09 Dec 12/9/18 “Important Attitude Adjustments from Proverbs”
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The message this morning is “Important Attitude Adjustments from Proverbs.” Anybody need any attitude adjustments? You doing okay? Alright. Everyone from pilots to pastors needs to adjust something—pilots, obviously adjusting the airplane, pastors adjusting things, leaders in churches, leaders in ministry, your homes. We often have to make adjustments. And how do you make an adjustment? If you’re going off course, what is the right course? Well, for us it is the Word of God. So when we’re getting off course, we look at if we are getting off course, according to the Word of God. So how do we get back on course? Well, we look at the Word of God, and we get our attitudes back in check.
You know, I want to encourage you. I forgot to say this at the first service, but if you weren’t here the last few weeks, try to get the CDs of the last few weeks’ messages. Last week I spoke about the life of Samson and how to survive that anointing. How do you survive the anointing of God? When God has called you to do something, the enemy is going to come after you—how do you survive that anointing? And then two weeks ago I did just a few messages on “The Peril and Power of Pornography” and how to break free of that, because we are in Proverbs, talking about sexual immorality, and this is a church that believes we should talk about difficult things. We’re not here to tickle the ear; we’re here to challenge the heart with the Word of God.
Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.” In a nutshell, he’s saying, “If you can help somebody, do it. Don’t delay it.” But I also believe this first sentence here is having to do with that employee/employer relationship—do not withhold good from those to whom it is due—if somebody works for somebody. I saw this a lot when I was in construction.
“Oh, man, I’ll pay you next week.” Right?
“Well, you told me today.”
I had some people who had ninety-day-net contracts. Do you know what that means? You got paid in ninety days, after they got paid from the builder and from different things. But [help someone] when it’s in your power to do so, when you have the money. In biblical times they were paid daily—a day’s wage at the end of the day. A person worked, they got paid. A person worked, they got paid. But if there’s an agreement, you know, “Let me pay you at the end of the week for your wages,” then that’s an agreement, everyone agrees upon it, and that’s fine. But the writer here is talking about those who dangle a carrot or manipulate in any way. If you’re manipulating or dangling carrots to employees or others, you’re not on the right path. An attitude adjustment needs to take place today.
You know where that phrase dangle the carrot comes from, right? They put that carrot in front of the horse (I’ve never tried it; I don’t know if it works), and that horse would just keep walking to get that carrot. God doesn’t want believers to be dangling that carrot and making promises they can’t keep and taking advantage of people. We of all people should be the most diligent and the most supportive but also the most committed in honoring our words, paying people on time, and doing good when it’s in our power to do so.
Here’s why I think it’s a big deal. Last week we talked about how husbands, if you don’t treat your wives as the weaker vessel—and that did not mean weaker in the sense of better than, it meant more fragile and to highly esteem them—if you don’t treat them with respect and dignity, your prayers will be hindered. To me, that’s pretty big. He’s saying, “I will not hear your prayers unless you treat your wife better.” I have a feeling that can fall into other areas of life. If you don’t treat people right, your prayers could be hindered, because God is not on your side; He doesn’t honor that. He doesn’t answer the prayers of those who are going to take advantage of others.
Then verse 30: “Do not strive with a man without a cause, if he has done you no harm.” So, do not strive with a man without a cause. Is there ever a cause to strive? You know what strive is, right? It may be to argue, to come against, to debate, to strive against a challenge. I believe, biblically speaking, there are causes and there are not causes. As a believer, we err on the side of grace. We turn the other cheek, but that does not mean you become a doormat. I don’t see that anywhere. As a matter of fact, and I’ve said this before—if you’ve been here before, you know I’ve said this, so don’t ruin it for the rest of them—do you know that when Jesus was slapped on the cheek, He didn’t turn the other cheek? They slapped him, and He said, “What evil have I done? Why do you slap Me?” He challenged him. But see, it doesn’t mean what He said is not true, because it is true. With personal insults, we are to just turn the other cheek and be meek and humble, take the lower road, and not try to get back at people.
But there are times to strive with people when there’s a valid cause. And strife is kind of like friction. There’s a friction there, and you’re striving. I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this with you. I got through the first service, but I just feel the need to share it with you. Many of you know about the article I wrote. A couple different national websites picked it up. One is Christian Headlines, and as of today, it has seven thousand shares. That means there are a lot of negative emails I get, in addition to the positive ones. What happened, as many of you know, is that Lauren Daigle, artist, wonderful voice and sincere heart, but when asked about homosexuality, if it’s a sin, she dropped the ball: “I don’t know. Read your Bible. I’m not to judge.”
