Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

The Gospel in Proverbs (Proverbs Sermon 12)

The Gospel in Proverbs (Proverbs Sermon 12)

July 01, 2001 | Andy Davis
Proverbs 1:1-31:31
Salvation by Promise, Incarnation

Andy highlights the gospel as seen in the book of Proverbs from calling out to the sinner, to locating Christ, to the need for evangelism. 


- sermon transcript -

I. The Gospel within Proverbs

… Some of them are green, and some of them are white. The ones with the green ones don’t mean that we love you more or less; there's no difference. It's just that that's where we're at in the paper thing, so... Did you all get one? What it is, our topic tonight is the Gospel in the book of Proverbs. Now, there are many, many other topics we could have finished up with in the book of Proverbs. We're not finished with Proverbs, but I've kind of laid out a methodology for you. You ought to think of a topic and then just read the whole book of Proverbs. I've done it now six or seven times in preparing these messages. It doesn't take that long to read through Proverbs, especially if you're kind of skimming, looking for keywords.

For example, one of the themes I wanted to cover is just the issue of rich and poor - how we should deal with issues of social justice, issues of the poor. That's a big theme in the book of Proverbs. Just go through and find out everything the book of Proverbs has to say about poor people and about how the Lord deals with them, et cetera. That's a big theme. There are others as well. Now, we've talked about relationships. We've talked about words; we've talked about money. So, you can go through the book of Proverbs and find all kinds of things. But I wanted to finish up with just what the book of Proverbs has to say about the Gospel, and what we can find in there.

Now, what I've done is I've organized it into major headings - one, two, three, four, five of them. The first is just in the book of Proverbs. There's a sense of God calling out to the sinner, and we're going to talk about that. It's just God calling, beckoning to sinful humanity, reaching His hands out. We'll talk about that. And then we're going to go through various aspects that I kind of coupled together under the issue of the essence of the Gospel message. These are various things that we could actually put in a Gospel presentation - Proverbs that you could use as you're witnessing with somebody on various headings.

And then brief, very briefly, the issue of sanctification. And really, I just touched on it because I really think that the book of Proverbs - the whole book, all the wisdom that's found - that's what God brings you back to once you start walking in the way of righteousness. So really, the whole book is about sanctification, I think but there's a couple that I found that were really important. Then there's the topic of where is Christ in the book of Proverbs? Can you find Christ in the book of Proverbs? Can you find, for example, substitutionary atonement, which is the center? Can you find the cross in the book of Proverbs? We're going to talk about that. And then finally, our responsibility as evangelists. What does the book of Proverbs have to say about that? Okay? So, let's start with the first one, and that is God calling out to the sinner.

II. God Calling to the Sinner

Wisdom Calls Out

You know, it says in Isaiah 65:2, it says, "All day long, I've held up my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations, a people who continually provoke me to my very face." Boy, that's powerful, isn't it? He's talking about the Jews there. Prophet Isaiah is talking about the Jews, and he's saying, “I'm holding out my hands to you all day long. I'm reaching out to you and you're walking in ways of rebellion against me.” Well, we see that also in the book of Proverbs. The first that we see is this call of wisdom, in Chapter 1, Verse 20-22. Turn there, if you would and look. There's a sense of wisdom calling out.

We get it in three places. We get it in chapter 1, we get it in chapter 8, and we get it in chapter 9. In all three places, we have a sense of wisdom walking through the streets of the city or sitting on the gates of the city, calling down to simple people saying, "How long will you love your simple or foolish ways? When will you turn?" And so, there's a sense of God reaching out to the city, reaching out to the people. Look at Chapter 1:20-22, it says, "Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares. At the head of the noisy street she cries out, in the gateways of the city, she makes her speech. How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you." And it goes on from there.

So, here's Wisdom kind of walking through the streets. Wisdom is God personified, I think, in this case. It's God reaching out; it's God's wisdom, His ways, His word reaching out to people. And it's down in the streets, very earthy. It's involved in everyday life. At every moment, there's God's way, and then there's the way of sin. There's the way of righteousness and the way of unrighteousness; the way of wisdom, the way of folly, and we're seeing that all the time. And all you need to do is pick up the newspaper, and you can see how people are following the ways of folly, the ways of wickedness. And yet Wisdom's out there, beckoning. Wisdom is out there calling.

