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Two Paths

Proverbs: A Comparison and Contrast  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Opening

Prayer
Game - Close Up 3 - Thanksgiving Edition

INTRODUCTION

1. The acquisition of wisdom is stressed repeatedly in the fourth chapter of Proverbs...
a. "Get wisdom! Get understanding!..." -
Proverbs 4:5 KJV 1900
Get wisdom, get understanding: Forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
b. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." -
b. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." -
Proverbs 4:7 KJV 1900
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding.
2. The importance of wisdom is further illustrated by two paths...
a. Described in
b. We must take one path or the other
In this study let's first summarize the two paths, and then take a closer look at the metaphor used to describe one of them...

I. THE TWO PATHS

A. THE PATH OF WISDOM...

1. The way of wisdom -
Proverbs 4:11 KJV 1900
I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
2. The consequences of choosing this path
a. "...the years of your life will be many."
Proverbs 4:10 KJV 1900
Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; And the years of thy life shall be many.
1) As stated before -
2) Generally speaking, this is true, for wisdom leads one down the path more likely to bless the body with good health - cf.
b. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered
Proverbs 4:12a KJV 1900
When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; And when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
1) The reason for this was also stated before -
2) A person on this path has the Lord assisting them!
c. "And when you run, you will not stumble." -
Proverbs 4:12b KJV 1900
When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; And when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
1) Life can be hectic, there will be times when decisions must be made quickly
2) Those on the right path are less likely to make mistakes, for they have chosen the way of wisdom
3. In light of such consequences, the following admonitions are given -
Proverbs 4:13 KJV 1900
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: Keep her; for she is thy life.
a. "Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go"
b. "Keep her, for she is your life."
The path of wisdom is what God would have you take!

B. THE PATH OF THE WICKED...

1. The path of the wicked, the way of evil -
Proverbs 4:14 KJV 1900
Enter not into the path of the wicked, And go not in the way of evil men.
2. Note the strong admonitions regarding this path -
Proverbs 4:14–15 KJV 1900
Enter not into the path of the wicked, And go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, Turn from it, and pass away.
a. "Do not enter the path of the wicked"
b. "Do not walk in the way of evil."
c. "Avoid it, do not travel on it."
d. "Turn away from it and pass on."
3. Reasons to avoid to avoid this path
a. One easily becomes obsessed with doing evil -
Proverbs 4:16 KJV 1900
For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
1) Sin is addictive, and enslaves
John 8:34 KJV 1900
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
2) It dulls the senses, requiring ever more to satisfy
Ephesians 4:19 KJV 1900
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
b. It becomes a life of wickedness and violence
Proverbs 4:17 KJV 1900
For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
1) Sin is violent in every form
2) For it damages our relationships with either God, others, or self!
The path of the wicked is what God would have you avoid!

C. THE TWO PATHS CONTRASTED...

1. The path of the just is like the shining sun
Proverbs 4:18 KJV 1900
But the path of the just is as the shining light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
a. Just as the sun becomes brighter and brighter as it rises to reach its zenith in the sky
a. Just as the sun becomes brighter and brighter as it rises to reach its zenith in the sky
b. So those who walk down the path of wisdom are progressively enlightened
2. The way of the wicked is like darkness
Proverbs 4:19 KJV 1900
The way of the wicked is as darkness: They know not at what they stumble.
a. They go through life stumbling again and again!
b. In their ignorance, they know not why!
Ephesians 4:17–18 KJV 1900
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Thus one path leads to increasing brightness, the other to blinding darkness
Which of the two paths will we take in life? To encourage us to make the right choice, let's take a closer look at the metaphor used to describe those who follow the path of the just...

II. THE METAPHOR OF PROGRESSIVE BRIGHTNESS

A. THE METAPHOR OF THE SHINING SUN...

1. Describes a progressive brightness, not simply brightness
2. Describing the sun as it rises in the sky until it reaches its zenith ("unto the perfect day")
Thus the path of the just is one of progressive brightness

B. COMPARED TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE...

1. It is to be a life of progression
a. We begin as babes, but designed to grow -
1 Peter 2:2 KJV 1900
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
b. We are to grow in grace and knowledge
2 Peter 3:18 KJV 1900
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
2. Though not always the case with some Christians
a. Whose lives are not characterized by progression, but staleness or even regression
b. Who fail to grow because spiritual amnesia and blindness
2 Peter 1:8–9 KJV 1900
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
c. Who grow weary in well doing
Malachi 1:13 KJV 1900
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; And ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; Thus ye brought an offering: Should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.
d. Who think its time to retire spiritually, contrary to mind of Paul
1) Who believed the inner man could be renewed daily
2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV 1900
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2) Who believed that we should ever press forward
Philippians 3:13–15 KJV 1900
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
e. Instead of being like the sun that shines ever brighter, they are like the fiery meteorites which flash for a moment and then flame out!
Does the metaphor of progressive brightness describe our life in Christ?
The Christian life and the path of the just are to be similar: with progressive brightness and no decline. How can we ensure that such will be the case in our walk with Christ...?

III. MAKING LIFE WITH CHRIST PROGRESSIVELY BRIGHTER

A. JESUS IS OUR LIGHT...

1. He is indeed "the light of the world"
John 8:12 KJV 1900
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
2. We must therefore remember that as we draw nearer to God, we will draw nearer to that source of light.
3. The nearer we draw to Him, the more we shall shine
2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV 1900
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
We are simply reflective luminaries (like the moon); Christ is our sun!

B. WE DRAW NEARER TO THE LIGHT...

1. Through devotional use of our Bibles
a. For that is how Christ reveals Himself to us
b. His words and that of His inspired apostles enlighten us
2. Through diligent practice of prayer
a. For that is how we draw near to God and Christ - cf.
Hebrews 4:14–16 KJV 1900
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
b. Prayer ushers us into the throne room of God
3. Through doing the commands of Christ
a. Which ensures that the Father and Son will abide with us
John 14:21 KJV 1900
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
,
John 14:23 KJV 1900
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
b. Obedience brings us into a closer relationship with Christ
These are simple steps that lead us on the ever brighter path of righteousness

CONCLUSION

1. There are only two paths, just as Jesus described two ways...
a. One leading to destruction -
Matthew 7:13 KJV 1900
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
b. The other leading to life
Matthew 7:14 KJV 1900
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
2. Which path will you take...?
a. The path of the just, that leads to increasing brightness?
b. The path of the wicked, that leads to blinding darkness?
The choice is yours; let Jesus be your light if you want to chose the path of the just...
Ephesians 5:8 KJV 1900
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
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