Friday, January 23, 2015, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Courageous.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 10-11 (selected verses NASB).
They Receive Commands
The wise of heart will receive commands,
But a babbling fool will be ruined.
9 He who walks in integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will be found out…
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions. ~ 10:8-12
In today’s modern church here in America a new gospel is being preached. This new gospel tells its listeners that all one has to do is pray a simple prayer to receive Christ and now they have the promise of eternal life in heaven with God, and that nothing can take that away from them. There is truth in this, but there is also deception. They also tell them that God requires nothing of them at all, but that he does it all. Again, some truth, but much deception is involved in this new gospel. And, then they convince them that repentance and obedience to Christ and to his instructions is works-based salvation, and that they are saved by grace, so all that is required of them is to believe, although “believe” is not defined. And, then, on top of that they tell them that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.
What they don’t tell them is that, although we are saved by grace, through faith, and that this is not of OUR OWN works, genuine faith is not absent of works. Just read Ephesians 2:10 along with verses 8-9, and read Titus 2:11-14. Jesus Christ did not die just so we could escape hell and so we could go to heaven when we die. He died so he might free us from slavery to sin, and so he might free us to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. He died so we would no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. And, He died so we would no longer walk in disobedience, but so we would submit ourselves to him and to his will for our lives, and so we would walk in his ways. This is true grace! [See: Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24-25 and 1 John.]
They Heed Instruction
13 On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found,
But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.
14 Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand…
16 The wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.
17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray. ~ 10:13-17
Not only do the wise of heart willingly receive God’s commands, i.e. not only do they submit to the cross, die to sin, and choose to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and no longer after the flesh, but they also daily respond in surrender and obedience to Christ’s instructions for their lives as they become knowledgeable about them.
In order to do this, they spend time daily at Jesus’ feet, listening intently to what he has to say to them, and with the full heart attitude and intent to obey what he teaches them. They are not casual about their relationship with Jesus Christ and they do not play with sin, thus making excuses for it. They are sensitive to the Spirit’s voice, and they respond in obedience when the Spirit points out an area in their lives which needs to be changed, i.e. when he convicts them of sin.
The problem with this new gospel is that it teaches its believers that they don’t have to repent of (turn from) sin and that they don’t have to walk in obedience to Christ’s instructions to us (His Word), and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do. So, what this does is give the adherents of this new gospel carte blanche to do whatever they want without guilt and without remorse. This is a man-centered gospel which lacks the fear of the Lord, and is not at all centered on God. It is foolish, and its followers lack good judgment and discernment in following after these lies. In the end they will not find the hope of heaven they had been promised, but only eternal punishment without God.
They Feed Many
20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver,
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding…
24 What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. ~ 10:20-25
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want…
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls. ~ 11:26, 30
There are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing in our churches today who claim to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ but who are only feeding themselves (See: Ez. 34). They say what the people want to hear rather than teach the hard truths of God’s word. They put Band-Aids over the serious sin wounds of God’s people, and they tell the people that nothing bad will ever happen to them. They entertain the people rather than confront them with their sin. They are more interested in not offending people than they are in speaking the truth in love to them. And, so either they feed the unsaved a false hope of heaven, and/or they do nothing to help deliver Christians from their sin issues, and thus many who call themselves Christians are living defeated and fruitless spiritual lives.
The wise of heart, though, feed many with the truths of God’s word, bringing true hope, true salvation from sin, and true healing and restoration for the lost or the wandering soul. They scatter the seed of the gospel of Christ and of Christ’s love and grace to the regions beyond them, and they receive an increase in human lives which are touched with God’s grace and mercy, and which find true hope and healing for their sin-sick, wounded or wandering souls. They don’t flatter people for their own advantage, falsify information, and/or manipulate or deceive people in order to not offend people, and in order to make people feel good about themselves or about the church, so they will come back. They speak the truth in love always in the power of the Holy Spirit within them, and with the goal to see changed lives and hearts turned away from sin and turned to walk with God/Christ.
They are Strong and Courageous
27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
28 The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright,
But ruin to the workers of iniquity.
30 The righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom,
But the perverted tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted. ~ 10:27-32
The wise of heart also walk in the fear of the Lord. This means that they treat God Almighty with honor, respect, value, reverence, loyalty, devotion and fidelity, and they give him their love and their obedience. They love their Lord, and they desire nothing more than to live for him, to walk in his holiness, and to do what pleases him.
When they walk in the ways of the Lord, in the power and working of the Spirit within them, they are strengthened in their faith. As they grow in their knowledge and understanding of God/Christ and his word, they mature in their walks with the Lord, and they grow in wisdom and in discernment. Through trials and tribulations they learn perseverance, hope, determination and steadfastness in their commitments to Jesus Christ and to his kingdom work. They also learn to trust Christ more in all things, to rest in his love and grace, to not fear humans or bad situations, and to believe in God’s absolute sovereignty over all things.
The closer they grow in their walks with the Lord Jesus, and the deeper their commitment to him becomes, and the more they share of their faith, and stand for what is true, right and just, and the more they spread the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more Satan will fight against them and will use other humans to persecute, reject, betray and abandon them. Yet, the Lord Jesus has given them all they need (See: Eph. 6:10-20) to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against them, to stand firm in their faith, and to counter Satan’s lies with the truth. As well, the Lord Jesus will empower them from high to be strong and courageous in their battle against the enemy of their souls, and in their witness for him, even in the face of death. Amen! I can tell you that there is no other way than this which brings such peace, joy, fulfillment, satisfaction and assurance of purpose for one’s life.
Courageous! / An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.
They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.
He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.
By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.
Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.
Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.