Posts Tagged ‘lord jesus’


Under Gods Command

God wants a relationship with you

Philippians 1:9-11

9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation— the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ*— for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

We studied these verses at one of my Bible Studies. It stuck with me for these reasons of my own. The only way to grow in knowledge and understanding is more than going to Church on Sunday. How can you understand what really matters to live a pure and blameless life if you don’t understand the requirements according to Gods standard?

Get involved with a Bible Study or Life Group. Start a reading plan of your own and ask God to give you the wisdom to understand. Read the first 4 books of the Gospel to get to know this Jesus that we always mention and most of us don’t know anything about Him.

Commentary Life Application Study Bible NLT broke it down like this

Often the best way to influence someone is to pray for him or her. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was that they would be unified in love. Their love was to result in greater knowledge of Christ and deeper understanding (moral discernment). Their love was not based on feelings but on what Christ had done for them. As you grow in Christ’s love, your heart and mind must grow together. Are your love and insight growing?

Paul prayed that the Philippian believers would have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, vital and trivial. We ought to pray for moral discernment so we can maintain our Christian morals and values. Hebrews 5: 14 emphasizes the need for discernment.

“The day of Christ’s return” refers to the time when God will judge the world through Jesus Christ. We should live each day as though he might return at any moment.

The “fruit of your salvation” includes all of the character traits flowing from a right relationship with God. There is no other way for us to gain this fruit of righteousness than through Christ. See Galatians 5: 22-23 for the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Let’s Bring It Home: How many of us can really say we Love the Lord? Jesus said, how can you love me and hate your brother.

 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 

Kind and gracious words are a dessert for any occasion. They go into the ears and soul with sweet pleasure, and they enliven the heart and even the steps. A person’s face glows by their instant effect, and energy and vitality are restored to those cast down. You create such words out of thin air by your lips, when wisdom guides your speech (Pr 16:23).

Dear reader, do your words promote health? Do you heal others by kind encouragement, wise counsel, and gentle comfort? Or are your words like a piercing sword (Pr 12:18)? Do you leave others bleeding with caustic, critical, calloused, or condemning words? And do you then pour in salt, when you are told to only season your speech with it (Col 4:6)?

Good perfume can rejoice the heart in just nanoseconds, and kind words do the same, when a friend gives sweet counsel from his heart (Pr 27:9). Precious gift of speech! The right words at the right time are beautiful indeed (Pr 15:23; 25:11). There is great power in your tongue, dear reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? For health or harm?

In this modern and synthetic society, many do not know the sweetness or health properties of honeycomb. When did you last eat some? But to the informed, God’s honeybees pollinate plants and also produce a sweet delight with fascinating nutrients.

Honey is a luxurious food God created for man’s benefit (Pr 24:13). He described Canaan, the wonderful land of promise, as a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; Deut 8:7-9). The manna He gave Israel tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex 16:31).

Kings sent honey as gifts (II Sam 17:27-29; I Kgs 14:3), and it enlightened the eyes of Prince Jonathan once (I Sam 14:27). John the Baptist lived on it and locusts (Matt 3:4); Jesus ate it with butter – two important foods of Israel – in his formative years (Is 7:15); and He ate it again after his resurrection (Luke 24:42). Inspired lovers used it to describe the sweetness of their lovemaking in a romantic song of loving spouses (Song 4:11; 5:1).

No one will deny that honey is sweet. It is twice as sweet as sugar! In recipes calling for sugar, only one-half the amount of honey is needed. A full person will reject it (Pr 27:7)! You should get some today from your cupboard or a store and taste it in light of this proverb. Ask yourself if your speech causes pleasure like honey can to your taste buds.

Do you know these facts? Honeycomb contains four foods: honey, bee pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly. Honey itself has a long history of use for many different ailments in many nations. Ever taken it with lemon or whiskey for a sore throat? Ever used local honey to combat allergies? And there are dozens more of therapeutic uses.

Bee pollen, which collects on the bees’ legs, is sometimes described as the perfect food. With 96 nutrients, it is rich in zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can energize you, give you a sense of well being, increase your intellectual capacity, and close any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Propolis, a waxy resin the bees use for several purposes, is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and bioflavonoids. It has no equal as a natural antibiotic. It stimulates the thymus gland to produce white blood cells to fight or eliminate viruses, poisons, and waste products.