So I wrote an article kind of lovingly challenging that and saying, “Hey, she’s opened the can of worms. Somebody’s got to close it.” We’ve got to be able to have a Christian response. We don’t judge her. People have questions, and we welcome questions. Who doesn’t have a question about the Bible? But when you’re a leader in the Christian community, and you’re giving millions of young adults the wrong answer, then there has to be another voice that says, “Hey listen, there’s something missing here. The Bible is clear on this issue.” And we believe there is a time to defend the truth and to say, in love—see, it’s not attacking, it’s not judging—but to say in love, “Hey, here’s where we’re missing it. We’re trying to please man and not God. We’re trying to compromise the truth and not offend.”
I’ll just tell you upfront the Word of God is going to offend the culture. It’s going to offend the world—unless you can become politically correct—which means every single thing is going to be scrutinized, everything’s going to be under a microscope. So anyway, you can read the article, it’s at christianheadlines.com. I wasn’t just talking about her; I was talking in general about [the issue.] There’s a pastor I debated on Fox News (you can watch that too—just put my name in at Foxnews.com, and it will come up), where he’s for gay marriage. He actually will promote it. If somebody says, “I’m struggling with homosexuality,” he will encourage them to go with it. We debated that issue, because there is a time to strive and to say, “This is not right.”
That’s actually what the Word of God does. It’s like a piercing; it divides the right from the wrong, the good from the error, the truth from what is false. So there is a time to do that, but we have to be careful because it has to be done in a spirit of humility. I haven’t mastered this area yet, but I’m just saying, it can’t be like “arghh”—because my heart breaks. See, that’s the difference. It wasn’t like “Oh yeah, I can’t wait to write this article.” It was like, “I don’t want to [have to do this.] Oh, God.” My heart breaks for these people. Why can’t they just say, “Yeah, the Bible is pretty clear on this, but we love you.” You tell the truth, but you also are loving and gentle about it.
I came across an article regarding this by David Mathis. He asked some important questions before we engage or strive with others. He said ask this: “Am I my going with or against my flesh, which inclines me to fight when I shouldn’t?” In other words, your flesh is always going to want you to fight. Before you strive with another, ask “Is it my flesh leading me?” I had to do this in writing this article. Actually, my flesh was the opposite: “Don’t say anything. Don’t stir the pot. Don’t get anybody upset. Don’t rattle any cages. I’ve had a tough enough week.” Because the flesh won’t always fight. It wants to kind of step back as well.
But you have to ask that question: am I in fight mode? But also you have to ask the question, does my flesh want me to back down, when I should kindly, patiently, gently fight? You have to look at your heart. Am I pursuing petty causes based on what the flesh wants? Am I simply angry at my opponents, desiring to show them up or expose them? In the case again of the article I wrote, absolutely not. That’s the last thing on my mind. Actually, it breaks my heart to say anything like that. I want to protect. [Lauren Daigle has] a wonderful voice, she’s a twenty-seven-year-old who’s a wonderful influence in the Christian community. But that’s a pretty serious statement. That’s a pretty big deal when you’re asked about this and you say, “I don’t know myself. If you have questions, read the Bible,” and you leave these people with not a lot of answers.
Am I more inclined to anger against them or to shed tears for them? If you’re going to strive, and you just can’t wait to get them, you might be heading in the wrong direction. You might want to back off of that, because it’s about tears, isn’t it? It’s about, “Oh God, I don’t want to do this.” Look at Jeremiah, the weeping prophet: “Oh God, my head is like a flood, and my eyes are like rivers running down. I’m weeping for my people.” Jesus said, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, I see your destruction is coming. I’m weeping. That’s why I’m whipping. That’s why I am critiquing.” Remember? Leonard Ravenhill said you’ve got to weep before you whip.
Jesus would go into the temple, first He’s weeping, He’s broken, He’s humble. Then by the authority of God, you can preach, you can call things out, because you’re doing it with the power the Holy Spirit, with love. See, love with truth is powerful. That’s how you melt the heart of a sinner. But truth with pride is dangerous. Now again, I have not mastered this, but I will die trying. I’m convinced if we take it to God, God will show us. Say, “Lord, what do You want me to do? Show me.” I said on that article, “God, I’m not doing this unless You tell me exactly what to write quickly,” and it just came. All those points just came.
And again, let me just offer this from Titus 3:9. Here’s what Paul told Titus: “Avoid foolish disputes.” Okay, let’s start there. Avoid foolish disputes. Okay? I’m just looking [around here] because neither one of them is in the church service, but two men I know had a dispute on if there will be animals in heaven. I’ve got a lot more other things to worry about than that one. But you don’t want to get going back and forth and “well, yes there will,” and “no, no, no,” and “Look at this—Jesus comes back on a horse.”