And, you know, it's so important for us to listen to that call, isn't it? For us to listen to the call of God, not just let events wash over us. To think, what is the significance of what it is that we're seeing and that we're hearing? What is the message? If we see that the crime rate has increased or that this or that event happened, or just to trace out back to the roots what those issues are, that we can learn and not continue in simple ways. But, I think, at the root of it, what I'm getting here in the book of Proverbs is God holding out His hands to a rebellious and obstinate people, just like in Isaiah 65.

Look at chapter 8, verse 1-13. Chapter 8. And it says, "Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice on the heights along the way where paths meet she takes her stand. Beside the gates leading into the city at the entrances she cries aloud. To you, o men, I call out. I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence. You who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say. I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks for what is true. My lips detest wickedness, all the words of my mouth are just, none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning, all of them are right. They are faultless to those who have knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is more precious than rubies. And nothing you desire can compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence. I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech."

And so, here is Wisdom calling out in the streets. And so, we also have is... We're going to discuss more in a few moments, the idea that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to fear the Lord is to hate evil. So, you're going to be forced to make a choice. You're going to be forced to turn to the ways of righteousness and away from wickedness. You can't have both. You can't serve both masters, and so Wisdom is calling out. Again, I don't think it's a stretch to see that this is God calling out. This is God reaching out through His word.

Hearing the Call

One thing that I find is interesting is to call. It's very, very interesting to me. We get most of our information through what sense? What sense, of your five senses, what gives you the most information every day? Your eyesight. Think of it this way. If you are forced to part with one of your senses, don't you think eyesight would be the last one you parted with, I think? But yet, how often in Scripture is it the ears, the hearing that God appeals to? Isn't that interesting? How often it's hearing the word that transforms the life. I think that's very interesting. Faith comes from hearing, not from seeing. And so frequently, those two are actually contrasted. We walk by faith, not by what? Sight. And so, there's a contrast. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things of what? Not seen. But yet heard about. Isn't that true? We're hearing about things that we've never seen. Like Jesus, for example. Though you have not seen him, you believe in Him, right?

You've never seen Jesus, but you've heard about Him. You've heard people speaking about Him. And so, God is appealing, it seems, primarily through the hearing. And Wisdom is calling out, beckoning so that we would listen. And so, she says - Wisdom says - "Listen, for I have worthy things to say. I have things to say that are worth listening to.”

And we get the third one in chapter 9. Turn, if you will. Chapter 9, verse 1-10. It says, "Wisdom has built her house. She's hewn out her seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine. She's also set her table. She has sent out her maids and she calls from the highest point of the city. Let all who are simple come in here, she says, to those who lack judgment. Come eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live. Walk in the way of understanding. Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult. Whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

So again, this time, the image is of Wisdom spreading out a banquet. It's the best of meats and the finest of wines, it says in Isaiah. The same idea here in the book of Proverbs - a sense that wisdom wants to spread a banquet for you, if you'd only eat. The things of the Lord are good; the ways of the Lord are good. And the ways of folly, of foolishness, lead to an empty table, to death and starvation and barrenness. It's the very same thing we've been seeing in Romans. You've got Adam, and you've got Christ. You've got the desert; you've got death. You've got sin and condemnation. And then you've got eternal life; you've got a banquet. You’ve got the wedding feast of the Lamb; you've got all the beauty of Jesus Christ. And that's the contrast here.

Okay, so the first major theme is the idea of God calling out to the sinner. Do you see it? God reaching out to the rebel, reaching out to the unrighteous and calling them into a way of wisdom.

III. The Essence of the Gospel Message, according to Proverbs

Judgement Day Comes

Now, let's look at the essence of the Gospel message, according to the book of Proverbs and see. The first is the idea that Judgment Day is coming. There's a judgment day coming. Look at 10:25, if you would. 10:25, it says, "When the storm is swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." Now, what is this referring to? Well, you could allegorize it and say, “This is talking about the storms of life.” And that's not far amiss in wisdom literature. There are storms in life. But it's not the storm, is it?