Royal jelly, secreted by a few nurse bees in each hive, is the exclusive food of the queen bee. This wonder food causes her to live forty times as long as the worker bees and produce double her bodyweight in eggs each day, though genetically identical to them! It contains a high concentration of pantothenic acid and many other complex nutrients.

God said honey was healthful and commended it in the places mentioned above, so you should believe it (Pr 14:23; 16:24). But it is a pleasure to read research confirming Solomon from 3000 years ago. Give God the glory! The Creator reveals true science.

Honey is precious. It is sweet to your taste, enlivens your eyes, energizes your body, and has many nutritional properties for overall health. Your words should be the same. They should cause others to rejoice and be glad they heard you speak, and they should build others up in profitable ways (Eph 4:29). Choose good words to say to someone today.

Your speech should always be gracious, with only a pinch of salt (Col 4:6; Eccl 10:12). Such speech fulfills this proverb. Wise mothers say to children, If you cannot say something kind, then do not say anything at all. Parents love to hear right words (Pr 23:16; 15:26). Your stinger should only be used as a last resort, just like the honeybee.

But is sweet speech manly? Yes, indeed! God created man and inspired this proverb, and Solomon the son of David wrote them. Were these two effeminate? David bravely killed Goliath and won Jonathan’s heart by gracious words, all in one day (Pr 22:11; I Sa 18:1)!

The Lord Jesus could cut and confound the Pharisees when He needed, but His disciples knew Him for gracious and healthful speech (Ps 45:2; Is 50:4). His gracious words at Nazareth caused the whole crowd to wonder (Luke 4:22). And the hearts of two disciples burned joyfully from His precious words on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32).

Unnecessary harshness in speech is not a sign of manliness or the Spirit of God; it is sold by the devil to those whose hearts are not right. It flows from a heart hardened by hatred or pride, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34). David rebuked his nephews for being too hard (II Sam 3:39), and Jesus did the same to James and John (Luke 9:55). Neither party had the spirit or tongue of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A bitter and biting tongue is a fire from hell; it is a world of iniquity; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (Jas 3:2-12). No man can tame it by himself. Yet you must do all you can to cut it out from your own mouth and those of your children, by God’s grace.

Men like John the Baptist and Elijah had special missions, and you do not know they were harsh in private. They likely were not. They are not examples for common speech.  You should rather choose the law of kindness to govern your choice of words (Pr 31:26).

Who can deny that God’s words are sweet? Are they not sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10; 119:103)? Do they not cause joy and rejoicing in your heart (Jer 15:16)? They are so sweet that those speaking them are described as having beautiful feet (Rom 10:15). Can you remember the sweetness to your soul of hearing the true gospel with understanding?

There is great power in the tongue, reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? You will eat the fruit of how you use it – life or death. Every man shall bear his own burden.


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 4:13-18 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Paul had faced suffering, trials, and distress as he preached the gospel. But he knew that they would one day be over, and he would obtain God’s rest and rewards. As we face great troubles, it’s easy to focus on the pain rather than on our ultimate goal. Just as athletes concentrate on the finish line and ignore their discomfort, we, too, must focus on the reward for our faith and the joy that lasts forever. No matter what happens to us in this life, we have the assurance of eternal life, when all suffering will end and all sorrow will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).

It is easy to lose heart and quit. We all have faced problems in our relationships or in our work that have caused us to think about giving up. Rather than quitting when persecution wore him down, Paul concentrated on experiencing the inner strength that came from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Don’t let fatigue, pain, or criticism force you off the job. Renew your commitment to serving Christ. Don’t forsake your eternal reward because of the intensity of today’s pain. Your very weakness allows the resurrection power of Christ to strengthen you moment by moment.

Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they give us opportunities to prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. See your troubles as opportunities!

Lets Bring it Home: Our ultimate hope when we are experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is—there is life after death! Knowing that we will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help us live above the pain that we face in this life.


Under Gods Command

Final Greetings     

1 Corinthians 16: 19-23 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.   If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 

16:19 Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers (or leatherworkers) whom Paul had met in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3). They followed Paul to Ephesus and lived there with him, helping to teach others about Jesus (Romans 16:3-5). Many in the Corinthian church would have known this Christian couple. They are also mentioned in Acts 18:18, 26; Romans 16:3; and 2 Timothy 4:19.

16:21 Paul had a helper, or secretary, who wrote down this letter while he dictated. Paul wrote the final words, however, in his own handwriting. This is similar to adding a handwritten postscript (P.S.) to a typewritten letter. It also served to verify that this was a genuine letter from the apostle and not a forgery.