Remember Revelation? John said, “I saw heaven open, and He rode on a white horse, and His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns, and no one knew His name except Himself, and His name was the Word of God.” And what? The armies of heaven follow after Him. Out of His mouth goes a sword, and He will judge the nations with a rod of iron. Is He really riding a white horse? It’s these contentions, these foolish disputes.
Are you pretribulation? Are you gone, are you out here, before the tribulation? Are you mid-tribulation, during the tribulation? Are you post-tribulation, after the tribulation? Or is there is no tribulation? Or you don’t even know I’m talking about? But see, we make these nonessentials essentials, and we want to show you our wisdom. Really, what I found out is somebody has read a book by someone else, and now they think they’re smart on this topic. They want to show others their knowledge in this area.
Now some of these things are good to talk about, wonderful to talk about, but don’t let it turn into a dispute and a striving and an arguing and a quenching and grieving the Spirit. Don’t talk about foolish things, genealogies. “I’m from the family of this,” is what they would talk about. “I’m from this,” and who’s better and all these things.
Avoid contentions. We know what that is, right? Avoid foolish contentions, contending for things that you don’t need to be contending for that are just causing strife. And striving about the law. What they would do, especially when Paul is writing in Jesus’s times, they would strive about the law. This Pharisee would say this, and this Pharisee would say this, and they would ask, “Well, what does he say?” or “What does he say?” and they’re adding to the law. Now that the Sabbath has fifteen hundred things added to it, and they’re just striving about the law. That’s why it was amazing, when Jesus walks on the scene, He says, “This is the Word of God. Here’s what God’s Word says, and you can take that to the bank,” and they said, “No man ever spoke like this man, with such authority.” There wasn’t striving over the law. He said, “Here it is. I lay it out for you.”
And then Paul said, “They are unprofitable and useless.” If you get into a dispute that’s useless and unprofitable, change direction quickly. Then it says, “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” Did you catch that? We can actually reject a divisive person. Now you don’t know it, because we don’t put a picture up on the screen, but we’ve done that here, a couple times. I said, “Listen, you’re not unified. You’re coming here causing problems. You’re stirring the pot. You’re ruffling feathers. You like it. You’re eager to dispute. You’re unteachable, and you’re angry. You’re arrogant. This is not a church for you.”
“Are you telling me I can’t come to church here?”
“Well, look at this: ‘Rebuke, reject, a divisive man.’” Why? Because it’s like cancer.
Here’s what much of the modern-day church has drifted into, and it can happen here. That’s why we are careful in these areas. We can become so worried about offending people that we don’t offend anyone. Well, that one’s cheating on his spouse. That one’s living together. That one’s divisive. That one’s a gossiper. There’s Silly Sally. I’m just not going to say anything to anyone, hopefully the Holy Spirit changes them. But no, he calls the church leaders to say, “Listen, you’re divisive, you’re causing disunity, you’re hurting people, and I have to ask you to leave the church.” That’s biblical.
Now, I often see where they go with this. “You know, you’re so right. I’m sorry. I have to work on that.” Amen. Come in. We’re a bunch of saints working on issues. But if they’re proud and arrogant, and they don’t see it, and they just come in. Maybe you don’t know that type of person, that’s good. Sin sniffers. Just wherever they go, they just sniff sniff, right, and they’re just judging. Shouldn’t pastors be wearing suit and ties? Why are the lights too bright? Why are the lights dim? Why are they standing? Why are they sitting? Why are they raising their hands? Why aren’t they raising their hands? Why are the services so charismatic? Why aren’t they charismatic? Blah, blah, blah, blah. Divisive, divisive, divisive. Oh, thanks, Jim—one handclap.
But that type of person is unteachable and proud, eager to dispute, and if nobody’s going to say anything and walk on eggshells, that person will never change. Usually, nine times out of ten—I want to say ten times out of ten, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt—nine times out of ten this person does not take rebuke very well, because they’re arrogant, they’re divisive: “You’re telling me what to do?” But we will as a church. We will, when it comes up, confront gossip, if it’s hurting people. Now if somebody struggles, I mean, we all say things we shouldn’t say now and then, but if there’s a divisive person that’s hurting the body.
This person steamrolled the church for a couple weeks, and I had six different people tell me things in two weeks. I met with them, and obviously, that didn’t go well, because it’s “not their fault.” Whose fault is it? Yep, six other people and me and the church. We don’t have discernment, we don’t have the Holy Spirit, and all this garbage, because they don’t want to repent. They’re divisive, and they need to be rebuked. It doesn’t help the church at all. The spirit here was just heavy.
