The Enticing Path of Sinners
Introduction: Scott was just learning how to walk when he fell on a cement driveway and split the area below his chin so deeply that the floor of his mouth was exposed. The nearest hospitals and doctors were approximately 125 miles away over difficult mountain roads. Scott’s father had no surgical instruments. He only had a darning needle, some coarse thread, a pair of blunt scissors, and a pair of eyebrow tweezers.
Since infection in children develops rapidly and it can have fatal complications in the floor of the mouth, the father decided to trim and stitch the wound with what he had. No local anesthetic and only a little sulfonamide powder. The crude instruments were sterilized, and John White, the father, writes the following reflection:
I could not help but look at the affair from Scott’s point of view. I did my best to explain, but what can a one-year-old understand? Then he was placed on the dining room table and judgment descended on him. Cruel adults seized his limbs and his head so that movement was impossible. Then the father he had trusted became a fearful monster inflicting unbelievable pain on him. How I wished that he could understand that I feared for his life.
Mercifully, he still seemed to trust me when it was over. As for me, I caught a glimpse of judgment from God’s angle.
John White, Eros Redeemed (InterVarsity Press, 1993) p. 49; submitted by Jay Caron
The observation of White is compelling. He caught a glimpse of judgment from God’s angle. When going through chastening, it is a fearful thing. But the leprosy of sin spreads just as rapidly as infection in the floor of the mouth. When we fall victim to the enticing path of sinners, God will take drastic action to bring us back. Sometimes it seems to be monstrous and incredibly painful. But if we’re allowed to continue on the enticing path of sinners, we will destroy ourselves.
Transition: This passage provides instruction that enables us to resist the temptation to sin and follow in the way of sinners. Note three prohibitions in the text…
1. Do not forsake parental authority (1.8-9).
2. Do not consent to the enticement of sinners (1.10-14).
3. Do not walk in the way with sinners (1.15-19).
Do not forsake parental authority (1.8-9).
Proverbs 1:8–9 (NKJV) — 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.
The father and mother in this passage are doing their jobs by providing sound, godly advice. Moses wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut 6.6-7). This is exactly what the parents are doing. They faithfully and diligently teach their son. The question is, “What will the son do?”
Children must learn early on that obedience to parental authority and submission to God goes hand in hand. Children must obey their parents in the Lord (Eph 6.1) motivated by the desire to be well-pleasing to the Lord (Col 3.20).
Today, we often see parents obeying children rather than children obeying parents. Throwing off parental authority is in fact jettisoning the authority of God in your life. See 2 Timothy 3.1-5.
However, children can make the Bible beautiful. Hearing the father’s instruction and not forsaking the law of mother leads to an adorning of the doctrine of God (Titus 2.10). There is an outward adornment that preoccupies many women. But Peter admonishes women to “let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet 3.4).
Obedience and submission on the part of dependent children is a graceful ornament and a precious chain. Such children make the Bible beautiful by living godly lives. It is very difficult to watch children grow up in rebellion as disobedient, hard-hearted, and impertinent. Verbal and non-verbal disrespect toward parental authority is serious sin. It aligns itself with all that is ugly in the world. When you see it in a Christian young person, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of judgment from God’s angle. Children must hear the instruction of a father and never forsake the law of a mother.
Transition: The first prohibition is don’t forsake parental authority. Second, don’t consent to the enticement of sinners…
Do not consent to the enticement of sinners (1.10-14).
Proverbs 1:10–14 (NKJV) — 10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
This passage is a clear example of negative peer pressure in a young person’s life. The parents state a clear prohibition and then elaborate on how sinners will entice. Greed and covetousness are the primary motivators in this passage. The sinners are making it easy for the son to sin and disobey God; this makes them enemies not friends. They want the son to join with them to enjoy evil not righteousness.
The greatest need in today’s youth is holiness: “Come out from among them and be separate” (2 Cor 6.17). A clear line must be drawn between the godly and the ungodly when it comes to associations and friendships. A break with worldly friends is necessary in order for young people to avoid shipwreck. When we face Christ at the Judgment Seat, we will not be able to say that we didn’t know it wasn’t right to associate with sinners, with wicked and unholy people. We will not be able to excuse our behavior by saying we didn’t know that it would lead to spiritual and moral failure. If sinners entice you, do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 1st Enticement to Consent: No one will know. We will be well concealed. No one will find out. To lurk secretly for the innocent without cause means that even though the innocent have not provoked us or hurt us, but we will take them down with impunity.
12 let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 2nd Enticement to Consent: No one will stand in our way. Verse 12 indicates that the bloodshed of the innocent will end in murder. The sinners are moving toward the most violent means in order to satisfy their covetousness. The sinners so thoroughly destroy their victims that none are left to tell what has happened.
