Don’t Be a Simple Evangelist

November 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Proverbs 14:15

Two types of people are being contrasted here: “the simple” and “the prudent.” The simple are shown as a bad example. They are not simple in the sense of being uncomplicated. They are simple in the sense of being unwise, perhaps even foolish. The prudent are wise. The characteristic that distinguishes the simpleton in this verse is that he is gullible. He believes everything he hears.

The one exception where it’s okay to “believe every word” is the Bible itself – which is obvious from multiple other passages. But here, what is being described is a person with no discernment: someone who foolishly “takes at face value” whatever he encounters. The prudent man, on the other hand, is careful about what is presented to him.

This principle – a healthy willingness to evaluate – has various and sundry applications, and one is in evangelism – specifically when it comes to dialoguing with someone about whether or not he is saved. A quick nod of assent to the question, “So, are you a Christian?” should probably not be enough evidence to end the inquiry when you are trying to present the Gospel to someone you do not know well. Follow-up questions about the when, where, why, and how, and by Whom, would constitute “looking well unto your going” when you are hoping to lead someone to Christ.

A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Proverbs 14:16

Again, the wise man and the fool are contrasted. Wise men see evil and are afraid of damaging their testimony and the effectiveness of their Gospel witness. They also fear the Lord Whom they love for saving them. Fools “rage.” They go on a tirade against the idea that they can’t do whatever they want, and they are confident – but it is a false confidence. It is a misplaced self-confidence and a dangerous confidence that their relationship with the Lord makes them immune to discipline and correction.

He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Proverbs 14:17

This verse is little different from the previous two in Proverbs 14. It is not a contrast between a “right” person and a “wrong” person. It is a contrast between a “wrong” person and a “more wrong” person. A short-tempered person loses his cool and does something dumb. It’s not excusable, but it is chalked up to the heat of passion, and can be repented of and repaired more easily. However, the person who coldly calculates a wicked plan, then carries it out, is not seen as bumbling or irrational. He is hated, even by those who are worldly, because he has first shown hatred to others.

Let’s remember to share the Gospel with others in a way that is honestly probing, non-hypocritical, and patiently kind.

Beware Foolish Functions

June 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms, The Fives | 3 Comments
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We tend to think of foolishness as childishness or silliness: frivolous behavior that does not meet the standard of wisdom, but is ultimately harmless. I used to have a middle school teacher who would lightheartedly admonish the students whispering in the back of the classroom to “stop actin’ a fool!” God, however, takes a much more serious view of foolishness.

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 5:5

We must all seem extremely foolish to God when it comes to our intellectual capacities. After all, God is infinitely wise and omniscient, and there are times when we can barely remember where we put our keys! Here, though, as David the Psalmist prays to the Lord about his (and His) enemies, he is talking about a whole different level of folly.

You may note that the foolish men whom God will not allow to stand in His sight are sandwiched in the middle of verses that talk about God’s complete lack of pleasure in, and hatred for, the wicked, evil, and abhorrent.

You and I need to remember God’s passionate intolerance of sinful foolishness, and we need to especially remember it the next time we are tempted to gauge the seriousness of our sin by how silly, frivolous, or inconsequential it might seem to our biased minds. The Holy Spirit through David groups the “foolish” with those who “work” iniquity. Certainly God is judging us by our hearts, but our actions – those things in which we delight to participate – seem to be the best indicators of exactly what our hearts are embracing. Christians stand before God justified by the blood of Jesus, not by our works, but the application of that blood to our lives is supposed to result in holy living and sanctified functioning.

Beware Whose Feet You Follow

May 22, 2013 at 9:58 am | Posted in Biblical Walking, The Fives | 1 Comment
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The Lord Jesus recruited disciples with this command and invitation: “Follow Me.” His, however, is not the only voice in this world that will beckon you. Therefore, we must beware of temptations that will lead us, like dull-witted sheep, astray.

The Bible warns us specifically of the sinful seductress, who, with enticing and deceptive words, lures us in a deadly direction:

Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Proverbs 5:5

It is risky to follow someone who promises something rewarding. It may lead to a great blessing or a terrible trap, and often we can’t know for certain until we take the chance. However, here the Bible gives us the gift of insight into the future. The feet of a “strange woman” lead ultimately to death, but her feet are already “taking hold” of the powers of darkness and pulling them toward the foolish follower lured by her false charms. Let us take careful heed to the wisdom and warnings found in Scripture. Following Jesus leads certainly to eternal life. Following the temptress in Proverbs 5 leads certainly toward damage, despair, destruction, and death.


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