Friday, March 31, 2017

Seven Things God Hates

Lesson 1 - A Proud Look

So, this week we’ll begin a new study, “The Things God Hates.”   These are sometimes called the “Seven Deadly Sins.”  They are a description of the things that God hates.  Today I want to do an over view and look at the first of the things God hates.  The following will be the text for this study:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

The first verse says this:  These six things the Lord hates…”  That word translated as hate is defined in the in Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Lexicon as extremely distasteful.  It goes on to say this, “Yes seven are an abomination to Him.”  That word abomination means disgusting.  So this verse is saying that God finds these things extremely distasteful, even disgusting.  God is disgusted by these behaviors.

But there is an interesting twist here.  That word translated as abomination speaks of idolatry.  God is disgusted by idols.  They are to be avoided.  Look at this scripture:

Deuteronomy 16:21-22 (NKJV) 
16:21 "You shall not plant for yourself any tree, as a wooden image, near the altar which you build for yourself to the Lord your God. 22 You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the Lord your God hates.

This is a reference to the worship of Ashtoreth.  One of the aspects of Ashtoreth worship is that a pole (tree) is set up near an altar to the god Molech.  Molech was a god that was worshipped by sending your children through the fire.  In ther words children were sacrificed by fire.  Ashtoreth who is associated with Molech is worshipped through sexual immorality.  You can see why this was considered an ABOMINATION to God.

One of the reasons that Solomon caused Israel to be divided was his serving of other gods.  His wives and concubines turned him away from God and to the pagan gods of the Canaanites.

1 Kings 11:4-11 (NKJV) 
11:4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of 
Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.

Those things God hates.  He hates idolatry and worship of other gods.  God is a jealous God.  This is what He has likened His list of the seven things God hates.  God is utterly disgusted by these things.

So let’s begin today’s study:

Proverbs 6:16-17 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,

Today we’ll look at a proud look.  In order to begin let’s understand what is meant by a PROUD look.  We’ve all heard of pride.  Pride is not always a bad thing.  We should all have a certain amount of pride.  A SMALL amount.

In real estate circles they have what is called the pride of ownership.  Someone who owns a home is more likely to keep it looking nice.  If you have ever had a tenant renting your home, you probably know that tenants rarely worry about the upkeep of the house.  In California, many owners of rental homes will hire a gardner to mow lawns an d keep the house looking nice, because the tenants don’t do that.  Whereas people who own their own homes, keep them painted and the lawns and gardens looking nice.  Real estate agents call that the pride of ownership.  This isn’t a sinful type of pride.

This verse refers to a proud LOOK.  This has a specific meaning.  It means to look with contempt or disdain on someone else.  Racism has it’s root in this type of pride.  We look down on someone because of the color of his or her skin.  Or we look down on them because of the country they’ve come from.  Some people look down on those who are less educated or who make a living through labor.  That’s a proud look; a look of disdain or contempt.

In the Bible, the Jews looked at Samaritans that way:

John 4:9 (NKJV) 
4:9 Then the woman of 
Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

 In fact, any Gentile was looked at with disdain:

Acts 10:28 (NKJV) 
10:28 Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

It was against Jewish law for them to associate with someone from another country.

A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on prejudice in the church.  It centered on a very well-known portion of scripture:

Mark 11:15-19 (NKJV) 
11:15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.' " 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.

We often think that this took place because Jesus was angry that people were being cheated by the moneychangers and sacrifice sellers.  To a certain extent they were, but Jesus makes a statement here that exposes what He is really reacting to:

Mark 11:17 (NKJV) 
17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.' "

My house shall be called a House of prayer FOR ALL NATIONS.  Let’s understand what Jesus really means here. 

This selling took place in a part of the temple called the Court of the Gentiles.  This is where non-Israeli Jews would go to pray to God.  They weren’t allowed into the temple itself. They could only go into this court. 

So the temple leaders set up this as the area where all this commerce would take place.  They had all o f this commerce going on in the place tat God set aside for the Gentiles to pray.  Think about this.  It would be like trying to pray at the Traditional market:  Vendors calling out, noise and confusion. 

So why was jesus upset about all of this.  Two reasons:

  1. This is a command from God.  God is wanting to include those foreigners who want to serve Him.

Isaiah 56:6-7 (NKJV) 
56:6 "Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-- Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant-- Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."

This is what Jesus is referencing.  You can see here the care that God has for the foreigners.  But that same care wasn’t exhibited by the temple leaders of Jesus’ day.  They didn’t want to disturb the worship of the Jews, but it was okay to disturb the worship of the Gentiles

  1. I believe the second reason for His anger is found in our text.  The proud look.  The reason there was so little concern for the foreigners is because of the Proud look.  The disdain the looking down on the non-Jews.

I believe that Jesus was reacting to that and not the worshippers being cheated, although that was also happening too, which is why he called it a den of thieves. 

This can also be seen on a personal level in individual lives.  We are all guilty of it to a certain extent.  Pride is deadly for us:

Look at some scriptures that describe the dangers of pride:

Proverbs 8:13 (NKJV) 
8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.

Contempt is the hallmark of arrogance.  Arrogance = the exaggeration of your own importance.  Someone told me recently, if I leave the church I’m afraid most of the people will follow me out.  That is textbook arrogance.

Proverbs 10:17 (NKJV) 
10:17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who refuses correction goes astray.

Being unteachable is pride.  You can’t tell me I already know.  People in Taiwan say that all the time.  You try to tell them and they say, “I know, I know, I know…”  If they already know there’s no room to learn.

