In Prov 8:6, wisdom says, “Hear.” We are supposed to listen to wisdom because wisdom will speak of:
Excellent things– Prov 8:6 – “I will speak of excellent things.” Excellent things are things of great value; things that are superior.
Wisdom is better than rubies – A man with wisdom, knowledge, and instruction is wealthier than a man with gold, silver, and rubies (Prov 8:10-11). His riches are durable, his treasures are full, his substance is inherited [Prov 8:18-21]. The pursuit of wealth competes with the pursuit of wisdom (Prov 8:17).
Quietness is better than strife – Prov 17:1 – a little with quietness is better than a lot with strife. Many families are in trouble because of finances.
The fear of the Lord is better than great treasure with trouble – Prov 15:16. Love is better than hatred – Prov 15:17. A humble spirit is better than destruction – Prov 16:18-19. Righteousness is better than not doing right – Prov 16:6. In every case, if you are willing to settle for less, you can avoid the trouble, the hatred, the destruction, and the lack of righteousness. It’s the love of money that pierces a man through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:9-10).
Right things – Prov 8:6 – “the opening of my lips shall be right things.” Right things are things that are in accord with God’s will and God’s standard of righteousness; things that are right in the sight of God.
In Jude 17:16, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Your eyes will deceive you just like Eve’s eyes deceived her (Gen 3:6). She was told that she would die if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But what she saw convinced her that it was all right to eat the fruit. She was dead wrong. You must always have the right view.
Prov 8:6 – the word of God is always right.
Eph 6:1-3 – obeying your parents is always right
Prov 12:15 – good counsel is right; contrast Prov 14:12.
True things – Prov 8:7 – “for my mouth shall speak the truth.” True things are things that are in conformity to fact or reality; things that are in accordance with that which is, or has been or shall be.
It is true that God created heaven and earth – Gen 1:1, no matter what Dawkins professes and scientists, falsely so-called, say.
It is true that men without Christ go to hell.
It is true that men who trust Christ have eternal life and go to heaven.
It is true that Jesus is coming back.
It is true that Rom 8:28 is still in the Bible and it is always true.
It is true that the way of transgressors is hard and that you reap what you sow.
If you will seek wisdom early, you will find her – Prov 8:17. Begin now to seek the wisdom that comes from the words of God. You will find excellent, right, and true things, unlike anything that the world has to offer.
Conclusion: Do your best to get wisdom. Free yourself from foolishness, arrogance, pride, envy, hatred, selfishness, and all the things that hinder wisdom from entering your body, mind, heart, and soul. Let the pure wisdom of God dwell in you.
We are living in a day when the message of the church is changing. Churches, and even whole denominations, are moving away from the old message of salvation through the blood of Jesus, and are moving toward a message of salvation through social activism and good works. The old bloody message of the cross is quickly being replaced by a bloodless message that lacks power and that lacks hope. Instead of hearing the devastating, but life-changing news that men are sinners, people hear a message that tells them, “I’m OK and you’re OK!”
Well, I would like to take the same stand that the Apostle Paul took all those years ago. When he wrote to the church in Corinth, Paul reminded them that he had been called for one purpose and that purpose was to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That message was to be his focus and that message was to be his ministry.
Today, I would like to restate the old, old message. I would like to remind everyone in this building about what happened that day when the Lord Jesus died on the cross at Calvary. Because, it was that event, which took place at Calvary 2,000 years ago that altered the future for every person who places their faith in the One Who died there that day.
As we revisit the old, old story one more time. I would like to take you back to a little hill just outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem, where we will encounter an event that purchased and provided salvation for every person who receives that event s their very own. Let’s return together to the cross of Calvary, and try to grasp The Message Of The Cross! As we do, please let the Lord speak to your heart and if you have never been saved, I invite you to come to Jesus today for salvation through His precious blood.
THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS
A Strange Message – That there should be life out of death. The Jews were looking for a Messiah Who would throw off the Roman yoke and give them liberty from their captors. They totally missed the fact that their Messiah would be One Who would suffer for the sins of the people, Isa. 53:1-3. Note: The message of the bloody cross of Jesus is still a strange message to those who have never experienced its life-changing power. To them, it is “foolishness”. This word comes from the same word from which we get our word “Moron”. To the lost the idea of trusting suffering, bleeding man for salvation is moronic! 1 Cor. 1:21-24!