16:22 The Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to earth again. To Paul, this was a wonderful hope, the very best he could look forward to. He was not afraid of seeing Christ—he could hardly wait! 

Lets Bring it Home: Do you share Paul’s eager anticipation? Those who love Christ are looking forward to that wonderful time of his return. To those that did not love the Lord, however, Paul says, let them be cursed.


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

How is your vision? Forget detail, distance, or depth. How is your directional vision? Do you see straight ahead, or do you have peripheral vision? Peripheral vision, or seeing things from the corner of your eye, is a good thing for driving and sports, but it is horrible for Christians. You must see only one object – God, His kingdom, and His righteousness.

Having told you to keep your heart with all diligence (Pr 4:23), the Preacher warned against peripheral distractions, either left or right (Pr 4:26-27). You must establish your direction straight ahead and keep going that way – to the single goal of pleasing the Lord.

“Eyes” and “eyelids” are synecdoche, where part of a thing represents the whole. Solomon did not care about the little flap of skin that covers your eyeballs. He wanted your heart and mind and soul. He wanted all of you. In the last eight verses of this chapter, he lists ear, eyes, heart, flesh, heart, mouth, lips, eyes, eyelids, feet, and hand.

Your eyes select objects and direct your movements toward them, but it is your heart and mind that give and receive feedback from your eyes. Heart and eyes cannot be separated. It is your overall person, eyes included, you must keep in the way of wisdom and truth.

The Lord Jesus taught against spiritual peripheral vision with similar language. And you should look unto Him as the great example of perfect vision for your soul (Heb 12:1-4). The context of His words will let you learn their sense and application (Matt 6:19-24).

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

Consider the context well. He condemned laying up treasure on earth, when you can lay up treasure in heaven, for your heart will follow your treasure (Matt 6:19-21). And He denied any man can serve two masters – God and mammon, or money (Matt 6:24).

He reasoned, if a man’s natural vision directs his bodily movements, then a blind eye is a horrible thing, for the body cannot know where to move. Considered spiritually, an eye with undivided honesty and zeal for God will lead to holiness, but a double eye of hypocrisy and worldly lusts will lead to destruction. Consider the Saviour’s warning!

Consider an obscure reference to soldiers in Chronicles. Zebulun brought 50,000 fighting men who were of one heart for David (I Chron 12:33). They had no mixed emotions. They were not thinking about going home. They were not thinking about anything else.

Jesus rejoiced to see Nathanael, for his heart was free from duplicity, hypocrisy, and a double mind (John 1:47). He was an Israelite indeed, fully committed to his God. This single purpose in life marks a consistent Christian that is of great value to Jesus Christ.

The Christian life is a race (I Cor 9:26; Heb 12:1). To win, runners must look straight ahead without being distracted by competitors or other things. Paul pressed forward, not looking sideways, to win the prize of God’s high calling (Phil 3:13-14), and he described those with peripheral vision for worldly things as belly worshippers (Phil 3:18-19).

Wicked men have a double heart (Ps 12:1-2). They are not totally committed to the Lord and spiritual things. Their hearts still lust after this world and its things. They are carnally minded, and they show little evidence of grace in their hearts. You can easily spot them, for they never talk about the Lord with the same passion as they talk about their things.

James warned twice against being double minded – or having more than one objective for your life (James 1:8; 4:8). He said a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, and he exhorted you to diligent efforts to reduce your objectives to only one (James 4:8-10).

Eve was seduced by her wandering eyes (Gen 3:6). Lot’s wife could not keep from looking back (Gen 19:17,26). Achan saw Babylonian goods and money that cost him his life (Josh 7:21). And David took what he saw one night from a rooftop (II Sam 11:2).

Your prayer should be for God to keep your eyes from seeing vanity (Ps 119:37). The lust of the eyes is one of the great temptations of man (I John 2:15-17). So careful was Job in his pursuit of holiness, he made a covenant with his eyes against thinking upon young beautiful women (Job 31:1). Contrast him with false teachers (II Pet 2:14).

The first church, under the powerful influence of the Holy Ghost, had a single mind with God and each another (Acts 2:46). They were undivided in their dedicated and solitary ambition of serving the Lord. Things in the corner of their vision did not distract them.

Godly men serve masters with single hearts (Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). Their solitary goal is to please the Lord on the job, regardless of what men may think or do. They do not seek a raise or promotion as their principal objective, for they see only God’s reward.

