Proverbs, Wisdom, and Sex

Defense – Don’t Play with Fire

And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.’” (Proverbs 5:7–14 ESV)

“Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.”

I think we understand what this means. Mark Twain once said, “There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.”[1] It is the application of the Lord’s prayer, “lead me not into temptation.” If I pray that and then knowingly or foolishly put myself as near to temptation as possible, I shouldn’t be surprised with what happens.

Others have said, sexual desire is like fire in the house. In the fireplace it keeps the house warm. Outside the fireplace it burns it down. God has put the fire of sexual desire within us. We must have a holy respect and fear of that fire being inflamed outside of God’s will.

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Wisdom

The simple

The simple are those who have not yet fallen into the absurdity of the fool’s life but are not wise either. The simple are the morally naïve. They are childish in their outlook on life and lack the maturity to see what’s truly valuable. They are easily swayed, like the simple man who is seduced to the adulteress’ bedroom in Proverbs 5. He’s like an ox being led to the slaughter. The simple are easily overcome by life’s circumstances which wisdom could have saved them from. Proverbs 22:3 (ESV) says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

Happy Father Day

I read something that said that the typical greeting “Happy Father’s Day” may miss the point.[1] OK. However, our families and our children and our marriages would be much better off if our sincere desire was not for a happy Father’s Day but for “Happy Father Day.” We don’t want the day to be happy we want the fathers to be happy. But herein lies the problem for so many dads and kids. Yes, the foot rubs and Home Depot gift cards are appreciated, but ask any dad which he would prefer, steak or ongoing happiness as a dad and I think you know the answer. Happy day or happy dad? Happy day or happy family? Happy day or happy children?

How to be a Happy Father

I’m going to assume that every dad greatly desires to be a happy father. We all want to be happy and that certainly includes the most important relationships in our lives—our family—and if we are married, our spouse and children. How do we do so?

The Inseparable Love of God

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35–39 ESV)

Can __________________ Keep Christ From Loving Me?

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Ten powers threaten our confidence in the inseparability of God’s love. He starts with the big one – Death. Death is our ultimate separation. Does Christ’s love extend past the grave? Life – life is filled with uncertainties and dangers. Can anything in life separate Christ’s love from me? Angels and rulers – The spiritual world has rulers and principalities. Is there anyone there who can impede his love? How about Satan? He’s strong, isn’t he? Things present or future? Is there anything in time or in the future that can pull his love from me? Powers – is there any authority on earth that can keep him from me? Height and depth speak to spatial realities – could the highest star be too high for his love? Could the deepest ocean be too far from his love?

If Jesus ____ for Us, Who Can Stand Against Us?

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34 ESV)

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” The answer? Lots of people bring charges against God’s people. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Satan the accuser

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. (Revelation 12:10)

Satan slandered Job. Satan slandered God in the garden temptation. Satan is a slanderer. Could it be that Satan has slandered you by name to God Almighty? It’s possible. Does the accusation of the highest demon alter our status before God? No.

“There is never the danger that Satan with all his cleverness and wiliness will be able to come forward one day and produce a clause that brings me under condemnation. God knows it all infinitely better than even Satan does. God knows all about the Law in its every detail, comma and jot and tittle, so nothing and no one shall ever be able to bring this charge against God’s elect.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)[1]

The law of God

Sin is any violation of God’s law in action or intent. The law condemns us, and it should because we violate it all day long. We sin. We are sinners by nature and action. Do the accusations of the law stick? No.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

Through union with Christ we are under a new jurisdiction. A new law. The law of the Spirit under which we are free from condemnation.

Our conscience

I think this is a huge problem, particularly if you struggle with perfectionism or legalism. Our consciences will scream at us that we are guilty, and apart from God’s grace, our conscience is right. Or a weak conscience will tell us we are guilty for doing something that violates our conscience even if God doesn’t care about it. This is the struggle of the legalist who is not only trying to obey God’s law but man-made laws too. The result is living like we are perpetually losing when we are by grace winning in God’s eyes. What do we say to this?

“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:20–21)

Other people

If we escape Satan, the law, and our conscience, there is no escaping the accusations of others. If we live any resemblance to a Christian life, other people will condemn us. It may be our beliefs which are out of step with societal beliefs, it may be our lifestyle which is at odds with the moral choices of people around us, it may be our inconsistencies which family and those close to us see. This all results in condemnations that sound like, you are a hypocrite, you are a bigot, you are holier than thou, you are a Bible thumper, who are you to tell me what’s right? etc.

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” Lots of humans, demons, laws, and conscience. They can, and they will.

What do we do when they do? Like Paul, we appeal to Caesar. We appeal to the highest authority and the only opinion that matters forever, God’s. God, who do you say that I am? What is my status? Is what they are saying how you see me?

“It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33) God declares us innocent. If God’s judgment is for us, whose charges can stand against us? Here is the Bible’s answer to our worry that we may get to heaven and find out that something went awry, something was missed, something is brought up at the last second and we are judged guilty and sentenced to hell. Can that happen to God’s elect? Can that happen to God’s justified? Unequivocally no!

