SERIES: Wisdom from Proverbs

TEXT: Proverbs 4:20-27

MESSAGE: “The Path to Living Wisely”

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“There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.” Eugene H. Peterson

Proverbs 4:18-19

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”

“It is a serious thing…to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.” — C.S. Lewis

How do we walk on God’s path for life? 

It’s understanding…(1. The Warning 2. The Heart 3. The Test)

  1. The Warning (v. 20-22)

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.”

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” — Hebrews 3:12-13

“Sin will keep you from this Book, or this Book will keep you from sin.” 

— John Bunyan (Pastor/Author of Pilgrim’s Progress)

        2. The Heart (v. 23)

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

“The heart is the source of the river of your life; it’s the command center. Everything you do flows from your heart. The way you think, talk, and act flows from your heart. The heart is the agent governing all your body’s actions.” — Daniel & Jonathan Akin

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” — Jeremiah 17:9

The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. No one. If our hearts are compasses, they are Jack Sparrow compasses. They don’t tell us the truth; they just tell us what we want. If our hearts are guides…They are not benevolent; they are pathologically selfish. In fact, if we do what our hearts tell us to do, we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder, and every joy. Our hearts want to consume these things for our own self-glory and self-indulgence. No, our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts…Jesus is your shepherd (Psalm 23:1John 10:11). Listen to his voice in his word and follow him (John 10:27)…He is the truth, he is the way, and he will lead you to life (John 14:6).” — Jon Bloom 

           3. The Test (v. 24-27)

“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

“If you use your speech to hurt others, deceive others, gossip about others, or falsely flatter others, then it’s the overflow of a sinful heart. Again, Jesus told us this clearly in Matthew 12:34 — “The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Jesus says that our words will justify or condemn us on judgement day. That’s not because good works — or good speech in this case — gets us to heaven. It is because your speech reveals whether or not Jesus has changed your heart!” — Daniel & Jonathan Akin

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” — Psalm 119:36

TAKEAWAYS: How can I live wisely? By believing…

  • My time with God matters

“Look at (Jesus), and see his glory; listen to (Jesus), and hear his word; go to (Jesus), and have life; get to know (Jesus), and taste his gift of joy and peace.” — J.I. Packer 

  • My behavior reveals my heart
  • My sin is not bigger than God’s grace

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”  Jerry Bridges

So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” 

— John 19:16-18