Proverbs 15:10 (NKJV) 
15:10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.

Proverbs 16:5 (NKJV) 
16:5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.

I’ve seen this play out in life.  A group of pastors left our fellowship because they didn’t want to be under a leader.  They felt that they deserved that leadership status, themselves.  So they teamed up to start their own fellowship.  But within a couple of years it was gone.  They couldn’t follow each other either.  Their pride destroyed their walk with God and ruined a number of other people’s faith.

And that’s one reason God hates pride.  Pride destroys.  You lift up yourself in your own eyes and become your own IDOL:  Self worship.  When you lift up yourself you will naturally disdain others.  How does pride play out in our lives?

  1. Racism
  2. Status or Caste systems
  3. Nationalism
  4. Self importance
  5. Rebellion
  6. Unwillingness to be taught
  7. Unwillingness to be corrected

This is destructive behavior and it is the opposite of the way God thinks.  Jesus didn’t look down on any of us.  He died for everyone’s sins.  Christians come from every nation in the world.  God sent us into all the world.  The command was:

Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) 
28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

There is no room for disdain of others if the calling is to draw them into the kingdom of God.  People who refuse to reach out to people from other nations always amuse me.  Or who are upset about them coming into the local church.  Do you think heaven will be separated?  Do you think there will be a section for each country or color of skin?  Heaven won’t be like that.  We’ll all be there together.  That’s the way the church should be too.  There should be a mix of peole in the church. There’s not a church for different races.  There’s ONE church of Jesus Christ

Lesson 2 - A Lying Tongue

Today we want to continue our study on the “Things God Hates.”  It seems odd to say that doesn’t it?  That God hates something.  God is love, that’s what our Bible tells us.  But there are things that God hates.  There are things that are an abomination to Him.  These are the things that God finds detestable:  Things, which disgust God.  He calls them an abomination – something that MUST be avoided.  The interesting thing about the word abomination is that it speaks of idolatry.

So outr text tells us that there are seven things God considers to be an abomination.  They are seven types of behavior found in people.  All of us have had some experience with people practicing these things.  So here are the seven things God hates:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

So these things God hates.  All of these things are sin and all of them are human behaviors.  Today I want to talk about the second thing God hates in our scripture – A lying Tongue.

God Hates Lying.  It’s interesting isn’t it.  When we think about a hierarchy of sin, we rank lying as very LOW in the hierarchy.  We think certain sins are worse than others.  Adultery, Fornication, Murder, Homosexuality, people have a tendency to rank those sins as being VERY Bad sins.  We think I’m not doing any of those things, so I’m a good person. 

We would ask non-Christians in America, “Do you think you’re going to go to heaven?”  Most of them would answer that they thought they would, because e they weren’t evil,  “I’ve never killed anyone was a familiar answer.”  They assumed God would overlook the “little” sins, because they were basically decent people.  But God doesn’t work like that.  God doesn’t consider lying to be a small thing.  It’s something God hates!  In fact, look at this:

Revelation 21:7-8 (NKJV) 
21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral (fornicators) sorcerers (drug dealers), idolators, and ALL Liars – will go to Hell.  The lake of Fire.  So we might assume  that lying is a small thing.  We might think that since everyone lies it’s not such a big deal.  But God says it cause to go to the LAKE OF FIRE!

Why do you think that God judges lying to be such a horrible sin?  Look at this:
John 8:44 (NKJV) 
8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

It is the nature of the devil.  The devil is the father of lies.  This is what he does, when he speaks a lie he does it from his own resources.  What do you think that means?  From his own resources?  It means that it comes from within him.  He’s not tempted to it from outside of himself.  He lies, it is something he does.  It is his nature.  It is also the exact opposite of God’s nature:

Titus 1:2 (NKJV) 
1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

God, who CANNOT lie:  It isn’t within Him to Lie. God can’t lie.  It doesn’t exist in the nature of God.  So what does it mean to God when we lie?  It means that we have put Him aside and have turned to another.  It is the same sin as idolatry.  God hates idolatry, because we have turned away from following God and turned to following idols. 

All truth lies in God, in Satan there is NO truth.  John 8:44 says, “there is no truth in him.”  He doesn’t have the capacity to tell the truth.  He has no truth in him.

Listening to the lies of Satan was what took mankind down in the first place, isn’t it.  Accepting his words that made God a liar is what led to Eve’s sin.  God had spoken that to eat the fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil would lead to their death.  But the devil said, “You will not surely die.”  Eve believed him and ate the fruit.  The lie was that God was capable of lying.  But God wasn’t. 

So let’s define what lying means:  The word lie, according to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, means an untrue statement made with intent to deceive. To deceive means to defraud or to trick someone.  A lie has the intent to defraud someone:  To cheat someone out of something.  Here’s a Biblical example.

 Genesis 27:6-9 (NKJV) 
27:6 So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, "Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.' Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves.

Genesis 27:10-15 (NKJV) 
10 Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death." 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing." 13 But his mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me." 14 And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son.

Genesis 27:16-19 (NKJV) 
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 So he went to his father and said, "My father." And he said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?" 19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."
 So in this story we see Jacob’s deception of his father Isaac.  It’s in verse 19:

Genesis 27:19 (NKJV) 
27:19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."

