Date: July 12, 2020 ()

Bible Text: Proverbs |


A study in the book of Proverbs

Opening thoughts: Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience. A proverb is a truth that is couched in a form that is easy to remember, a philosophy based on experience, and a rule for conduct. A proverb has been called a sententious sentence, a maxim, an old saying, an old saw, a bromide, an epigram.
If we look up “diligence” in a dictionary or thesaurus, how do we find it defined? Persevering application,assiduousness(attention to detail),industrious,persistence, vigor care. Diligence is an attitude that drives us to accomplish a mission successfully.

  • Why be diligent?
    • Diligence is pleasing to God
      • Consider:
        • Proverbs 12:11,27
        • Proverbs 13:19
        • Proverbs 14:4,23
        • Proverbs 24:27
    • Diligence helps avoid the trap of the sluggard
      • Consider:
        • Proverbs 6:6-11
        • Proverbs 4:30-34
  • How should we be diligent?
    • Be diligent in family matters
    • Be diligent in business matters
    • Be diligent in spiritual matters

This morning we will be looking through the book of Proverbs at a number of different texts, if you have been following our church Bible reading, this week we hit Proverbs. And so, I did a study through the book of Proverbs and thought this was an excellent topic, thinking of 50 years. And so we are going to look at the subject of learning to be diligent. In Proverbs chapter 27, I will read that first Proverbs 27:23, "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not forever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass shewth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens." In verse 23 it says, "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." On the outline that I gave you, there was a poem that I shortened it a little bit. If you look up the original poem, it was written, I think at least five decades ago, and it is entitled Carry On! by Robert Service. And I am going to read a sections of it. It says:

"It is easy to fight when everything is right, Aand you're mad with the thrill and the glory; It's easy to cheer when victory is near, And wallow in fields that are gory. It's a different song when everything's wrong, When you're feeling infernally mortal; When it's 10 against one and hope there is none, Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

Carry on! carry on! There isn't much punch in your blow. You're glaring and staring and hitting out blind; You're muddy and bloody, but never, you mind. Carry on! carry on! It's looking like death, but while you've a breath, Carry on my son! carry on!

And so in the strife of the battle of life It's easy to fight when you're winning; It's easy to slave, and starve and be brave, When the Dawn of success is beginning. But the man who can meet despair and defeat With a cheer, there's the man of God's choosing; The man who can fight to heaven's own height Is the man who can fight when he's losing.

Carry on! Carry on! Things never were looming so black. But show that you haven't a cowardly streak, And though you're unlucky, you never are weak. Carry on! Carry on! Fight the good fight and true; believe in your mission, great life with a cheer; There's a big work to do, and that's why you were here. Carry on! Carry on!

Our message this morning is learning to carry on, to be diligent, learning to be diligent. Our other text that we are going to look at is Proverbs chapter 24 and verse 30. So there are different ways to do studies in the book of Proverbs. One way to do a study, if you remember Dr. Scott Hanks has a book down in our bookstore, I believe on The Men of Proverbs. Many, many years ago he and I became friends when he was a youth pastor in Sauk Village. We would meet up sometimes at Burger King right down here. And we would talk shop about the book of Proverbs. I loved the book of Proverbs and he loved the book of Proverbs too. He actually wrote a couple of books on the book of Proverbs. And so we would talk about it and we would talk about commentators.

In fact, one of our favorite commentators, if you are ever looking for a pretty deep commentator on the book of Proverbs try the one written by Charles Bridges. Charles Bridges was one of Spurgeon's favorite commentators, and he has a whole volume just on the book of Proverbs. And so we would sit and talk about Proverbs. One study that he did was called the men of Proverbs. And so there are normally contrasting men in the book of Proverbs. And so one of the contrasts is the wise man and the foolish man, but another one is the diligent man and opposite of the diligent man is the slothful or the sluggard. And so you will see that contrasted many times. So in Proverbs chapter 24, we have the contrast to being diligent and that is the slothful man starting in verse 30. It says, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding. And lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

Heavenly father, I pray as we look at this idea of learning to be diligent this morning, I pray that it would be instructive to us. And I pray Holy Spirit, I ask You do that, which I cannot do and that is speak to hearts. Lord, I pray for your power through the spirit and the word of God we ask for that and claim it. Lord, we ask that as we come together, thinking about 50 years; Lord, I do not know that I will have 50 more years, but Lord, I would pray that we would have churches in America that would stay true for 50 more years. And Lord that we would have Christians that would stay true for 50 more years. Lord we do not know how soon the coming of the Lord is. Lord it sure seems like it is sooner and sooner. Lord, I pray that we would be watchful and we would be doing the work that you have left us to do and to be diligent at it. We thank you for what you do in Jesus name, Amen.

