Series: Training in Righteousness
Message – A Righteous Perspective
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A Righteous Perspective
“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.” Prob. 24:16
As I told you in our annual Church Christmas card insert…this year is about exercising what we know.
Babies will put just about anything in their mouths and just about anything will fly out of them as well…but as maturing Christians we are to become more discerning not only about what we eat, but where and why.
Hebrews 5 tells that mature Christians are not those who know a lot, but those who PRACTICE what they know. That it is by “repeated exposure” – their palate becomes discerning and they learn the difference between what is truly good food and what is junk.
You know, junk food is also often called “comfort food”. It is our “go to food” when we want consoling and that is one of the most dangerous ways to eat – ever!
- You eat the wrong stuff which will only make you feel worse and
- You eat way too much of it!
You know that verse in Hebrews says we mature through practice or by repetition.
You ever wonder why we don’t just hop around from subject to subject or rush through chapters and books in her – because you don’t learn it the first time.
The gospels tell us that Jesus would talk all day long about one topic… Using parable after parable to state and restate His point.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”~ Zig Ziglar
I can almost guarantee to you that most of the important things we’ve covered over the past few years you would remember in times of crisis or need – on some level or another – your the very reason that it was repeated often. Whereas, things you were exposed to only once and briefly, you would not even come to mind – you probably won’t even remember you’d ever heard.
Well one of the things we need to “put feet too” is having and maintaining a Righteous Perspective to have and maintain right thinking which is what today’s teaching is about.
Every Christian at one time or another envies the world:
- Lack of constraints
- Free to be self-focused
- Don’t have to turn the other cheek
- Allow to not forgive and hold a grudge
- Can freely complain
- Can cuss and not feel bad about it
- Can cheat and lie and not feel bad about it
Most Christians know the results of those kind of lives:
- Always looking for satisfaction they can’t achieve
- Never truly at rest
- Always needing to justify – because they aren’t
We know what we have:
- Peace with God
- Ability to have inner peace
- Joy (and many times even happiness)
- A future and hope
- A brighter tomorrow – inwardly and outwardly
Why does God tell us to not keep company with the wicked and not to fellowship with those in darkness?
- 1Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
- 2Cor. 6:14-18, “(14) Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? (15) What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? (16) And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (17) Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you. (18) I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”
It short-circuits and derails our purpose in life which is the formation of Christ in us.
Now realize that bad company does not have to just mean the world – it is anything which lures you away from your own steadfastness. Anything that stirs an appetite for something other that what God is working in you.
Consider those who you hang out with and why you enjoy their company. What you are entertained by and why it captures your attention.
Are they junk food or are they healthy for you?
Remember junk food offers temporary comfort – health food offers sustained well-being.
Turn with me to Pro 24:1-22, HCSB
In these verses God pits the heart, ways and ends of the wicked against the heart, ways and ends of the righteous and encourages the righteous to see our interactions with the wicked from a righteous perspective or with right thinking.
Much of the imagery is metaphorical – though it also teaches solid lessons if taken literally. In a way, this whole passage is an elaborate form of parallelism.
You may remember I’ve told you that Hebrew poetry often employs a literary device called parallelism.
This is where a lesson is taught by saying or revisiting something several times – each time it either adds something new to consider or simply strengthens the point THROUGH REPETITION.
I’ll do my best to point it out when it happens.
Also know that the wicked are described as:
- Devious – exhibiting ulterior motives.
- Wanting to cause the righteous to fall
“(1) Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them, (2) for their hearts ponder spoil, wasting and destruction, and their words stir up trouble.
- They meditate on things which derail and destroy
- The words of their mouth reveal their hearts – it stirs up trouble.
- Our attention should be on God. On things above not things on earth.
(3) A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding; (4) by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure.
Here God is using the analogy of a house which He will stick with throughout the lesson He is teaching.
The house is metaphorical – though it could be taken literally as well.
So, based on what you know of scripture, and what verses 3 & 4 say, what could this house represent? A life or a heart.
So a life or a good heart is built by wisdom and is stabilized to stand upright by understanding and by discernment and insight it’s rooms are filled with every valuable and delightful benefit.
- Wisdom is to value what is truly valuable. To discern between what truly has significance and what does not. (like the mature Christian of Hebrews 5)
- Understanding is to fear the Lord which causes stability in our walk.
This is a personal theme for me this year.
