Check out the Follow-Up for this week’s sermon “Out-of-Bounds” by clicking this link!
Check out the Follow-Up for this week’s sermon “Out-of-Bounds” by clicking this link!
OUT-OF-BOUNDS. by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: Every game has its fouls and penalties. In soccer, it can be an offside, a handball, or tripping an opponent. In football, it can be holding, illegal contact, or delay of game. In ice hockey…I still don’t get ice hockey…. In basketball, it can be holding, charging, travelling, double-dribble, or out-of-bounds. When these fouls and penalties happen, the referee or the umpire is responsible for calling them out and there are consequences. So also, life is a game that has its fouls and penalties. The Bible is God’s rule book on how to play the game of life. God is much more than just the rule maker, he is also the referee or the umpire who calls us out when we fail to follow his rules; and, unlike earthly umpires, he doesn’t have to look at the video replay. He calls it right every time. This is our third message in our miniseries “SKILLFUL” from the Book of Proverbs and our message today is titled “OUT-OF-BOUNDS.”
Proverbs 6 16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Question: How are you playing the game of life? Have you making a lot of fouls and penalties? Can you hear God’s whistle? Can you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling you out? Are you saved?
Overall Background: The Book of Proverbs, from which we just read a few moments ago, was written by King Solomon. As many of you may know, he was the son of David, the great king of Israel. One day, when Solomon was in Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God, he had a dream. In the dream, God said to Solomon, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Instead of asking for more life, more riches, or the life of his enemies, he asked for wisdom and understanding to judge God’s people Israel. God was so pleased with his answer that he not only gave him a wise and understanding heart but he also gave him what he did not ask for: 12 “…riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” (II Chronicles 1:12) True to his promise, Solomon not only became the richest king who ever lived (over 25 tons of gold went into his treasury every year!) but his fame spread far and wide as the wisest person who ever lived, surpassing the wisdom of the easterners, the Egyptians, and the Edomites. People came from all over the earth to hear his wisdom. The Book of Proverbs is a collection of just some of his wisdom. Now, listen to how he opens this book—Proverbs 1 1 “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding.” There are many different words that Solomon used for wisdom in this book but the one that stands out above them all is “hokma,” which means “skill in living.” Everyone lives life, but everyone does not live life skillfully. I have been pastoring for over 21 years and I have seen plenty of unskillful living in marriages, families, parenting, businesses, communities, and even churches. People don’t know how to play the game of life. In fact, they keep fouling out! With that said, here are the 7 worst fouls according to God. Proverbs 6:16 “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him.” (This was an ancient way of saying that this list could be much more but these are the worst.)
Foul #1 – Arrogant Eyes
17 “A proud look…” lit. “rising pair of eyes.”
This can be easily misunderstood. Does this mean that you need to walk around with your eyes lowered? If you do that, you will run into things! Does this mean that you cannot recognize your own abilities and accomplishments? No. Neither does it mean that you cannot compare yourself to your opponent and see that you are better in a skill or a sport. All that is fine. Here’s an example of its meaning from Isaiah 10 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say,“I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.” 13 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent…” The King of Assyria did not look far up enough to thank God for his accomplishments and God called a technical foul on him!
Question: Why the eyes? Why not just “the proud?” All of us struggle with the sin of pride but we can typically hide it. But, if it reaches our eyes, now we don’t care if others notice that we are proud. Now, we are proud of being proud. When a person reaches this stage, even God says “I hate it.” Don’t look at others’ eyes. Look at your own. By the way, spiritually arrogant eyes are the worst.
Application: Do you have arrogant eyes? Do you give God glory for your abilities and accomplishments?
Foul #2 – Uncontrolled mouth
17 “…a lying tongue…” If this were just falsehood or incorrectness, then some other words could have been used. Here the idea is of an “aggressive deceit intended to harm the other person.” An example of this is in Psalm 27:12 “Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.”
Someone might say, “I’m not an aggressive liar. I guess I’m ok.” Every time you lie, you claim Satan as your father. Listen to John 8:44 “… (Satan) He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
Application: Are you an aggressive liar? Are you a liar? God is calling a foul on you.
Foul #3 – Bloodstained hands
17 “…hands that shed innocent blood…” The very first example of innocent blood shed was in the first family. Because God accepted Abel’s offering, Cain killed him. Listen to Genesis 4:10 And He (God) said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” Another example was Saul. He was envious of David. Listen to how his son Jonathan confronts him in I Samuel 19:5 “For he (David) took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw itand rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?” Unfortunately, David did the same to Uriah the Hittite. In his desire to cover his sin, he had him killed. Hence, 2 Samuel 12:9-10 says, “…You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me…” For one murder, David lost 4 sons: 1. Son of Bathsheba (12:18); 2. Amnon – killed by his brother Absalom (13:28); 3. Absalom was killed as he fled (18:14); 4. Adonijah – killed by Solomon (I Kin 2:24-25).