The book of Proverbs, is one of the books that is classified as a poetry book. So the poetry books are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, and those are the poetry books. They all kind of belong in the same package because they are all written in some sort of Hebrew poetry. And Solomon is the writer of three of those. A lot of the book of Proverbs is from King Solomon, Ecclesiastes was written by him and Song of Solomon.

Proverbs is a book on wisdom. In the book of Proverbs we read some of the wisdom of Solomon. He was known for that. A proverb is simply a saying that conveys a specific truth. It is in an appointed or a pithy way. Proverbs are short sentences, normally that are drawn out from long experience. It is a truth that is couched in a form that is easy to remember. It is maybe a philosophy based on experience, a rule for conduct. There are synonyms for Proverbs. They are known as sententious sentences, a maxim, an old saying, an old song, a bromide, and epigram. And so you have these things and that is what we are coming to reading through the book of Proverbs. But this morning, I want to look specifically at Proverbs, that deal with diligence and also the contrast, the sluggard or the slothful.

If we look up diligence in a dictionary or a thesaurus, you will find it defined as persevering application, assiduousness. Now assiduousness, if you do no't know that one, I put that down. So that later this week, maybe at work or with an aunt and uncle and grandma and grandpa or somebody that says, Hey, did you go to church this week? You are just like, Oh, it was a very assiduous message. All right. And what do we mean by that? It just makes you feel smart by saying a big word. Assiduousness means that you have attention to detail. That is a diligent person. You are assiduous, you are industrious, you are persistent. You have vigor, you have care. Diligence is an attitude that drives us to accomplish a mission successfully. Simply put diligence is the opposite of laziness. It is the opposite of laziness. But what about you? This morning, that is what I am asking you to consider. I am asking you to consider yourself and have you been diligent and we are going to consider in a few moments. We are going to consider three areas of our life through the book of Proverbs and ask, have we been diligent? Have we been diligent as a church for the last 50 years? And will we continue to be diligent? And then we need to apply it individually and personally to ourselves.

Are you diligent? Consider your tendencies. Are you diligent in the projects you are undertaking? Do you pursue your projects with a positive attitude? Do you work as hard as you can? Are you really determined to succeed? Do you pursue your goals with perseverance and determination convinced that, you know what, this is important. This is something God wants me to do. And I will go after this with everything I have, because I will do it with all my might, because that is pleasing to God. That is a diligent attitude. Our church is celebrating 50 years of serving the Lord throughout this 2020 year. And man, what a year, we have had to adapt in all kinds of ways, having ridiculous drive-in services, right? Having the worst communion wafer ever invented in the world. And I am telling you, I never was so glad to be back in church to have regular communion. Just the regular piece of unleavened bread, because I did not know that unleavened bread could taste like some type of sponge. All right. I do not know what little Chinese kid in a concentration camp made that. But, I think it was to torture Christians. But man, we have had to adapt in all kinds of ways.

But are we supposed to quit serving the Lord? No. Pastor Lewis was here last night. Pastor Lewis, man I thank God for him. I thank God for his vigor. I thank God for his diligence. We were talking about that, just, how hard it is. It is a war zone in Chicago, but you know what he is doing today, having church. You know what he started a couple of weeks ago. He started going around and inviting his bus kids back to church. He was talking to me last night that in the last couple of weeks, he saw nine people get saved. He is rejoicing in the Lord. And then also through all this craziness and all this hard time because he was staying open. If you remember when all the craziness went down and he said, I am going to stay open. WGN came and interviewed him. And so, through the two interviews, a guy that was going to Moody church got ahold of him. And he owns an HVAC business and he called him up and he said, Hey, can I, can I come over and see you? Can I do something? And he started thinking and he found out he owned a HVAC business. So he said, why don't you come over? And he showed him around. They had finished all their heating last year after their boiler went out. It is an old building and they would have loved to have new air conditioning. And so he expressed that to this man. And the guy said, you know what? I wish my church would have stayed open and you did. He said, why don't I help you? And this week they just finished up all the air conditioning. They paid for everything, everything he said, man my church is cool. He stayed at it.