Often thought of the Fear the Lord as -> proper living and thinking for judgment day -> about sin – focus on NOT sinning.
Respect -> today…God is near -> about honor.
- Discernment comes from being influenced by the continual presence of the Lord.
Now God “builds” on this idea of the value of Godly wisdom, knowledge and understanding with another metaphor…one of war.
(5) A wise warrior is better than a strong one, and a man of knowledge than one of strength; (6) for you should wage war with sound guidance–victory comes with many counselors.
- Wisdom is better than raw human strength
- And only knowledge offers true strength
- Because victory in war comes from sound guidance and counsel.
Now remember, God is ultimately talking about the foolishness and folly of the wicked and the stability and soundness of the righteous.
(7) Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool; he does not open his mouth at the gate. (8) The one who plots evil will be called a schemer. (9) A foolish scheme is sin, and a mocker is detestable to people.
- Fools cannot wrap their head around what is truly wise. They don’t get it!
- His judgment is impaired
- They are preoccupied with the base impulses. Unstable souls. Unfocused. Unsettled.
- Rather than focusing on bettering himself and his internal condition – his focus is on plotting evil.
- They joke, make fun of and ridicule what is right – so much so that even peers will grow to detest them.
(10) If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.
If when subjected to the scorns, mistreatment, ridicule or temptations of the wicked you become discouraged, shrink back from pursuing righteousness to the point where simply sit and do nothing or worse… you forsake what is right – then your strength (wisdom, understanding and knowledge) are limited or small.
Then God offers advice the righteous who see a brother being discouraged, or who has stopped advancing in the kingdom due to fear or weakness.
(11) Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. (12) If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,” won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?
If YOU as the righteous do not consider your brother and give him aid – if you, like the priest and the Levite in the Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan – just walk by them and do nothing for them – Does this escape God’s notice? If you claim ignorance, does God not know the truth and will not the God Who protects YOUR life not repay you accordingly?
“1 Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also. 2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. 4 But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. 5 For each person will have to carry his own load.”
So here we have the “strong” righteous, doing the same thing as the one who was intimidated by the righteous. He stops doing what is right!
So God encourages them to eat what is good for them – namely wisdom.
(13) Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate; (14) realize that wisdom is the same for you. If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.
This is a form of parallelism – pointing back to verses 3 & 4 – the house is built, established and filled by wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
This is Isa. asking us why we spend for what did not satisfy.
The wicked are not ever truly listening to God’s words so we know that these next words addressed to the wicked is actually instructing the righteous, by addressing the wicked.
(15) Don’t set an ambush, wicked man, at the camp of the righteous man; don’t destroy his dwelling. (16) Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.
God is saying, don’t try to ensnare and destroy a Christian by attempting to draw them away from godly wisdom, understanding and knowledge…because though your snare may instigate his fall – even many times – he will always get up! He will always return home, his fall is NEVER to utter destruction. But the wicked, when they fall it will be completely overcome by evil in the absolute!
Now God tells the righteous how to respond WHEN their enemies fall…
(17) Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, (18) or the LORD will see, be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him.
God is not pleased by the destruction of the wicked and we should never be either!
(19) Don’t worry because of evildoers, and don’t envy the wicked. (20) For the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
So this points back to where we began with don’t be envious of and keep company with evil people – knowing all that has been taught – their end is not good and yours is secure.
(21) My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, (22) for their destruction will come suddenly; who knows what disaster these two can bring?”
Fear the Lord and all those He has given authority concerning you!
That is “rebels and their destruction” or “God and the King”.
Orders his conduct aright will see the salvation of God.
Close by reading a summary Psalm which describes a righteous perspective of wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
Psalm 73:1-28, HCSB “(1) A psalm of Asaph. God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. (2) But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. (3) For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (4) They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well-fed. (5) They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people. (6) Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment. (7) Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild. (8) They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression. (9) They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth. (10) Therefore His people turn to them and drink in their overflowing waters. (11) They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?” (12) Look at them–the wicked! They are always at ease, and they increase their wealth. (13) Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? (14) For I am afflicted all day long, and punished every morning. (15) If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed Your people. (16) When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless (17) until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny. (18) Indeed You put them in slippery places; You make them fall into ruin. (19) How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors. (20) Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, You will despise their image. (21) When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, (22) I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You. (23) Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. (24) You guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards You will take me up in glory. (25) Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. (26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. (27) Those far from You will certainly perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. (28) But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, so I can tell about all You do.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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