Here is Jacob.  He comes to Isaac and has set up this elaborate hoax to deceive Isaac.  He puts on is brother’s clothing, he covers his arms in goatskins and he LIED to him about who he was, “I’m Esau, you’re firstborn.”  What was it that he was doing?  He was trying to defraud Esau of his blessing.  As the firstborn sone Esau had the righ of inheritance.  The blessing rightfully went to him, but Jacob deceived Isaac and stole that blessing.

But there is an interesting statement that Rebeckah makes here as well.  Jacob is concerned that his father wouldn’t be fooled by this deception and he asks his mother, what if he curses me instead of blessing me?  Look at what she answered in verse 13:

Genesis 27:13 (NKJV) 
27:13 But his mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me."

Let your curse be on me.  She is a wholehearted participant in this.  So the curse that Javcob would receive for this deception would also fall to Rebeckah.  We are just as much of a liar as the actual liar if we assist someone in the lie.

There is another aspect of God’s revulsion of sin.  Look at these scriptures:

Psalms 5:5-6 (NKJV) 
5:5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Psalms 59:12 (NKJV) 
59:12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be taken in their pride, And for the cursing and lying which they speak.

So it seems that there is an aspect of PRIDE to lying.  Often when we try to deceive it is to build ourselves up.  That’s also a deception isn’t it?  It’s also an attempt to defraud.  Gossip is rooted in this.  “Look what I know about …”.  Slander is rooted in this, “I’m better than him, he’s no good because of…”.  Remember God resists the proud.

James 4:6 (NKJV) 
4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

Or said another way:

Proverbs 3:34 (NKJV) 
3:34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.

James based his statement that God resists the proud on this statement in Proverbs.  That word scorn means to be disdainful, or to hold in contempt.  If you gossip about someone or you slander someone they are someone that you hold in disdain or contempt.  But remember last wee what we said about a proud look?  It is to look down on someone in disdain or contempt.  So a lying tongue here is linked to a proud look.  God hates this sin for the same reason he hates pride and arrogance.  It is basically the same sin.

There’s one other thing I want to say about this type of lying tongue.  Look at this scripture:

Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV) 
4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.

Speak truth with our neighbors because we are members of one another.  This is directed toward the early church.  By neighbors he’s talking about the brothers and sisters in Christ.  We can’t lie to one another because when we damage someone else we also damage ourselves.  That word member is defined as a limb, like your arm or your leg.  If we cause damage to a part of our body whom are we hurting: If I stick a knife into my leg, who ultimately gets hurt?   I DO.  If we deceive other members of our church family who are we hurting our own church family and if we’re all in this together we hurt ourselves as well. 

The final thing I want to look tonight is this: 

Psalms 34:11-16 (NKJV) 
34:11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Who is the man who desires life?  This is eternal life.  Let me ask you something, is there a lie that isn’t evil?  How about when you say something that’ not exactly true to comfort someone:  To build them up?  Often when people are mortally injured or dying from disease the doctor will say something to give hope.  Is that a lie?  Technically.  Is it evil, I don’t think so.  Is God going to send you to Hell for a kindness?  God is a righteous God, would that be righteous?  I think by a lying tongue, God is referring to people who use their tongue to destroy, defraud or disdain other people.

We need to examine the things we’ve soke and see if we are guilty of a lying tongue.  Most of us have told lies from time to time.  God hates a liar and will judge liars.

Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV) 
12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

God is disgusted by lying lips…but he delights in those who speak truth.

Lesson 3 - Hands that Shed Innocent Blood

So tonight we are continuing with our Bible study series, “The Things God Hates.”  We have looked at “A Proud Look” and “A Lying Tongue” so far.  Let’s take a few minutes to review.

What is a Proud look according to our study?  Looking at someone else with disdain or contempt.  Allowing Pride to be the overriding factor in how you view someone else.

What is a Lying Tongue?  Gossip, slander, false accusation.

Today we will look at the third thing God hates.  The third out of how many? 7.  There are seven things God hates.  Let’s look at our text:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Remember we defined the words abomination as something detestable, or utterly disgusting to God.  These are seven things that God is disgusted by.  The interesting thing is that that word abomination speaks of idolatry.  In the Old Testament every time God speaks of idols, He calls them an abomination. They disgust God, so do each of the things in this list.  So there is a link between these things and idolatry.

And if you think about it you can see it.  All of these things relate to human selfishness and pride.  Do you realize that you can make yourself and your emotions an idol?  None of the things on this list are done for the glory of God but each of them we can do for our own glory.

A proud look – We put ourselves above others.

A Lying tongue – We gossip and slander to boost our own image in the eyes of others and ourselves.

Hands that shed innocent blood – Why did Cain kill Abel, because Abel received God’s approval. (we’ll talk more about this later in this study)

A heart that devises wicked plans – Stealing, cheating.  We do  things for our benefit while taking from others.

Feet that are swift in running to evil – related to wicked plans

A false witness who speaks lies – Character assassination – This is testimony that’s meant to destroy someone else.

One who sows discord among the brethren – Causing problems in the church

In each case the person who is involved in these things is looking to build himself or herself up, or get what they want.  They have made their emotions and self, an idol in their own eyes.  So God finds this behavior to be an abomination.

Today I want to specifically focus on Hands that shed innocent blood.  So let’s look at a famous Old Testament story of this exact thing:

Genesis 4:1-5 (NKJV) 
4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the Lord." Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

Genesis 4:6-8 (NKJV) 
So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

So here is Cain.  He comes and brings an offering to God.  However, he didn’t do it according to God’s prescription for Offerings.  It came to pass – That means after a while.  The offering was to be the firstfruits, but Cain waited.  Abel brought the firstborn of the flock.  He came in faith with his offering.  Why is Abel’s offering acceptable and Cain’s not?  Because Abel gave the first born.  He didn’t know if there would be any more sheep born.  Cain waited until he was sure that there would be enough before he gave. Abel gave in faith, Cain didn’t.  God is looking for faith.