Do you remember at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus spoke and He said, "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house. Yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice, is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" (Matthew 7:24-29). I think that's the same message we're getting here in 10:25. Do you see it? When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

There is a storm coming, and it's called Judgment Day. And the storm is going to test everything that you've built. It's going to test you to your core. And there's only one way to survive, and we'll get to that, but the storm is coming. Judgment Day is coming. And I think the key word here that helps me to understand this is this idea “forever.” The righteous stand firm forever. How do you know you'll stand firm forever except by the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is there any other way for you to stand forever? Isn't death itself a kind of storm that's coming? And there's no way to protect yourself, is there? There's no refuge except the Gospel. And so, the judgment is coming, and the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

Look at 11:4. We looked at this when we talked about money, but now we'll look at it in a slightly different light. 11:4, "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." That's powerful, isn't it? Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. What is the day of wrath? Isn't Judgment Day? Isn't there going to be, according to Romans chapter 2, a day of God's righteous indignation when He will pour out on all sinners those things that they have stored up? He said, "Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you're storing up wrath against yourself. For the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed, God will give to each person according to what he has done." So, there is a judgment day coming, and your wealth will avail nothing on that day. Remember what Jesus said, "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" (Mark 8:36). Or what would a man give in exchange for his soul? You can't exchange material possessions for your soul, but you would try. If you could do it, you would give it all, wouldn't you, on Judgment Day, that your soul may be preserved? But He's already warning us, here in 11:4, wealth will do nothing for you on the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Now, somebody tell me what righteousness that is? Is it your righteousness? Well, we know from another book that your righteousness is like filthy rags. And the one thing about the book of Proverbs is that it's not a strong theme, that this is an imputed righteousness from Jesus Christ. The idea of the righteous and the wicked is big in Proverbs, but it's not until you get to other books, you find out how you genuinely become righteous, righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Now, look at 16:4. We talked about this one when we covered the sovereignty of God. It says, "The Lord works out everything for His own ends, even the wicked for a day of disaster." Again, I believe this is referring to Judgment Day, not just a temporal disaster in this earth, but a final judgment in which the wicked will receive his just deserves, those things that we have done, which are not according to His ways. 

On the Path to Destruction

Now, the next major theme is, you are on the way of destruction, or you may be on the way of destruction, despite what you may think. Despite what you may think. Is this something that we should say when preaching the Gospel? Oh, absolutely. We're supposed to warn people, aren't we? We're supposed to tell them to flee the wrath to come. Remember it said in Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter, “With many words he warned them and he pleaded with them, save yourselves from the coming wrath.” So, there is a coming wrath. And when you're dealing with an unbeliever, it's your job to leave them, either in Christ - not that that's your responsibility - but that they are left in Christ or left unsettled with their sin. That there's something amiss, something distressing, something that they should be concerned about, not that it's okay where they're at. Jesus said that there are two roads, aren't there? There's a wide road that leads to what? What does a wide road lead to? Destruction. And then there's that narrow road that leads to life and only a few find it.

So, if only a few find it, the odds are that the person you're talking to does not know the Lord, has not ever come into the way of righteousness. Look at 12:15. Proverbs 12:15. It says, "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." The first wisdom that God gives the soul is the wisdom to listen to some good advice called the Gospel. Isn't that the first glimmer of wisdom that that fool ever had? And we're all fools. None of us are different. We're all born in Adam, and we're all born foolish. The first wisdom is listening to the Gospel. That's the first wisdom that ever comes. And it is a form of advice; it's so much more. Repent and turn... Why will you die? That's a form of advice.

But the thing is, up to that point, the way seemed pretty good, didn't it? The way that you are on, what's wrong with how I'm living? Have you ever tried to share the Gospel with somebody who's very satisfied with how they're living their life? And it's one of your jobs - uncomfortable job - to disabuse them of that notion. It's not okay. It's not okay how you're going. It's not okay to not cling to the cross of Jesus Christ. It's not okay to speak of imputed righteousness and that your righteousness is as of nothing. That's not okay. And if I hear you start telling me about how your good works are going to outweigh your bad, or on Judgment Day, that basically God grades on the curve, it's my job to leave you uncomfortable with that, that you may know that that will never cut it on Judgment Day.

