Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 12:1-5

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 12 ESV”]

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.
3 No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous will stand.
8 A man is commended according to his good sense,
but one of twisted mind is despised.
9 Better to be lowly and have a servant
than to play the great man and lack bread.
10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
12 Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
but the righteous escapes from trouble.
14 From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.
16 The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
17 Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.
21 No ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,
but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
28 In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.
[/learn_more]

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Solomon: Talk is Cheap

 

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Proverbs 12 is a study in contrasts. This is at the heart of becoming wise. If one does not perceive differences between those who do right and do not, those who think right and those who do not, those who are diligent, and those who are not, etc., then reason in action goes out the window, and we live as fools. Ultimately though, it is a study in two portraits: Fallen man, given over to our own plans, purposes and reasoning, and Christ – showing us the life man was made for, and His redemption, returning us to pursuing original purposes. To live without thinking about who we are as created, and what we are here for in God’s plans – is – STUPID. Living like a mere beast.

Proverbs 12:3 No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved. 

If you are looking for stability in the midst of trying situations – keep in mind that sin will never bring it. Better to suffer some measure of continued discomfort than to take the course of the wicked. You will only add to the destabilization and chaos if not. Things will be truly “out of control.” You cannot bring stability to your life or home or mind by the pursuit or accommodation of any sin.

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Firstly we need to consider – as the Bride of Christ, are we His crown?

Or do we more often bring rottenness to His bones? Oh Father, rule us by your Spirit, that Christ might be “crowned” by us. Do we bring Him honor by the way we live and think and act – or bring Him shame? Is He proud to have us on His arm? Can He trust us in bearing His name?

Secondly, in our homes, we can see this in terms of wives who may act shamefully.

Who perhaps dress provocatively in public, or are brash and brazen or even a busybody (preoccupied with other people’s business). These bring shame upon her husband.  In the natural, wives need to take heed whether or not their discussions – especially with their close confidantes – leave their husbands open to ridicule and shame? Do they reveal things which would make others think less of him, or things HE would rather keep private? Unless there is a compelling reason in terms of bringing actual help, confidences need to be kept.

Thirdly, we can see how these two overlap.

Just as husbands honor Christ when they love their wives sacrificially, and when honoring Christ in all their ways – bring blessing to their wives; so too wives honor their husbands in growing in their Christlikeness, and honor Christ in treating their husbands respectfully and in a godly manner. The two are never separate. We cannot mistreat others without shaming Christ, nor neglect Him without hurting others.

Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

There are those who give counsel out of the flow of who they are and how they think all the time. They live on principles in the inner man. It is how they think about their own actions, how they see truth and the world.  And then there are those who give counsel based on manipulation and trying to achieve certain ends. Their counsel will be self-contradictory at times. It does not spring from an established, principled way of thinking but purely out of expedience. The former are “righteous” – in that they bear the image of God. He only thinks and acts in accordance with His own holy, just nature. Always. The latter are “wicked”. They do not think and act on holy principles, but perverse desires and goals. Father, let me be a man who lives as Christ – serving your holy nature, and not driven by unprincipled goals and desires. Let me share your constancy in Christ by the Spirit.

~ Reid

Leave comments at Responsive Reiding

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.

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David Frampton

Radical: Woman

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The Beginning of Women’s Radical Ministry

 

Luke 8:1-3 ESV

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

 

Introduction 

Last week we began a short series on the theme “Radical”. As mentioned last week, the idea came from some reflections on the book Radical, but this is by no means a repetition of that book.

We are using the word radical in this way: Jesus came to bring people to a fundamental and extreme change in our relationship with God and our way of life before God. Last week we saw that true Christianity is based on the Radical Redeemer. And those who follow Christ Jesus get involved in his radical way of life. Today we want to look at a group of women who became radical in their relationship with God and in their way of life.

 

Exposition

I. These women experienced radical change.

A. They had been oppressed by evil spirits or afflicted with diseases.

Notice how Dr. Luke distinguishes between these things. Some suffered because of the spiritual forces of evil, while others suffered because of natural causes like bacteria, viruses, and system disorders. The ancients were not as gullible as people of our arrogant time ignorantly assume.