So Cain became angry.  How often do we see this in our lives?  Someone else gets something you don’t.  You think you deserve something that went to someone else.  Isn’t that what’s happening here we call that jealousy and envy.  Cain was envious of Abel’ acceptance by God. 

So what is Cain doing here, with regard to what we said about abomination earlier?  He has made himself and his feelings more important than pleasing God.  He’s not happy that Abel’s offering has been accepted.  He’s angry that his offering hasn’t.   Isn’t that selfishness and self-idolatry?  I think it is.  So, because of his envy he rises up and kills Abel.  He has put himself, his needs and his emotions first.  He has made himself an idol.

Look at what happens here:

Genesis 4:9-12 (NKJV) 
4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth."

God makes an interesting statement here, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me.”  God marks the murder of the innocent.  This isn’t something that’s taken lightly by God.  Notice the judgment on Cain.  The ground, “which opened it’s mouth to receive your brother’s blood,” will no longer produce for Cain.  A fugitive – this is one who flees.  He will always be on the run a vagabond – homeless.  He’ll be running for his life.  God had to mark him to protect him from those who would seek to kill him.

Genesis 4:13-15 (NKJV) 
4:13 And Cain said to the Lord, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me." 15 And the Lord said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

There is also David.  Remember he had an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite:

2 Samuel 11:2-4 (NKJV) 
11:2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

So he took the wife of his friend and “Mighty Man,” Uriah the Hittite.  He slept with her; he committed adultery with her.  But look at what happens:

2 Samuel 11:5 (NKJV) 
11:5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."

Uh-oh, now it’s out in the open.  People will know that the child isn’t Uriah’s child, because he’s off fighting the war.  So now David will be found out.  His reputation will be ruined.  The people may even rebel against the king for his adultery.  He’s worried about what?  How Uriah will take the news? NO.  Bathsheba’s reputation and what will happen to her?  Adultery carried a death sentence in those days…stoning.  Was Bathsheba his main concern?  NO.  He was worried about how he would be perceived.  So he calls for Uriah the Hittite, so he could and lay with his wife,. David’s thinking was that then people would think the child was Uriah’s.  But Uriah refused.  So David got him drunk and tried again.  But once again Uriah refused so look at David’s next move:

2 Samuel 11:14-15 (NKJV) 
11:14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die."

So, David had him killed.  So david shed innocent blood.  Nathan the prophet comes to confront him and tells him a parable about a man who stole his neighbor’s lamb.  David is enraged at the injustice of the parable and vows to kill that man.  Nathan tells him, he’s the one and David repents.  Look at what Nathan says next:

2 Samuel 12:13 (NKJV) 
12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

God was going to kill Him.  God was going to destroy david for th shedding of innocent blood.  Nathan also told him this:

2 Samuel 12:10-11 (NKJV) 
12:10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' 11 Thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.

David faced that adversity from within his home.  When Absalom rose up to usurp the kingdom.  There is a heavy price to pay for shedding innocent blood.

So look at society today.  When do we see the blood of innocents being shed?  Abortion.  Isn’t that ultimate in the shedding of innocent blood.  In society today, we see many examples of the shedding of innocent blood:  Political murders, martyrs of Christians, collateral damage in war.  These things happen all the time.  Real shedding of innocent blood but look also at this:

Matthew 5:21-22 (NKJV) 
5:21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.

Who ever is angry at his brother.  This is talking about brother or sister in Christ.  Whoever is angry with his brother without a reason.  Or angry at someone who is innocent will be judged as a murderer.  We need to be careful of our emotions.  Because anger without a cause will be judged as murder.  It is the shedding of innocent blood in a spiritual sense.  God hates that.  Be slow to anger.  Be angry and don’t sin.

This is the lifting up of ourselves as god.  We are judging.  We are taking the role of God in this sense.  God will judge that. 

1 John 3:15 (NKJV) 
3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Do you know what that means.  No murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  It means that you will not make it to heaven.  It is a judgment.  God will judge the shedding of innocent blood.  There is only one way to make it right with God.  Who can tell me what that one way is?  Repent.

Lesson 4 - A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans

So last week we studied, hands that “shed innocent blood.”  We looked at innocent blood shed by Cain and God’s reaction to that, which was what?  Cain was judged and made a fugitive and vagabond.  He was on the run.  What happened with David?    There was adversity in HIS house.  He had difficulty because with his sons because of the things they did. 

Today we will look at the next thing that God hates, which is a heart that devises wicked plans. 

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Remember when we looked up the word Abomination we found that it was linked to idolatry.  God hates idolatry.  So, here we have the word wicked: “A heart that devises wicked plans.”  So let’s take a quick look at the word translated as wicked from the Hebrew:

From an unused root perhaps meaning properly to pant (hence to exert oneself, usually in vain; to come to naught); strictly nothingness; also troublevanitywickedness; specifically an idol: - affliction, evil, false, idol, iniquity, mischief, mourners (-ing), naught, sorrow, unjust, unrighteous, vain, vanity, wicked (-ness.) Compare H369.

So what does that say “wickedness; specifically an idol.”  So God judges wickedness to be idolatry as well.  There are lots of Old Testament scriptures that refer to idols, and worshipping false Gods.