Look at 14:12, 14:12. 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man. But in the end, it leads to death." Physical death, yes, but how much worse? Eternal death. Now, what is the way that seems right to a man when it comes to eternal death? Isn't it works righteousness? Isn't that the basic way that seems right to a person? To basically do your best, to be a good person, to try and fulfill the law? That religion that we put together this morning, remember? Where you acknowledge that you do some wrong things and that you try to do better in the future? That's a comfortable religion, but it's not Christianity.

There is a way that seems right. And that is: be a good person, try to help with civic things, get involved in clubs and other things, try to help and do good things, be a chairman of this or that committee at church. “Boy, all the hours I put in you wouldn't believe. And all the things I had to put up with, you wouldn't believe. I must have earned at least some time out of purgatory.” And no one would ever speak that way. We, Baptists know better than that, but there's still that way of thinking. It's a works-righteousness thinking, isn't it? “If I can just crank out enough time, if I can just come and endure that boring preacher week after week… When will you ever tell some stories?” Hey, I love stories, I really do. I love to tell stories. There's a time for it, though, and the pulpit is not it, brothers and sisters. Okay? There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is death. 

Take Refuge!

Alright, so we've got judgment day is coming. You're on the way of destruction, despite what you may think. Well, guess what? Next part, you better take refuge. You better take refuge. Look at 27:12. "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." Isn't that powerful?

See, the Gospel comes, and it tells you of things that aren't here yet. Right? Good and bad. It tells you of a heaven that's not here yet. What some people dismiss as pie in the sky, by and by. It's not here yet. We can't enjoy it now; it's just future. It's deferred. But it also speaks of a judgment that's coming; it's not here yet. But it says in 1 Thessalonians, 1:10, "Because of thee," it says, "the wrath of God is coming." Jesus Christ rescues us from the coming wrath. Colossians says, "Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:6). There's a coming wrath.

Well, the first step of prudence is to believe that that's true. Remember in Pilgrim's Progress - what is it that made Christian run out of the City of Destruction? He was afraid to live there anymore. He didn't want judgment coming down on him. And so, he wanted to take refuge; he just didn't know where that was. And it took Evangelist telling him, and he began the journey, but he wanted to take refuge. He must take refuge.

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning

The next one - the fear of the Lord is the beginning of that journey toward refuge, isn't it? It's the beginning of the journey, the fear of the Lord. 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." And 8:13, it says, "To fear the Lord is to hate evil." Isn't that strong? Just meditate on that for a minute. To fear the Lord is to hate evil. Now, I've been teaching before... Spiritual maturity is a matter of knowledge, faith, character, actions. Character, I believe... I got this from Jonathan Edwards. I think it's true. Character has to do with what you love and what you hate. What kinds of things do you love? What are you attracted to? What do you yearn for? What is beautiful to you? What do you want in your character? What do you want in your soul? What is your hunger and your thirst, right? And then conversely, what repulses you? What repels you? What do you despise? What causes you to push away? I think that is who you are - love and hate.

Well, we think of Christians it's only a matter of love. It is not only a matter of love. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. And so, you know you feel the Lord when you start to hate evil. And there's all kinds of evil around. The book of Proverbs opens up so much of it to us. And then the fear of the Lord then is to hate evil. And then 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." That is powerful. That is powerful. I have to tell you, I just saw something I hadn't seen before as I was putting this together, what is eternal life? What is eternal life?

Now, this is eternal life, that they may what? Know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. So here it is in 9:10. Eternal life, although it isn't called that, but that's what it is. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One. Didn't A.W. Tozer write a book The Knowledge of the Holy? Maybe he got it right out of here - knowledge of the holy. Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. It's also eternal life, isn't it? Okay, fear of the Lord is the beginning of that journey.

God Sees Everything

Now, the next issue with Judgment Day is that God sees everything. God sees everything. He sees it all. Now, in the middle of Chapter 5, there's numerous warnings in the book of Proverbs against adultery, aren't there? That could have been one of the major themes that we took up on an evening like this - sexual purity. Well, look at 5:21 and 22. In the middle of the warnings, 5:21-22 says, "For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him, the cords of his sin hold him fast." So, God is staring at your way. He's watching your life, carefully.

