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Proverbs 4:1-9 1
1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

Background

Solomon is probably speaking to his children here. Given that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3) it’s very likely the number of children is large. However, the Bible doesn’t give that information. If one considers that the normal number of offspring in that time and area would probably be more than five per female, it appears that Solomon could have had at least 5000 children. So we view much of Proverbs as a father passing his advice onto his children, a lot of children.

We to must look at our teachers as our fathers. Though their instruction, use it to model our lives and correct our lives accordingly. Solomon’s parents loved him, therefore taught him. Wise and godly men, in every age of the world, and position in society, agree that true wisdom comes from obedience, and is tied closely to happiness. Get wisdom, take the lumps and pains it brings. Solomon tells his children to get control over themselves and then take more pains to get more wisdom because it is better than all of the wealth of this world.

Every child must gain interest in Christ’s salvation. This wisdom is the one thing every child needs to get out of this world so that they can journey into the next most glorious world, God’s eternal world. A human soul without true wisdom and grace is a dead soul. How pitiful are those, who, with all their wealth and power, die without getting understanding of Christ. They die without hope and without God!  Solomon calls out to his children the most important lesson he can provide them, listen to your God who speaks the words of eternal life. Therefore, our path of life should always be directly before us. By taking, and holding fast to our parent’s instructions, we can avoid the many deviations from a Godly life  or stumbling on our path through a worldly life.

Items for Discussion

  • How do we actually learn, get “true wisdom?”
  • What is it that is the most important for children to learn? For adults?
  • What happens if the adults, the parents are poor examples?
  • In your experiences, what are the most effective ways to teach? Children? Adults?
  • Solomon wrote down his advice. How have you prepared your own advice to your children so they can use it after you are gone?
  • How do you think the obedience of Solomon to his parents helped him in his adult life?
  • Obedience seems to be tied to happiness – Where is our society failing today, to help pass on happiness? Children? Adults?

 

Luke 13:22-30
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “LORD, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Background

In these verses, our Apostle Luke gives us a collected set of thoughts that can also be found elsewhere in Matthew:

  • “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
  • “Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
  • “I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12).
  • “But many will be last who are first; and first who are last” (Matthew 19:30).
  • “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).
  • “While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you’” (Matthew 25:10-12).

Let’s outline these verses:

  1. Salvation requires our earnest effort because it is the narrow door (13:24).
    1. the door is narrow and exclusive, not wide and all-inclusive.
    2. many will seek to enter and will not be able to do so.
  2. Salvation requires our urgent attention because the narrow door will close soon (13:25-27).
    1. time is coming soon when the door will be shut.
    2. there is a great difference between a casual acquaintance with Jesus and a personal relationship with Him.
  3. Salvation requires our careful self-examination because the door, once closed, is eternally closed (13:28-30).
    1.  the horrible consequences of making a mistake.
    2.  there are two and only two final categories for eternity (in or out).
    3. requires our careful self-examination because those who assume they’re in may be out.

Items for Discussion

  • Have you thought about eternity? How often? What were the circumstances?
  • How can salvation be a free gift simply received and yet require our striving?
  • Are we too casual about salvation because we have disregarded the biblical doctrine of hell?
  • How can we know that we are entering through the narrow door?
  • What keeps people from thinking about eternity?
  • How do you feel about Christ’s story that once the door is closed, it is not going to be opened?

Discussion Challenge

  • What would you be willing to do to help the one person you love the most enter eternity?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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