God jusges wickedness:  Look at this scripture:

Genesis 6:5-7 (NKJV) 
6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."

So this is God preparing for the flood.  And He is giving His reason for the flood.  “The wickedness of man was great in the earth.”  So it is because of wickedness that God is sorry that He has made man.  And there is a judgment for this wickedness:

Genesis 6:7 (NKJV) 
6:7 So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."

I ill destroy man AND Beast, whom I have created from the face of the earth.  The flood is a judgment of wickedness.  Wicked; specifically an idol.  The definition says.  And I think this is interesting he is judging the world because of wickedness.  Tis is the only time that God destroyed everyone.  This is the only time that he brought a flood to destroy man and beast from the ENTIRE world.

Now look at this:

Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NKJV) 
1:2 "I will utterly consume everything From the face of the land," Says the Lord; "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land," Says the Lord.

Here God is saying that he will utterly consume everything from the face of the land:  People, animals, birds, even fish.  This is the same judgment as the flood.  But it is in a limited area.  It is just the nation of Judah.  But it is the same judgment.  Now look at why He’s planning this:

Zephaniah 1:4-5 (NKJV) 
1:4 "I will stretch out My hand against 
Judah, And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, The names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests-- Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; Those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, But who also swear by Milcom;

These people are being judged because of idol worship.  They’re worshipping Baal, They worship the Host of heaven, (This is a reference to the religion of Sabeanism, which is really the worship of heavenly bodies such as the sun and the moon), Milcom (Molech). 

So this judgment is about Idolatry or the worship of other Gods.  So when the Bible says in genesis 6:5 that when God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth – maybe he was talking about widespread idol worship.  Is that what caused the flood?  Is that the wickedness that was so great.

There is something else that happens when there is no moral authority in the earth.  When there is no morality because there isn’t a basis for moral behavior in the world then evil will rise up, because it becomes a case of whatever you think is right.  What ever you feel in your heart to be right.  But is our heart a good judge of moral behavior?  Is our heart a good basis for moral authority?

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) 
17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Desperately wicked, in this case, the word wicked is from a Hebrew word that means weak, frail, feeble.  There is no strength there to make and moral stands and stick to them.  If it is up to the human heart to determine moral behavior, the heart is too weak or feeble to do that.  Our emotions lie to us.  The heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS.  You can’t count on yourself to make moral choices without some transcendent moral authority in your life.

Idols have no moral authority.  They are man-made gods.  They would get their moral authority from their creator, who would be human.  Idols are not transcendent they are created by man. 

So evil is a by-product of wickedness.  So if that’s the case then evil is within our power, look at this:

Micah 2:1 (NKJV) 
2:1 Woe to those who devise iniquity, And work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand.

They practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.  If we have no moral authority then we are capable of anything.   We will devise evil plans and we will cause those plans to come to fruition.  I wan to go back to Genesis 6:5 once more to see something else:

Genesis 6:5 (NKJV) 
6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.  This is what happens when you cut God loose.  This is what happens when you don’t recognize the Moral authority of the creator.  Every intent of the thoughts of your heart are on evil continually.  Because your heart is desperately wicked.

Psalms 36:1-4 (NKJV) 
36:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord. An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.

This is a picture of a man who has cut God loose from his thinking.  He does not abhor evil.  This is why God hates those who devise wicked plans.  Because they have turned away from God they have no fear (reverence, respect) of God.  They are following the imaginations of their own hearts.  They have made their own lusts an idol.  The things they want, the things they have an appetite for those things are their gods.  And because of that they devise wicked plans.  The plans are to get what they WANT.

Can we see this kind of thing happening in our world today?  Let’s use the US as an example. 

In 1962, prayer was removed from the schools.  Children were no longer allowed to pray in school.  The reason for this was something that Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter. The exact phrase was, “a wall of separation between church and state,”  What did he mean by that?  America had been founded by people who came from gereat persecution in their homeland.  They had broken with the Church of England:  The English Government’s church.  England charged taxes to support the Church of England.  England began to persecute these others who belived differently than the Church of England.  So first they move to the Netherlands to excape the persecution, but it came to them there.  So they sailed for the new continent which is North America, looking for the freedom to worship.

This persecution continued in England even to the time of the founding of the United States.  The founders were taxed to support England’s church.  So in the constitution they added an amendment that protected the right of people to worship as they pleased.  They didn’t want to allow the government to ever persecute members of one religious doctrine or another.  So in this letter that he wrote that there must be a “wall of separation between church and state.,”  The intent was to protect the church from the encroachment of the government.

But that has been used to remove God from schools, and from public life and look at these statistics:

Top 7 problems in school in 1940:

  1. Talking out of turn
  2. Gum Chewing
  3. making noise
  4. running in the halls
  5. Cutting in line
  6. Dress code violations
  7. Littering

Now look at the top 7 problems in school in 1990

  1. Drug Abuse
  2. Alcohol Abuse
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Suicide
  5. Rape
  6. Robbery
  7. Assault

Teenage pregnancy rates have gone up 500% since 1962
The number of unmarried mothers has increased dramatically
Violent crime has risen steadily
SAT scores have gone down by 18%

This is because God has been removed from American Society.  America is no longer a Christian Nation.  Now I want you to see one more thing:

Matthew 24:37 (NKJV) 
24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

How were the days of Noah?