Remember, with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years. Wow. He is really zeroed in on you. Remember Job called Him a watcher of men. He said, "Turn your gaze away from me, you watcher of men” (Job 7:20). “You're staring at me too closely.” He's watching us, carefully. Every moment. Can we survive a judgment like that? I think... Remember that popular song, was it Bette Midler? “God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance?” Uh-uh. He knows the wicked from afar, but He is intimately aware of every little look of the eye, every inclination of the heart. He's on it. And it says in Hebrews 4, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything's uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account." So, the book of Proverbs tells us that about judgment day.

God Tests the Heart

And the next aspect of Judgment Day is that God tests the heart. He's looking at the motives. Motives are crucial. Look at 16:2. "All of man's ways seem innocent to him but motives are weighed by the Lord." So, we always think well of ourselves, don't we? Did you ever notice that about yourself? “My motives are good; my intentions were pure.” Really? But God is looking minutely at the inclinations of the heart. And I don't really even think we know ourselves on these matters, do we? I don't even think we really know why we do what we do. But all a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the heart. 17:3, "The crucible for silver and furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart." He's looking at the heart, isn't He? He's zeroed in the heart. Now, what is the heart? We've talked about this before.

It's the part of you that thinks, the part of you that feels, the part of you that decides and chooses. It's the part of you that has passions and inclinations. It's the part of you that loves and hates. It's that internal invisible part of you, and God is weighing it all and testing at all, looking at it carefully. 20:27. 20:27 says, "The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man. It searches out his inmost being." I believe that God actually leads us into circumstances so that the thoughts of the heart are revealed. I really feel that way. I feel that we're kind of navigated into a situation where what we really are, who we really are, just comes out - especially for Christians because then we can see ourselves and we know ourselves. A non-Christian really isn't being self-reflective, but God is probing the heart. And then 21:2 similarly, it says, "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart."

Why is it true? Why do you think it's true that we naturally think so well and highly of ourselves? I'm talking about unbelievers, even. Why is that? What do you think? Yeah, we can always compare ourselves to someone else, and it's not hard to find somebody who's not doing that well. I actually think it's one of the reasons we have such a morbid interest in negative news. I think it's a way of justifying yourself. It's a way of saying, "Well, I'm not that bad. I would never have done that." You know what I'm talking about? "I would never have done something like that." And so, you feel good about yourself. And we don't see the sin within until we start staring into the law of God. I think the law is what shows it to us. That's the purpose of it, so we understand the sin in our heart. 


Okay. Next part, sacrificing. Good works mean nothing. 21:3, very next verse, right there. "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." Well, you say, "How does this fit under the heading? It seems like God here in 21:3 is urging us to do what is right and just." Well, we also know from other places that we can't obey the law. But what this is removing from us is the idea that I can always sacrifice to God. I can always tell God I'm sorry for the bad things that I've done. And He says, “I would rather you hadn't done the bad things.” That's what He's getting at here. “It's better that you hadn't disobeyed than that you pull out a sacrifice and try to cover it up at that point.”

And then 21:27, "The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable. How much more so when brought with evil intent?" So, you try to do good works, even religious works. And what does God think about them according to 21:27? “Detestable,” He says. “I hate them. I don't want your good works. You try to bring me good works on Judgement Day; I'll throw them out with a vengeance. Don't bring me good works. Bring your broken and contrite heart while there's still time. That's what I want. I don't want your good works; I want repentance and faith.” And so 21:27 removes the idea of good works or sacrifice being able to atone for sin.

Perfect Righteousness Alone Saves

Alright, perfect righteousness alone saves. We've already looked at... Well, 10:2, if you look back, it says, "Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death." Is that true? Does righteousness deliver, not just from death in this life, but from eternal death? Is righteousness going to get you through Judgment Day? Well, you've been listening to Romans. What's the answer? Yes. Yes, righteousness enables you to survive Judgment Day. But you don't have any. Where are you going to get it? Through Christ alone - all that righteous life, 33 years of perfect righteousness credited to you. Isn't that amazing? All of that given to you. It's all yours. It's been put into your number to count, and God will open it up on Judgment Day, and there it is. Isn't that something? Righteousness delivers from death.

