Have We Lost Our Collection Minds on Sexuality in America?? - Get Wisdom, Share Christ! - Lessons from Proverbs
In reading and studying the book of Proverbs this week, I was reminded how God created the world in his Wisdom to work a certain way, and that it is foolish to go against this created order.
One of the topics covered in Proverbs is sexuality. I could not help think that on this issue, our country has lost its collective mind.
Here is one of the many passages on sexuality from Proverbs:
Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer--
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all your paths. (Proverbs 5:15-21 TNIV).
Such a teaching today on sexuality, if discussed in the public square, would be decried as bigoted (why only a man and a woman), antiquated (stay with the wife of your youth--who does that?), boring (what, no sex with strangers or another's man's wife?), and naive (what does love have to do with sexuality?).
But Proverbs and the rest of the Bible teaches us that it takes a transformation of the heart to hear the call of Wisdom. And that is only possible through an encounter with Jesus Christ and the giving of a new heart and new spirit through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Ezek. 36:26f).
So, to our fellow Christ-followers, while we rightly mourn the ungodliness of the world and the ungodliness that can be found in our own hearts, we cannot preach moralism to the world.The world will only accept God's Wisdom by encountering "Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). (For more on how Jesus Christ leads us to accept Wisdom from God, click here.)
If we want to change the sexual condition of our country, we must change hearts. We must share Christ. Let us do so for Christ's sake, for the world's sake, for our country's sake, for our children's sake, for our sake.
What do you think of the current trend in sexuality in America? As Christians, what should be our response?
5 Major Christ and Redemption Themes Through Which to View/Preach the Book of Proverbs
As I state in a previous post on the book of Proverbs, Three Keys to Understanding Proverbs, on the surface, the book of Proverbs seems to be just a collection of wise, pithy sayings on, admittedly significant topics, but that could be viewed as good advice that could be found or offered anywhere--or least, a lot of different places.
But of course, even that surface reading (or, more, likely, a surface pulling out of just random proverbs) would paint a false picture, for the book of Proverbs is God saturated and based upon a God-centered worldview. This is true in particular for the first nine chapters of Proverbs, which is essential for understanding how to use and view chapters 10 through the end of the book.
The book of Proverbs also is seemingly devoid of any kind of references to Christ and any direct prophecies of him. This charge is probably true. However, Jesus himself (Luke 24:27f) and the New Testament writers in the way that they used the Old Testament clearly saw that Jesus was the hermeneutical lens through which Scripture was to be viewed. And when we look at the book of Proverbs through our understanding of Christ and the fuller redemptive story, we can see that there are typological and theological links to Jesus ALL throughout Proverbs.
Walking through some of the book of Proverbs, here are some of the Christ and redemption themes that can be applied to this book to give us a richer, fuller understanding of the godly wisdom.
(Note: I am indebted to Old Testament professor Dr. Glenn Pemberton for helping me understand and appreciate the Wisdom literature (including Proverbs) and of the "First Testament" in its own right, to historical theology professor Dr. John Mark Hicks for some theological insights on Proverbs, numerous articles, and to especially to Johnathan Akins excellent book on "Preaching Christ from Proverbs.")
If you raise children in the way of the Lord, will they really never depart from it? - 3 Keys to Understanding Proverbs
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." This might be one of the most assuring--and scary--and misused passages of Scripture in the Bible. As I am preaching on Proverbs this week, I thought of this verse, which is a good verse to explore to understand and illustrate what the book of Proverbs is all about, and how to use and not use these proverbs.
As a parent, Christian, and minister, I desperately want my children to follow God, accept Christ, and be faithful Christians all of the rest of their lives. When my oldest child was baptized, it was one of the greatest days of my life. My oldest daughter has always had a good heart, love God, and do the right thing. She also has always been a deep thinker, is very smart, and always has had a lot of very good questions about God and faith.
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Dr. James Nored (Doctor of Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a preacher, evangelist, church consultant, writer, and missional leader located in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
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