Genesis 6:5 (NKJV) 
6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Lesson 5 -  Feet That are swift in Running to Evil

Last week we studied, “A heart that devises wicked plans.”  Let’s have a brief review:

  1. Abomination:  the things God detests; something God finds utterly disgusting; idolatry
  2. Wickedness:  specifically, an idol
  3. What happens when there is no moral authority?  When there is no basis for moral behavior beyond an individual’s own morality evil will rise up.
  4. Why?  Because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

So let’s begin by looking at our text:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Today we’re going to continue and move on the next phrase: “Feet that are swift in running to evil.”  That word translated as swift means to flow easily or to be liquid.  A liquid that flows easily is a liquid that isn’t restrained.  It has nothing to impede it or or to slow it down. 

So if we look at this phrase with that in mind what does it say:  Feet that easily, without impediment run to evil?  There is nothing holding it back.  There is no moral boundary, which will stop them.  Think about this for a moment.  What keeps you from killing?  What keeps you from stealing?  Those things are wrong.  Isn’t that right? 

Why are they wrong?  What makes them wrong?  The Ten Commandments, isn’t that right?  We have been taught the Ten Commandments.  This is the basis of our moral authority.

Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV) 
20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the 
land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV) 
"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV) 
12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. 13 "You shall not murder. 14 "You shall not commit adultery. 15 "You shall not steal. 16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

These are the basis for laws.  In this nation and in the US most of our laws are derived from this.  These are the impediment to sin.  They are God’s law.  These were written on the tablets of stone by God’s own finger.

Exodus 31:18 (NKJV) 
31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

But there are those who ignore these things.  There are those who will not follow these things but SEEK to do evil.  They run toward it without restraint.  They FLOW EASILY into sin. 

Look at this commentary on this phrase:

(18) Feet that be swift in running to mischief.—Who do not yield to temptation after a struggle against it, but give themselves up as willing slaves to their lusts.

There’s no restraint.  It’s not that they are overwhelmed by the temptation.  It is that they DESIRE to sin.  They want to do it.  They are SLAVES to their own lusts:

John 8:34 (NKJV) 
8:34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

There’s an interesting example of this in the Book of Exodus Chapter 32:

Moses has gone up the mountain to meet with God.  God has spoken to him face to face.  There was great thundering and fire and all sorts f the tings going on up there.  But God had met with Moses and gave him the 10 Commandments.  Moses was up there for 40 days.  Why 40 days?  What is significant about the number 40?  It is the number of testing.  He was meeting with Moses and at the same time testing Israel, and here’s why I think this is interesting:
Exodus 32:1-4 (NKJV) 
32:1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the 
land of Egypt!"

This was a test.  God had spoken these to Moses already.  He went up to the mountain in chapter 20.  God spoke the Ten Commandments to him and he took them to the people fo Israel.

Exodus 24:3 (NKJV) 
24:3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the Lord has said we will do."

They heard the commands and the judgments for breaking the commands and agreed to them.  But then God called Moses up a second time:

Exodus 24:12 (NKJV) 
24:12 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."

But he was up there for 40 days:  The time of testing.  They turned away from God.  They broke the first two commandments.  They had been told these things, but they broke them anyway. The made the IDOL and then they met the next day to worship it.

Exodus 32:4-6 (NKJV) 
32:4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the 
land of Egypt!" So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord." Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

There was no restraint on their part.  It wasn’t temptation that they had to battle with.  They were swift to run to sin.  That word translated as play means merriment, mockery scorn.  They rose up and mocked God. Look at what God says to Moses as this is happening:

Exodus 32:7-8 (NKJV) 
32:7 And the Lord said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the 
land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!' "

They turned aside from God to idols QUICKLY:  easily, without restraint or hesitation.  Their feet ran swiftly to evil.  Mocking God is a big deal.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV) 
6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

Are there people in the world to day who are swift in running to evil:  Who are mockers of God?  How about this, the makers of the film “Last Temptation of Christ?” Jesus is portrayed as a homosexual who is tempted to sin with the disciples.  Or Monty Python’s the Life of Brian.  Where Jesus’ crucifixion is turned into a musical number that Jesus sings, “Look on the Bright Side of Life.”  Or the artwork called “Piss Christ,” a crucifix submerged in urine.  These are mockeries of God.  This is evil.  These people have no restraint.  They are not bound by the moral authority of God and have made their own lusts their idols.

I want to show you one more scripture:

Isaiah 59:2-7 (NKJV) 
59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths.

This scripture outlines ways in which we are swift in running to evil.  Isaiah is trying to warn Israel that they must recognize this sin and repent of it or they will be judged.  Look at the list, which ones are you involved in.  Do you fight temptation or act without restraint?  It’s easy in our times to make our lusts our idols and run swiftly to sin.

Next week we will examine a false witness who speaks lies.

Lesson 6 - A False Witness Who Speaks Lies

Last week we looked at the phrase “feet swift in running to evil.”  Let’s have a short review:

  1. What do we mean when we say feet that are swift in running to evil?  It means that there is no restraint to doing evil.  That you have no moral code that will keep you from evil.
  2. What is the basis of our moral code and laws?  The Ten Commandments.

We’re studying the seven things that God Hates.  We’ve already looked at most of them.  There is a common thread and that is that they all are related to some form of Idolatry.  The word abomination speaks of idol worship.  Here’s an interesting question, “Can you be your own idol?”  Yu certainly can, in fact, I would venture to say that there is a bit of self idolatry in all of us.  So here’s our text:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Okay so today we’re going to look at the next phrase in the scripture – A False Witness who speaks lies.  We already talked about a lying tongue, so why is this in there twice.  There is a distinction because one is a lie told for gain and the other  (a false witness) is about slander and gossip.  It’s really about character assassination.