A Shocking Message – A brutal, awful death was experienced there on that cross. The death Christ died on the cross was one of absolute torture. You and I cannot even begin to imagine all the pain that Jesus was forced to endure for our sakes. Allow me to refresh your mind today about the terrible price Jesus paid for you as He suffered for sin that day.
1. Scourged – Matt. 27:262. Beaten – Luke 22:63-64
3. Spit upon – Matt. 27:30
4. Beard Plucked from His Face -Isa. 50:6
5. Mocked – Matt. 27:26-29
6. Stripped Naked – Matt. 27:35
Nailed to the Cross – Matt. 27:38; John 20:25 The ancient Assyrians were the first to “crucify” their victims. However, they did not nail them to cross, they merely impaled them on sharpened stakes and left them to die a horrible death that often took several days. When the Romans came along, they streamlined the method and added the little touch of actually nailing their victims to the cross. This method of death usually took several days as well.
These truths don’t even begin to scratch the surface of Jesus suffered for you and me, Isa. 52:14. His was a bitter cup, but one that He drank of willingly so that we might be saved, Luke 22:41-42.
Note: To hear the details of Christ’s death on the cross is disturbing! But, it is a necessary truth that mist is proclaimed and must be heard before there can be salvation. Friend, there is only one way for you to get to God and that is by the way of the cross. There is no salvation apart from faith in the work of Jesus on Calvary!
A Simple Message – Not clouded by demands and details, but delivered in simplicity and clarity. One of the problems with the modern church is that we have tried to attach too many conditions to salvation. However, the Bible is clear when it tells us that the way to be saved is for the sinner to accept by faith what the Bible teaches about Jesus and His atoning death on the cross, Rom. 10:9-10. This is what the preaching of the cross is all about! It is not about you quitting your sins! It is about you coming to Jesus by faith! It’s not about turning over a new leaf, it’s about placing your faith in Jesus and Him alone for salvation!
THE PURPOSE OF THE CROSS
About Making A Statement – Since way back in the Old Testament, the Lord has been telling me of His love for them, Deut. 7:7-8; Jer. 31:3. However, in Christ’s death on the cross, God was able to declare boldly, for all to see, His boundless, matchless love for the lost of this world. (Rom. 5:6-8) The cross is God’s statement of love to the world – John 15:13!
About Providing Salvation – The Bible, tells us that there is no other way to cleanse sin, but through the sacrifice of an innocent one in the of the guilty one, Heb. 9:22. This is seen all the way back in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, Gen. 3:21. This same line of thought continues all the way through the days of the Tabernacle and the Temple. There, sin was atoned for by the blood of sheep, bulls, and goats, but it was never taken away Heb. 10:4; Heb. 10:10-11. However, the Lord Jesus went to the cross and died for the sins of humanity. When He did, His death on the cross forever settled the sin debt of man, Heb. 10:12-14; Heb. 9:24-28! It is clear yet? If not, then listen to these two precious passages of Scripture, Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.
About Defeating Satan – Ever since Lucifer sinned and became the devil, he has been in the business of trying to hinder the work of God. He loves nothing better than keeping souls in bondage and seeing them condemned to Hell, Eph. 2:1-3. But, when Jesus went to the cross, I am of the opinion that the devil thought he had won the victory that day. I am sure he rejoiced when Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” But, what the devil did not know that day was that the Lord Jesus wasn’t planning to stay dead! Maybe the devil should have listened closer and he would have understood that Jesus did not say, “I am finished!” He said, “It is finished!”
You see, when Jesus died on the cross, He did not die to stay dead, but He rose from the dead three days later and nailed old slew foot’s coffin lid shut! The Bible tells us that the victory over the devil is found in the blood of the Lamb, Rev. 12:11. (Note: Satan is defeated! He may roar like a ferocious lion and he may try to keep you from God, 1 Pet. 5:8, but he has been defeated by the power of God and you do not have to remain his prisoner this morning! There is power in the blood of Jesus to set you free!
THE POWER OF THE CROSS
When the power of the cross is appropriated, three great and wonderful things take place. Notice what they are:
Sin Dies– When a person places his/her faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that person is forever changed! The chains of sin are broken, Rom. 6:14, and they are made into a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17. Now, the newborn believer does not have to live his life in bondage to sin, Rom. 6:6! (Ill. The blood has the power to change every life touched by it! There really is wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb!)