11:4, we've already looked at, "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." And then 11:19 - look at 11:19. "The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death." Truly righteous. And what does it say in 11:19? What happens to the truly righteous man? He attains life. He gets something he didn't have. We're talking about eternal life here. Truly righteous. So, it's hinting. You see, it's hinting at the Gospel; it's not there openly, but the idea that righteousness alone delivers from death, a perfect righteousness. And then 12:28, it says, "In the way of righteousness, there is life. Along that path is…” What? “Immortality." Isn’t that interesting? Little glimmers of the Gospel here. Along that path is immortality.

Humility Prepares the Heart for Salvation

Okay, next part. Humility prepares the heart for salvation. We already learned that God opposes the proud. He detests the arrogance of the wicked, the pride. Alright, that has got to be removed. 15:33 says, "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom and humility comes before honor." Humility comes before heaven. Humility comes before eternal life. Jesus said, "Enter through the... " What kind of gate? The narrow gate. It's a humbling gate, isn't it? When you come in there, you come in stripped. You've got nothing. You're a spiritual beggar. You have literally nothing of your own, and you're basically throwing yourself on the mercy of God, and you're begging Him for forgiveness through Christ. That's humility, isn't it? That's ultimate humility. 16:5, "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this, they will not go unpunished.” And then very interestingly, 26:12. Take a minute and look at that one.

I like this verse. I thought about it, it hit me in a different kind of way. 26:12, "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There's more hope for a fool than for him." You know, it's funny. Paul called himself a fool for Christ's sake. I'd rather be a fool and go to heaven, than a wise man and be going to hell. 1 Corinthians 1 talks about the wisdom of this world. The cross is foolishness, isn't it? It's foolish that a dead Jewish carpenter pouring out His blood can get you to Heaven; that's foolishness. But I want to be that kind of a fool, the kind of fool that believes that. But if I'm wise in my own eyes, there's no hope for me. No hope at all.

Trust in the Lord Alone

And the next is trust in the Lord alone. This is probably the most familiar to you. Three, five and seven... Five through seven, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil." There's so much truth in there. Come to God, repent, turn away from your own wisdom. Turn away from your own understanding, and He will direct your paths. And the next, 18:10, it says, "Take refuge in God's name." Take refuge in God's name. 18:10 says, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe." Isn't that beautiful?

Were you here last week when I baptized John Ming into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit? What was going on there? He was being immersed in the name of God. Is there safety in the name of God? Everyone who calls in the name of the Lord, what? Will be saved. There's safety there. There is no other refuge. We've been talking about a storm that's coming. We're talking about Judgment Day. There is a refuge; there is a sure and certain refuge. It's as sure and certain as Noah's Ark. If you come on that ark, you come on that place of refuge. You will be safe from the wrath of God. There's a place of safety.

Confess and Repent!

Well, what do we do? We confess and repent. 28:13. 28:13 says, "He who conceals his sins, does not prosper. But whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." That's phenomenal, isn't it? If you try to hide your sins... Remember when I was preaching through Romans 4 - maybe you don't - but in Romans 4, verse 8, it says, "Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are…” What? “Covered." You remember that? Covered. And I said, the Gospel presents you with a choice. You can either cover your own sins, or you can let God cover them through the blood of Christ. Someone will cover them. Either you will cover them and push them down and pretend they're not there, like Adam and Eve tried to do in the garden. You know what I'm talking about. Or you will expose them and give them to God, and He will cover them with the blood of Christ.

And so, 28:13 says, "Whoever confesses... " That means brings out,  "and renounces his sin finds mercy. But whoever covers it, whoever conceals his sin... " The same word - we get the same word of covering in the original language. "He who covers his sin does not prosper." So, you try to hide your sin; you're not going to prosper. If you bring it out and say, "God, here it is," He'll cover it with the blood of Christ.