Where is one place we see character assassination taking place on a regular basis?  Politics.  There is a phrase coined by Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, “The politics of personal destruction.”  In other words it wasn’t the ability to beat another candidate on ideas alone, the candidate had to be destroyed.  Character assassination has become a staple of politics, ever since. 

So what we’re talking about here is gossip and slander.  Talking about people, damaging people for your own ends.  There is an interesting instruction given to Timothy by Paul.  Paul is telling him how to relate to people in the congregation.  1 Timothy is one of the “Pastoral Epistles” He’s trying to help him to become a good pastor.  Look at what he says here about widows in the church:

1 Timothy 5:10-15 (NKJV) 
5:11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.

Have you ever heard this, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”?   These young women have been cared for as widows, they had nothing to do and they gossip and slander.  “For some have already turned aside after Satan.   They have begun not to serve God but to follow after the devil in Gossip and Slander.

Slander is a characteristic of the devil:

Revelation 12:10 (NKJV) 
12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Satan slanders and accuses us.  This is interesting because the devil accuses us as a FALSE WITNESS.  He slanders us before God.  He is looking to destroy us and keep us from heaven.  Slander is evil, it destroys people’s reputations:

Ecclesiastes 7:1 (NKJV) 
7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one's birth;

Some people work hard to keep their reputation.  It’s an important qualification for ministry.  By Ministry I don’t mean just being a pastor.  But for involvement in the church:

1 Timothy 3:8-13 (NKJV) 
3:8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless11 Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Being found blameless means to have a good reputation for doing the right thing.  But it also says that their wives must also be reverent and not SLANDERERS.  You work to keep a good reputation and then someone comes along through slander and destroys it.  The problem is that it then disqualifies you for the ministry.  Because even if you don’t deserve to have a bad reputation, if people still believe the slander, it destroys you. 

When I was in college, one Friday night I was walking across an area where the dorms were and heard someone call my name.  Repeatedly, from the balcony of one of the dorms and I saw a very drunk young woman I had never met.  So I answered, “Why are you calling me?”  She said, “You’re not Chris Banducci.”  I said, “Yes I am.”  Finally, I had to show her my driver’s license to convince her.  Someone had been using my name. At first, I didn’t think anything about it.  But a few weeks later I was talking to another young woman that I knew and liked a lot who said to me, “But you have such a bad reputation.”  So I asked, “What do you mean?”  She told me things that I was supposed to have done that I’d never done.  So, of course I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But my reputation had been destroyed.  It turned out to be the person that had been using my name.  This problem dogged me until I left that university and moved away.   What did I learn from that?  That someone who appropriates your name is up to no good.  I became very careful about my name and reputation after that.

But look at what damage it can do.  It can destroy lives.  It can be compared to MURDER.

I want to make it real through a look at the Bible.  We all know the story of Joseph.  He had a couple of dreams, and in the dreams he was elevated above his family.  Joseph bragged about these things and his brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous and envious.

So he became a slave in the household of Potiphar.  The Captain of Pharaoh’s Guard.  But because God was with him he rose to prominence in Potiphar’s house.  Potphar trusted him with everything:

Genesis 39:1-6 (NKJV) 
39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to 
Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

So Potiphar trusted Joseph with everything.  Look at verse 6:

Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

He trusted Joseph so completely that he didn’t even know what he had.  He would show up and there’d be food on the table and that was all he KNEW he owned.  Everything else was in Joseph’s hand.  Now look at what happens:

Genesis 39:7-10 (NKJV) 
39:7 And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" 10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.

So Potiphar’s wife wants him.  She tries over and over to seduce him.  She says, “Hubba, Hubba, baby.”  But Joseph ignores her.  Why?  He wants to keep from sin.  he doesn’t want to hurt Potiphar and he wants to keep his REPUTATION intact.  He wants to continue to be trusted.  What happens next, though:

So she gets really aggressive and Joseph, rather than sin ran out of his jacket.  He just left it there. So what did she do?

Genesis 39:14-18 (NKJV) 
39:14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, "See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside." 16 So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. 17 Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, "The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; 18 so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside."

She’s lying, right?  She’s set him up and slandered him.  She’s destroyed his reputation with the other men by calling him a rapist.  Then she destroyed the trust he’d had with Potiphar by destroying his reputation with him.  Look at the final outcome of this event:

Genesis 39:19-20 (NKJV) 
39:19 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, "Your servant did to me after this manner," that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.

 Joseph ends up in prison for a crime he never committed.  He’s destroyed.  In Jospeh’s case God was with him and he was eventually vindicated but he remained in prison for 13 years.  His reputation destroyed, his standing destroyed because of this woman’s slander.  For 13 years he was effectively dead as far as the community was concerned.  I want to show you one last thing about slander:

Luke 6:45 (NKJV) 
6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

What are you speaking about other people?  What is in your heart?  Brenda always says this,” What’s in the well is what comes up in the bucket.”  What comes out of your mouth, blessing or cursing?  Are you committing murder with your mouth?  God har=tes slander nd false accusation.

Next week we will be ending this series with the last phrase. And one who sows discord among brethren.

