Listen to Advice
Proverbs 19:20-22 ESV
“Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.”
The advice we are to listen to and the instruction we are to accept come from God, and come from the word of God, but they may also come to us through the writings and the speaking of fellow followers of Jesus Christ who are sharing what the Lord Jesus is teaching them through his word. But we must test what they share with us against the word (in context).
Also, we must understand that the Scriptures were written to specific people at specific times under particular circumstances, and although some (or many) of them are to be applied broadly to all Christians, they don’t all apply to us. Now, this is not to be used as an excuse to discount whatever Scriptures you don’t want to adhere to, but just saying, for example, we are not under the Old Covenant but we live under the New Covenant.
Basically, Jesus’ words which he spoke to his disciples and to the people with regard to their relationship with him and with others, and with regard to their salvation from sin and godly living, are to be adhered to. For example, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him.
Also, the writings of the New Testament which gave instructions to the saints of God in how they are to live are to be adhered to. Any instructions to the church on holy living, purity, faithfulness, obedience, submission, repentance, humility, and righteousness, etc., and on the subjects of adultery, idolatry, lying, cheating, stealing, and sinful practices, etc., are to be obeyed. These are not optional.
For, many are the plans of humans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. In other words, our plans should always submit to God’s will for our lives. We should not be making plans for ourselves outside his will and purpose for us, i.e., we should not be making plans to do what is sinful, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to commit adultery or to slander someone, etc.
God desires and requires that we love him with steadfast love with our whole heart, mind, soul, strength, and body. And he commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to be faithful to the Lord and to our spouses. And to love God is to obey him, so if we do not obey him, we do not love him, and we do not know him, and he does not know us (1 Jn 2:3-6).
God hates lies. I do, too. Lies are so harmful. They betray trust and they damage relationships. People use lies to take advantage of others, to misuse and abuse them, to trick and deceive them, and to manipulate them, too. Intentional lies are never kind. They are mean. And they wound the people we say that we love. So, if you are a liar, please stop!
The Fear of the Lord
Proverbs 19:23 ESV
“The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.”
To fear the Lord is to take him and his word seriously, to heart, and it is to walk in obedience to his instructions to us, his church. It is to show him honor, respect, reverence, and obedience by obeying his commands and by doing what he says to do. And the fear of the Lord leads to life eternal.
Now, if we walk in the fear of the Lord, this does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us. It does not mean we will never be sick, or that we won’t lose our jobs or our incomes, or that we won’t suffer loss in many other ways. For, the Scriptures teach that the Christian life is a life of sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And they teach that we will go through trials which test our faith.
But to walk in the fear of the Lord is what we should do, it is what God commands that we do, and it is the purpose for which Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For he died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us, and he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives.
The Mouth of the Wicked
Proverbs 19:27-29 ESV
“Cease to hear instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A worthless witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
and beating for the backs of fools.”
Many people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ do not love God for they do not obey him. Many of them are being told that they don’t have to obey the Lord or forsake their sins, so they are continuing in their sins and they are refusing to obey the Lord’s commands. But that is because they want to continue living in their sins.
So, they are ignoring the Lord’s instructions to them, and they are going their own way, and they are doing their own thing, but many of them are still claiming Jesus as their Savior and heaven as their eternal home. But that is a lie from hell which tells you that you can be saved and go to heaven when you die but that you can continue to deliberately sin against God.
So, they scoff at God’s instructions to us, sticking their nose up at God, refusing to obey him, and they treat him like scum. They think that Jesus died on that cross merely to forgive their sins so that they can escape punishment for their sins and so they can go to heaven when they die, but they scoff at the notion of walking in the fear of the Lord.
They are full of pride, convinced God will do nothing to them, and that he will welcome them into his heaven although they deny him by their lifestyles while they still live on the earth. They either feel that they are totally at liberty to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin, or they will minimize their sins and lessen the offense so they feel it will not count against them.
But the Scriptures make it clear that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, in disobedience to our Lord and to his commands, that we will die in our sins because we refused to die with Christ to our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. Although many people may feel that they are going to heaven when they die, they will be in for a surprise when the Lord Jesus tells them that he never knew them, and they are to depart from him.
Test What You Hear
Now, when I share what the Lord Jesus is teaching me through his word, I most always will give Scripture references to the Scriptures I have referred to or that teach the same as what I have shared with you so that you can examine what I share against the Scriptures which you then can read in their context to make certain that what I am sharing with you is truth.
So, please check out these Scriptures, and please take them to heart, for they teach us what God requires of us for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God, and they warn of what will happen to us if we do not take the Lord and his word seriously, and if we do not apply it to our lives.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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