But what are we supposed to do? Quit? No. The lazy man says, Hey, there is a lion in the street. Or there is a mayor in Chicago. That is what the lazy man says. But you know what the diligent man says, God's called me to a work. I have to do this work. I have to stay at it. We have a heritage here, a heritage of our Baptist brethren down through the ages to persevere, no matter what rain or shine, heartache or heavenly bliss with the opposition or with parades behind us, we keep diligent at the work that God has for us. The book of Proverbs teaches us much about diligence. And so I have two questions this morning. First of all, why should we be diligent? And secondly, how should we be diligent?

So first of all, why should we be diligent? Let's look at a couple of verses I have chronological order. So it will help us out. They are in the book of Proverbs. If you do not have a Bible, hopefully you have someone near you that has a Bible. We are going to start in Proverbs chapter 12. I am going to read a few verses and see what the lesson is of why should we should be diligent?

Proverbs 12:11 says, "He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: (notice that word satisfied) but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding." Down to verse 27. "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious." Notice here it is talking about in verse 11, that it is satisfying, that it is precious. Go to chapter 13:19, " The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil." Go to chapter 14:4, "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." So what is the point of that? Alright, you want a clean crib? Don't have any ox. But guess what? You are not going to have, you don't have any workhorses. You are probably not going to have any harvest.

So, there is there is profit that comes from hard work notice in verse 23 of Provers 14 "In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." Proverbs 24:27 says, "Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house." All through the book of Proverbs and there are other verses, but these, and specifically at the beginning, I said, the word satisfying pleasure. Your soul will be satisfied. What is it telling us? Diligence is pleasing to God. That is why I do it. I am diligent in my work because it is pleasing to him. In the New Testament we do not have the word diligent necessarily used, but what do we find? That whatever my hand finds to do, I do it with my might in everything I do.

It is going to be pleasing to the Lord. That is diligence. So one of the reasons that I am diligent is not just to get accolades. It is not to get a plaque on my wall. The reason that we are diligent as Christians is because God expects it, it pleases, and it brings honor to him when we are diligent in our task. And so think about that as a nation, as a nation, what have we done? We have gone away from godly principles. We have gone away from the idea of hard work. We have gone away. In fact, one of the many things that is taught today is guess what? Work work, work so that you can retire early and guess what happens most of us joke about then you retire and then within six months, you are gone. Why? Because man was created to work. He was to work.

I believe if you study the book of Genesis chapter one, two and three, I believe that work was created before the fall of man. I believe work was created and it is something enjoyable. It is something that Adam enjoyed. It is something that God put into man. And when we, as men and women, when we get that nature of God back into us, what happens is we start enjoying the way things that God wanted us to enjoy. One of those things has been to be diligent at something, and we have lost that in America. We have lost that as a nation. But let us not as a church, and as homes, and as individual, let us not follow the world and follow the nation. Let us be an example to be diligent. We should be known as a hard working church, and hard working in business, and hard working in our homes, and hard working in our Christian lives. Hard working. Why do I do it? Is there some reward? Well the Bible does and we will see that the Bible does promise some reward, but if my reward is in heaven, that is enough. That is enough--to be diligent. Why? Because we are pleasing God, we are pleasing God. Why be diligent? Diligence is pleasing to God.

Secondly, about diligence. If you go to Proverbs six, Proverbs six gives us a little object lesson. It tells us to go to the ant. Okay? The little object lesson, Proverbs 6:6, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long without thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." So what is it telling us? It is giving us a character sketch of the sluggard. The first thing we learned about him is that he is addicted to sleep. You may be sitting here and you are like, wow, you just described my teenager. Alright. Yes. And as a young person, guess what? We will get to this in a moment because it is something that our church has been built on.

Our church has been built on diligence in family training. Diligence and that means as parents, we are the big boys. I learned we are not there to be the bodies. We are there to help them to learn, to be diligent. Why? Because as they get older, as they mature, we want them to be a good, a good Christian, but we also want them to be a good citizen. We want them to be a good worker. And what does that mean? Get out of bed. That is what you do. But guess what a sluggard is? A sluggard is just addicted to sleep. How long will you sleep? In Proverbs 6:9, "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?" Sleep is his chief occupation, his favorite pastime. Proverbs 19 indicates that laziness is a cause of the sluggards fatigue. It is not the consequence of it. He is just so fatigued. And you that have studied this a little bit, studied diligence or studied sleep. Actually, they have done studies and, after a certain point the more sleep you get, the more tired you are. And that is why some of you, I am telling you, you are never awake, right? You are never awake. The sluggards desire kills him, right. It kills him.