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

[1] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, p. 410.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

If He Gave His Best, He’ll Give the Rest

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 ESV)

How Christians Live on Romans 8:32

There is a way to live on Romans 8:32 and a way to make a mess of it. Honestly, ask yourself this question, which half of Romans 8:32 gets me most excited? Am I more excited about God giving me Christ or God giving me all things? Which is more thrilling to me? Many people engage with Christianity as a means to some other thing they really want. When they get a tough medical diagnosis, they start to pray. When they have a financial hardship, they start going to church. When they need God’s help, they give money to the church. People get spiritual when they need something from God. Of course, what happens to the church going, praying, and giving once the crisis passes?

Their Christianity is not actually Christianity. It’s just man trying to manipulate God, which is the core of all false religions. God is a means to an end instead of being the glorious end Himself.

Real Christianity starts with Christ. Real Christianity begins with Jesus as the greatest gift God could ever give. It is a kind of faith that believes in Jesus even if nothing else comes with him. What do we think of a person who marries for money, or power, or fame? We think, that’s not love. That’s just self-love.

Romans 8:32 offers reassurance for those who treasure Christ more than anything else. Those who look to Christ for his sake and glory. Love Christ for his amazing love. If becoming a Christian meant all you got was Jesus, would you still choose to be a Christian?

If the answer is yes, then Romans 8:32 is a promise to live by. Where do we struggle in life? On the “all things” side. Will my needs be met? Will I make it through this trial? This hard marriage? This health issue? Will God be good to me or to my loved ones? What about my children and grandchildren? What about my future? How about this: on my deathbed, should I be conscious, what do I think about that second after I die? How can I know?

Over and over Scripture points to the cross. See Jesus there. See him in all his divine glory and worth. See him as God’s gift of infinite worth to you. If he gave you his best, he will give you the rest. And the greater my estimation of Jesus as a gift to me, the more confidence I have for all the other things needed in this life and the next. If God is for me, who can stand against me? If God gave me his best, will he not give me the rest?

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

He

He Glorified

“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30 ESV)

Of all the words in this verse, this one is the shocker and contains the main point of the whole thing. Why?

Glorification is the Bible word for the future of the Christian. This includes our resurrection and promised glorified body. It includes our full sanctification to moral purity. This insinuates our future destiny which is heaven until Jesus returns and ultimately our forever with God on the new earth. All the future wonder and blessings that await us are summarized by glorification. It’s all future.

Yet what tense is used in verse 30? The tense we would expect would easily be the future tense. So, the verse would say, Those whom he justified he also will glorify. But that is not what it says. It says, “Those whom he justified he also glorified.” Past tense. Past tense? How can a future promise be described in a past tense?

I remember once doing a wedding. I was in the back with the groom and groomsmen. I was peeking out the door watching the bridesmaids come down, and we were about to walk out when the groom whispered in my ear, just so you know, we got married three months ago. Da, Dum Da Da…. I walked out on stage completely confused and not sure what to do. How do we talk about what it means to get married when you are already married? Single people don’t do that to your pastor.

But it gets at this point. There is a grammatical tense known as the prophetic future tense. A prophetic future is speaking of something in the future that is so certain that you talk about it like it’s already happened. So, the bully on the playground looks at his next victim and says, you are dead meat. What is that? He is exercising a prophetic future tense. I am so confident that I’m going to destroy you that I’m speaking of you as if it has already happened.

Larry Bird famously walked into the All-Star locker room right before the 3-point shootout and told his competitors, You guys are fighting for second. He was speaking of a future reality as if had already happened.

Why does that matter in Romans 8:30? Because our salvation from first to last is so certain to be accomplished that God describes it in the past tense. Those he justified he also glorified.

Who can say that? Does the bully actually know that the skinny kid isn’t secretly a 3rd degree black belt? Does Larry Bird know he’s going to win the three-point contest? No. No human can speak of anything in the future with any actual knowledge. We can pretend, plan, and playact. But we don’t know what our next second of life holds for us much less eternity future.

But with the God who works everything according to the purpose of his will, everything future is as certain as everything past. God doesn’t wish. God doesn’t hope. God doesn’t wait to see how things pan out. No circumstances overwhelm him. No efforts of sinners or Satan confound him our surprise him. There is nothing from beginning to end that doesn’t fall within the sovereignty of our God who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Only God can speak of the future as if it’s already a done deal.

What is the point? Everything about our salvation is grounded in the eternal character and purpose of God. We can join God’s certainty that all who call on the name of the Lord were saved (predestination), are saved (justification), and will be saved (glorification).

Where is Romans 8 going? It’s heading into the greatest section of assurance of God’s saving love to be found in the Bible. The very next verse is, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) That’s next week.

Who is the repeated doer of each saving work? He. God. The beginning was God. The end was God. All of it for the good of those called according to HIS purpose. God’s purpose is unchangeable, unalterable, undeniable, invincible. Therefore, our salvation is unable by any power in heaven or earth to be dissuaded, dissolved, or defeated.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here