Application: Are your hands clean? Have you destroyed someone’s reputation? That is just as bad as shedding innocent blood. Could it be that our hands are stained with innocent blood? Are you an accessory to the shedding of innocent blood?
Foul #4 – Scheming heart
18 “A heart that devises wicked plans…” The heart is the immaterial part of us. It is made by God for us to have a relationship with him. It is damaged because of sin, but it can be redeemed through Jesus Christ. This heart can allow us to love God, come up with good ideas to help others, plan life, and create things. This same heart and mind can also be used to create and dream up wicked thoughts to hurt people.
For e.g. Think about September 11 – how many years were spent planning, training, and practicing. It was not meant to enhance life but destroy it.
For e.g. Then I think of “Operation Christmas Child.” What a great idea! Bless little children, share the love of Christ, remind us of the blessing we have.
Application: What do you think about? You may not go all out evil like September 11 but do you try to trap others in their words and trip them up?
Foul #5 – Wicked Feet
18 “…Feet that are swift in running to evil…” Feet represent the direction of your life. “Feet that are swift in running to evil,” imply a fascination and excitement toward evil things. A rush/dash towards wickedness; a sense of urgency to check out evil. Some people are drawn to bad news, evil ideas, wicked plans. Something bad happened to someone, we want to know; something horrible is happening in someone’s life, we want to know. We seem to have a morbid fascination with evil.
God wants us to examine our feet. He wants us to have:
Application: Which way are your headed? Are you drawn to evil than good?
Foul #6 – Corrupt
19 “A false witness who speaks lies…” lit. A lying witness who commits perjury. This person is not just lying on the witness stand to protect someone. They are lying to destroy someone.They are going against the 8th of the 10 commandments – “You shall not bear false witness.” They are not just lying but lying under oath; they are not just lying under oath but they are lying to get someone in trouble. Money is always involved somewhere. Remember the trial of Jesus – Matthew 26 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” False Witnesses crucified Jesus Christ. When you do the same, you join the company of those who were responsible for crucifying Christ.
Application: Are you a false witness who is lying to hurt someone?
Foul #7 – Troublemaker
19 “…And one who sows discord among brethren.” Lit. Unleashes conflicts among relatives – family, friends, and church.
Why? Because of envy, malice, and strife. They use gossips, lies, doubts, and half-truths. When the seed of dissension is sown they stand back and watch that beautiful field of crops takes over by thorns and weeds and shrubs. They are pyromaniacs, arsonists, fire setters. They start the fire of gossip, lies, dissension and then they stand back and watch that home, marriage, family, and church go up in flames. Where does it come from? Satan did this – Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers. He tried in the NT among the disciples, in the church between the Hebrews and the Greeks.
What do you do? Proverbs 22:10 “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.” Instead, Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Application: Are you a troublemaker or peacemaker?
Invitation: How much are you fouling the game of life? Are you about to be ejected? Do you have Christ in your life? Are you saved?
This week, the Clearview Church staff sit down and discuss the upcoming One Marriage Conference on March the 7th. If you have any questions or have a recommendation for a topic, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like this episode, leave us a rating and share it with your friends!
Sign up for the conference today: https://oneextraordinarymarriage.brushfire.com/events/455063
GATEKEEPER by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: Years ago, they used to sing a song in Sunday School, “O Be Careful Little Eyes.” How many of ya’ll remember that song? “O be careful little eyes, what you see,
O be careful little eyes, what you see, For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.” It had several other verses— “O be careful little ears, what you hear…O be careful little mouth, what you say…O be careful little hands, what you do…O be careful little feet, where you go.” Then, the final verse was— “O be careful little heart whom you trust.” There is so much truth in that song. I think we adults need to sing it! Did you know that song is at least 3000 years old? It comes from the Book of Proverbs! The message is this— “You are the gatekeeper to your heart. You can either let in things that bring you closer to Christ or you can let in things that take you away from Christ. The attack is real, intense, constant, and the cost is heavy.” We are in our miniseries from the Book of Proverbs called SKILLFUL, and today’s message is titled GATEKEEPER.
Proverbs 4 20 “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.”
Question: How secure is your heart? What are you allowing or have allowed into your heart that is destroying you? Is Christ in your heart? Are you saved?