Don’t Wait

And then don't wait. Look at 6:15. It says in 6:15, "Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant. He will be suddenly destroyed without remedy." So, in other words, just like that, you're gone. Even while you go about your business, just like that. Just like that. I remember I was at a funeral recently of a man who was a motorcycle rider, and he was killed instantly. And there were no skid marks in the road. I remember that distinctly. No skid marks. What does that mean that there were no skid marks? He hit a tree that had fallen down across the road, and there were no skid marks. It was night time. He never saw it. Just literally never saw it. 39 years old. Just came around the corner, and that was it.

And I guess what I'm saying is, as we're proclaiming the Gospel, is it a serious thing if they listen and say, "Well, I'm interested but I'm not ready?" Let them know that God has not promised them tomorrow. Look at 27:1. 27:1 says, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." 27:1 says, “Don't wait. You don't know if you'll even be alive tomorrow. You don't even know.” Okay?

And then finally, 29:1, don't be stubborn. "A man who remains stiff necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without remedy." Don't stiffen your heart. If today you hear His voice, don't harden your heart. Don't stiffen your neck - same thing. Hardened heart and stiff neck, the same thing, I think. Don't resist, but follow Christ. Now, those are all just different aspects of the Gospel. I'm going to skip the sanctification ones. You've got them on your sheet; you can look them up. I want to talk about Jesus Christ. 

VI. Jesus Christ in Proverbs

I think it's very, very interesting that we do not openly have an atoning sacrifice in the book of Proverbs. I find that very interesting. Look at Chapter 30, however, at the very end. I think this is really interesting to me. Chapter 30, Verse 1, it says, "The sayings of Agur, son of Jakeh... " - I don't know how to pronounce these things - "An oracle. This man declared to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal. And this is what he said, I am the most ignorant of men... " This is Agur talking. "I am the most ignorant of men. I do not have a man's understanding. I have not learned wisdom nor have I knowledge of the Holy One." Now look at Verse 4, "Who has gone up to Heaven and come down?"

Now, if you look in Ephesians 4 and Deuteronomy, it speaks about - and Romans 10 also - about somebody who goes up to heaven and comes down. Or comes down from heaven and goes back up, and that's only one person. That's the Son of God; that's Jesus Christ. Very interesting what he says. "Who has gone up to Heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son?" Isn't that interesting? Right in the middle of the book of Proverbs - what is His name? This can only be God that does these things. And the name of His son. In effect Proverbs is saying, "We're ready. We want to know how to live like this, we just don't... We can't do it." What is His name? I feel like that's what Proverbs is saying when it comes to the person of Jesus Christ. What is His name? We're ready. We want to know what is his name? And we'll believe in Him. Who is He, Lord?

Remember the man - John chapter 9, Jesus healed him. "Who is he, Lord that I may believe in him?" They're ready. Book of Proverbs gets you ready but doesn't proclaim. It doesn't preach the Gospel; that has not been given to the book of Proverbs. I like 1 Corinthians 1:30. It says, "It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God." Think about that. Jesus Christ is wisdom from God; that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. There is a man who has perfectly lived the book of Proverbs, isn't that amazing? Jesus Christ perfectly lived all the wisdom in the book of Proverbs in His 30-some odd years of life. And if you trust in Him, you'll have eternal life. He will come and live within you, and He's going to start living out that same wisdom in your life. Jesus Christ is our wisdom, our holiness, and our redemption.

V. Our Responsibility as Evangelists

The Willingness to Speak Hard Truths

I want to finish with our responsibility as evangelists. Just four quick verses, and then we'll be done. The first is the willingness to speak hard truths. Look at 27:6. Be willing to speak hard truths. I guess we're coming full circle because we started with God reaching out and appealing. He's reaching out. He's beckoning to the foolish ones and to the unlearned and to the wicked, and now He's calling us to do the same, isn't He? We are basically like Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. Be reconciled to Christ. You see? And so, He's calling us to take part in the calling out to those who haven't come to Christ yet. So, what does he say here in 27:6? Be willing to speak hard truths. It says, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."

Be willing to hurt a little bit. Be willing to say, "You know, I fear for your soul. I'm afraid for you. I'm afraid that you don't know Christ. And then on Judgement Day, you're going to have to give an account for everything you've done. I'm afraid for you." Allow there to be an awkwardness and a separation, almost, in the relationship. Not that you want it, you don't, but you still want to speak the truth. Wounds from a friend can be trusted. Be willing to do the wounding. It's not literal wounding, but it's a healing wound, so that they might come to Christ.

