AUTHOR: Briscoe, Stuart
PUBLISHED ON: April 9, 2003

                         No. 2 – Moral Values
                            Proverbs 1:1-7

“In the book of Proverbs ‘wisdom’ signifies skillful living–the
ability to make wise choices and live successfully according to the
moral standards of the covenant community. . . . (This) produces things
of lasting value to God and to the community.”  Allen P. Ross, E.B.C.
          I.  “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning.”  1:7; 9:10.
               A.  The fear of the Lord defined.
                    1.  The Lord’s self description. Ex. 34:6,7.
                    2.  Glad submission to gracious majesty.
               B.  The fear of the Lord desired.
                    1.  A matter of conviction. 1:7b
                    2.  A matter of concern. 2:1-5.
                    3.  A matter of choice. 1:29.
               C. The fear of the Lord discovered.
                    1.  Creates sensitivity to evil.  8:13.
                    2.  Creates a sense of security. 14:26.
                    3   Creates resources for living. 14:27.
                    4.  Creates basis of wisdom. 15:33.
              Note:  The fear of the Lord is not oimited to O.T.!–See
                    Acts 9:31; Rom 3:18, 2 Cor. 7:1.
         II.  “The Beginning of Knowledge (Wisdom).” 1:7; 9:10.
               A.  “Wisdom” is an attribute of the Creator. 8:22f.
                    1.  Not community majority opinions.
                    2.  Not personal preferences.
               B.  “Wisdom” is intrinsically valuable. 8:1f.
                    1.  It teaches moral and practical living skills.
                    2.  It imparts “discipline” which develops
                    3.  It develops “understanding” which leads to
                    4.  It produces “prudence” which knows how to
                         a. What is right–conforming to a standard.
                              e.g. Dt. 25:15.
                         b. What is just–making decisions that are
                         c. What is fair–conducting oneself uprightly.
                    Note:Compare Eve (Gen. 3:6) and Abigail (I
               C.  “Wisdom” is readily available. 9:1f
                    1.  To those who are naive (simple) 1:4.
                    2.  To those who are young.
                    3.  To those who are maturing. 1:5.   
                    4.  To those who seek guidance.

          III.  “But Fools Despise Wisom.”  1:7.
               A.  The fool is wise in his own eyes. 26:5
               B.  The fool prefers his folly. 26:11.
               C.  The fool disregards sin’s importance. 14:9.
               D.  The fool ducks the issues. 14:8.

Point to Ponder:  Is the “fear” and “knowledge” of the Lord the
foundation of my values?

                   No. 7 — Values In The Workplace
                           Proverbs 6:6-11

Most people spend approximately half their waking hours working.  What
they believe about work, or their “work ehtic,” will therefore
profoundly affect the quality of their lives.

          I.  Industry–The Biblical Work Ethic.
               A.  The example-the ant. 6:6.7.
                    1.  Consider its ways. (specific tasks on specific
                    2.  Apply its values.
               B.  The explanation-the scriptures.
                    1.  The creative work of God.
                    2.  The mandated work of humanity.  Gen.2.
                    3.  The destructive work of the fall.  Gen.3.
                    4.  The redemptive work of Christ.
               C.  The experience-the purpose.
                    1.  Functioning as the divine image.  Gen. 1:26.27.
                         a.  Exercising dominion.
                         b.  Exercising divine giftedness.
                    2.  Functioning as a servant.  John 13:15,16.
                         a.  The appreciation of human need.
                         b.  The application of abilities to meet it.
                    3.  Functioning as a witness.  Mt. 5:14-16.
                    4.  Functioning as a co-worker. Gen.2:15; 2 Cor.
                    5.  Functioning as a worshipper. Col 3:17.
                    6.  Functioning as a provider.
                         a.  For family. 2 Tim.2:6, 1 Tim. 5:8.
                         b.  For needy. Eph.4:28.
                         c.  For ministry. 2 Cor. 8 and 9.
          II.  Idolatry–The Confused Work Ethic.
               A.  Work becomes addictive.  Ecc.2:17f.
                    1.  Labor is an idol
                    2.  Money, status, prestige are gods.
                    3.  Family, leisure, worship, service suffer.
         III.  Indolence–The Abused Work Ethic.
               A.  The conduct of the indolent.
                    1.  Procrastination-“When will you..?” 6:9.
                    2.  Relaxation-“A little sleep. . . ” 6:10
                    3.  Rationalization-“A lion in the road.: 26:13,16.
                    4.  Motivation- “Too lazy… ” 26:14,15.
               B.  The consequences of idleness.
                    1.  Poverty and scarcity. 6:11.

Point to Ponder:  “Some people worship their work, work at their play,
and play at their worship.”  What’s the right way?

                       No. 8–Financial Values
                           Proverbs 3:9-15

A basic principle of life is, “In all your ways acknowledge Him-(that
is the Lord).”  One of the ways is the way we handle money.  We are
taught in scripture to “honor the Lord with your wealth.”  But why
should we and how do we?

          I.  Why Should We Honor the Lord With Our Money?
              “Honor” = to esteem greatly, to worship.
               A.  Because of who the Lord is:
                    1.  He is the maker of rich and poor. 22:2.
                    2.  He gives the ability to produce wealth. Dt.
                    3.  He makes your paths straight.  3:6.
               B.  Because of what money is:
               “Money” = medium of exchange, measure of value.
                    1.  Labor produces value in goods or services.
                    2.  Money received is an exchange of value.
                    3.  So our money is an extension of ourselves.
                    4.  But money makes claims to deity.

