The Wounds of a Friend
Proverbs 27:1-2, 5-6 ESV
“Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips…
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
We are certainly living in a time of great uncertainty, although, in reality, every day is like that, for not one of us knows the future. We only know the future in the sense of what the Bible teaches us is coming, but we don’t know when these events will take place or exactly how they will happen.
Not one of us knows what this day will hold, much less tomorrow. Every day has its own challenges and sometimes surprises. Right now, in America, there is concern over the health of our president and many are speculating what might happen, but only God truly knows.
We are also living in a time of enormous deception and much superficiality. It is hard to know who is real and who isn’t, there is so much fakery and pretense that goes on. Especially in the virtual world where people can be whoever they pretend to be, it is hard to know if people are who they say.
Since there is so much superficiality and pretense that goes on, and so many people wanting to hear only what makes them feel good, or what does not unmask their charades, those who are called of God to speak the truth in love are often not well liked by the masses.
They call it “love,” though, when they flatter each other and when they say only what they think people want to hear, but not what they need to hear. But that isn’t love. That is selfishness, for the one flattering is just thinking of himself and his/her desire to want to be liked and accepted.
True love, and true kindness will never lie to people, though, but will tell people the truth they need to hear, even if those who are the bearers of the truth are rejected in return. But it is better to be told the truth than lies, or to have someone be nice to your face who backstabs you when you can’t see what they are doing or saying.
The Heart of Man
Proverbs 27:8, 12, 19-20 ESV
“Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who strays from his home…
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it…
As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and never satisfied are the eyes of man.”
We are also living in an age of massive immorality, including within the church, at large, and/or within institutional Christianity. Sexual immorality is running rampant in the church due to the cheap grace gospel which gives permission for “believers” to keep living in their sin.
Statistics have it that as high as 75% of Christian men look at porn regularly and as high as 50% of pastors are engaged in viewing porn, too. And women and children are being added to those numbers, and the numbers are rapidly increasing with the easy access to the internet and to porn.
Marriages are being destroyed, for not many marriage beds are undefiled these days with so many people committing adultery regularly via porn and sexually charged movies, videos, sex-texting, and private messaging, etc. Thus, families are falling apart, too, and children are being led into sin.
Yes, everyone is responsible for his/her own life and life choices, but the church is largely to blame here for not correcting the wrong, but for encouraging it by teaching “believers” that they don’t have to leave their lifestyles of sin behind them or obey Jesus or submit to him as Lord.
Thus, what the church at large is promoting, with the cheapened and diluted gospel message they are giving in place of the true gospel of grace, is chaos, anarchy, rebellion, and lawlessness. They call it “love,” but it is a far cry from love. There is nothing kind about destroying human lives in the name of love.
So, this is why it is so important that we are teaching the truth of the gospel and not the lies, because the people need to hear the truth so that they can be delivered from their slavery to sin, and so they can walk in true freedom from sin and in walks of obedience and surrender to our Lord Jesus.
The Condition of Your Flocks
Proverbs 27:23-26 ESV
“Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds,
for riches do not last forever;
and does a crown endure to all generations?
When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
the lambs will provide your clothing,
and the goats the price of a field.”
There is probably more than one way to interpret these verses, but I believe that the primary interpretation here should be one of speaking of spiritual sheep (believers in Jesus) and spiritual shepherds (pastors, elders), especially in light of the chapter, as a whole.
In Jeremiah 23 we read a rebuke to the shepherds (pastors, elders) of the sheep (the Lord’s followers). They were destroying and scattering the sheep, which is what many pastors are doing today by teaching the cheap grace gospel and by turning the church into a marketplace.
For, the shepherds are not tending the flock but themselves only when they teach that we can be saved from our sins and bound for heaven but that we don’t have to repent of our sins or obey the Lord or submit to Christ as Lord, and when they are more concerned with the world liking them than they are with pleasing God.
So, God has a day in mind when he is going to judge these shepherds of the people for their evil deeds. And I believe the church is already under judgment, and that is why America is suffering as it is right now and why the world, at large, is suffering, too.
But, since so many shepherds of the people have deserted their flocks spiritually so that their people are going astray spiritually, God is sending out whoever will go for him with the message of the true gospel so that people will hear the truth and so be saved.
But those of us who are spreading the message that Jesus taught, which is that we must repent of our sins (turn away from them) and believe in him, which involves obedience and submission to him as Lord, we are being persecuted, rejected, falsely accused and talked against for telling the people the truth which will set them free (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
But we are blessed of God that we are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and we are not to fear what humans may say about us or do to us. But we are to thank the Lord for entrusting us with his gospel message to take it to the people so that they can hear the truth and so be saved.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”