That’s why Paul said reject a divisive person. Hopefully they’ll repent. Do you know that’s actually the model for church discipline? When you read about church discipline, you are to go to your brother, you go twice, you bring elders, you bring leadership, you pray about it. But if a person is in serious unrepentant sin, you bring it to the scope of people that know them, and you say, “Listen, because we love them, we have to withdraw from them so that God can work on convicting them.” People say, “Well, the church wants to discipline me.” No, they want to restore you. But like a little kid, sometimes people need spankings first, right? Nobody changes [when you just say,] “Would you please change? Would you please change?” No, they need to be confronted, saying, “I love you enough to tell you the truth. We can’t fellowship with you anymore.”
And then we look at Proverbs 6, adjusting our promises: “My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in a pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.” Do you know what this means? Surety is this: a person who takes responsibility for another’s debt. It’s a lot different now, but in Jesus’s time, if somebody was down and out, they didn’t put it on a Visa or file bankruptcy. They actually had to be an indentured servant and work for that person, possibly live in their home. They would live on their property and care for their animals, be their servant, because they are indentured to them, to be their servant, because that person was providing for them. They owed them money maybe. But if somebody comes along and says, “Hey listen, I’ll co-sign. How’s that?” Now we can understand. Co-sign. “I’ll co-sign for this person.” Be careful, because that debt’s now going to fall on you if they don’t perform. Oh, how many people know that one? That happened to me. I think it was 1994. I co-signed on a Honda car that I ended up paying for and the person kept. “Oh man, next month. I’m just in a hard spot. Oh man, next month.” You give me that car back, right? So be careful.
But there’s actually a deeper lesson here. God’s view is that we are snared by our words. I’ve noticed this, especially in the last thirty years or so. For many years, when I worked with my dad in construction, I never even saw a contract when he would do work. You know what I saw? A handshake. Why? What I said is what I will do. And I saw him lose thousands of dollars because he misquoted. We would start to get into things, and we realized it’s a bigger job than we thought. But by your word, your word, and I believe God still honors that today. I believe we need to be men and women of our word. When we say it, we mean it. When you say something, “I will be there,” be there.
But now what does this generation do? “I’ll be there at 10:00” means 10:30. Or “I’ll be there,” means “I’ll try to make it if I can.” Or “I’ll serve in that area” means “If I feel like it that day.” We’ve drifted so far, far from God’s standard. My encouragement this morning is that we are snared by our words. If we say something, let’s do it. God will honor that. Well, Shane, that’s going to be hard. Then don’t commit to too much. That’s what I do. I say no a lot more than yes. That’s how you get through it. See, “Yes, I’ll be there,” “Yes, I can do that,” “Yes, I can help with that.” Or say, “You know, I’m not sure yet. I’ll get back to you. Let me pray, let me see what my schedule is like, let me get back to you.”
But we’re snared. That means we’re trapped by our own words. Well, then what are we supposed to do? Verse 3: “So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend,” meaning now you’re in his hand because you’ve committed, you’ve promised. Back then people would be killed because of a word—two witnesses. If you said you were going to do something, they held you to that word. God is a covenant-keeping God. God said, “My word will sustain you. My word will come true.”
Abraham, when He put him to sleep, and he had that vision of the she-goat, the heifer, the ram, the turtledove, the pigeon, and it was cut down the middle, like a covenant. He’s a covenant-keeping God. “My word, I gave my word.” I think God views that more than a signed piece of paper. Now granted, we need contracts now and then, and they’re important from time to time. But make sure it doesn’t supersede your word.
Here’s how you fix the problem. “Go and . . .” Let’s all say it, because this is a hard one. Come on. “Go and humble yourself.” There we go. See, that’s how you get out of it. Go and humble yourself. But why is that so hard? God says here’s how you fix it. You go to the person, you say, “I was overcommitted. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have made that choice or that decision. Can you release me of this?” And nine times out of ten they will say, “Absolutely. No problem.” Now you’ve got God on your side. I’ve learned this. I love humility even though it’s so hard. But humility is like a magnet for God. Humble yourself—boom, the presence of God comes upon you. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; in due time He will exalt you. You exalt yourself, He will abase you. The humble He teaches His way. He gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud.
So, if you say something, instead of trying to get out of it, just say, “I was wrong,” and humble yourself. This is the “excuse generation.” I guess I’ll put myself in that generation, right? I’ve never heard more excuses in all my life. “But this, but this, but this, but this, but . . .” Go and humble yourself. Say, “I was wrong.” It’s very healthy, very good, to say, “I overcommitted. I was wrong.”