And then, the passage that we read at the beginning in Proverbs chapter 24:30 it says, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns..." So why should I be diligent? One, because it is pleasing to God. Secondly, diligence helps me avoid the trap of the sluggard. There is a sluggard, there is a slothful trap and that is that human nature. Human nature just wants to over time, wants to take it easy. It wants more ease, and more ease, and more ease, and more ease. Being diligent and getting a godly aspect, a godly understanding of diligence fights against the trap of the sluggard. Because the sluggard guess what happens to him. He walks and he talks, but he does nothing. And there are so many churches. There are so many Christians even today that say, man, I want to be a good Christian. I wish I was a good Christian. How come, how come you seem to have all the blessing? How come this and this and this and part of it when you track their life is that person that is getting some of that is they are diligent. They work and they work hard at.

So many Christians today do not have that work ethic, that diligence. Listen to C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon has, and I would encourage you to listen or read. He has a sermon based on Proverbs 24, and it is called the Sluggards Farm, and this is just a section of it. "We may also gather rare lessons from things that we do not like. I am sure that Solomon did not in the least degree, admire the thorns and the nettles that covered the face of the vineyard. But he nevertheless found instruction in them. Many are stung by nettles, but few are taught by them. Some men are hurt by briars, but here is one who was improved by them. Wisdom has a way of gathering grapes of thorns and figs of nettles. And she distills good from herbs, which in themselves are noisesome and evil. Do not fret therefore over thorns, but get good out of them. Do not begin stinging yourself with nettles, grip them firmly, and then use them for your souls health. Trials and troubles, worries and turmoils, little frets and little disappointments may all help you. If you will like Solomon, see and consider them well, look upon them and receive instruction. Amen to that. What he is saying is that there is some instruction and there is some good in having thorns and thistles and nettles. Sometimes it is good for us. That pricking can teach us that watching somebody else going through something that is tough, is good for us to learn some lessons. Diligence--why be diligent? Diligence is pleasing to God. Secondly, diligence helps avoid the trap of the sluggard.

So my second question this morning is how should we be diligent? And prayerfully I won't get bogged down. Because I am telling you each one of these points could preach. And we have preached on it for decades, but we do not have decades this morning. Okay. So how should we be diligent? First of all, be diligent in family matters. Be diligent in family matters. Let me give you a few verses out of the book of Proverbs. I have two ideas that come out of the book of Proverbs from our Bible reading. I think we went through what chapter 25 or 26 today, is that it? Okay. So we are almost done with the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 5:18 says this, "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of the youth. Proverbs 6:29, "So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Proverbs 18:22, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord." So what am I to be diligent in family matters. Number one, put energy into your marriage, put energy into your marriage.

Let's not be slovenly in this area of marriage. The world has a very low esteem of marriage. And this is because they have adopted a fleshly, animalistic approach to creation and God's purpose in this world. Let's live above that. We were created in God's image and are here to fulfill His purposes. Let's treat marriage with the respect that God demands. Let's not take it lightly. And that is why we have taught and preached on marriage over the last five years. Just myself, I went back and over the last five years I have preached at least 20 times on marriage. We have had marriage retreats. We have had men's and ladies' retreats. And the reason we do that is because you must put energy into your marriage. Some, even as a young couple, you have been married 10 years. And I consider that young, because we have a lot of folks that are married 50 plus.

And you have been married 10 plus years, but when it comes to a couples retreat or some time to get away. You are like, oh, I don't know. I mean, it just seems like it costs money. It just seems like it seems so hard. And yet you go on your vacation and you do everything else. And then all of a sudden you are having marriage problems. It is because you are putting something else before your marriage. You are not putting energy into your marriage. You are not reading on marriage. You are not studying on marriage. And then it falls to pot. You know why? Because we have to be diligent at it. We have to be working at our marriage. We have to put energy into our marriage. Why? Because otherwise it will just end up like the world's marriages. And it is two people just living together existing. They have no love for each other. They have no like for each other. They both just work. Two people coming together is not to bring two incomes together. That's not why we do it. We do it because we have come before God and we prayed, and we have seen that this is God's way. One is to propagate, to have children. That, that is one of the reasons. But another reason is just the fellowship that marriage can have. A husband and wife and the joy and the love together. I am not going to the world to get their advice. I am not going to Oprah. I am not going to Dr. Phil. I am not going to all those guys and figuring out, hey, what do you think about marriage? I am going to the word of God. And what does the Bible say, "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth."