Context: To understand the true meaning of this passage, I want us to begin with verse 23. Then, we will look at the whole passage starting in verse 20. Listen to verse 23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The literal translation from the Hebrew is “Keep your heart ‘more than any’ guarded thing, for from it come the ‘origins’ of life.” To start with, the word for “origins” literally refers to the exits of a city. The imagery is of a fortified city. When we were in Israel, we saw many gates or hinges to the gates. The guide, my good friend Jacky, asked the question that I have heard him ask many times. What is the most vulnerable part of the city? The answer is “the gates of the city.” It may seem like that the gates would be the most secure part of the city but they’re not. Why? Not because they are made out of wood or anything but because all it takes is for someone from the outside to bribe someone from the inside to open the door. According to Solomon, the heart is the gate of the city. All it takes is for someone from the outside to bribe someone from the inside to open the heart. What does the heart represent? In ancient near eastern understanding (especially the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians), the heart was the combination of both the inner and the outer aspects of life. The inner includes the thoughts and the conscience; and the outer includes the words and the actions. In the NT, the word “mind” is used to refer to the “heart” of the OT. The heart or the mind is the immaterial part of every human being. The physical body is the material part. What is the heart or the mind made up of?
Bottom line: The heart is the gate of life and it has to be guarded more than any other guarded thing.
How do we guard the heart, the gate of life? Let’s back up to verse 20 “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; The words of wisdom are the key to protecting our hearts. Listen with your ears and follow with your eyes. In other words, there is no substitute to the daily listening and reading of the Word of God.
Application: How is the daily listening and reading of the Word in your life? Is that a priority in your life? How is the weekly hearing of the Bible and daily personal reading of the Bible? Are you keeping it in the midst of your heart?
What is the cost of ignoring this command? 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.” In Hebrew, the word for life is “hayyim” and the word for live is “haya.” Hayyim is found 33 times in the book and haya is found 4 times. Unlike the English words “life” or “live” that simply mean “to exist”, the Hebrew can actually mean the “full life,” or “fullness of life,” or having “life indeed.” When Solomon talks about life/live, he is not just talking about “being alive” as a clinical life – having a pulse or a heartbeat or brainwaves. He is talking about a fullness of life. In other words, a person can be physically alive—but, emotionally and spiritually, feel dead. Here’s the principle: if you listen to godly wisdom, your heart will be healthy and your being will be full of life and health. If you reject godly wisdom, your heart will be sickly and your being will have a sickly appearance.Sin will wear you down. By the way, this is not just some Old Testament idea. Jesus also talked about having this kind of life in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus was talking about a life without regrets, free of envy, free of guilt, free of shame, free of bitterness, free to enjoy living in this world that God has given us.
Application: How is life for you? How do you feel?
We can fool others and even our own selves into thinking that our heart is healthy and everything is fine. Here’s the test:
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.
Colossians 3 9 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
Matthew 6 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.”
Matthew 7 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Invitation: How is your speech? How is your vision? Which way are you headed? How is your heart? How is your life?
Romans 10 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
SKILLFUL by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: Last Friday evening at our Valentine’s banquet, I showed some pictures of people doing some foolish things and it drew a lot of laughs! Let’s look at them again. What is the problem in all those pictures? Sometimes people are using the wrong tools for the job, sometimes they have the right tools but they are locked up, sometimes they are being reckless in the face of hazardous materials, or sometimes they are overestimating their abilities or misjudging their obstacles. All of this reflects lack of skills and sense of discernment. So also, in life, people lack the right skills and a sense of discernment, and they make foolish and costly decisions. Skillful living comes when we turn to God for wisdom and guidance. More specifically, true wisdom is Christ. When he becomes our life, we begin to live skillfully. For the next few weeks, we will be in a brief series through Proverbs titled “SKILLFUL” (also the title of today’s message). The goal of this series is to help us live life skillfully.
Proverbs 3 5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Question: Who do you lean on for understanding in life? Self, friends, family, or God. Are you living your life skillfully? Is Christ truly at the center and focus of your life?
Background: When it comes to the Book of Proverbs, people typically have a low view of it compared to other books like Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, or any of the New Testament books. This is a huge mistake. In Jeremiah 18:18, we find an ancient saying that reveals to us the various ways that God spoke to His people. It goes like this—“… for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet…” The context of this passage is negative but the implication is still valid. It is this: God considers the counsel from the wise (proverbs) to be on the same level as the law from the priest and the word from the prophet. In other words, Law, Prophecy, and Wisdom are the 3 different ways that God spoke to his people. Proverbs are not secondary or optional. They are just as important for our spiritual growth. In fact, Billy Graham used to read a chapter from the book of Proverbs every day. He said that there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for every day of the month. I encourage you to do the same and get your children to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.
