin.
ii. Yes, the great gift of Jesus is God with us!
1. Why is He with us?
a. Because He literally walked, lived, worked, and died like us.
b. He became identified as one of us while still remaining God – rather amazing if you really think about it.
c. Jesus is both God and man fully two in one. He understands what it means to be human!
d. Quote: “He was birthed into history, into this world, yet He is not from it. He is the ultimate Christmas gift, a "wrapping" of His sufferings and a "bow" of His love that is for us all (Matt. 1:18-25).”
c. Story: A few centuries ago, the early American Puritans became very concerned that they were corrupting the purpose and meaning of Christmas with all their celebrations and traditional rituals. They started to see that their feasts and gifts were distracting from the worship of our Lord and polluting the meaning of Christmas. They observed it in the celebrations of Christmas in secular society. They saw drunkenness, family fighting, corruption, people getting ripped off and even in their own ranks they saw the meaning of Christmas being perverted -commercialized. It disturbed the leadership greatly!
i. So the Puritans decided to do something radical they reasoned that Sunday is the Lord's Day to give Him reverence, thanks, and worship, therefore there was no need for a special holiday which was intent on doing this only once a year and in their eyes failed to deliver what it was suppose to do. So, they radically decided to get rid of Christmas altogether and they banned its practice in their ranks.
1. Yes you heard it right. They outlawed Christmas! Yes they were the Grinch who stole Christmas for a while! It was the Puritans! Not a isolated green Grinch filled with hate and loneliness!
a. The Puritans became the religious Scrooges of the world!
i. They became anti-Christmas!
b. One author puts it this way: “Christmas became an outlaw practice where the people who dared celebrate it were prosecuted. Some provinces even banned the making of plum pudding on December 25th. Thus, the celebration of Christmas, then called "Yuletide," was now called "fool-tide." You may think that this is "bah-humbug," but think it through.”
i. Were they crazy – out of their minds? Did the Puritans lose their spirituality?
1. No they were trying to preserve and honor Jesus correctly and rightly.
2. They wanted the world to know about the true Jesus not the drunken parties, immorality and evil that had entered into Societies celebration of this holy day.
3. They wanted their own people not to get caught up in the commercialization of this holiday.
a. The above information gleamed from http://www.historytoday.com/chris-durston/lords-misrule-puritan-war-christmas-1642-60
4. It’s not so crazy if you really think about it?
2. I wonder today if people understand why they exchange gifts? Why we celebrate this time of the year? What it’ divine purpose and intent its?
a. Do you know why you are celebrating Christmas?
ii. Story from World War I– There was a great event that took place nearly a hundred years ago. Alfred Anderson, the last surviving World War I veteran from Britain, who died on November 21st, 2005 at the age of 109, was at the significant event that rang the "Christmas Bell" and made Christmas as a holiday for the world. This was the "Christmas Truce" of World War I. On the evening of December 24, 1914, the Germans, who did celebrate it fervently, decided to have a truce. For a brief time, thousands of men from both sides stopped their war. In this brief period of time, the war and the killing stopped. Both sides climbed out of their trenches and played soccer, exchanged cigarettes and tunic buttons, gave one another gifts, shared a meal, and sang some hymns, all in the mud and shell-hole pits of the area called "No Man’s Land" that lay between the fronts of war. Thus, they were not burying the dead, because they were not causing death to occur from the war. Unfortunately, the truce was not to last. The next afternoon the war reconvened, and the most heinous war in human history continued for nearly four more years. Imagine if the Christmas Truce had continued in 1914, and the war had not continued for the next four years, keeping countless millions from perishing? That would have meant both sides took Christmas and Christ seriously as, paradoxically, both claimed Him as Lord. How would the most violent century of human history look now if a real Christmas spirit and the practice of peace and goodwill had taken hold of their mindsets and life?
1. The above information gleamed from http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm
iii. This is what is happening in the world in our communities we celebrate this Holiday or Holy Day and yet it does not change our lives, our actions or our destinies. It’s a tradition not a personal experience with the Lord Jesus – it’s fun but no life changing meaning.
T.S. – God gave us the most wonderful, majestic, perfect gift in Jesus Christ and we need to be thankful and great full for that priceless gift and celebrate this holy day with the wisdom that comes from Heaven. We need to see and embrace Jesus the greatest gift we could ever receive and then give away to someone else. In light of this truth I have another question for you:
II. What are you giving God this Christmas?
a. Proverbs 18:16: “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.”
i. A gift – the giving and I would say the receiving of gifts opens up the heart to the presence of the great – we just saw that as we talked about the great gift God gave us of Jesus.
ii. But what gift could we give God that ushers us into His great presence?
b. What is the most precious gift we can or could give God?
i. Have you ever thought about this question? Ponder it for a moment!
1. What do you give the being who has everything?
2. For many this time of year there is a frantic – focused search and pursuit for the perfect gifts for their loved ones! They are in pursuit of the ultimate gift which will make their loved ones smile or rejoice or as our grandsons do jump up and down with joy!
a. Story of Ayden waiting in the playroom for a gift. What a person will do to get the perfect gift!
