The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 29: 1-10 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan. A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth. The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it. A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps. By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices. The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern. Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger. When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life.
I work with a man that I will call Frank. I have shared the gospel with Frank dozens of times. Frank is unregenerate, walking in darkness, and very committed to the hodgepodge worldview he has crafted for himself. Frank is a perfect example of man’s depravity, and of man’s inability to chose repentance and belief, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. I’ll be honest, this frustrates me, not just because of Frank’s particular case, but because I see this basic scenario played out over, and over, in every area of life, involving strangers, acquaintances, and family. Rebellion is an epidemic, the remedy is the gospel, but people are content with their sin, and see no need for the Physician. At times I find myself thinking like Jonah, wanting to flee from these undeserving wretches, and then later, frustrated when God shows them grace. What I need is to remember that once I was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see, and that if it weren’t for God’s grace, I would still be rejecting Him. Instead of frustration over that person in my life who continually rejects the gospel, I should feel pity, knowing that A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. Did you hear that? Your frustrating coworker will be broken beyond remedy. Your wayward child will be broken beyond remedy. That cousin, parent, and sibling who reject Christ, and His gospel, will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. That person in your life who hardens their neck over, and over after much reproof, will be broken beyond remedy. What does it mean, broken beyond remedy? Quite simply, it means to be crushed, shattered, maimed, crippled or wrecked, with no hope of healing or restoration. Proverbs 24:17 says “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles”. Is this what drives many of our discussions and evangelism efforts? Is compassion for the lost and a desire to see men’s soul’s plucked from the fire what motivates you, or do you simply like to win arguments and use the Word like a blunt instrument rather than a sword, rejoicing over your vanquished enemies? Just yesterday I made an “innocent” little post on Facebook regarding lies, and how oftentimes people tell lies in order to “keep the peace”. I was fishing for a certain person, and guess what? They bit. I was pleased that my little verbal ambush was successful. Look how crafty I am, I was able to lure in a person trapped in bondage to their own pride and arrogance with a post that appealed directly to their pet sin. I must be really super spiritual to have pulled that off. Rather, I should have been broken over the fact that the person I snagged displayed more evidence suggesting that they were on a path towards being broken without remedy. If this is you today, if you are one who finds the thrill of winning a discussion to be more of a motivation for you in evangelism, than the souls of men, repent. Maybe you find yourself like Jonah, unwilling to go to Nineveh, feeling that those stiff-necked heathens don’t deserve God’s grace. Remember God’s grace towards you, and repent. Maybe you have evangelized a certain person, week after week, year after year, and each time the dividing line becomes a little more distinct, and you have grown frustrated in part because they won’t see things your way. Remember one thing: they cannot see things your way. The natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit. So instead of using God’s Word as a blunt instrument, you need to be fervent in prayer for this person, praying for their soul, realizing that they may be on the verge of being broken beyond remedy. This should strike all of us with fear of the Lord, and fill us with compassion for those in bondage. If it doesn’t, you must repent. Jesus was said to have looked out over the multitudes and felt compassion for them, being like sheep without a shepherd. Let us repent and have compassion for those who harden their necks and are in danger of being broken without remedy. Let us kneel and confess how we are sometimes guilty of having little concern for the soul of man.
Dear Gracious Heavenly Father, Your Word instructs us to hold back those stumbling to death. The idea of an acquaintance or loved one being broken beyond remedy should motivate us to hit our knees in prayer and evangelize more zealously, yet frequently we find ourselves doing the opposite. Father, we get personally offended when the lost rejects Your Word, feeling as if we are the one being rejected and sinned against. Our response is often one motivated by a desire to win arguments rather than men’s souls, or we simply stop evangelizing them, deciding in our own wisdom that we will give them over to depraved thinking. Father, we forget about the grace You have shown us. We forget that while we were still yet sinners, Christ died for us. Help us to remember. Help us to remember how You lavish Your grace upon us undeserving souls who were once stiff-necked and rebellious, but can now cry out Father. Please grant us clean hearts this morning, hearts filled with love and compassion for those trapped in bondage. Please forgive us for cold indifference towards the lost. Please forgive us for having more zeal to win arguments, than we have for the souls of men. It’s in Jesus Name we pray, amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Colossians 1:13-14 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 1/13/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)