         II.  How Should We Honor The Lord With Our Money?
               A.  In the way we accumulate it.
                    1.  Honorable attitudes towards getting it.
                         a.  Discernment in approach. 30:8.9.
                         b.  Diligence in work.  10:4.
                         c.  Discipline in administration.  13:11.
                    2.  Dishonorable attitudes towards getting it.
                         a.  Lack of faith.  18:11.
                         b.  Lack of compassion. 22:16.
                         c.  Lack of restraint. 23:4,5.
                         d.  Lack of principle.  28:20,22.
               B.  In the way we administer it.
                    1.  Establishing sound principles.
                         a.  Don’t buy what you can’t afford. 23:5.
                         b.  Don’t borrow what you can’t repay. 22:7.
                         c.  Don’t guarantee what you don’t have. 6:1f.
                    2.  Maintaining healthy perspectives.
                         a.  Money brings its own problems 13:8.
                         b.  Money has its own limits.
                             “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath”
                         c.  Money can’t buy the main things.  15:16,
                    3.  Developing appropriate procedures.
                         a.  Giving to the Lord. 3:9
                         b.  Caring for the family.  21:20.
                         c.  Providing for the future. 13:22.
                         d.  Sharing with the needy. 21:26b, 11:24,25.
        III.  What Should We Change to Honor The Lord With Our Money?

                        No. 9 — Social Values
                         Proverbs 3:3, 21:21

At the conclusion of the famous book “Habits of the Heart” the authors
wrote:  “Our society has been influenced by the tradition of modern
individualism.  We have taken the position that our most important task
today is the recovery of the insights of the older biblical. . .
traditions.”  Let’s start with Prov. 3:3, 21:21.

          I.  Social Values Rooted in God’s Character
               A.  “Love” – “hesed” rooted in God’s character.
                    1.  Love-a steadfast commitment.  Deut. 7:7-9.
                    2.  Love-a moral obligation to another’s well-being
                        Mic. 7:18f.
                    3.  Love-a strong initiative of kindness,
                        tenderness and compassion. Ex. 34:6,7.
               B.  “Faithfulness”-rooted in God’s character.
                    1.  “Determined loyalty to a gracious covenant.”
                    2.  Fulfillment of commitment. Gen. 24:27, Lam. 3:
               C.  “Righteousness”-rooted in God’s character.
                    1.  “Fulfillment of expectations in a
                    2.  God a righteous creator-redeemer.  Deut.

         II.  Social Values Reflected in God’s People.
               A.  Love as a value.
                    1.  Inherent inability.  20:6.
                    2.  Deep-down desire.  19:22.
                    3.  Realistic repentance.  16:6 (see 28:13).
                    4.  Loving lifestyle.  14:22.
               B.  Faithfulness as a value.
                    1.  Trustworthiness.  25:13, 13:17.
                    2.  Truthfulness.  12:22, 26:28.
               C.  Righteousness as a value.
                    1.  Relating to God rightly.  Isa. 64:6 (see
                    2.  Relating to family rightly. 23:22-25.
                    3.  Relating to society rightly.  14:34, 29:2,7.

        III.  Social Values Reproduced in God’s Way.
               A.  The work of the Spirit.  Gal.5:22,23.
               B.  The co-operation of the believer.
                    1.  Don’t let them leave you.  3:3.
                    2.  Bind them, write them.
                    3.  Pursue them.  21:21.
               C.  The benefits all round.
                    “Life, prosperity and honor.”

                        No. 10-Ultimate Values
                           Prov. 15:33-16:7

We began by noting that “the fear of the Lord” is the fundamental basis
of a system of values and we have been reminded continually that
absolute values are found in the character and nature of God.  We
conclude by recognizing that ultimate values are found in relationship
to the Lord, particularly in doing that which pleases Him.

          I.  Pleasing Him By Embracing What He Decrees.
               A.  Humility comes before honor. 15:33.
                    1.  The priority of humility.
                         a.  Because pride offends against God by
                         b.  Because pride offends against others by
                         c.  Because pride offends against self by
                    2.  The possibility of honor.  See 1 Kings 3:1-13.
                         a.  Because humility acknowledges God’s grace.
                         b.  Because humility addresses human need.
                         c.  Because humility admits to personal
              B.  Submission comes before success.
                    1.  To man belong the plans. . . 16:1.
                    2.  But motives are weighed by the Lord. . . 16:2.
                    3.  (So) commit to the Lord whatever you do. .16:3.
                    4.  The Lord works out everything. . . 16:4.

         II.  Pleasing Him By Avoiding What He Detests.
               A.  The supercilious attitudes He detests.  16:5.
               B.  The social actions He detests.  6:16-19.
               C.  The spiritual activities He detests.  15:8a, 28:9.

       III.  Pleasing Him By Doing What He Desires.
               A.  He desires that we obtain mercy.  28:13, See Ps.32.
                    1.  The dangers of concealment.
                    2.  The delights of confession.
               B.  He desires that we avoid evil. 16:6.
                    1.  By fearing the Lord.
                    2.  By acting out of love and faithfulness.
               C.  He desires that we act honorably.
                    1.  To society as a whole. 11:20b.
                    2.  To enemies in particular.  16:7.

Points to Ponder:  How closely do my values equate to God’s?  Is “the
fear of the Lord” the beginning and “pleasing the Lord” the end of my

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