Back to the passage we just read—Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart…” Before we go any further, this goes completely contrary to what the world says—“Trust your heart.” Amazing how the Enemy has stolen some key words from this verse! As a result, we have made the heart the object rather than the means to the real object who is God. Trusting your own heart is like the guy who attached the safety harness to himself! But it’s worse than that—Jeremiah 17 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart…” Jesus said inMatthew 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Are you trusting your heart?
Let’s look at this verse carefully: The Hebrew word trust is “bethath,” which means “to lie helplessly, face down.” It is a picture of a servant patiently waiting on his master’s command. Trusting in the Lord is not “I’m hoping things will work out”, “I’m trying to hang in there,” “I’m trying to be strong or positive,” “I’ve been going to church and reading the Bible every day,” “It is what it is. I cannot control what happens. The man upstairs is in charge,” or “I’ve given up.” Trusting in the Lord is about developing a deep personal relationship with God.How do you develop a deep personal relationship with God? How do you develop a deep personal relationship with any person? Listening and Talking to them. Isn’t that what dating is all about? Same with God. You listen to his voice by reading his Word. You talk to him by praying to him. This does not happen automatically. You have to work at it and invest time in it. Unless you receive Jesus as your Savior and King, your relationship with God will only remain superficial.
The proverb emphasizes that this trust has to be “with all your heart.” There is no place for half-hearted, wishy-washy, quick waiting before God. In fact, if you are wise, you will wait on your face before God for as long as it takes. The longer you look at God through the eyes of faith, the more you will get to know him in a deeper and more personal way; you will begin to understand how he thinks and how he feels; and, you will begin to understand how much he loves and cares for you. Please don’t misunderstand: Waiting before God does not mean inactivity. It is not sitting there just staring at God. We’ll come to that in a moment. For now, just remember that “trusting in the Lord” means developing a deep personal relationship with him.
Application: Do you have a deep personal relationship with God?
Listen again, Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Unfortunately, instead of lying on our face before God, we tend to lean on our own understanding. What falls in this category of “understanding?” Our upbringing, our experiences, our education, our impulses, etc. You have to be willing to lay all of them aside if they don’t line up with the Word of God. In the Bible we see many examples of such “understandings”:
Let me give you some positive examples:
Application: Are you trusting in the Lord with all your heart? Are you leaning on your own understanding and insights?
Now, verse 6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him…” The Hebrew word “yada” can be translated admit, confess, acknowledge, and recognize. In other words, in all your daily happenings give God credit for everything. Lift him up. Glorify him. Use every opportunity to magnify his name. It also means check to make sure that he is still with you. Don’t drop him and run ahead. Stay right behind him. No matter what that step is (a job, a date, a venture, an opportunity), say a simple quick prayer, “Your will be done God, not mine.”
Application: Do you do that? Do you constantly glorify God no matter what’s happening? Do you constantly glance up to make sure that he is still ahead of you and you haven’t wandered off? Do you pray “Your will be done, not mine” daily?
What is the promise if you do that? 6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” The actual word here is “yashar,” which means smooth, straight, and right. The idea is that God will help remove the obstacles from your path as you follow him. It does not mean that there will be no obstacles. Only that, he will remove them for you. Isn’t that awesome! Now you can live skillfully as you follow Christ.
Personal Illustration: My parents taught me growing up to always acknowledge God and to keep him first in everything. This did not make life easy. I had many obstacles in my life. I remember the Christmas of 1993 being stuck at an exit waiting for my brother to come get me. The weather is freezing cold. I wrapped myself inside a telephone booth to keep myself warm. I made a promise to God then and there that my life belongs to him from here on. It hasn’t been problem free but God has made the path clear for me. I give him the glory.
Invitation: What is your testimony? Is Christ the center of your life? Do you have a deep personal relationship with him? Do you acknowledge him in all your ways? Are you saved?
This week, the Clearview Church staff sit down with Dr. John Check to discuss his new book “A Methodist Minister Tells the Truth.” If you have any questions or have a recommendation for a topic, send us an email at email@example.com. If you like this episode, leave us a rating and share it with your friends!
This week, the Clearview Church staff sit down and discuss the upcoming Greek for Everyone class here at Clearview. If you have any questions or have a recommendation for a topic, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like this episode, leave us a rating and share it with your friends!