Don’t waste your breath.
JANUARY 23, 2024
Hey, don’t waste your breath. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re studying the Book of Proverbs. And we’re studying it by subject, which is the only way you can study the Book of Proverbs in any kind of consistent way. You can read a chapter every day of the month, and that’s good, but if you’re going to study it, you’ve got to study it by way of subject. And there are all kinds of subjects on how to be a street-smart Christian in the Book of Proverbs. And I’ve said it a hundred times, these are not promises.
Raise up a child in the way he or she will go and he or she will walk in it.
God, you promised my child has become an atheist and you violated. No, he didn’t. He just said, that’s the way to do it. And most of the time it works out that way. And it does, most of the time, work out that way. And so, it’s a principle you ought to be aware of in order to be a street-smart Christian. Let me show you another one. This is from Proverbs 9:7 through 8.
He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself. And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer lest he hate you.
Then Proverbs 26:4 through 5.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Don’t answer a fool according to his folly. Let he be wise in his own eyes.
Now, what is that saying? Well, as it applies to us as Christians, it means that sometimes, and Jesus said this, I didn’t. When you witness to somebody and they tell you, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear your Jesus stuff. I don’t want any part of it. Then don’t keep talking, for heaven’s sake. Stop talking about Jesus, and go talk to somebody who wants to hear it. And you say, Steve, that sounds kind of calloused. Yeah, I know. But I didn’t say it, God said it. God said sometimes, hold your breath and don’t waste it. God says sometimes, look, there’s some people who just don’t want to know me, who don’t want to have anything to do with me, who want to be God themselves. Now, the Scripture has said in the Book of Psalms.
That the atheist, the fool, has said in his heart, there is no God.
And so, you cross reference that with the two verses in Proverbs I read to you, and you’re beginning to see what God is saying. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your, I had a man tell me one time that if I didn’t call his wife off, he would never be a Christian. He said, frankly, I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve been really close to becoming, but my wife will not back off. And I, every time I pick up the newspaper, a track falls out of it. Every time I go to the bathroom, there’s a religious book sitting there. Every time we talk about anything, it’s about religion and Jesus. And sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it. So, if you don’t call her off, I’ll never be a Christian. So, and this really happened, I invited her to come into my study and I said, Ruby, and that’s not her name. I said, Ruby, you know I love you, don’t you? And she said, yes, I do. And I said, Ruby, I don’t want you to ever mention Jesus in your husband’s presence, at least for six months. And she said, what? Jesus calls me to witness. And I said, you already have. So, you’ve been rude, and you’ve been stubborn, and you haven’t been sensitive to your husband. So, trust me on this, and you’ll be delighted with the results. Just shut up about Jesus, okay? And she did. And now, well, eventually became a deacon in that church, and he served Christ, and she laughs about that whole incident because it was kind of funny. And it was an illustration of Proverbs 9:7 through 8, and Proverbs 26:4 through 5, and what Jesus said about shaking the dust off your feet. You don’t have to witness to everybody, every time you talk. Sometimes, just get a milkshake and enjoy the milkshake because it’s a milkshake and not so you can witness to the person who made the milkshake. Sometimes, you just shake the dust off your feet, and you spend your time with the people who want to hear. I know that sounds callous, and it sounds like giving up, and frankly, I never gave up on my father for years and years, and didn’t, and my mother and my brother didn’t either. And eventually he came to Christ, but he came to Christ not because he listened to what we said, but because he was dying and was forced to listen to what the doctor said. And the doctor said, you’re going to die, and we’re going to pray, and then I’m going to tell you something more important than that. And he led my father to Christ. So God does as he pleases, and he does it right well. And when he’s moving somebody in their heart, make sure you’re there. And make sure you speak the word of life into that life. But when they don’t want to hear it, don’t tell them. When they would rather talk about baseball, shake off the dust from your feet and talk about baseball. Don’t feel that in every place and every time that you have to witness to Christ because God moves that, and when he moves it, he’ll know it. Peter said.
Be ready to give answer to anyone who asks you.
Wait, wait. What does that say? That says they have to ask. In other words, God has to be moving. In other words, there are questions that are signals to Christians that it is time to speak. And when you get that signal, then you should speak. When they ask, why don’t you, why don’t I, why don’t we create questions and do something that shocks a pagan? They will say, how could you do that? And then you can tell them because they asked the question. So, the most important lesson of today is don’t waste your breath. Then let me show you something else, and we’ll talk more about it tomorrow, but love covers it all. Proverbs 10:12.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sin.
You say, really? Mm hmm. Yeah, it does, in a sense, and you’ll find an illustration to that in one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible, and it’s the seventh chapter of Luke, where a prostitute crashes a dinner party of Pharisees. Now, dear friend, that was a dumb prostitute. I mean, if I’m going to crash a party, it’s certainly not going to be with a bunch of legalists, if I’m a prostitute. I mean, that’s not the place you want to go. I would have waited, if I had to speak to Jesus. I would have waited outside until the party was over, and then I would, but she didn’t. She crashed this party, and she got what you expect she would get, criticism, and anger, and disvaluing her and who she was, pointing out her sin to Jesus, and that chapter is absolutely amazing. But Jesus said something that was so good, you remember, she washed his feet with her tears. And in the 47th verse, it says.
Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven. For she loved much, but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
Oh my, that’s heavy. That’s profound when you think of it, that’s important. So, Christians can get the doctrine right all the time, my particular heritage, which is reformed, that is true of us. We have the best systematic theology ever written, and the Westminster Confession of Faith is the finest statement of faith, I think, and of course I’m prejudiced, ever written. But you can get all of that right, and Paul was clear about this in I Corinthians 13, if you get all of that right, and you don’t love, you’re a clanging cymbal, a bunch of noise. I’ll remind you, and me. You think about that. Amen.
In the immortal words of Mr. T, I pity the fool. Well, pity him sure, but don’t argue with him. At least that’s the admonition we got today from Proverbs 9:7 and 8, and Proverbs 26:4 through 5. Thank you Steve, for bringing us that word. But of course, there are more gems to unearth here in Proverbs, and we will resume that exploration tomorrow. Do join us. So, if I said remember that one thing you did? Chances are something very specific comes to mind. That’s the bad news. But you know who doesn’t remember that one thing? Yeah, Jesus. That’s the good news. And because Jesus death paid the debt for all our sins, guilt can actually lead us back to Christ to find true and lasting forgiveness. Well, Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. Can we mail you that mini-book for free? If so, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope, or you can now give safely and securely through text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.