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Summary: This sermon incorporates a story that illustrates what happens when we substitute the things of God with the things of this world.

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--"SAWDUST OR REAL STUFF?"

PROVERBS 11:1-7

1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,

But a just weight is His delight.

2When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.

3The integrity of the upright will guide them,

But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

4Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,

But righteousness delivers from death.

5The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright,

But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.

6The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,

But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

7When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,

And the hope of the unjust perishes.

Today I want to tell you a story...

About an old farmer and his mule named Pete.

The farmer was a thrifty old fellow.

Well, let's face it.

He was tight, penny-pinching and just plain stingy.

One day, as he was thinking about his farm expenses...

He decided that the oats he was feeding his mule

cost him too much money.

He needed the mule to pull the plow, so he couldn't just sell him.

So instead of getting rid of the mule...

He decided to cut down on Pete's feed expenses.

He mixed a little sawdust in with the oats,

hoping the mule wouldn't notice the difference.

Transition:

NOW...There is a lesson for us in this story.

As foolish as this old farmer seems to be...

We sometimes do things very similar.

Oh, we don't do it to a mule.

We do it to our souls,

to our spiritual lives,

to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let's think about some similarities in this story to our lives.

POINT #1 SOME THINK A LITTLE OF THE WORLD'S SAWDUST WON'T DO ANY HARM:

There are several things in the Proverbs Chapter 11...

which might seem to be harmless enough.

But the Bible says they can be damaging and deadly.

#1 A little dishonesty.

Verse 1 1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,

But a just weight is His delight.

A man selling grain used a set of balance scales.

I have a set in my garage.

(Show the weight)

This weight represents 100 pounds.

If I put this weight on the scales arm...

It would take 100 pounds of grain on the scales.

to make the arm on the scales balance.

But suppose I take a weight that is lighter...

and I say that it is a 100-pound balance.

The man buying grain from me won't get 100 pounds.

He pays me for 100 pounds of grain.

but He gets 99 pounds...or 98 pounds.

He might not ever know it.

It might seem to be harmless.

Who cares about a pound or 2?

I"LL TELL YOU WHO CARES!

GOD CARES!

Dishonesty is an abomination to the Lord.

God is pleased when we are honest.

What else can be damaging and deadly?

#2 A little pride.

Verse 2 When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.

This word "pride" comes from a Hebrew word...

which also means: to be arrogant, conceited, a presumption of personal superiority, to look down on others.

I've seen Christians become so prideful...

that they look down on other people.

They think are better than others.

They think their church is better than other churches.

Notice the word "HUMBLE" in Verse 2.

God's word says it's better to be "humble".

Christians should have a "humble" attitude.

Proud Christians will be put to shame.

What else can be damaging and deadly?

#3 A little doing wrong.

Verse 3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,

But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

The Hebrew words in the verse tell us so much more.

They suggest secretive, dishonest, sneaky goings-on.

For instance, a secret meeting with someone not your spouse.

Or working behind someone's back to gain an unfair advantage.

Doing things like that will eventually destroy you!

What else can be damaging and deadly?

#4 Trusting in riches and love of money.

Verse 4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,

But righteousness delivers from death.

How many believe that you are a rich person?

Yes, you are!

This verse is not just for the millionaires.

It's for all of us!

Possession of earth's material goods is not evil.

Being possessed by them is.

Poor people can be just as evil as rich people.

A righteous person doesn't hold "tight" to his riches.

Your money and possessions won't do you any good...

on the day you stand before Jesus Christ!

Listen to these verses:

Proverbs 28:20

A faithful man will abound with blessings,

But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

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