Proverbs: Life In The Details-Catastrophic Company

Proverbs: Life In The Details-Catastrophic Company

Opening Illustration: The Bat House
TIFTON, GA — The most interesting thing about Tifton is an abandoned Victorian house filled with thousands of bats. Tifton County declared the once-elegant house in the town’s historic district off limits after a bat specialist said that maybe 20,000 bats had moved in, apparently for good. 

Now, teenagers call it the bat house. People talk about the smell, which is an unholy mix of animal urine and decaying wood. "In the summer, ooh, does that place reek," said Linda Turner, 69, a retired nurse and neighbor. "You ain’t smelled nothing until you come back here on a hot day."

Brothers and Sisters, I’m not going to visit that bat house. WHAT A SIGHT AND WHAT A STINK IT MUST BE! Vacant houses get infiltrated with all kinds of creatures and probably not just bats. And many of these creatures make a mess, create a big stink, and eventually ruin that dwelling.

But it doesn’t just happen with vacant houses, it also happens with vacant lives! If a person doesn’t fill their life with good stuff, the bad stuff and sometimes, the evil stuff will move in and take over. 

What’s going on in your house? That is, the house you live in, the fleshly body you live in? Who has moved in? Who has taken over your residence and controlling your life? God wants us to stay clean in this world and that will only happen when we let Him move in, that is, when we fill our lives with worship, prayer and service. 

Is Your Company Corrupt or Christ-like?

Background:

Author: Solomon, Son of King David

Here we are in the first chapter of Proverbs.  Today we hear the wise instruction from a father to a son.  We need to remember the context in which this scripture was written.  In Judaism, children were very important.  Remember, children function like a pathway or a chain.  Children pass along tradition, values and knowledge of their families and religion.  Children also carry with them blessings of their parents and were encouraged to bless their children with the blessings of their grandparents.  Because of their importance, Jesus encourages the disciples to treat children kindly and give them proper love and time.  Large portions of the Bible are dedicated to teaching children like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. 

I also want to make another note of critical importance.  The author of this Proverb makes a powerful statement about the family unit designed by God centuries ago.  First, the family unit is made up of a father, a mother and children.  In that order.  God wired the family unit to be man, woman and for them to procreate.  This family unit would serve as the central source for love, encouragement and discipline.  The family was to be the central influence on a child’s life.  Children are to be corrected by their fathers and and loved by their mothers.  Notice that fathers and mothers are to be united.  United in love for their children but also united in belief system.  You will see that this mother and father are on the same page. They are on the same page with their faith and firmness towards this child.  

Friends, there is an attack on this family structure today.  Let it be said here today that I believe that God distinctly wired mankind to function in this manner.  Man and woman united by faith in God, one in marriage and raising their children to understand the deep truths of the Bible.  

This author wants what we all want.  He wants a productive kingdom minded son.  Let’s listen to his words today.  

Proverbs 1:8-19 (ESV)
The Enticement of Sinners

8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction (מוּסָר-mû·sār-a correction that is a minor punishment for teaching which may include a rebuke)
    and forsake not your mother's teaching (Hebrew Torah-regulation or legal prescription-something that should or must be done, information imparted to a student about to be tested),

9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
    and pendants for your neck.

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.

11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;

12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;

13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;

14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—

15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,

16 for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.

17 For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,

18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.

19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the life of its possessors.

Great Advice From A Wise Parent!

I. A Parent’s Responsibility vs. 8-9
Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV
8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
    and forsake not your mother's teaching,
9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
    and pendants for your neck.

Point:
Statistical data will tell parents that the greatest influence on their children and teen’s life are their friends.  Although that cannot be discounted, I still believe that parents carry the most profound influence on their children.  Parents, your kids are looking at you and watching your lives.  They are examining your marriage, your walk with God and your business practices.  Statistics tell us that 85% of teens who are churched as they grow up will leave the church when they graduate high school.  Theologians and scholars have placed their exit on the church.  “Its the church’s fault” they say.  I say “hogwash”.  I believe that children leave the church in droves because their parent’s walk with God is lukewarm.  Most of the parents I talk to these days are satisfied with filling a pew.  They are passionless.  Parents have allowed their standards to be changed by the ever changing fads of our culture.  Their’s is a weak faith.  An insincere faith.  It is a game and kids can see through it and they are disenfranchised.  Who can blame them?  

Parents, have you stopped dreaming?  Do you want your kids to be adventurers and conquerers?  Do you want them to have deep rooted and sincere faith?  If so, then it must be displayed for them.  You must take about it, model it, and lovingly discipline them steering their lives towards Godly standards.  

Illustration: Blue Sky and Big God
Steve and Donna Thurman found out how true this is. The popular founding pastor and his wife of a large and growing church in Colorado, they might have stayed comfortably and indefinitely on the beautiful Front Range. God, however, had wired them differently and had a new dream for them.