Lesson 7 - One Who Sows Discord Among the Brethren

Last week we studied the six thing God hates and that was a False Witness who speaks lies.  Let’s review

  1. We already discussed, “A Lying Tongue,” but there is a difference between a lying tongue and and a false witness who speaks lies.  What is the difference?  A False Witness who speaks lies is about gossip and slander and the other is about lying for gain.
  2. In the study I compared slander to what?  Murder

So this week we’re going to study the final thing God hates, “One who sows discord among brethren.”  So let’s begin with our text:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV) 
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Sowing discord among brethren is literally about causing trouble in your family:  One who causes relationships to be against each other in the family.  I’ve seen children do this before.  Trying to pit their parents against each other to get what they want.  In English we call it, playing one against the other.

God created the family unit.

Genesis 2:21-24 (NKJV) 
2:21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

This is a description of the first marriage.  God has set this in place.  I want you to see a couple of things in here:

  1. God made a woman out of his rib – Matthew Henry says, Not the head so she would be superior to him but the side so that they would be equal partners:  Side by side.  She was to be his “helper but not like we think of a helper.  She was designed to help him multiply and subdue the earth.

Genesis 2:18 (NKJV) 
2:18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

  1. God brought the woman to the man – he gave her to him.  God has a plan for our lives, right.  Who could think that that plan wouldn’t include a spouse?

  1. A man shall cleave unto his wife – That word cleave means to adhere strongly.  I think of it like welding.  When you weld you take two metal pieces and weld them together they actually become one solid piece of metal.  If you try to separate them you can’t do it without damage to one or both of them.

  1. Finally, a man will leave his parents and be joined to his wife.  Parents and some husbands don’t get this.  Mothers-in-law often try to run their son’s marriages.  Some men in America we call them “mama’s boys,” will defer to their mother rather than their wife.   In a marriage your wife becomes and extension of yourself and her needs come before mama’s. 

Genesis 1:27-28 (NKJV) 
1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

As a man and his wife go forth and multiply this is the creation of the family unit.  This is what God intended for us.  God intended marriage as a basis for raising children.  We can see the affects these days of reproducing without a marriage.  Children raised without fathers have problems for life.  Young men have a tendency to turn to gangs looking for a strong ale figure that will have “fellowship” with him.  Young women raised without fathers look for a replacement, and often use sex as a means to fell the affection of a man.  A strong marriage is the best way to raise children.  Since children were the primary reason for marriage, God hates when the marriage is ruined and the parents are separated from their children:

Mark 10:6-9 (NKJV) 
10:6 But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

So look at what Jesus is saying here.  This verse was spoken because the Phariseees were trying to trap Him.  They asked if it was okay to divorce.  This is Jesus’ answer.  And it is revealing in the phrase, What God has joined let not man separate.  The family is important to God. 

The family is supposed to be a unit of people who care for one another.  In Genesis Chapter 4, Cain has killed Abel.  Look at this:

Genesis 4:9 (NKJV) 
4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

Where is your brother Abel?  A person who cares for their family member will know that.  I always know where my family is.  We tell each other where we’re going.  Well actually, I can tell you where they said they were going.  They sometimes will deviate and not tell me.  I ALWAYS tell my wife where I’m going and I’m always where I tell her I’m going. 

So since the family is so important to God, it is no wonder that he hates it when people sow discord among family members. 

I want to take family one step further, look at this scripture:

John 3:1-6 (NKJV) 
3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the 
kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of GodThat which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

When you’re born you’re born into a family.  You have a mom and a dad.  You are a family in the physical sense.  This is what confuses Nicodemus.  Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb?  Look at how Jesus answers that… That which is born of the flesh is flesh.  He’s talking about physical birth.  So we are born into a family.

But there is also a spiritual birth:  The second birth.  When you are born again, you are born into a spiritual family.  This family is also important to God.  God doesn’t want discord sown into this family, either.

Look at how many references there are to the “Bride of Christ,” in the Bible, or Jesus being the bridegroom.  Or the Children of God.All of us we are the offspring.  We are the

Mark 2:18-20 (NKJV) 
2:18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" 19 And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.

Jesus is talking about Himself as the Bridegroom.  He speaks of the church as the bride.
Revelation 19:6-8 (NKJV) 
19:6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

We are the offspring of that marriage.  We are the children of God:

John 1:12-13 (NKJV) 
1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

So from a spiritual point of view we are family.  We become a part of the family of God when we get saved.  So in the same way that God hates one who sows discord in the physical family he also hates one who sows discord in the church.

Who would sow discord in the church?

Backsliders – These are people who’ve left the church for whatever reason and they want to talk about the church.  A lot of times they attack the pastor for some grievance they felt.  It doesn’t matter if it was real or not.  Sometimes they attack the church itself or the fellowship or some other brother.  When someone leaves the church sometimes they have a need to feel like they made the right decision and so they run the church down to people in the church looking for agreement.  This is why I’m not very involved with people who’ve left the church, a lot of times I just don’t want to hear the attacks.

People who’ve lost ministry – Often these people will go to others to air their grievances:  To build up support for their position.  “See, I’m not wrong, brother so and so agrees with me.”

Gossips and slanderers – believe it or not, some of these people are in the church.  They have no problem running down other people in front of you and behind their back.

Pride – People think they have a better way to run the church than the current pastor.  They will tell everyone how they think I should be done.  There are also those who will start a “Bible Study” to bring correction to what you’re hearing over the pulpit, or to touch on subjects the pastor isn’t preaching because they think what they want you to know is more important than what’s being taught. 

The problem with all of these things is that they sow discord.  They cause problems, they divide the church – Remember what God has joined let not man separate.  

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