13 we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; 3rd Enticement to Consent: Look at all that we can have if you join us. Taking the short-cut to wealth. They will not only take precious things, but they will fill up their houses with these precious items.
14 cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse”— 4th Enticement to Consent: Unite with us. We will be open-hearted and generous. You will be one of us.
How Enticement Works:
1. External Prompting - all men are tempted externally. Adam and Eve were tempted in a perfect Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, the Sinless Savior, was tempted even as we are tempted. The world's enticing glow penetrates even the most guarded among us.
2. Sinners Prompting - when sinners invite us, they have already succumbed to sin. Sin is like leprosy in that it spreads quickly to others. For generations, Israel was made to sin because of the sin of Jeroboam.
3. Enticements Prompting - there is no denying the fact that sin is attractive and pleasurable to the flesh. The pleasures whisper softly and seductively until we give in.
How Enticement is Rendered Ineffective:
1. We must not consent. See 1 Cor 10.13. We are able to say yes and no to enticements. While it is not a sin to be enticed, it is a sin to give in to the enticement. We must not consent to it - bold and firm, even radical in meeting temptation's soft and seductive snare.
Our train rolled into Kansas City at 1 a.m. Dim lights came on to help the new passengers find seats. Many of us who had been riding home through the night had spread out to occupy two seats apiece.
An attractive woman made her way down the aisle with her bags. She was looking from side to side, hoping for someone to move. I turned toward the window and watched her in the reflection.
"May I sit here?" she asked.
"Sure." I looked up and smiled as I moved over. She threw her things into the rack above and sat down. Near the back of the car, only one of my colleagues had managed to keep his extra space. Lucky guy.
"My name's Kathy. What's yours?"
I told her, and we talked quietly for a while. She was on her way to visit her mother after some rough spats with her husband. I was eager to get home and see my wife and family after an exhausting church leadership conference.
Soon we had both slipped off to sleep. At some later stop, I awoke to find Kathy cuddled next to me. "You don't mind if I lean my head on your shoulder, do you?" she said sleepily.
"Uh, no. I guess not." She was just tired ... wasn't she? And besides, I had a wonderful wife and a great marriage and would be home before noon. I looked around to see if anyone was noticing.
She cuddled closer. I wondered what she really wanted--or would allow. At first I couldn't believe what I was thinking. But then it was her fault. She knew exactly what she was doing. I might as well enjoy it. After all, what could happen on a train full of people? Nothing, nothing really ... except what Jesus warned about happening in the heart.
Finally, I excused myself so I could go back and talk with my friend--the "lucky" one with the empty seat beside him. Or maybe I was the lucky one since that extra space was still available. I only knew I didn't need to stay where I had been.
Perhaps it wasn't luck at all. Maybe that was the "way of escape" that (1 Corinthians 10:13) talks about, which God had provided from the beginning.
Dave Jackson in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 1.
We must not consent to the enticement of sinners – no matter how externally vulnerable or beautiful they may seem! As one man said, “We are not masters of our own feeling, but we are by God’s grace masters of our own consent” (Francois Fenelon).
2. Say no to sin by appealing to the grace of God: Jesus Himself "suffered, being tempted," and "He is able to aid those who are being tempted" (Heb 2.18). You sin because you want to sin. God will move heaven and earth to provide a way of escape for you.
Transition: The first prohibition is don’t forsake parental authority. Second, don’t consent to the enticement of sinners. Finally, don’t walk in the way with sinners.
Do not walk in the way of sinners (1.15-19).
Proverbs 1:15–19 (NKJV) — 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; 16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; 18 but they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.
These verses further develop v. 10 by adding a warning of what happens to those encouraging evil-doing for monetary gain. It ends in an early death. The son in our text should take the temptation in life seriously; he shouldn’t get close to it. Verse 15 restates v. 10 and then three reasons follow for not walking in the way with sinners:
1. If you do, you’ll be hurried along to great and wicked sin (16 cp. w/ Rom 3.10-18).
2. If you do, you’ll be flying in the face of God’s judgment (17). The bird in this verse doesn’t see the connection between the net and whatever is used to bait him (maybe grain). He doesn’t see the danger; he sees food scattered about the net. When he enters the snare, he is trapped and killed. Often, sinners cannot see a connection between their evil acts of greed and the judgment that awaits them (see Num 16.30-33).
3. If you do, you’ll be destroying yourself (18).
Verse 19 generalizes the principle for everyone greedy for gain: it takes away the life of its owners. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” -1 Timothy 6.10