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“Live according to Truth” (Proverbs 4:10-27

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I. Introduction. A. Orientation. We’ve been considering How important it is to have heart for God – To be the kind of people That catch His eye – The kind He will use Because He can use us.

We’ve seen, not surprisingly, that to be such people It’s important that we have a heart for certain things, And not for others:

That we love God first and foremost – If we don’t, we won’t be willing to pay the price It will cost us to serve Him –

That we love our neighbor as ourselves – If we don’t care about them We won’t reach out to them with the Gospel, Which is primarily what the Lord calls us to do –

That we don’t love the world and seek its glory,

2 But that we love God and seek the glory that comes from Him –

That we don’t conform to this world, But stand out and stand apart from the world So that we can point the way to God.

This morning, we saw that in order to do these things We need to know how to do them – We need to follow Jesus’ example, As He followed the commandment of His Father, To acquire wisdom That He might know what to do. Jesus listened to His parents, He listened to His teachers at the synagogue, He took to heart what they said, Remembered it, and did it.

Yes, Jesus had certain advantages we don’t: His mind and heart weren’t affected by the Fall. He could think perfectly. He also had a perfect desire to learn and remember the truth.

We can’t think perfectly, And very often we don’t want to learn or remember. But don’t forget

3 He has given us His Spirit to help us. The Fall may have affected our minds, But it hasn’t destroyed them. We may not be geniuses – As Jesus undoubtedly was – But we can learn.

And our hearts may not be perfect – The sin that’s in them will resist learning – But the Spirit will help us overcome it. Because He wants us to learn. Why? Just as Jesus learned so that He might do What the Father sent Him into the world to do, He wants us to learn God’s truth So that we might do What He made and called us to do as well.

B. Preview. This evening, Let’s consider that Jesus not only knew God’s truth, He lived according to it. And second, that He did this as an example for us to follow.

If we are to have the kind of heart That will catch God’s eye as He looks down at this world,

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We need to set our hearts To live according to His truth.

II. Sermon. A. Let’s consider, first, that Jesus lived by God’s truth. Learning the truth is not an end in itself, It is merely a means to an end – It’s not enough to learn what God wants us to do, You must also do it If you are to do yourself or anyone else any good.

That’s what true wisdom is – The kind Solomon speaks of in our passage. You’re not blessed because you know what’s right. You’re blessed because you do what’s right.

To the Jewish mind, To learn and not to do was the height of folly. Sadly, we are often content Merely to know what to believe Or what to do, Without actually believing or doing.

This isn’t what Jesus was like. He didn’t study merely to know

5 How He might please His Father, He actually did what was pleasing to Him, For at least two reasons: That He might save us through His obedience, And that He might give us an example to follow.

We know how important it was That Jesus actually do What His Father commanded To save us.

We couldn’t enter heaven for two reasons: Because we didn’t obey God, And we were guilty. Not only did we fail to obey God in Adam, We failed every single day We have been in this world, Including after trusting in Jesus. Left to ourselves, We would have been condemned.

But Jesus did obey, perfectly, To satisfy the obedience requirement; And He died on the cross, To make a perfect payment for sin;

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So that by trusting Him We could have all our sins removed, And be given a perfect righteousness So that we could enter heaven.

As we saw this morning, It’s important that you understand this And receive what He did As He offers Himself to you in the Gospel. It’s the only way to escape the just penalty of hell, And arrive in heaven at last.

But for our purposes this evening, There is another reason why Jesus obeyed. He obeyed as an example That we are to follow.

We’ve already considered A brief summary of how He lived: That His life was a continual act of devotion to the Father – Always doing all His Father commanded.

That He loved others – He ministering to the needs of those around Him. Healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the poor,

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And especially by preaching the Gospel. He even ministered to us – Through His life and death – That He might give us life.

That He kept Himself separate from the world – Neither loving it, nor allowing Himself to be conformed to it, So that He wouldn’t seek the world’s glory, But the glory that comes from the Father.

In doing this, He was doing What Solomon exhorts us to this evening: “Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. . . . Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil” (vv. 13-14, 25-27). He walked on the path of righteousness, Neither turning to the left or to the right, Until He arrived in heaven.

He not only did this Himself, He did all He could to help others do the same By teaching them to walk according to His Father’s truth.

B. Again, Jesus did this both to save us, And to give us an example to follow.

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This is the kind of life that honors the Father. And if we are going to catch the Father’s attention, That He might use us And strongly support us in the work we attempt for Him, We need to seek to do this as well. We must go beyond simply knowing God’s will, We must actually do it, And help others to do it.

We’ve already seen what this means: We need to do what He commands. And we need not to do what He forbids.

To put it another way, We must love as the Lord tells us to love, Both Him and others.

Or still another, We must seek to be holy, And turn away from everything that is not holy.

I think this much is clear enough. So what I’d like to focus on Is the kind of heart the Lord wants to see As we actually set out to do these things.

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As you know, there are differing degrees Of submission to commands and resistance to sin – Of wanting to do what God wants us to do, And of not wanting to do what He forbids.

Of course, the example He has given us is perfect. Jesus perfectly submitted to His Father With His whole heart, And He perfectly resisted temptation and sin With the same. His heart is absolutely holy.

This is the example we are called to follow, The standard we are to seek to live up to.

But, of course, This isn’t what we find in our hearts. We struggle with submission – There are certain things He commands us to do That we often don’t want to do. We also struggle to resist temptation and sin, And we often fail.

We struggle to love God with a whole heart,

10 Or to love others enough to reach out to them with the Gospel.

We often find ourselves loving the world Wanting to conform to it, Wanting its glory, Rather than conforming to God’s Word And seeking His glory.

It’s easier to read a novel, or watch a movie, Than to read and study God’s Word That we might learn His truth.

And all too often, When we have read it, Or have listened to a sermon, We forget what we’ve heard As soon as we’re done.

In short, we still have sin in our hearts – Something Jesus didn’t have – And so we struggle.

What this means is Our duty includes something Jesus didn’t have to do – We have to fight against the sin in our hearts. That’s why He commands us through Paul:

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“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:12-14). If we don’t do this, At the very least, it will cripple us And make us the kind of person The Lord will overlook And not use, not support.

At the very worst, If we’re not fighting our sins – If we’re not trying to do what He commands, Or trying not to do what He forbids – We’re not believers at all, And still in danger of hell. Paul says, if you don’t put to death the deeds of the flesh, You will die, Unless you turn from your sins And trust in Jesus Christ.

Finally, if we don’t kill our sins So that we can follow Christ’s example, How will we be able to help others?

Remember, Jesus not only lived for His Father’s glory,

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He sought to help others do the same By preaching the Gospel to them.

That’s what He’s called us to do as well: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). How can we do this Unless we set our hearts to learn His truth, And purpose to do it?

How can we do this Unless we’re willing to put our sins to death And to live holy lives?

May the Lord help us then To acquire true wisdom – To learn His truth And to do it, That we might be the kind of people He can use. Amen.

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