As Steve explained in his sermon announcing their intention to leave, God made some people to be pioneers and others to be settlers. He and Donna were pioneers, he said, and God had been growing in them the dream of moving halfway around the world to help develop church leaders in the spiritually needy land of New Zealand. It was time for them to take the first steps of faith leading Down Under.

Years later, Steve and Donna can see how their willingness to dream and pursue big things for God affected their own teenagers: "Today our kids – the two youngest, anyway – are 'adventurers' by nature and by the fact that they've followed us around for over 20 years and seen that 'traveling light' and chasing dreams and taking risks are all 'the way to go.' 'What's the worst that can happen?' they ask. Not much, except that you'll have some great memories and some stories to tell and some new friends you've met along the way. To the kids, God is big – a lot bigger than the fear of taking risks and making changes."

You don't have to become a missionary and move 8,000 miles to be a blue-sky thinker. But you do need to remain open to the possibility – and demonstrate it to your teen – that God may want to use you and your family in new and exciting ways in the future

A. Mention: Godly Discussions
Isaiah 28:9-10 ESV
Isaiah 28:9-10 ESV
“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”

B. Model: Godly Depictions
Deuteronomy 6:7 NIV
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

C. Mold: Godly Discipline
Proverbs 13:24 ESV

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Illustration: My Mother Taught Me…
WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME

My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed, "You better pray the stain will come out of the carpet."

My mother taught me LOGIC: From her decisive words, "Because I said so, that’s why."

My mother taught me FORESIGHT: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident."

My mother taught me IRONY: "Keep laughing, and I’ll give you something to cry about."

My mother taught me about STAMINA: "You’ll sit there ’til all that spinach is finished."

My mother taught me about WEATHER: "It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."

My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: "Stop acting like your father!"

My mother taught me about ENVY: "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have a wonderful Mom like you do!"

Point:
Our parents teach us many things.  Perhaps the most valuable instruction comes in the form of discipline.  Trust me, children will push parents to the very limit.  They will barter and bluff their way though bad behavior and temper tantrums.  Moms and Dads, you must remember that you are God’s gift to you children.  For a time, you will be the captain of their lives and Godly discipline is the rudder that guides their lives.  

What does Godly discipline look like?  That’s a difficult question.  I can tell you what it is not. Godly discipline is not abuse.  Parents, whipping, beating your children is never appropriate or advised.  Neither is screaming, yelling or verbally running down your children.  Godly discipline is never drawn out over days, weeks or heaven forbid months.  Godly discipline starts with a child’s understanding of wrong.  Your child must know and fully grasp that what they did was incorrect.  Secondly, Godly discipline comes in many forms.  Parents, you can send a child to time out. You can ground and take a way favorite toys.  Yes, I believe that spanking your children is allowed but should not be overdone.  Have I ever spanked my children?  The answer is “yes” although I can count on one hand how many times I have spanked Jay and Jack combined over their lifetime. Parents, remember that discipline for mistake or unknowing error must be corrected differently than willful and premeditated disobedience. Punishing a child for spilling their drink or for saying a word that they do not understand with spanking is not appropriate.  

Parent’s of teenagers, how should you discipline your children?  Before I came here, I spent 12 years as a youth pastor.  I had hundreds of teens under my leadership and guidance over that time and I saw every parenting method under the sun.  

I saw the laid back approach.  

I saw the hovering approach.  

I saw the buddy approach.  

The method that seemed to bring the best results were the parents who loved their children and who modeled Christ-likeness to their children.  I found that the parents who placed a high priority on attending church with their teenagers had less trouble and discipline problems.  Not always, but for the most part that was my experience.  I discovered that parents who modeled discipline in their lives also had disciplined children.  Parents, its a very simple equation that works most of the time.  If you don’t want you children to drink, then don’t bring alcohol in the home and don’t drink in front of them.  Mother’s if you want your daughters to have healthy self esteems then don’t nag them about their weight, acne, hair, waist line, fashion sense.  Highlight to them that they are daughters of the King, they are princesses in God’s eyes and are loved.  Parents, if you want your children to be warm, friendly men and women of integrity, then model those traits in your lives.  Correct them, love them and nurture them.  

I. A Parent’s Responsibility vs. 8-9

Transitional Statement:
So now that we know a parent’s responsibility, listen to the a parent’s recommendation.

II. A Parent’s Recommendation vs. 10-16
Proverbs 1:10-15
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.

A. Remain Steadfast vs. 10
10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

Point:
Temptation comes when people who have departed the straight path themselves and lacking strength to return, try to draw others after them. An evil doer has a craving for company in his wickedness.

The wise person's response to such danger is "do not consent." Be as one who is sober amongst the drunken and drive home safely. Do not consent, or, just say no. Eve consented and plucked the forbidden fruit. David consented and invited Bathsheba over. Young Joseph resisted and said no and was saved. Job prevailed against his companions and was restored.