Many of you know, and I’m going to talk about it on the 16th, the church purchased a couple radio stations. It reaches about five million vehicles in the course of a year. I’ve been working with a lot of the big ministries. I reached out to Tony Evans, Greg Laurie, Alistair Begg, David Jeremiah. I’m talking with a lot of the big ministries’ groups, and I’m committing to timeslots. I’m committing to certain things, charges or fees, how much they would pay to be on the radio and different things. And I’m snared by the words of my mouth. There’s no contract. But guess what? You think I’m going to try to get out of that? Absolutely not. I’m committing to that. I’ve got a spreadsheet, and I’m trying to keep it all together. I did make a mistake. Somebody wanted 7:00 a.m., and I put 6:30 a.m., and I told them. I said, “I made a mistake. I didn’t catch that. I apologize.” No problem, that’s fine.
Now I’ve got some excuses going up, right? Oh, my internet’s down. Microsoft Word isn’t a working. Google Docs is having issues here. Something. My Word document just evaporated, now I’ve got to put it all together. Just own the darn thing. My Lord. Own it. <Let’s be a church?> “I’m sorry. I was wrong”—moving forward. Because excuses really don’t make you look good. We can read through them, can’t we? But when somebody tells me, “Hey, Shane, I was wrong,” that kind of melts me. I’m like, “Oh,” and I feel for that person. “You know, I was wrong too.” And you have all this “Oh, I was wrong too,” and you work it out.
But there is strength in humility. I love to see a mighty man of God humble themselves, because then it humbles me. I humble myself before God, and that’s what worship really is, just humbling ourselves before God. When we come into a church service, we humble ourselves to others, and we serve them. We humble ourselves with our words and with our commitments. It’s about humility is the life and walk of Christ. It’s the life of humility.
Verse 5: “Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of a hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” Something that’s vitally important: own the error, even if the person doesn’t listen. Because you’re going to get that too. You go, and you apologize, you own it, and they don’t listen. They don’t forgive. They don’t move on. Guess what? You’re good with God. Now they have to deal with God. We get so worried: “But they’re not listening. They’re not changing. They’re not accepting my apology.” No, just do what you had to do, and now God is on your side. He’s against them. He’s resisting them. Why is He resisting them? Because He resists the proud.
Adjusting our work ethic. Uh oh. Verse 6: “Go to the ant, you sluggard!” Could the Bible be a little bit more politically correct? No. It deals people straight. It shoots them straight. “Go to the ant.” So it’s basically calling the lazy person a snail, a sluggard, who doesn’t move very fast. Go to the ant, you lazy person. “Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer, or ruler provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Man, those look good, Christine, thank you. She puts all the PowerPoint Scriptures up there. Clean, and it looks good. Thank you for that. I’ve been meaning to tell you that, so I wanted to do it before I forgot.)
So he’s saying here, “Go to the ant, you sluggard.” There’s no captain, there’s no overseer, there’s no ruler. Basically, there’s nobody forcing an ant to work. He’s saying, “Listen, take example here.” The first thing I glean from this is spend time with those who will motivate you. Spend time, go look, go follow somebody, who will motivate you. Do you know why we’re getting so lazy? Because we’re watching the wrong things, we’re following the wrong people. Those who are on social media a lot are not hard workers, often. We get caught up in that laziness, get caught up in that social media cloud out there, and we become very, very lazy and very unproductive. So look to those who will motivate you.
He also says here, self-motivation. They plan ahead. Are you planning ahead? Work hard. Plan ahead. Also do something. God honors hard work. God honors hard workers. See, I think we forget about that. Because it’s a delicate topic, and we need to talk about it, especially from the pulpit. God honors hard work. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. God loves a person who will work hard and discipline themselves and not take advantage. That’s one concern I have for the direction of our country. When we talk about socialism, everybody putting into the same bucket—let’s all put in, and we’ll all pull out evenly. It’s called “even distribution of the wealth.” It’s not biblical whatsoever, because you will enable and encourage the lazy, and you will discourage the hard worker. It’s not possible. Granted, we need to be careful, and we need to help those who genuinely need help. We have to. That’s absolutely essential that we help those who—notice the key word—genuinely need help.
The way the founders designed the country, the way that God even looks at government, is to administer justice, to defend the nation, and those types of things. The church is to be the conscience of the people. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master of the state nor the servant of the state. She’s the conscience of the state, and if she doesn’t recapture her prophetic zeal, she will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” So the church is supposed to come alongside and be the conscience of the nation.