3. When I received Christa as our perfect Christmas gift I thanked the Lord for bringing her home for Christmas.
a. I heard Him say, “You are welcome!”
b. I also thanked Him for giving me His son Jesus to save me from my sin because I honestly realized how painful it must have been for Him to let Jesus come here – to leave his presence and be mistreated for the sins of the world here.
c. Then the question came back to me again “What gift could I give God this Christmas season?”
i. What would He really want?
ii. The God and creator of the universe what would he want me to give Him?
iii. Do you have any ideas what He would want?
ii. So what would God want for Christmas – what would be the perfect gift to cause God and all of Heaven to rejoice, scream, cry and jump for joy? Like we all did?
1. Think about it! What would that gift look like?
c. There is a saying in Proverbs 23:26: My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” Could this be the greatest gift you could give God?
i. Wisdom – God in the flesh says “Give me your heart!”
1. God wants – really wants from you for Christmas your love – your heart!
ii. I am reminded what Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
1. So it’s your heart – Can you give God your heart?
a. To give God my heart means I have to receive His gift Jesus then in return I give Him my heart!
i. I am told when we do this ---literally ---all of Heaven rejoices – they throw a party!
1. Can I also add this thought – maybe you did this at one point in your life but have drifted away from the Lord – He also wants your heart back and there will be another time of rejoicing!
2. One preacher put it this way:
a. God wants us to make the fervent attempt to repent, get right with Him, and not lead a double life, trying to follow two contradictory paths. These are the best gifts we can give! When we do seek to serve two opposing mindsets, God's versus the world's, we are being hypocritical, and create broken relationships, shattered lives, and unmet opportunities. This leaves us in despair as the devil and our ways have no hope or purpose other than to steal what God has to give to us. We already have joy and completeness in Christ when our hearts and minds are centered on Him. So, the bottom line is the call to submit and surrender to God, allowing Him to be our only Lord and direction. Then, He will lift us up beyond our greatest desires and plans to a much greater plan and purpose in life (Gal. 2:20-21; 6: 3-5; Phil. 3:10; Heb. 10:19-25; 11:1-3; James 4: 7-10; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)!
b. When you fall in love – I mean really in love not lust – you give a person your heart! Do you remember when you did this?
i. When you give a person your heart out of heavenly love what do people do.
1. They want to spend time with the one they love. Don’t they?
2. They usually pick their song or they are driven to sing another person a song out of love. I sang a song to my wife at our wedding to show her how I was giving her my heart.
a. Do you know why we here at Christian Hills worship through song so much? Because we are in love with Jesus and we want to give him our worship, our hearts in these moment of time. It’s a time in set aside to worship, praise, adore the One we love.
b. Pastor Beth our worship pastor is going to come and talk about this special moment.
2. Another gift I give God is my soul which is the seat of your emotions.
a. Your passions and desires!
b. Your dreams and visions!
3. Another gift I can give God is my mind which means as our proverbs says we follow his way – our mind is renewed to think and follow the desires and will of God for our lives.
a. Quote Richard Joseph Krejcir - © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministrieswww.intothyword.org :
i. Be willing to give God the gift of your Mind, a mind that is focused, to the best of your ability, on His precepts and character. Instead of filling our minds with needless junk, let us fill it up with things that will help us grow in our faith. Instead of a romance novel or a cheap magazine, pick up a good book, a classic, a book to help you grow, and read the ultimate Book, His Word, the Bible. If you are willing to grow closer to God, then fill your mind with things and ideas that are pleasing to Him (Rom.12:1-3; 1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Peter 2:1-2).
4. Another gift I can give God is my strength.
a. Yes my strength to use my energy to serve the Kingdom of God and not my own selfish desires.
b. My daily strength to serve His purposes for my life.
5. Another gift we can give God is to love our neighbors!
a. What did you say love my neighbor! – Have you met my neighbor?
b. When you do you actually give God a gift and he smiles and rejoices.
d. So today in my message have you found God’s perfect gift that you could give Him this Christmas?
i. God really wants us – we are the perfect gift for Him:
1. One preacher Richard Joseph Krejcir words it this way:
a. It is the gift of "yourself," that means you are seeking to be poured out to Him so, I am less and He is more (Mark 12:3-29-31; John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:1-14).
b. This means we are to seek righteousness (Matt.6:33-34).
c. We do this by seeking Him as Lord and not just Savior (Psalm 57; 138:7-8; Prov. 19:21; John 15; Rom. 8; Phil. 2:1-18)!
d. He adds, “What we give God should be the gift that glorifies Him. How we respond to life and other people will be rooted in how we respond to God. Do we fight Him or do we glorify Him? How do we know? The answer is in how we are with our attitudes and mindsets; are we humble or proud? If we are proud, we are serving the devil, even though we may think we are serving ourselves. If we are humble, then we are serving our Lord. This strikes at the root of our mindset and motivation in life.”
i. All these things we have been discovering in Proverbs!
Proverbs the book of practical wisdom tells us to get wisdom, embrace what only God can give –-- receive His gift Jesus --- then give it away to others so they too can discover the perfect gift.
We are to receive the gift of wisdom personified from Proverbs 8! It is calling us to embrace it so that we can use knowledge rightly and correctly in our lives! So that we can be wise not foolish, so we can be godly not wicked, so we can be diligent not lazy, so we can be humble and not prideful, so that we are rich and not poor, and so that we give and receive God’s way!
Thesis: We need to remember that God gave us the perfect gift of Jesus and we in return need to give Him the perfect gift which is our hearts!