And that is why as far as family,-- family has always been important to us. We just got done in the fall and the spring, I think doing at least 15 lessons. We put an outline together and we said, Hey, you can make your own booklet. And this next year we are doing probably six or more lessons. So it will be 20 something lessons in a matter of a year and a half. And next Preaching Conference is on the family. You know why? Because family needs energy put into it, and needs to be thought about, and needs to be aligned according to scripture. Put energy into your marriage.

Then secondly, under being diligent in family matters, Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." There is a little misunderstanding sometimes about the word betimes. Alright. So some people think that it means just wail into him. Do it betimes. That is not actually what betimes means 'early' in scripture. It is old English. So what it is saying is at an early age, start the idea of discipline at an early age. And you go out into this world and you know what they have? They have mayhem in this world, mayhem.

They have little kids that basically do not know much of the English language, but they know a whole lot of the cuss words in the English language. And they can lay it out. We minister to underprivileged areas. We bring in kids from all kinds of different areas. We provide transportation because we want them to find Christ, but it is amazing that a little seven-year-old can cuss out a teacher, a seven-year-old, what is wrong with our nation? What is wrong with our homes? You know what it is, they are leaving it up to everybody else. The Bible instructs, mom and dad, mom and dad to be involved. Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope..." What does that seem to indicate? Seems to indicate that there comes a point where there isn't. Doesn't it seem to indicate that if you are chasting while there is hope. There seems to be some chastening when there is no hope. "...and let not thy soul spare for his crying." Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." And some people have a problem reading those verses in today's society. I don't, I'm sorry. Go sit down with even some teenagers right here that came in today. I guarantee if I could sit in your house last night or this morning, and I could watch some of the video games that you played last night and it was much more violent in talking than right there. It is much more vulgar, much more, much more violent than that, right there. And yet, oh scripture is so violent. Oh really?

The Bible is telling us and we need to put effort into our child training. Our church has taught the importance of being diligent and rearing our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We practiced Proverbs 22: 6 for decades. And we have young people sitting here as members, young people that have grown up and last night, even that gave testimony and testified because you had parents that followed the Proverbs 22:6 model. Dr. Sorenson in his commentary on this passage says the following. He mentions that the way he should go in the Hebrew is also translated as commandment in other passages in the Old Testament. So one idea is that a parent should train up a child in the commandments of God. Dr. Sorenson continues his thoughts by saying the promise is that when he is old, he will not depart from it. Most parents are not diligent in this aspect of training. They partially trained in the way. They do not practice what they preach. They tell their kids that God is most important in life and then skip out of church. When Christian parents train their children to do right consistently before them, their children will not depart from the way they were taught. Amen, to that. We need to be consistent. And we need to work on this idea of training.

I found an author, an author that was a pastor and a Sunday school teacher, I believe in the Philadelphia area in the 1850s and 60s and 70s. So about 1880 or 1890, he wrote a book on child training. And so I am going to highlight a passage of it. His name was Pastor H. Clay Trumbull and he pastored in Philadelphia. And this is what he said, "It has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know. It may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do." And that is what the Bible is saying in Proverbs 22:6, it did not say, teach your children. It said, train them. And that is what I want to key in on--training. And this is what he says. Teaching gives knowledge. Training gives skill. Teaching fills the mind. Training shapes the habit. Teaching brings to the child that which he did not have before. Training enables the child to make use of that which already is in his possession. We teach a child the meaning of words. We train a child in speaking and walking. We teach him the truth, which we have learned for ourselves. We train them in habits of study that he may be able to learn other truths for himself. Are you getting the difference? The difference is teaching them to know, but training is adding a skill. And that is what, as parents, we must be engaged in -- training, training, and it is never stopping. It is never stopping. It is never giving up. And as we read in that poem, you know, it is not always easy.

