Monday, 28 September 2009

The Worst Deal Ever!

Sermon notes Proverbs 1 v 8-19 - The worst deal ever!

There was a group of men in the city of the same profession. Pillars of society…These guys had been for generations. People trusted them in the city. They were widely respected and good at what they did. Things were good. That was until a mysterious man arrived from out of town. There was another name on everyone’s lips. They were off the front page off the paper. This one man was a real threat to the status quo. The group made some decisions. "Come stand with us" they said to one another…They started off by discrediting him. You've seen this all the time. People pile into one person absolute character assassination. Things escalated. A couple of ringleaders led the way, before you know it the voice of reason is drowned out and there is a gang are giving someone a good kicking. These men took things even further. Tragically, they had this man murdered.

Offered gain… affirmed by the group…
No consideration of justice or mercy…

What happens to people who get rich or comfortable from exploiting/crushing others?
How do people get caught up in this kind of thing?
How can we avoid getting caught up in this kind of thing?

The offer

When someone asks you about church, does your response change much depending who is asking? Your friends? Colleagues? Boss?
Have you ever done anything that you only did because 'everyone was doing it'?
Have you ever NOT done what is right and good, because you're overly concerned with what others think?

We live in the 'current of community'. Like a sweeping the river coming every day.

Proverbs 1:11&12 "If they say…"Come with us (group), let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit."

You know this is wrong in your conscience or before God but before you know it you're hit from another angle... Pro 1:13 & 14 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse"
Earn respect from people and get money!

Here we have a Dad to his Son…
This is the heart of the text…
Wisdom is coming for the good of the son
Pro 1:8 &9 "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck."

The warning

When you see a red flag at the beach you have to make a decision. Is it there to help you, or ruin your day? What will you make of this heavy warning?

Dad mocks the group...verse 17
"For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird."
They are dumb and dumber. Like the man who left his dog at the scene of a robbery he'd committed. The police found the dog and said, "home boy." And followed the dog all the way back to the man's house! Like the the guys who steal a bus as a getaway vehicle… dumb…
Going nowhere. Dumb… Verse 17 The bird is watching them do it the whole time its going to fly off in the other direction!

18 "but these men lie in wait for their own blood;they set an ambush for their own lives."
They are digging there own graves where they will die. The Potent mix of peer pressure and greed - they have lead each other to disaster…

19 "Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors." Big warning. This lifestyle is fatal. Blood on your hands, face law, face guilt, face God. God has promised justice (If you have ever been a victim you will know this is good news…)
One day we will all stand before him.

Two dynamics/motives in this passage…

Seeking goods and wealth at all costs… greed.
The influence of other people... fear of man.
Pro 29:25 "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe."
1Ti 6:9-10 "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."

Strong warnings… you’ve gotta decide what to do with it!
Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

The alternative

To live for God will cost us. Some may lose, it costs more to shop fair trade, is this really an option?

A few years back… in the city called Jerusalem…
They were highly respected,They were pillars of society known as the Pharisees…
Another man arrived from out of town who they slandered, mocked and had murdered. In a time when men motivated by greed and group dynamics, something else was going on.
This man who was murdered was wealthy. His dwelling bigger than those houses in St. Leonard’s which have Land Rovers and Porches in the driveway! He was accepted unconditionally. He had nothing to prove. He was loved unquestionably. Yet he left it all behind to come to this city.

His name is Jesus. He trusted his Father even when it cost him everything. He lived out these verses. Pro 1:15 - 16 "my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood." Hebrews 4v15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."

He became poor (nothing) that we might be rich… knowing God… our maker…
He was treated as guilty (with our guilt) to declare us innocent… for all we have done
He was rejected by God (as we should have been) so that we might be - Accepted by He was given death – that we might know life. He credits us with living out this perfectly!

William Cowper, "Nature is but a name for an effect, whose name is God."
We can know him because of this great exchange. He offers relationship freely. Offered freely and received by trusting and believing his words.

This relationship is freedom and power.
Free from fear of man as we cultivate fear of God. Some of us live a life trying to please people, looking for complements to give meaning and worth hopelessly living in the prison of self esteem. Jesus came to smash that and set us free. That voice of men vs the creator. We need a big view of God. Awsome Holy and our Father who is good. Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." Recommend RC Sproul – Holiness of God. A W Tozer – Knowledge of the Holy. Andrew Wilson – Incomparable.

Not ruled by wealth and comfort. We can think we will be filled with joy and life will be good when we get more money! If ruled by this desire, it leads us to do things which we know are wrong. Ultimately it never satisfies and is a poor substitute for God. God sets us free from this waste of life. When you see the Gospel, when you see Jesus the pearl of great price you would give everything away to have this. Wealth beyond all imagination. Mat 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

Sometimes in life before you comes an offer. It will win you respect and might make you rich but in the end it will cost you everything – It’s the worst deal ever.

So Jesus came to set you free from the worst deal ever…
So you can have something of unimaginable value – himself.

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