Rescue the Perishing

And then rescue the perishing. Look at 24:11-12. It says, "Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, ‘but we knew nothing about this...’ Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" You can't say I didn't know they were going to hell. You can't say, “I didn't know. I didn't know that my co-worker, that my relative or that my friend didn't know Christ.” You knew. You did know. You do know. Do you know any unbelievers in your life? Have you ever said anything to them about Christ? Don't just bring them to church. You are the friend that... This is wounds from a stranger. You're wounds from a friend. They know you. And God can use you in a mighty way to witness to your friend, your relative. Rescue the perishing.

Don’t Fear Man

And then don't fear man. Look at 29:25, "Fear of man," it says, "will prove to be a snare. But whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." Don't be afraid of men. Don't be afraid what people will think of you because you open your mouth and testify to the grace of God. What do you think they'll think of you? Well, some of them will reject you, but some of them will be saved. Some of them will listen and be saved. So, fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Trust in the Lord to make you a witness.

And then finally, 11:30. Proverbs 11:30 says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life." Have you ever heard of the tree of life? What is the tree of life? Don't you remember there were two special trees in the garden of Eden? We've been talking a lot about that other tree, tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By the way, about that, did Adam and Eve know good before they ate from that fruit? Oh, yeah. Nothing but good. It was good. That was good, the other was good, they're all... Everything was good. Good, good, good. Very good, even. They knew good. What didn't they know? They didn't know evil. Do they know now? Oh, yeah. Adam and Eve had almost a thousand years... Or at least Adam, I don't know how old Eve... But Adam had almost a thousand years of evil.

I hope he's in heaven. I mean, really, I think it would be wonderful. What a trophy of God's grace if Adam ended up being redeemed. But what I'm saying is that we have a long history with evil, don't we? We know evil, alright? But there was another tree, wasn't there? And what was the name of that tree? It's the tree of life, and that was cut off from us. Okay, the fruit... Now, it says here, "The fruit of the righteous is the tree of life." Now, I don't want to take this out of context because I frankly don't know what it meant to Solomon to win a soul. I've been wondering about that. But look at the second half of the verse, "And he who wins souls is wise."

What did it mean to Solomon to win a soul? I don't know. That's interesting. That's a Wednesday night teacher kind of context question. What did Solomon mean by winning a soul? But within this context, could it... I don't think it's too far amiss to talk about eternal life and to talk about persuasion into eternal life. Even the preaching of the Gospel. Wouldn't you love to be a soul winner, somebody who wins somebody to Christ? I want our church full of soul winners. I want a multiplication ministry in this church. I want to be a soul winner, it's true, but I want you to be as well.

So, we've seen in the book of Proverbs, we've seen some fascinating things. We've seen a wisdom and a righteousness described here, but we've not had that, the bleeding sacrifice, the atonement that we get in Romans chapter 3: Jesus Christ, the propitiation for our sins. But we know who He is. And Jesus has become for us our wisdom, wisdom from God.

Why don't we close in prayer? And I would like to ask you, if you would, to remember to pray for me. I'll be gone for two weeks starting on Fourth of July. So be praying for me and for my family while I'm gone. And just pray that God would bless what we do - Jack and Rita as well, Jack Evans and Rita Evans, that God would anoint us with His Spirit, protect us, and also that seeds could be sown that will bear fruit for eternal life. Will you pray with me for that? Thank you, I see all those. I see that nodding head, I see you. Alright, so you can pray for me. Please, I need it.

Let's close in prayer. Father, we do thank You for the time we've had tonight to study your word and for the wisdom we've gotten from Proverbs. And I pray now, Lord, as we go on from here, that we would win souls for you, Lord. Whatever Solomon meant, we know what you mean as you speak to us, Lord, that we might rescue the perishing, that we might reach out with the Gospel and that we might see eternal soul, just see people repenting and coming to Christ and then built up in their faith until they reach full maturity. Father, we want to see that, and I pray that You would do it. We thank You for the day we've had in Your house, and we thank You for the words that we've heard from You. Be with us now as we go into our week. Make us fruitful for you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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