You are going to have hard times and it is going to be, as I tell our teen parents, when we get together, when we talk. In the younger ages, all right, and I am talking about two, and three, and four, and five and six, and seven. In those ages, you are developing some character, you are training some character there. But as they get older, sometimes the idea is that I do not have to put in any energy anymore. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. You need to put in just as much energy at 13, and 14, and 15, and 16, and 17. I am sorry, parents, I believe all the way up to at least 20. Biblically you read in Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy. Guess what number comes out all the time, 20. And the reason is that we have accepted this idea in this world that it is 18. I do not care what Dr. Phil or dr. bow tie, I do not care what they said. Right? I do not go to them to get my advice. But what I have found in scripture is that the idea of 20 comes out, I believe you can find it over 80 times in the book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, 80 times. And it is saying that it should be as parents that at about 20 years of age, that in Israel time, or in the Old Testament time, a parent should have their young man ready to wield the sword at 20. Now think about that. So what did that entail? Some training, didn't it. We need to be engaged in the training of our children and our young people. Engaged in that. And most, they do not even know what to do. I am not trying to embarrass any kids that came in. But right now our bus ministry is having a hard time. And it is not necessarily all the panic and the fear of the COVID. But some of it, we were talking yesterday. I was meeting with the captains and second men, and they were saying this, that some of the kids parents are saying this, since March, my kids do not even get up until noon.

Where is the training? What is wrong? What do you think is going to happen to a society? An America that was built on not being scared of rolling up your sleeves and working hard. What is going to happen to us? To a society that is waking up at noon. What is going to happen? Oh, and then, wow. Guess what? I am not going to go back to work because it is cheaper for me to just stay at home and get the extra $600. What is wrong with our society. What what is wrong with our society? I have got church folks and I am glad that God took care of you through this problem? Because basically you had no choice. They just laid you off. What is wrong with our country. So are we just going to print more money. We are afraid of hard work today. And the only reason I am going to work hard is so that maybe at 45, I can retire and just do whatever. I feel like, no, you know what I am going to do. I am going to work hard. I just got a letter from Gary Gilmore and he was talking about evangelism and, this fall either in August or September, he turns 80. He is celebrating his 80th birthday. And this is what he said and made me think about my own life. He said, my goal and my desire was always, if God would allow me that I would try to preach until I was 85. I was like, holy cow. I don't know if anybody will want to be around me then. I have no idea what I will say, nobody knows now. Man at 85, it is going to be crazy, but I thought, wow, thank the Lord. Thank the Lord for an evangelist that wants to be diligent until the end.

So we said, there are a couple of areas. So let's not forget all these areas, right? So we said, lets be diligent in family matters. Secondly, let's be diligent in business matters. In the book of Proverbs, notice what it says in Proverbs 12:24, "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute." So Proverbs 12:24 gives us that idea of a proverb. So it is sending out a principle there. So does it mean that 'everybody' here that is diligent shall rule? I mean, according to this verse, "the hand of the diligent shall bear rule." Does it mean that you are going to be appointed king every one of us. Why there would be a whole lot of kings, right? It is a principle though. The principle is that diligent people are promoted. That is the idea. It does not mean that all of us will become king. It does not mean that at your work, you are like you know, after one month of working hard, you come back here and saying that is not true. I did not get my promotion. No! The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute. And I believe we have seen that. You know, what a lazy society gets? Think about what is happening in our nation. We are transitioning into a lazy society and what happens to lazy people. They are under tribute.

I have been to Kenya, been to Zambia. I have been to Asian, countries, Cambodia, I have been to Mexico. I have been to a number of third world countries. And guess what the average person is -- lazy. And you know what? The missionaries that are there, almost all of them talk about how their people are taking advantage of them. You know why? They are lazy. Lazy people are under tribute. The Bible is true. We need to be diligent in business matters. Now what do we mean by that? Learn how to work hard. Proverbs 12:27, it says, "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious." So here is the slothful man, remember the contrast of a slothful man and a diligent man. So the slothful man, he goes out hunting and he kills something.