Beware of the lie of temptation and the devastation it seeks to bring. Though you have the strength of Sampson, temptations companions seek to put your eyes out and make you grind at their mill with them.

B. Retain Your Standards  vs. 11-13
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; 12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;

Point:
In verse 11 we learn that sin entices us by saying it's a quick road to success and makes us part of their group. "If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause."

Solomon warns his son about those who, for no just reason, want to hurt innocent people. "Let's lie in wait for" someone's "blood" clearly spells out their murderous intentions. The end result of the enticement to covet what another has is murder. These sinners are ready to take people's lives in order to take what's they want. The fiendishness of the plot is that the innocent is to be slaughtered without cause (Gen 4:8, Ps. 10:8).

Obviously, we are not involved in killing people but if we are hateful, bitter or unforgiving, we are also guilty, for Jesus said whoever is angry at his brother, the same has committed murder (Matthew 5:22). The wise man or wise woman stays away from those who seek to shed innocent blood--be it literally or spiritually.

Their murderous drive is further revealed in verse 12. "Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;

They say, "They'll be no match for us. We'll swallow them up like the grave." ["Sheol" is the grave or the place of the dead (Ps. 55:15). The description of the intended victims as easy has the effect of defusing the very real danger of such behavior.

Verse 13 continues with more enticements the group uses to bait to the son. "We will find all kinds of precious wealth. We will fill our houses with spoil."

Satan will try to make sin seem beneficial and attractive, the way to quick and easy wealth. But how can wealth be precious when it is the fruit of robbery? How tragic that a group of people would actually find enjoyment in doing evil. How foolish of them to think that loot would satisfy their desires.

C. Remember Your Significance  vs. 14
14 throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse” 15 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,

Point:
One of the greatest desires of any child and especially a teenager is to be apart of the “us”.  They want to be in the crowd.  They want to be popular.  They want to be accepted and they want to have a group.  The father understood this and encouraged his son to understand that there is greater value in standing alone than running with the “us” crowd.  

The first invitation is simply come along, but now the demand rises -"cast your lot with us. Many a deluded young man is hurried on by the influence of bad company to depths of sin and its consequence that he never contemplated.

Friendship sealed by bonding in sin will not last long. Moreover, it is not worth having. It does not even deserve the name. Friends glued together by the slime of their lust will soon be torn asunder and often will bite and devour one another.

Exodus 23:2 NLT
"You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.”

I. A Parent’s Responsibility vs. 8-9

II. A Parent’s Recommendation vs. 10-15

III. A Painful Repercussion vs. 17-19
Proverbs 1:17-19
17 For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the life of its possessors.
A. Sin’s Reckless Nature vs. 17
17 For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird,

Point:
Isn’t it interesting that when we sin that we think that we can get away with it.  We feel that the truth will not find us or that we will be able to remain hidden in the cover of darkness.  My wife wife will never found out about my pornography addiction.  My husband will never know about my conversation with my high school boyfriend on Facebook. My parents will never find out about my drug addiction.  Friend, this father understood that when we sin, our actions are laid out in clear view.  Like a bird spots prey from the air, God sees everything with clarity.  Nothing is hidden to him.  He knows our hearts, thoughts and motivations.  

What is your secret sin today?  Do you need to confess your sin so that you can finally have victory over it?  “Pastor, I’m embarrassed, I cannot say it.” Brother and sister, better to confess today and save yourself from judgement than to hold on to your sin and feel the wrath of God in your life.  

Psalm 90:8 NASB
You have placed our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

B. Sin’s Reciprocal Nature vs. 18-19
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. 19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.

Point:
So these men who set a trap don’t realize that they are really the ones in danger.  They have underestimated their opponent.  They are overconfident and underprepared.  Have you ever noticed that sin has a reciprocal nature.  We might say “what goes around comes around” (Also a very good Justin Timberlake song). Another statement is “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” In many ways, that line is true.  Paul compares it to farming.  What you plant, you will harvest.  What you sow, you will reap.  If you plant good Godly things, then you will receive good. The converse is also true.  

Transitional Statement:
Just as sin is reciprocal, so are deeds of Godliness and compassion.  

Illustration: What Goes Around Comes Around 
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.

One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. 

He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. 

Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death. The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings.

An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. 

“I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.”

“No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,” the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel. 

“Is this your son?” the nobleman asked. 

“Yes,” the farmer replied proudly.

“I’ll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll grow to a man you can be proud of.” And that he did.

In time, Farmer Fleming’s son graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London,, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming the discoverer of Penicillin.



Years afterward, the nobleman’s son was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved him? Penicillin. The nobleman’s name? Randolph Churchill – his son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill



Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

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