People say, “Well, how can we fix it?” It’s like the Titanic’s been hit. How do you fix that? But if you look to God, if our nation once again looked to God and prayed and sought His counsel, you would see some miraculous things. In a nutshell, if the church can look at individual case scenarios, we can see who we’re enabling and who we truly need to help. Because you can’t enable, you can’t encourage, an entitlement society. Like these kids nowadays, “I’m entitled. I’m entitled.” Not necessarily. We’re not entitled. God blesses hard work. God desires that we work hard.
I gave some examples in first service how as a church we see this a lot, because people sometimes think the church should be the first resort in helping people, not the last resort. What I mean by that is so many people will come and say, “I need some help this month.” Okay. And you go to their house, and they have an old motorhome, they have motocross bikes. “No, these things have to be sold first. You’re not in need yet. These have to be sold first.”
I was just reminded in the first service about a lady who we’ve helped before, and we said, “Why don’t you get a job?” She said, “I’m not going to get a job. I’ll lose all my benefits.” But see, that’s not healthy, that’s not good, if she can truly work. To me, that can be a form of rigging the system and lying and manipulating. God says, “If you can work, work. If you can’t, then that’s what it’s there for.” And actually, if it wasn’t abused, it’d be a wonderful system. If it wasn’t abused by so many different things. If that’s you [who needs help], I’m not talking about you. I think we need to help people who can’t work. They’re in a bind, that’s a given, but for the most part, the Bible talks about those who don’t work, don’t eat.
Verse 9: “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” In other words, it’s going to sneak up on you. But laziness is a slow descent of seemingly small choices. Watch out, because lazy in this area, then lazy in this area. Oh, there’s a lot of smiles. I better stick on this one for a minute. Just laziness, and that’s why many aren’t at that early morning worship service, right? Amen? The flesh, the laziness, it can sneak in.
He says, “Be careful, because it’s going to come on you like a thief in the night, like a prowler.” You say, “How did I get here?” One wrong choice at a time. So that’s why Paul says, “Discipline yourself. Discipline yourself. Bring your body under subjection.” You tell your body what to do; it doesn’t tell you what to do.” And that filters into all areas of life. The flesh wants to eat too much. The flesh wants to drink too much. The flesh wants to sleep too much. The flesh doesn’t want to have anything to do with God. The flesh is pre-programmed to laziness. If you do nothing, you’re going to laziness. You’re pre-wired, preprogrammed. If you jump into the river current of laziness, you’re going with it.
So it’s a constant fight upstream in all areas of life to not allow laziness to come in. That’s why I’m having a conference on January 5th in regard to how we take care of our bodies, our physical bodies, and not being lazy in this area. Oh, a lot of smiles on this one too. Conviction alert, right? But it’s true; I’m just telling you the truth. It filters into all areas of life.
And then adjust our attitudes, Proverbs 6:16: “Six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him.” Number one, “a proud look.” Did you know that God hates a proud look? You know what a proud look is, right? Uppity, right? Nose held high. But the Bible talks about humility and lowliness. God just hates that proud look, that look that says, “I’m glad I’m not like other sinners. Thank God I’m not like that tax collector. Thank God I’m not like that person.” And we look up. There’s this haughtiness, this arrogance. It’s a stench in God’s nostrils. It’s a stench in our nostrils. That person is just so haughty and so arrogant, you either just want to slap them or run away. “Come down off your high horse, mister.” That’s where that term actually comes from. They would sit up on these high horses and look down on other men, and they had this look of haughtiness, looking down on others.
We see this a lot when we look down on homeless people, or we look down on those who are impoverished. You look down like “How could they?” But be careful. If it wasn’t for the grace of God, there go I—there go you. The only difference between that man in the curb and gutter in Lancaster, hung over today, is the grace of God, and me not being there, is the grace of God. That’s how you’d better approach life. Woe be to the person who says, “Well, I’m better than that. I can hold myself up.” Watch out, king. He’ll take away your sanity for a season, like in Daniel. Daniel warned the king. The king was haughty: “Look at all I built. Look at everything I’ve done.” And God right then, instantly, took away his sanity, and he became like an animal, living among the animals. He grew these claw-like fingernails and long hair, and finally he said, “I glorify the Most High God,” and his sanity came back to him. It’s that easy. Humble yourself. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.
“A lying tongue,” number two. John Gill, a commentator about three hundred years ago, said, “A tongue speaking falsehood knowingly and willingly, with the intention to deceive others and to hurt the character of a neighbor or to flatter a friend, is a most detestable evil.” A lying tongue. This is what concerns me about a lying tongue. They don’t admit to it very often. And remember, liars will have no part in the kingdom of heaven.
