Date: 1 May, 2016
Text: Proverbs 3:1-12
Title: Live Long and Prosper
Theme: God reveals the secret to a long and happy life.
People have a keen interest in longevity -
· 106 year old woman, Virginia McLoren, meets President and Mrs. Obama.
· 88 year old woman, Iva Barr, runs the London Marathon for the last time
· guinness world records - The greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is 122 years 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment (France). Born on 21 February 1875 to Nicolas (1837 - 1931) and Marguerite (neé Gilles 1838 - 1924), Jeanne died at a nursing home in Arles, southern France on 4 August 1997.
A common question to ask these people....and I am sure that they heard it many times is, "What is the secret to a long and happy life?"
Each one of them would probably give some different personal reason.
A woman who just turned 109 answered that question in her own way. "Nellie Wright, who has never had a husband or even a boyfriend , explained: 'I've stayed away from men all my life....That's my secret, no men. And living off jelly babies - I eat a packet a day.'"
No one knows of themselves knows the secret to a long and happy life.
But, that secret is revealed by God in His Word!
If God asked you this morning, "Would you like....?
· "length of days, and long life"
· "favor....in the sight of God"
· "thy barns....filled with plenty"
· "happy" ness
· "sweet sleep"
Would you be wise enough to follow HIS INSTRUCTION!
We are going to look at 7 keys to a long and happy life AS REVEALED BY GOD IN HIS WORD! How is your quality of life? Are you living the blessed life of which the Bible speaks?
NOTE: Each instruction in these proverbs is followed by the blessing attached to those who follow the instruction.
I. Follow instruction!
A. Don't neglect the manual of life.
1 ¶ My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
exp. Solomon was sharing these principles with his son. He is referring to the commandments God gave with promise.
· Mom and dad are the ones who help teach right and wrong.
· They are our primary authority.
· If we can't obey their authority, we will struggle to obey other authority.
note: The manual is more extensive when we become a child of God. If we are to follow our earthly parents commandments of HOW MUCH GREATER RESPONSABILITY IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER'S COMMANDMENTS?
app. How much time are you spending listening to your Father's instruction? This is where the blessing begins for those who desire a long and happy life!
B. You get three for the price of one.
2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
exp. Now that is a fact. Neglecting this could shorten your life. You could live a long life without it (perhaps) - but not a peaceful life.
Ephesians 6: 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
app. Have you honored your parents? Even adults whose parents are living, need to make sure you are right with God in this area. If not, then get right.
Have you honored your Heavenly Father?
II. Pass inspection!
exp. Although it does not matter what people think - IN SOME CASES - it is very important that we have a testimony that is good before God and before men.
ill. Paul sought to live without offending God and men. Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
question: What instruction does God give us to help us pass His inspection and the inspection of others?
A. Have godly character.
1. Be a meriful person.
3 Let not mercy .... forsake thee.
exp. We love God because he is merciful.
ill. The children of Israel (and us) would be without hope if it wasn't for the mercy of God.
De 4:31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Lamentations 3: 22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
note: God is merciful - are you?
app question: Has anyone ever done something to you and you refuse to forgive them? (Mercy always forgives.) Have you treated someone unkindly because you feel like they owe you a debt you refuse to forgive?
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
2. Be a truthful person.
and truth forsake thee:
Malachi 2:6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
exp. The trive of Levi had the blessing of God upon them when the law of truth was in their mouth.
question: Is the law of truth in your mouth?
ill. Most people today believe deception is ok. They think withholding truth is ok. They think a white lie is ok. And don't have the LAW OF TRUTH IN THEIR MOUTH.
ill. Do lies hurt? - 1.5 year old washer that was really 5 years old. I bought it and paid a 75 pound repair bill the first week I had it.
question: If you are a liar - do you look like Jesu?
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
question: If you are a liar - do you look like Satan?
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
question: NOBODY likes to deal with a liar who they can not trust.
app. Don't forsake the truth. No matter the consequences - don't forsake the truth.
3. Be a faithful person.
bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
exp. This is not a convenient one day agreement to be merciful and truthful. This is part of your innermost being.
question: How do you bind it about your neck and write it in your heart.
Ps 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
app. If you don't apply God's Word to your heart and bind it about thy neck, there is no way that you will be a truthful and merciful person.
B. God and man will approve of that character.
4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
notice: God loves this type of individual and so do men.
ill. Imagine having a boss that was a liar - you can't trust him. Imagine that he was also unmerciful. He would blow up at the slightest provocation and refuse to forgive the slightest fault.
Imagine on the other hand that you had a boss that clearly set out the rules and you knew they were not going to be changed. When you mess up, you know that this is a very forgiving man and that you can get right with him.
QUESTION: Who do you want for your boss?
App. Who do you want to be? Who are you?
