Naive and Christian don’t dance well together.
NOVEMBER 1, 2023
Naive and Christian don’t dance well together. I’ll explain, on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers sick of phony religion and pious clichés. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at kind of an overview of Proverbs, and I’m going to get into the book itself when we get there, but it’s going to be a little while. And we’re going to look, I’ll try to categorize the Book of Proverbs, and we’ll go to a lot of places and see the wisdom, the incredible wisdom, the true wisdom that is given us in the Book of Proverbs. And I’ve titled this series because I had to have a title when we put it in our catalog. I’ve called it Street Smart Christians. And speaking of street-smart, as we talk about anchors of the Book of Proverbs, which is what we’re doing this week. The Book of Proverbs says something important about being street-smart. That’s what a Christian, a person of God, ought to be. We are to be the least naïve, the least superficial, and the least credulous people on the face of the earth. And Proverbs has an intentional view of helping us beat that. Did you hear about the man who jumped out of an airplane and he couldn’t get his parachute to work? On the way down, he met a man going up, and he shouted at him, Hey mister, you know anything about parachutes? And the man shouted back, No, do you know anything about gas ovens? I’m sorry, I repent. But, you know, there is this idea that Christians are to be nice and to hold hands and walk through the garden with Jesus. And there is some of that in being a Christian. But being a Christian is being aware. Being a Christian is to be able to measure what’s true and what isn’t true. Being a Christian is in short, being street-smart. My friend Philip Yancey says that if you ask pagans what comes to their minds when they think of Christian, they will use words like guilt ridden, condemning, manipulative, angry, and he’s probably right. But let me tell you something, the last word they will ever use would be wise or street-smart. And the Book of Proverbs winces at that particular fact. And as you read through the Book of Proverbs, you begin to see, you know, this is good stuff. This is going to make a difference in my life. This is going to make me wise. And then, as we’re looking at this overview, and we’ll get into the actual Proverbs tomorrow, but it’s the final. Don’t study Proverbs, unless you are free to repent, I John 2 says.
My children, these things I write to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins,
and of course they do
we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
I’ve said this a thousand times, but I’ve got to say it again. Do you know what’s the easiest thing in my life? It’s repentance. Do you know the thing that God wants me to do almost more than anything else? It’s repent. And you say, I never heard anybody say that before. That’s cause we’ve misunderstood repentance. We’ve looked at those cartoons where somebody has a placard that says repent. And we think that repentance means that you change and you become pure and obedient and faithful. And if you can’t, you repent again until you can. That’s not what repentance is, repentance is an attitudinal thing. It comes from a Greek word, metanoia, and it means how you look at things. And to repent is to look at something different. It’s to say to God, you’re right, I’m wrong, I can’t believe I did that, but I did. I agree with you. I’m so sorry. And if I knew how to change, I would change. But I repent of what I was thinking and what I was doing and what I was saying. That’s repentance. And at that point, the ball is no longer in your court. It’s in God’s court. Sometimes he changes you, sometimes it takes a long time sometimes it’s quickly and sometimes you think you’ll never change. But that doesn’t affect repentance. Repentance is not changing, listen up, it’s God’s methodology of changing us if he wants to change us. And so, as we go through the Book of Proverbs, and don’t go there unless you’re willing to repent, unless you’re willing to take the Book of Proverbs and say, oops, I haven’t been doing that, or I’ve been doing that wrong, or I’ve been thinking wrong about that issue, and I repent. If you’re willing to repent and put the ball in the court of the God of the universe, you’ll be surprised with what God will do to make you different. It is, by the way, how I became a spiritual giant. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. But I’m better, I really am, I’m better than I was. And you know why? Because of repentance. Repentance isn’t an act, it’s a lifestyle. Let me say that again. Repentance isn’t an act, it’s a lifestyle, where the Christian walks with Christ, agreeing with Him about everything he says. Do it with Proverbs. It’ll change your life. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing in our series called Street-Smart Christians, a lively and insightful exploration of Proverbs. One more day of teaching on this subject tomorrow, do hope you’ll join us. So, what’s your favorite holiday? For me, the holiday at the end of this month, Thanksgiving, is on the short list. But while it’s easy to give thanks when things are going well, it’s a different story when things are going bad. Well, that’s a situation Steve addressed in a classic message called The Principle of Praise. Take a listen to part of that sermon, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.
We’re going to be looking at the principle of praise. And somebody says, well whoopee, nothing new or exciting or different about that. I’m always thanking God. I thank God every day of my life for my health and for my life. I thank God for my family, but we’ve missed the point. The principle of praise asks this question. Or the Bible does, What do you do when you don’t have good health? What do you do when you are facing death? What do you do when you don’t have a family? What do you do when everything you have built falls to ashes? What do you do about praising then? If you’re looking for a good title for this sermon or for this teaching from Ephesians, you could call it, How to be Thankful When You’re Not. Or perhaps, How to be Thankful When You Have Nothing for Which to be Thankful. Somebody said, Every day the world rolls over on somebody who is just sitting on top of it. I recently read an illustration of how that works. In 1923, at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, at one table in a restaurant in that hotel sat seven men. And these seven men were viewed by the whole world as being objects to emulate. They were men who together controlled more money than the entire United States Treasury. At that one table, there was the president of the world’s largest utility company. Same table, the greatest wheat speculator in the world, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, a member of the cabinet of the president of the United States, a man known as the biggest stock trader on Wall Street, the president of the Bank of International Exchange, and the head of the world’s largest monopoly. Kids all over America looked up to those men. They said, if I could only be like them. But today, as we are able to put things into perspective, we can write the whole story. The president of the world’s largest utility lived the last days of his life on borrowed money, he died penniless. The great wheat speculator died abroad insolvent. The president of the New York Stock Exchange served a term in Sing Sing prison. The cabinet member was pardoned from prison because he had a terminal disease and so he could go home and die with his family. The man known as the biggest stock trader on Wall Street, the president of the Bank of International Exchange, and the head of the world’s largest monopoly all committed suicide. Every day the world rolls over on somebody who is just sitting on top of it. And so, the question before the house this morning is simply this, when your heart’s broken, how do you praise God? When everything is in ashes around you, what do you do then? And the Bible says to praise God. Our text, Ephesians 5:18 through 20, let’s read it together.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,
and here it comes
always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Now, because some of the other things that I’m going to be saying this morning aren’t going to be accepted by everybody, let’s check out some other Scripture verses, so that we can see that I’m not just proof texting. I Thessalonians 5:16 through 18.
pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Philippians 4:4 through 6. Rejoice in the Lord when you feel like it. Doesn’t say that.
Rejoice in the Lord always.
And so, what’s the principle? The principle is that when you’re down and out, when nothing’s working out, when you have tremendous tragedy in your life, praise God.
Hey, if what you just heard grabbed you, spoke to you, encouraged you. Would you do me a favor? Call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. And we will send you that full sermon on CD for free. You could also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD called Principle of Praise. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card, you can include a gift in your envelope. Or you can give safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, just text that to 28950. 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.