1. Many diseases in ancient times were beyond human cures. People chased vainly after wildly concocted potions in the hope of being cured. To describe some of these supposed cures would turn your stomach. Many times people would die of fever, since they lacked the medicine or knowledge to bring it under control. We fail to remember the devastation caused by physical afflictions like smallpox or syphilis or tuberculosis or tetanus. We are all living in a happy time. How many women died or were broken physically by diseases and disorders connected with childbirth! Some of these women were being ruined by physical causes before Jesus cured them.

2. We should also refresh our memories with the devastating effects of demonic possession or affliction. We have already read a couple examples from Luke’s Gospel (4:31-37; 8:26-37; 9:37-43). These form a catalog of insane behavior that tells about what was personally and socially destructive. Think particularly of Mary’s critical case (seven demons!) before Jesus cured her.

B. Jesus cured them because of his authority over all human life. When Jesus came, the reign or rule of God (the kingdom of God) came because the king had come. The Radical Redeemer has authority to cure! Consider how Matthew presents his authority in a concise way.

1. He had authority in his teaching (7:28-29).

2. He had authority over sickness (8:1-15).

3. He had authority over demons (8:16).

4. He had authority over people (8:18-22).

5. He had authority over nature, over God’s creation (8:23-27).

6. He had authority over a legion of demons (8:28-34).

7. He had authority over the forgiveness of sinners (9:1-8).

Apply: Clearly, Jesus has authority over everything and exerts his authority through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This has a two-sided application.

First, if you are resisting his authority over you, you have a serious problem, because you are in rebellion against the Lord of all.

But second, if you are being ruined by sin and its consequences, he has authority to cure you. This is what Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and many other women learned, and so they became learners or followers of Jesus. Come and join this group of radical women.

C. These woman were brought to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Observe the message that Jesus was preaching—the good news of the kingdom (reign or rule) of God. This message demanded two interconnected responses (Mk 1:15).

1. It requires repentance or a change of mind.

This change of mind involves a turn from looking at life apart from God to seeing God’s supremacy in all things. God must have first place; Christ must be my final authority. This includes a genuine or God-focused sorrow for sin (2 Cor 7:7-11). Sin is no longer seen as okay, but as rejection of God, as refusal to love God, and as rebellion against God and his ways.

2. It requires faith.

True faith is trust or reliance or dependence in the Lord. You commit yourself to the Lord to be right with God and for eternal life. You trust him with your life now, since you have also come to see the foolishness of life apart from God (cf. Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the Sower (8:9-15).

Apply: Have you come to have this radical change of mind and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? You will never make it apart from God’s grace that enables you to know that Christ is better and Christ is sufficient.

 

II. These women exhibited radical consecration. Having been set apart by God’s grace for God, they set the way they lived apart for Jesus Christ.

A. They joined the group of Christ’s followers.

1. They had come to understand that what Jesus taught and did were far better than how they had been spending their lives. So they decided to invest their lives in what was better—hearing the Lord’s word and doing it.

2. This decision was costly. They had to leave what was familiar. They had to endure criticism and hardship. Where do you think they spent their nights—at the Hyatt Regency? Most nights they would be out sleeping on the ground. They would be tired from moving from place to place across Galilee and Judea. They would become hungry and thirsty, like the others. And every day, they were following Jesus to the cross! Theirs was a very costly choice.

Apply: Ladies, what choices are you making to pursue making disciples instead of making yourself comfortable?

B. They contributed financially.

1. Though they constantly saw the miraculous in the works of Jesus, they did not see Jesus providing miraculously for the daily bread of this group. Oh yes, he fed the crowds on two occasions, but that was not their usual experience. They were not following a traveling restaurant. The disciples had to buy food. Are there any guesses about who went for water and cooked the food and did the dishes? And how many were in this core group? Let’s see: Jesus, the Twelve, perhaps some other men, and the three named women and many others. That sounds like a sizable grocery bill. And somebody would have to pay for it.

2. This brings us to another radical cost for these women. They were helping to support them. They didn’t do it all, but what they did was significant. They had to make choices. What would they choose—a new outfit, perfume, or jewelry? Or would they spend their worldly wealth to lay up treasures in heaven?

Apply: Sisters, I can’t and won’t tell you what to do with your money. It is none of my business to set up your daily schedule. But I want you to think seriously about how you’re using your lives and all that the Lord has given you. Are you a radical woman—a fully committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? How are the choices you make consistent with Christ and the gospel? How do you need to change?

~ Dave

 

Pastor Dave Frampton

The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.

 

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