If Sinners Entice

Sunday, January 18, 2015, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put this song in mind:

Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary's mountain.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day with its shadow o'er me.

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 1 (selected verses ESV).

Wisdom and Instruction

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

I think sometimes we confuse wisdom with knowledge, yet wisdom is knowledge coupled with understanding, and coupled with practical application of that knowledge to our lives. James said it well when he said that if we hear the word, but we don’t put it into practice in our lives, then we are like someone who looks at himself in the mirror and then walks away and forgets what he looks like. We are self-deceived. So, he concludes that we need to be not only hearers of the word, but we need to be doers of the word. This is wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. To fear the Lord means to walk in his truth and in his ways, and to show him the honor and respect which he so deserves by not only listening to him, but by obeying what his word says. It means to leave our lives of sin behind us, to be born anew of the Spirit of God, and then to walk in the Spirit, in holiness, purity, and with integrity - in the power and strength of the Spirit within us. If we do not walk in the fear of the Lord, but instead we pick and choose what we will do or not do for God, and we are still running our own lives, then we act foolishly, this Word teaches us.

Do Not Consent

My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason…
throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse”—
my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood…
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.

I have learned recently that there are people who take issue with this term “sinner” in relation to Christians, stating that we are not sinners saved by grace, but we are saints, and thus we are no longer sinners. Whatever you believe on that issue, the reality of the situation is that believers in Jesus Christ still have the propensity to sin, and we do still sin at times, although sin should no longer be our master, and we should no longer be enslaved to it, nor should we willingly be giving in to it, especially on a regular basis, because Jesus Christ died to deliver us from bondage to sin. He has set us free!

So, as believers in Jesus Christ, not only can we still sin, but we can also lead others to sin. So, when this speaks of “sinners” enticing us to sin, don’t be fooled into thinking this is merely referring to those outside of faith (or professed faith) in Jesus Christ. Some of the worst deception and enticement exists right within the church (or within the organization called church). So, we should have our guard up even among those whom we think would never try to get us to disobey our Lord or who we think would never lead us to evil. One of the greatest deceptions and enticements I know of exists within the church, and that is to make people believe they don’t have to give up their sins to believe in Jesus Christ. Wow!

Within the modern church of today the world has crept, and it has taken over so that there is not much distinction at all between the church and the world. That mindset is being passed on to the people within the church, especially to this younger generation which has not known anything differently. They want to be attractive to the world, so they compromise with the world and dilute the gospel to make everything more acceptable and appealing, so the world will want to join in with them in their meetings. They market the church just like big business, which uses lies, deceptions, manipulation and trickery to entice people to come to their gatherings and to join in with them in their mockery of true faith and worship.

In a sense, the modern church of today represents Babylon, and God is calling his people to come out of her and to not share in any of her sins, so that they also do not share in her punishment. The Lord is telling his people to not walk in the ways of this adulterous and idolatrous church which is running after “other lovers,” and which is discarding the Lord as the head of the church and his Word as the instructions to follow, and which is casting aside those of his followers who still hold to the truths of scripture and who do not deny the Lord.

Because You Refuse

Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

I believe these words can be applied to 3 groups of people: 1) Those who have refused to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, 2) Those who have professed to believe, but who never repented of sin and did not turn to follow the Lord in obedience, and 3) Those who did believe in Jesus but have since wandered off to follow after the ways of this sinful world. Our God and Lord Jesus Christ has been calling for all 3 of these groups of people to repent of their sin and to turn (or to return) to their Lord and to make him their only God. Yet, many have refused, which is evidenced by their heart responses to God and by their actions.

This is a warning of judgment (divine discipline and correction). This is not merely Old Testament teaching, though. The New Testament is also filled with warnings to these 3 groups of people, and especially to the church, calling them to repent and to turn or to return to their Lord, leaving their idols behind them (See: Rev. 2-3, for example).

If You Return

“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Yet, to those who love the Lord, love wisdom, listen to the Word, and do what it says, and to those who listen to these warnings and these calls for repentance and turn at the Lord’s reproof, he will pour out his Spirit on us and will make his words known to us. Amen!

Yet, this does not means we will have it easy or that we won’t ever be disciplined by the Lord, because he said he disciplines those he loves - those who are his children. It also does not mean we will be free from strife, or calamity, or disaster happening all around us, because we live in a sinful world, and we live in flesh bodies, and because the Lord uses difficult situations in our lives to mature us, purify us, make us holy, and to teach us patience and endurance. Yet, what it does mean is that we will have his peace within, he will give us his strength and wisdom, and we will be secure in him, without fear, and we will be able to continue to live and to walk in his ways even if all hell breaks loose all around us, because our focus is on him, our trust is in him, and because our security is found in him.

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.