INTRO.- ILL.- You know its going to be a bad day ahead when...
- You wake up face down on the pavement.
- You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.
- Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
- You want to put on the clothes you wore home from the party and there aren’t any.
- You turn on the news and they are showing escape routes out of the city.
- You wake up to realize your waterbed broke and then discover you don’t have a waterbed.
- Your horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
- You call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
- Your income tax check bounces.
- You put both contacts in one eye.
ILL.- A police officer in a small town stopped a motorist who was speeding down Main Street. "But officer," the man began, "I can explain."
"Just be quiet," snapped the officer. "I’m going to let you cool your heels in jail until the chief gets back."
"But, officer, I just wanted to say,..."
"And I said to keep quiet! You’re going to jail!"
A few hours later the officer looked in on his prisoner and said, "Lucky for you that the chief’s at his daughter’s wedding. He’ll be in a good mood when he gets back."
"Don’t count on it," answered the fellow in the cell. "I’m the groom."
That groom was having a bad day but he wasn’t the only one. And we all have both good days and bad days.
ILL.- My little 3-year-old grandson, Caleb Santasiere, sings the lyrics to Daniel Powter’s song, Bad Day.
’Cause you had a bad day, you’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know, you tell me don’t lie
You work on a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day, the camera don’t lie
You’re comin’ back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day... you had a bad day
Brothers and sisters, we ALL can have bad days. Some of these bad days may be determined or influenced by our associations, our chums, our friends, etc.
I Cor. 15:33 “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Sometimes our friends are not true friends.
ILL.- A little boy asked his mother if he could go out and play with Timmy. “You know you don’t like Timmy,” his mother said. “All right,” replied the youngster, “then can I go out and fight with him?”
Prov. 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Do our chums sharpen us spiritually or make us dull spiritually?
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Jesus had a good friend, a holy friend. Consequently, it was much easier for Him to have a good day every day. When you are in touch with the God of heaven, the Creator of the universe, you are more likely to have good days and be a good person.
PROP.- Our text in Proverbs tells about three different men. A sinful man, a foolish man and a wise man.
I. A SINFUL MAN
Prov. 29:6 “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.”
An evil man is snared, trapped, or corralled by his own sin. Sin has a way of coming back to bite you, doesn’t it?
ILL.- Police had no trouble at all tracking down the burglar who ransacked a house in Pelham, New Hampshire. The burglar came by automobile and, in backing the car to leave, rammed a snow bank. The license plate left a perfect imprint in the snow.
ILL.- Something similar happened, only far worse, on Friday, November 10th, in Denver, CO. Perhaps you heard about it, read about it or saw it on TV. The whole Frank Bingham family was run down by a drunk driver. Frank (41 yrs) and his wife, Becca (39 yrs), and their two children, Macie (4 yrs) and Garrison (2 yrs), were run down. His wife and two children were killed. Only Frank survived.
The man who ran them down probably didn’t mean to do it, but apparently, he was drunk. It was “hit and run,” however. He left the scene of the accident. And the police caught the man the next morning because his license plate had fallen off during the hit and run, and of course, this led the police right to his front door.
What can be learned from this man? Don’t drink and drive. I’m not much in favor of any kind of drinking, however.
We are often snared or trapped by our own sin, although our sin may not be this bad or extreme. God have mercy on Frank Bingham, his family and even the man who ran his family down.
An evil man is snared by his own sin. Jim Bakker of the once famous PTL club, Jimmy Swaggart and now Ted Haggard.
Ted Haggard was the pastor of a 14,000 member Evangelical church and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (50,000 U.S. churches) that condemned homosexuality! He condemned homosexuality from the pulpit and yet practiced sex and illegal drug use with a male prostitute.
An evil man is snared by his own sin. Haggard has admitted that he has struggled with his sin for many years.
But honestly, don’t we all struggle with certain sins? Our sin may not be immorality, but it could be dozens of other things: impatience, hatred, ill will, gossip, slander, arrogance, pride, selfishness, overindulgence, etc. On and on the list goes.
ILL.- A Sunday School teacher asked a little girl: “What are the sins of omission?” After some thought, she answered: “They’re the sins we ought to have committed, but haven’t.”
If we all were put in the right place and at the right time, or perhaps at the wrong place and at the wrong time, WE ALL COULD SIN GREATLY! And we might sin in many ways.
Romans 7:18 “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
We want to do well but sometimes something just overcomes us, controls us and we don’t do good. We do evil. The apostle Paul struggled with this as well.
Haven’t you ever wondered what he struggled with? When anyone is snared by any sin, here is something to remember.
Gal. 6:1-2 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
I am glad that some people are willing to work with Ted Haggard in order to bring restoration to his soul. I am thankful that his wife of many years is willing to hang in there and help to restore him.
God has always been interested in restoring people, not in condemning them or hurting them. After all, in John 8, what did Jesus do to the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery?
II. A FOOLISH MAN
Prov. 29:8-9 “Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger. If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.”
Prov. 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger…”
A foolish man is a mocker of good and good people. A foolish man rages and scoffs. A foolish man gives in to his anger.
ILL.- Someone said, “If you tell a man that there are 581,678,934,341 stars in the universe, he’ll believe you. But if a sign says, ‘Fresh Paint,’ he has to make a personal investigation.”
There will be always be mockers, scoffers and skeptics, but the worse kind of all are those who mock Christ and Christianity.
ILL.- John Lennon of the Beatles many years ago told a London reporter, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now....”