Hell Is Defeated– No blood-washed, blood-bought individual will ever experience the flames and fires of Hell! One of the most precious verses in the Bible pertaining to this subject is found in John 5:24. There, the Bible tells us that we will never come into condemnation! Romans 8:1 confirms this for us! Thank God, no child of God will ever have to go to Hell, Satan will not get his wish! That ought to cause us to rejoice this morning!
Heaven Is Delivered – The blood is the key that unlocks the gates of glory! When the blood is applied, the child of God becomes instantly destined for an eternity in Heaven with the Lord! That is His promise to every believer, John 14:1-3. And, there is only one way to get to that glorious place, John 3:3; 7.
Has the blood been applied to your life? Is your name written down in Heaven? Is your faith in Jesus and in Him alone? If you need to come to Jesus for salvation today, this altar is open! If you need to come and get you to walk with God straightened out, this altar is open. You come while the Lord is dealing with your heart today!
When you’re trying to figure out what to do, there are some instructions in Esther 8:5 that will help you to decide. The verse is not exhaustive on the subject, but it is a good verse that gives us four things to consider when we’re trying to decide what to do. Ask yourself these four questions:
Am I right with God? – “If I have found favor in his sight.” When deciding what to do, it is important to be in the right relationship with the Lord. Daniel was greatly beloved, Dan 10:11; Dan 10:19. In Lk 2:52, Jesus increased… in favor with God and man. If you have some unfinished business between you and the Lord, where you are out of favor with Him, you need to remedy that situation first.
Am I pleasing God? – “and I be pleasing in His eyes.” Whom are you trying to please?
Are you pleasing yourself? In 2 Tim 3:4, men, in the last days, are lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God. It’s better to delight yourself in the Lord and let Him give you the desires of your heart. Are you trying to please men? In Gal 1:10, Paul said when we try to please men we’re not the servants of Christ. Undoubtedly some people are not going to be pleased with what you do. So, you must only concern yourself with pleasing one master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you pleasing God? In Jn 8:29, Jesus always did. In Heb 11:5, Enoch did, too.
Is it right to God? – “the thing seems right before the king.” The Bible has many references to men doing what’s right in their own eyes. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” in Judges. Prov 21:2, “every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” “There is a way that seemed right unto a man,” Prov 14:12.
In Prov 12:15, “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” It’s strange how easily we can make something wrong look like it’s right with a little spiritual spin on it. In 1 Ki 15:5, “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.” We need to always check God’s words to see if what we’re deciding is right to God. The integrity of the upright will guide them Prov 11:3. “You can sell your integrity for a nickel, but all the money in the world won’t buy it back,” said Ted McBride’s father.
Is it pleasing to God? – “If it pleases the king.” You can see the things that please God. In Heb 13:15-16, God is well pleased, for instance, with the spiritual sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, doing good, and giving. In 1 Cor 10:5-10, God was not well pleased with Israel in the wilderness. He wasn’t pleased with their murmuring, their idolatry, their temptations, their lust of evil things, and so forth.
Conclusion: These four things will give you good guidance on your decisions. They will help you check that your relationship with the Lord is right, that your motive is right, that the thing you want to do is right, and that God is pleased with what you’re thinking about doing. If all these things are good, then you’re going to have a much better handle on what to do and what not to do.
Often truly authoritative leadership falls on someone who years earlier dedicated themselves to practice the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. Then, as that person matures, God confers a leadership role, and the Spirit of God goes to work through him. – J. Oswald Sanders
For the body to increase unto the edifying of itself in love, there must be effectual working in the measure of every part. Tonight we want to discuss effectual working. For our work to be effectual, we must be involved in four things:
Learning – to work effectively, we must learn some things.
Training – to work effectually, we must be trained to do some things.
Serving – to work effectually, we must serve the body with what we have learned and in what we have been trained to do.
Imparting – to work effectually, we must pass on to others what we have learned and been trained to do by teaching and training them.
I want to talk about learning. Effectual working requires learning.
We must learn to hear God – At an early age, children should start learning the words of God, 2 Tim 3:15. They should apply themselves daily to know what God said. Jesus knew these words perfectly. When He was 12 “all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers,” Lk 2:47. In Jn 7:15, “the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” He didn’t have their formal education. God taught him. Is 50:4 shows you how Jesus learned, “he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned?”