Now this is different than a person who struggles. A lot of people struggle with lying and not telling the truth, and they go to God and say, “God, this isn’t right. I need help in this area,” and they confess. God sees that. That’s a struggler; that’s not a hypocrite. That’s a person who struggles. But this a liar. They’re just hell-bent on lying. They don’t care if you’ve confronted them. They don’t care. They’ve built their whole life around lies. They tell these whoppers and these little ones, all in one sentence. They know the Rock and Carrie Underwood and Lauren Daigle. They know them. And they just tell all these lies, and they name drop. They build this facade around them, and they build themselves up, but God says, “I hate that lying tongue. Humble yourself.”
Of course, number three I have talked about before, “hands that shed innocent blood,” with the abortion mills and the murder of innocent children and the murder of any innocent. God hates that.
Four, “a heart that devises wicked plans.” A heart that devises wicked plans. Now wicked doesn’t just mean something absolutely satanic, which obviously it can, but if you go back into the Hebrew language of Proverbs, it’s a word that means anything, any choices, that go against God’s will, God’s nature. So any plans against God’s will. Dating unbelievers, joining with them, participating in sin, leading people astray, shady business deals. Uh oh. We’re going to hit home. Wicked plans. See, we’re already making plans, wicked plans, devising evil plans. It’s already starting, come January, right? What’s due in April? Let me devise some receipts. Let me devise some gas mileage and some write-offs and some extra. Let me devise these wicked plans. Getting out of that one. But be careful.
Number five, “feet that are swift in running to evil,” quick to sin. They can’t wait to sin. They are pushy and rebellious. Have you met those people who just can’t wait to sin? God says, “I hate that. Repent and believe.”
Then number six, “a false witness who speaks lies.” Didn’t we just talk about the lying tongue in number two? Well, this is different. A false witness who speaks lies. In the Bible they also they put a very high value on two witnesses. A man cannot be condemned without two or three witnesses. A witness, that what a person said should be highly esteemed, and so a witness who would bear false witness, who would say something about someone that’s not true, God hates. Of course it’s a form of lying. But we have to do inventory here. Do we do this to others? “Have you heard about such and such?” We pull out a little nugget of truth, and we turn it into a whole shovelful of air, and we pull them down, we lie about them. “Not quite, but that’s a little white lie.” If it’s not true, it’s a lie.
And it’s in the heart. Are we encouraging others? And that’s what Christians should do. Love covers a multitude of sins. Now I’m not for putting sin under the doormat: “Let’s not sweep it under here. Let’s not talk about it.” But love should cover others. I don’t want to point out the sin. I don’t want to make it a point. I don’t want others to know. I want to cover it. I want to build you up and encourage you, unless it needs to come out, of course. It’s like saying, “Did you hear that such and such are having marriage problems? She’s divorcing him, and he’s hooked to this. Did you know that?” Okay, well, they don’t need to know it. But what’s our excuse? “Would you pray for them?” Right? “Hey, can you pray for such and such?”
“Why, what’s going on?”
“Well, I know you’re spiritual. I know you won’t let this go any further.”
“What is it?”
“Well. . . “
And then we just. . . Are we guarding others? Are we guarding them?
And number seven, “one who sows discord among the brethren.” Remember that little [motion]? Come on, what am I doing here? Come on, Brant, you know, you were at the first service. Stirring the pot. Stirring the pot. Stirring the hornets’ nest. There are people—you might not know this—but there are people who actually love to sow discord in the church. They come here, and they’re a little antsy, just looking for anybody to sow discord with. Did you hear? Did you know? Did you know? Sowing discord with.
Or on Facebook. Sowing discord. They just love that, but God says, “I hate that, and I’m against you.” That person, according to Peter Krol, and he’s right on this, he said, “They twist words to win sympathy. They label their complaints as concerns.” Oh, that’s a biggie. They’re a complainer. They complain, but instead they’ll say, “I just have concerns.” Tito, it’s just a concern. Would you hear me out? But it’s a complaint. They’re complaining. They’re divisive. Their anger is always a frustration, and their bitterness is just a misunderstanding. They always have questions, but they never have answers. The sower of discord always plants doubt.
See, when you come in to church, are you sowing unity? Am I? Or are we sowing discord? You know what discord is, right? If I were to hit a piano, that’s sowing discord, versus Brant playing it—nice harmony, in harmony with. It sounds great. But discord is playing something that’s not meant to be played, on an instrument. Discord in the church is causing division in the church.