And where is John Lennon now? He was murdered in New York City on December 8, 1980 by a deranged fan.
Then there was Madalyn Murray O’Hair who constantly mocked Christianity and ridiculed Christians.
Her son William, who eventually became a born-again Christian and preacher, writes of her as follows: "My mother was an evil person ... Not for removing prayer from America’s schools ... No ... She was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company."
And where is Madalyn now? The law believes that she was murdered some time in 1995.
ILL.- More recently, British pop singer, Elton John, said these words. “I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays. But there are so many Christian people I know who are gay and love their religion . . . From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings (rodents) and it’s not really compassionate.”
Even though Elton John received a dose of Christianity in some form when he was small he is surely against it now just because Christians take a stand against the gay lifestyle. He’s just another mocker.
ILL.- Secretary, taking dictation, to boss: “Are you sure you want an exclamation point? Nobody’s surprised at anything anymore.” That’s just about the truth, is it not?
In our day and time, we should not be surprised at those who mock and scoff at Christ and Christianity. Things will only get worse before they get better. Mockers and scoffers should be avoided because religious arguments do little good. It’s ok to contend for the faith but we must do it in gentleness.
I Pet. 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
III. A WISE MAN
ILL.- A first grade teacher collected some old, well-known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb, and he or she had to come up with the rest. Here are the results:
- As You Shall Make Your Bed So Shall You ... Mess It Up.
- Better to Be Safe Than ... Punch A 5th Grader.
- Strike While The ... Bug Is Close.
- It’s Always Darkest Before ... Daylight Savings Time.
- You Can Lead A Horse To Water But .. How?
- Don’t Bite The Hand That ... Looks Dirty.
- You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New ... Math.
- If You Lie Down With The Dogs, You’ll ... Stink In The Morning.
- An Idle Mind Is ... The Best Way To Relax.
- A Penny Saved Is ... Not Much.
- Two’s Company, Three’s ... The Musketeers.
- Laugh And The Whole World Laughs With You, Cry And ... You Have To Blow Your Nose.
- If At First You Don’t Succeed ... Get New Batteries.
- When The Blind Lead The Blind ... Get Out Of The Way.
These are examples of a child’s wisdom. And some of it is not so bad. Now for scriptural wisdom.
Prov. 29:6 “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.”
Prov. 29:8 “Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger.”
Prov. 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
A wise man is righteous or seeks to live a righteous life. He or she can sing and be glad. A wise man turns away from anger. A wise man works at controlling himself.
ILL.- Max Born died in 1970. A close friend of Albert Einstein and a colleague of Max Planck and Otto Hahn, the nuclear physicists, he was one of the great minds of the twentieth century. In an interview on German television before his death, Born commented: “I’d be happier if we had scientists with less brains and more wisdom.”
ILL.- Someone well said, “You don’t have to be listed in Who’s Who to know what’s what.”
As we know, the greatest wisdom of all comes from the Lord and His Word.
Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Wow! Doesn’t this verse tell us how important it is to be a student of God’s Word? Someone said, “Sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin.”
Psalm 119:14-16 “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”
A wise man seeks to live a righteous life. We choose what is best and what is right even though the crowd around us is tempting us to do differently.
I think is easier for us as we get older, if for no other reason than because we’re too tired to do anything.
Most of are no longer interested in “painting the town red” because we would pay for it dearly the next day. Too bad we don’t learn this earlier in life.
A wise man turns away from anger and tries to control himself. Most anger is not right or righteous. And don’t you just hate yourself after you blown your top at someone? I do. As someone said, “An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.”
ILL.- Anger weakens a man. It puts him at a disadvantage in every undertaking in life. When Sinbad and his sailors landed on one of their tropical islands, they saw high up in the trees coconuts, which could quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger.
The coconuts were far above the reach of Sinbad and the sailors, but in the branches of the trees were the chattering apes. Sinbad and his men began to throw stones and sticks up at the apes.
This enraged the monkeys and they began to seize the coconuts and hurl them down at the men on the ground. That was just what Sinbad and his men wanted. They got the apes angry so that the apes would gather their food for them. That is a good illustration of how by indulgence in anger we play into the hands of our foes.
How do we overcome anger and gain self-control? There is only one way. The Lord is our helper, our overcomer, and grace giver.
James 1:19-21 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” ACCEPT THE WORD.
Study God’s Word and pray that God’s Word and His Spirit will gain control so we don’t lose control!
A sinful man, a foolish man or a wise man. Basically, we have a choice in life.
ILL.- Several years ago a young man went to the Mayo clinic because of pain in the left foot, which became worse on walking. After a thorough study, it was concluded that for at least five years he had been suffering from Buerger’s disease, which was becoming progressively worse.
He smoked 20 cigarettes a day and every physician consulted advised him to give up the habit.
Nevertheless he disregarded all this advice. He returned to the clinic two years later and admitted that, although his consumption of tobacco had been reduced, he had not abstained. By then, the pain in the left foot and right calf was more severe.
Another year slipped by and on his third visit to the clinic the condition had not changed. Again they told him that smoking was the problem and the patient dismissed. He was not seen for 12 years, at which time the clinic physicians were surprised when they learned that after his previous admittance he had finally given up smoking.
Shortly after he stopped smoking pain subsided and circulation improved.
We have a choice in life. We can choose to follow the ways of the world and suffer for it. Or we can choose to follow the Lord and be blessed.
I John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”