And don’t think that God won’t teach you or your children. The Holy Spirit “shall teach you all things,” Jn 14:26. In Lk 10:21 Jesus thanked his Father because, “thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Did you see that? He revealed them unto babes. Therefore, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” 1 Pet 2:2. There is no effectual working without a knowledge of the Bible.
We must learn to fear God – When God spoke to Moses in Horeb, He said, “Gather Me the people together, and I will make them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” David said in Ps 34:11, “Come, you children, hearken unto Me: and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” We must fear God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Prov 9:10. If you don’t fear God, you will never be able to teach your children the fear of God. There is no effectual working without the fear of God.
We must learn to obey God – It’s one thing to know what God said, it’s still another to obey him. In Deut 5:1, Moses said to Israel, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and keep them, and do them.” The Lord always wants us to do what He said. Jesus always did what His Father told Him to do. Heb 5:8 says, “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Imagine how important it must be that we learn obedience if Jesus had to learn it. Phil 2:8 says, “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Obedience will often be accompanied by an accomplished through suffering. You must be willing for your children to suffer to learn obedience. There is no effectual working without obeying God.
We must learn to know God – There is a general ignorance of God among young people. They just don’t know who He is. They may be saved but they are clueless about God. And that’s because they haven’t applied themselves to learning to know God. For most of them, their altar could be inscribed, “To the Unknown God,” Acts 17:23. You must learn to know Him.
You might ask, “How can I know God?” In Matt 11:27, Jesus said, “neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Jesus will reveal God to you if you care to know Him. Jer 9:24 shows you that we can know and understand God. There is no effectual working apart from knowing God.
Conclusion: Do you want to be part of a body where your work is effectual and contributes to the body increasing unto the edifying of itself in love? Do you hope that your children will want to be a part of that body? Then you and they must apply yourselves to learning to hear God, fear God, obey God, and know God. When you hear Him, fear Him, obey Him, and know Him, He can use you in His body to help it grow up into Him in all things.
He [Peter after the resurrection] now understood that he and the church were to exercise a transcendent power that did not depend upon having a kingdom or government in any human sense, for it was literally a “God government” in which they were participants (Acts 1:6-8). – Dallas Willard
In Mk 11:27-28, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders questioned by what authority Jesus went into the temple and cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, Mk 11:15. Jesus answered them with a question about John the Baptist’s baptism, “was it from heaven, or of men?”
At this point, they reasoned with themselves and figured out what would happen if they answered the question. If they answered “From heaven,” Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe. If they said, “Of men, they feared the people.” They were stuck. So, they answered, “We cannot tell.”
Their reasoning revealed the two greatest reasons why men don’t receive Jesus Christ, fear, and unbelief. In Rev 21:8, the fearful and unbelieving are the first two groups in the list of those cast into the lake of fire. They don’t receive Jesus Christ because they don’t believe in him. Or they don’t receive him because they are afraid of the people. Religions keep their followers in bondage by fear. Thus, many religious people are afraid to believe in Jesus Christ.
Thankfully, you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior. Praise the Lord you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But can you tell others or are you like these chief priests, scribes, and elders who say “We cannot tell.” If you have a reason that you cannot tell, your problem is not unbelief. Your problem is fear. And you’re not alone in this regard. Chief rulers were afraid to confess Jesus in Jn 12:42-43. The blind man’s parents were afraid to confess Jesus in Jn 9:20-23. Jesus had to encourage his own disciples not to be afraid to confess him in Matt 10:24-33.
Don’t be like these chief priests, scribes, and elders. Don’t say “We cannot tell.” You can tell.
There was a young boy whose mother severely scarred herself in a house fire to save her son’s life when he was a baby. He loved his mother and never minded the hideous scars she bore. He knew they were for him. When he was a young teenager, however, his mother agreed to help cook for a school function.
His schoolmate commented to her son, “Did you see that ugly woman over there, she looks horrible.” Her son looked in her direction and replied to his friend, “I don’t know her.” He was afraid of what his friend would think if he knew that she was his mother.
Jesus was scarred to save your life. Never be afraid to confess to Him!!
A man cannot utter two or three sentences without disclosing to intelligent ears precisely where he stands in life and thought, whether in the kingdom of the senses and the understanding, or in that of ideas and imagination, or in the realm of intuitions and duty. – Ralph Waldo Emerson