Psalm 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful;
III. Find Direction!
ill. 101 - means the basic class - English 101, History 101 etc.
exp. This is FINDING THE WILL OF GOD - 101.
A. Trust God and not your own ideas.
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
exp. Men's ideas are so contrary to God.
· God says creation - man says evolution
· God says marriage equals one man and one woman for life - man says marriage equals a cohobitation of convenience with any sex person for as long as desirable.
· God says man is the head of the home - the world says everyone is the head of the home - the man - the other person - and the children.
· God says discipline children to show them love - the world says disciplining children is the opposite of love.
app. Life gets very simple when we have the wisdom to say "God is right and I need to trust in him WITH ALL MY HEART and stop resting in my logic.
B. Acknowledge God in every decision.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him,
exp. If you come to a decision point and wonder - what way should I go? ask God!
ill. Man I recently met doing door to door. He was an agnostic/atheist. I encouraged him to ask God to help him know about him. Why? Because if he will acknowledge God - God is willing to help him know which way to go.
app. How many times a day do you ask God for wisdom what to do? Surely you don't have the wisdom outside of him to direct your ways according to His will.
C. (If followed) You can't miss God's leading.
and he shall direct thy paths.
app. You are on praying ground if you can say to the Lord "I'm not trusting my own understanding about this - I am trusting you. I'm not wanting my own way in this - I am acknowledging you. AND YOU AHVE PROMISED TO DIRECT MY PATHS - SO I AM LOOKING TO YOU.
IV. Get protection!
exp. If you said "You're crazy. I would never trust God like that." You are in a dangerous position.
A. Don't think you know better than God!
7 ¶ Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
exp. Someone who thinks they know better than God - will not listen to the clear instruction of the Word of God. It will destroy them.
ill. The old film - Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the bratty kids all think they know what is best. Willie Wonka does not shout at them - but just says, "stop...don't do it...you'll be sorry." They don't listen and are punished.
app. God is not bound to do more than warn us. He will let those who think they know better prove to themselves that GOD WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. But, they will do so to their destruction.
B. Your health depends upon it.
8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
exp. You will have good health if you humbly obey God's Word, fear God and depart from evil.
ill. Sexual disobedience - leads to Sexualy transmitted diseases (STD's)
Robbery and Embezzlement - lead to imprisonment.
Hatred - leads to bitterness and poor health - ulsers, anxiety, etc.
sin and satan - destroy - God and His Word - deliver.
app. May God help us to have his protection by humbly fearing Him and departing from evil.
V. Increase production!
A. Give God the firstfruits.
9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
exp. In their culture, they were farming and had a harvest. The firstfruits of their harvest were to be given as an offering unto the Lord.
ill. Jacob was the first one to offer a set amount unto the Lord - Ge 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
app. Whatever the amount - we are to take of the blessing of God to us and give back a first portion to him.
B. He will bless the rest.
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
note: "So shall" means BECAUSE OF THIS COMMITMENT TO PUT GOD FIRST.
question: Is this instruction supported in the New Testament?
Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
app. Are you seeing God meet all your needs? You won't if you don't put God first. The condition of the blessing is the condition of first giving unto God.
VI. Receive Correction!
exp. If we haven't humbly received the previous 5 points, we will really struggle with this one. This is the one that is not EVER FUN BUT MUST BE ACCEPTED IF WE ARE TO SUCCEED IN LIFE.
A. Don't despise God's discipline.
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
ill. Most everyone who was not abused but who had good discipline as a child - grows up to thank their parents for loving them enough to teach them obedience.
note: The obvious exception to that would be someone who never learned to submit to authority.
Pr 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
ill. That hard neck is like an oxen that refuses to listen to the reigns on his neck.
app. Do you despise God's chastening? Have you experienced his correction?
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Or have you forgotten why God is disciplining you?
B. God delights to strengthen His children.
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
ill. I praise God for my parents discipline. I wish I had learned earlier to submit to their authority. I've shared the story before - having to apologize before going to camp. But, my parents didn't give in because they loved me and knew that submission was the only way forward.
exp. God will not let His child get away with disobedience. No matter how long it takes. No matter how stubborn they are. He is going to correct until we repent or until our disobedience destroys us.
conclusion: How certain are you that you are living the long and happy life which God has revealed?
1.) Are you following instruction? honoring earthy parents and heavenly father?
2.) Are you ready to pass inspection? Merciful? Truthful? Faithful?
3.) Are you finding direction? Trusting God? Commiting your way to Him?
4.) Are you getting protection? Do you fear God? Have you admitted that He knows best?
5.) Are you increasing provision? Do you give to God the firstfruits of your increase? Are you seeing Him meet your needs?
6.) Are you receiving correction? Without complaint or stiffening of your neck?
That's the secret! God wants us to live long and prosper!