You guys know, Pastor Ross is a good friend of mine and he is trying to teach this city slicker how to hunt but it ain't working. Right. Because one, I do not hunt that much, but he is trying to teach me once in a while. I can't remember if it was the last time that I went down to hunt with him, but it was so cold in the morning. It was ridiculous. And I did not bring anything down. So I had all his gear and you know, he is pretty tall. So I went and looked like a freakish scarecrow. Alright. And then he is like, hey, I will drop you off over here and I like to go early. And so I preached, I think on a Thursday night and I drove down there, it is a three hour drive I got in at like one o'clock in the morning. And he is sitting there and he was like, hey, how are you feeling? Like I just drove three hours after preaching and being up all day. I am not feeling really good or really excited about this. Alright. And so then he is like, alright, you know what, why don't we get you a little bit of a sleep? And let's say 4:30. I am like, Oh my word, this is ridiculous. All right. So we, you know, get up at 4:30 and we get all of our gear. We go out there, it is completely pitch dark, you know? And I am sitting up there and he leaves me in my tree stand and I leave my phone on vibrate and like every five minutes, like, how is it going? So finally I ended up just taking pictures and they are completely dark. I am like, this is what it looks like. This is stupid! And then I am freezing. So halfway down, he is not around. So you know, I am just freezing. And finally, I climbed down, I started doing jumping jacks, I'd go back up and Iwould come back down and jump around. So then later I finally told him like a year later and I was like, I did not see anything. He was like, I do not get it, man. I was seeing all kinds of things. And I was like, wow, it was really cold and I was doing jumping jacks. He just started laughing. He goes, duh, what do you think is going to happen? You know, part of it is, it is being diligent at it. All right. He grew up doing that and he is diligent. He knows what it takes and it takes, it takes being diligent and being willing to sacrifice a little bit of comforts in order to what, in order to get the kill. He is willing to do that.

Now that is just a simple illustration that we are giving. But that is what I think we are missing overall in America. What are we missing that everybody, I mean, at 25 years old, think they have got to have a house. What do you mean, you have got to have a house? Well, I mean, hey, my parents have one. Yeah and they are 55 years old and they have been working for 30 something years and they have been saving and scraping and doing all this. And they did not have a house right away. But I am going to be different. Yeah. You are going to be a sloth. That is what you are going to be. You expect something without putting in the work, and we are raising a generation that way. The Bible is saying, be diligent in business matters. Be a worker, learn how to work hard. Learn not to quit because of obstacles. Remember that verse that says, "The slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets." And that is a joke. It is sarcasm. There really was not a lion in the way. What are they doing? They are just making up excuses. And that is what I think happens to many of us, everything stops us. You know, sometimes it is hard.

I appreciated one of the testimonies last night. One of our members testified because, I think she said for seven years someone came by. Seven years of knocking and she did not want to talk, she did not want to listen. But amen, that we have folks in our church that are saying it does not matter if there is resistance. God tells me to do this job. I need to be diligent in this matter. I am going to learn not to quit because of obstacles.

We said there are three things of how to be diligent. One be diligent in family matters. Secondly, be diligent in business matters. And thirdly, be diligent in spiritual matters. The verse that I believe teaches this out of the book of Proverbs is Proverbs 4:23, where it says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 10:2-5 says, "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The Lord will not suffer the soul the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame." What is that telling us? It is telling us that there is a harvest time. There is a harvest time, but there is also a preparation time, and spiritually I must be ever vigilant. I must be ever diligent with my heart. I need to be diligent in spiritual matters. Let me say, wait a minute, is there a certain age? I do not think so, until I get to heaven. I have got folks that are sitting here that are probably 12 years old, or maybe a little bit younger. Maybe you are 10 years old and you are sitting here. You need to be doing something if you are saved, you need to guard your heart at age 10. I have got folks that are 80 plus sitting here, and guess what they have to do? Guard their heart, guard your heart, because you know what the devil is going to do. The devil is going to come at 80 years old and he is going to tell you God does not care. He is going to whisper in your ear and say, God, does not care about you. What are you talking about that He does not care about you. No, the Bible is still true. The Bible is still right. So guard your heart, guard your heart against the devil, coming in and putting seeds in there even at 80. So at whatever age I am at, I am guarding my heart with all diligence.

The Bible still works. It has passed the test of time. Jeremiah says this in Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein." This was written to the children of Israel and the people of God in Jeremiah's day refused this old ancient path. Maybe because it was hard, maybe because it was worn, maybe because it seemed tough at times. Maybe those Israelites wanted a new way, an easier path towards God or towards righteousness. Perhaps they were just to impressed with their own modern ideas to give serious consideration to the simple truth God had already revealed to their forefathers. That was so many years before, so out of date. It was the old path and it was good. C. H. Spurgeon said the following about the word of God, for us to believe and to preach anything more than what the word of God sets before us seems utterly absurd to me. Yet we confront a generation of people who are always wanting to discover a new motivational power, a new gospel for their churches. The quilt covering their bed does not seem to be long enough. And so they would gladly borrow a yard or two from the Unitarians or the Agnostics or even the atheists. And he continues on in the scriptures in them selves in their own sphere are sufficient. And I tell you again, this morning as Spurgeon found, and as in the time of the Israelites and Jeremiah, the prophet, as he called out and he said, the old paths, they are good. And they are secure. And they are precious. Cling to them, guard your heart, build fences that will last, and then repair those fences and watch out for the wolves that will come over and come through those fences. Guard your heart. Always be vigilant. Always be diligent in spiritual matters. That is what God wants us to be.