Let me close with this. Saints struggle. Most of you, I’m sure, here this morning, are children of God. You’re saved. Saints are going to struggle with these issues. But sinners are snared by everything I talked about. You have to ask yourself, “Am I a liar? Do I not know God?” Because now, briefly, we’re going to Communion, but I want to go from good principles we just talked about to a great Savior. It’s interesting. This morning I was thinking about this, and it parallels when Jesus says, “Take the cup,” (we’ve got cups up here for Communion), “take the cup, and do this in remembrance of Me.” He also prayed, in the garden, “Take this cup from Me, Father.” So we have the tale of two cups. This cup, take and remember this cup. Father, take this cup from Me.
What’s this cup? What’s so important about this cup? Well, let me tell you. In Jeremiah 25, God said, “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of my wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink of it.” God was telling Jeremiah, He uses this metaphor of a cup. He said, “Take this cup, and preach the judgment of God.” Did you know the churches can preach that again? We don’t always have to be politically correct and nice and not offend. The gospel will offend. You can tell people that there is a judgment of God coming, that they will stand before a righteous, holy Judge, and all our deeds will be exposed. What are you going to do with that judgment? Here’s why this is so important, especially for America. We say, “Come to Jesus, and you’ll have a great life.” What happens if life isn’t great? “Come to Jesus, and you’ll have tremendous peace.” What about if I still struggle with suicide? “Come to Jesus, and all your problems will go away.” What about if they don’t?
See, you have to paint sin as horrific and Christ on the cross as glorious, and people run to Christ, and they hold on for dear life. Come hell or high water, I don’t care if life is not going to fix my problems. I don’t care if I’m not going to have my best life now. I’m hanging on to Christ because He’s my Savior. That’s the gospel. But think about it. That’s why so many people fall away. “Would you just come and try Jesus? Would you try my Jesus? Life is so much better.”
And it is, I know what they’re saying. I’m not trying to mock. Come to Jesus, and you’ll have tremendous peace, and you will—the peace that surpasses understanding. But in the midst of peace there is suffering. In the midst of that peace there’s tribulation. The Bible paints this picture that the wrath of God is poured out on mankind, because of sin. And you say, “Oh, my God. I see my sin. Now I see my need for a Savior.” There’s no walking away from that type of Savior. No matter what you go through, you’re holding on to Christ. Yes, I might get cancer. Yes, I may die for my faith, but I’m holding on to Christ. All those things compare to nothing but rubbish. Paul says, “I count it as rubbish, all those things as rubbish, for the glories of Christ.” Oh gosh, I could hang out there for a minute.
I was talking to Sister Sarah who gave her testimony, from the persecuted church in China. I think [she was held] five or six years in prison in China. When they believe in Jesus, and they get baptized, the majority of time they know that could cost them their life. Basically, baptism there means “I’m ready to die for Christ physically.” Now parallel that to America. Nobody wants to do anything for Jesus. We don’t want to say anything on Facebook that’s too offensive. We don’t want to talk about the wrath of God. “Let’s just talk about the goodness of God. Let’s make Jesus be a genie in a bottle and God a doting grandfather Santa Claus. That will go over really well.” The Bible doesn’t say, “Let it go over well”; it says, “Preach the gospel.” God says, “You will drink of the wine cup of the fierceness and the wrath of Almighty God.” That’s biblical. But see, you’re giving people the truth; now they’re turning to Jesus, and it makes sense. It makes perfect sense.
Ray Comfort, you know who that is—The Way of the Master. He gives a wonderful illustration about a guy being given a parachute on an airplane. So he’s given this parachute. It’s heavy, it’s cumbersome, and the flight is fine. He doesn’t need this parachute. So he puts it off to the side. But another man finds out the plane is going down. He doesn’t care how cumbersome it is. He puts that thing on. He doesn’t care if he looks funny in the aisle. He’s standing there with the parachute because he’s warned. He knows what’s coming. That’s how you’re supposed to present the gospel. How do you explain the cross if you don’t talk about sin? How do you talk about Christ as a Savior if you don’t talk about judgment? It makes no sense. Many churches are trying to make Jesus palatable, meaning, it tastes good, it’s not offensive, it won’t upset, as good as they can. But then people try Christ out, and they realize, “This isn’t what I signed up for,” because they’ve painted the wrong picture.
You just paint the gospel picture. Well, what is it? Romans. All have sinned, and all have fallen short of the glory of God. There are none that are good. No not one. We are under the wrath and condemnation of God, but God demonstrated His love in us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So you equally balance the wrath of God with the love of God, and it’s a beautiful picture of redemption. That’s where some of you, you need to make a decision. What Christ have you been following?