The Bible is telling us, I believe through the book of Proverbs to be careful of the wall that is falling down. It is a slothful man that lets everything go to pot. Oh, many of us maybe your house is that way. We are trying, my kids know that was my New Year's resolution. My New Year's resolution was to put a little extra time into my house. Wow, COVID-19 came and guess what I had? A lot of extra time and then the Lord provided extra funds by the almighty government and gave me extra money to put into my house. But my back and my arms and a whole bunch of other muscles that I had not used in a long time, that had never felt, hammers and holding up odd things in odd positions. Oh man, my body was sore. But you know, there were certain areas of the house that were in disrepair and that is just a physical house. Spiritually your house may be in disrepair. You know what you need to do? Repair it. And you know what it will take - - sweat.

It will be easy to just let it go right now, but it will fall apart. It will fall apart. I am thankful. I am thankful that growing up I had a pastor, Roy Thompson. He taught me rain or shine heartache or heavenly bliss to keep at it. I am thankful for a father-in-law. You know what he taught me. He taught me that sometimes it is tough, but you suck it up and you keep at it. And between both of them, you know what they taught me - - to love this book. And I love it. And I can tell you this. After about 30 years in the ministry, it is not always easy. It is not a cake walk, but neither is it for you. It is not in your life. I have got church members that have gone through some of the most unbelievable heartaches, but guess what I can point you to - - this right here. And those of us that have stayed true. We found this book to be true. We found God to be faithful. I have not always been. And you have not always been. We have a God that is faithful.

As we are finishing up 50 years this year. We need to be diligent. Diligent in the things that have been passed on to us. They say, some of the historians say, that probably the American revolution would not have happened without a man named Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine was not really a great godly man, if you read about him, but he did writings and it stirred up the people and it caused them to unite together to fight for the right cause. One of Thomas Paines writings was called 'The American Crisis' and you have probably heard excerpts of it. I am going to read an excerpt that you will recognize. And this is not from 'Common Sense.' This was from Thomas Paines address called, The American Crisis. "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine Patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their country. But he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of a man and woman. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered. Yet. We have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious, the triumph. What we obtain to cheaply, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods. And it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." He continues on and this is another paragraph. And he says, "I turned with a warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood and are yet determined to stand the matter out. I call not upon a few, but upon all. Not on this state or that state, but on every state up and help us lay your shoulders to the wheel. Better have too much force than too little when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world that when in the depths of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive that the city and the country alarmed at one common danger came forth to meet and repulse. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands. Throw not the burden of the day upon providence, but show your faith by your works that God may bless you."

That was hundreds of years ago. And it was for a mighty cause. And it was the cause of our nation. And most of us have read about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. And most of them lost their lives and lost everything they had for you and I. And now today, and I am not talking about America, I am talking about as a Christian. Now today as a Christian, when is the last time you spoke up for Christ. When is the last time you put a little extra effort and diligence into your spiritual walk. And you wonder why it is pretty empty because the soul of the sluggard has nothing. Let's be diligent as a church. "When things go wrong as they sometimes will. When the road you are trudging seems all uphill. When the funds are low and the debts are high. And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but never quit. Success is failure turned inside out. The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are and maybe nearer, when it seems afar. So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit, it's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit."



Carry on!

It’s easy to fight when everything is right,
And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory is near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything is wrong,
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier and chortle.
Carry on! Carry on!
There isn’t much punch in your blow.
You’re glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You’re muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
Carry on! Carry on!
It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath,
Carry on, my son! Carry on!
And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you are winning;
It’s easy to slave and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
Carry on! Carry on!
Things never were looming so black.
But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak,
And though you’re unlucky you never are weak.
Carry on! Carry on!
Fight the Good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s a big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on!

-By Robert Service

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