Dear reader, what distracts your vision and progress? You need only one goal – pleasing God with a holy life and preparing for heaven. Put on your blinders and keep your eyes and motion straight ahead. Look only forward – only upward – and only heavenward!

Did the Lord Jesus have any other objectives in His life on earth? None! Did things around Him distract him? Never! Though he had food, honor, and glory offered to Him by the devil, He remained absolutely faithful to His one goal – pleasing His Father by a perfect life and death. Glory! Follow this great Example and His singular vision!


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 21:29 A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to this ways

You show your heart by how you receive instruction. Wicked men rebel and purpose to continue in their evil way. Righteous men receive correction and alter their lives. Your response to instruction may tell more about your character and future than anything else.

A wicked man hardens his face. Here is a metaphor for a rebel who has purposed to reject teaching. He chooses to rebel rather than to submit. Setting his jaw, steeling his eyes, frowning, or looking away are only symptoms of his wicked heart. He has resolved to ignore correction and instruction and stay put in his opinions, conduct, and habits.

The Lord knows faces and how they reveal rebellion, so He warned about them (Is 48:4; Jer 3:3; 5:3). Rebellious hardening is also used of the neck and heart (Pr 28:14; 29:1; Acts 7:51). He told His ministers to ignore such faces and preach the unvarnished truth without apology or compromise anyway (Jer 1:4-10,17; 23:28-29; Ezek 2:6-7; 3:7-9).

You cannot play with God. He knows your every thought; He knows your every intent (Heb 4:12-14). He knows how submissive or rebellious you are at the deepest level of your heart and mind. Get totally clean with Him by tearing out any resistance to any Bible doctrine or practice, and fill your heart and mind with eagerness (Ps 27:4; 122:1-4).

Ministers learn faces. There is a huge difference between the hungry, submissive, cheerful, and godly face of the righteous and the bored, stubborn, unhappy, and carnal face of the wicked. Some faces crave and devour instruction; others resent and reject it. Both are in every church. They cannot hide from men or God. Their hearts are revealed.

Sometimes a minister will see by the faces that his hard preaching is “out of season.” The people do not want to hear what he has from the Lord. Sometimes his preaching may be “in season.” But in either case, he has only one duty: preach the word insistently and press it upon all the hearers (II Tim 4:2). Only fearless men should ever be ordained.

A true man of God wages war against those faces, smashes through their walls, pulls down their strongholds, casts down their haughty imaginations, brings every thought into obedience to Christ, and readies himself to revenge any disobedience (II Cor 10:3-6). Do you understand this warfare, reader? Do you appreciate this kind of servant? It is a far cry from the effeminate, refined, cultured, and mannered pastor sought by most Christians.

God hates stubbornness and rebellion. He considers them comparable to idolatry and witchcraft (I Sam 15:22-23). And He judges them severely. Think King Saul rejected from the throne! Think Judah in Babylon! Think women eating their children in 70 A.D.!

Righteous men hear and change. The Thessalonians heard Paul and turned from their idols to serve the living and true God (I Thess 1:9-10). Cornelius begged Peter to tell him and his family all of God’s commandments (Acts 10:33). Harlots wept at Jesus feet.

Dear reader, the Lord Jesus warned you about your hearing (Luke 8:18). Do you receive instruction and rebuke meekly and thankfully (Neh 8:1-18; Acts 17:11)? Or do you stop up your ears and wish you could stone the preacher (Acts 7:57)? Why do some people never learn or grow? Because the Lord is judging them for how they hear (Luke 8:18)!

You can stay in your wicked rut received from childhood, the devil, your parents, tradition, religious training, or worldly education. Or you can eagerly desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby (I Pet 2:1-3). Wise men and great men say, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Ps 119:59).

Do you delight in understanding? Or rather to discover your own heart? Solomon warned against this folly (Pr 18:2). If you think your heart already has any light and wisdom, you will harden your face against godly instruction. God does not grant your heart any at all (Is 8:20; Jer 17:9). Wise men will hear, learn, and change (Pr 4:26; 8:33; 11:5; 23:19).

Some hearers do not harden their faces; they nod up-and-down in agreement; they tell the pastor it was a good sermon. They lie with their lips and their handshakes (Ps 144:8,11). But their hearts are hard and far away during the teaching and when they get home. How are they detected? Their lives are fruitless shells of hypocrisy. Their joy is gray death.

Jesus told of a father who told his two sons to work in the vineyard (Matt 21:28-32). One son said he would not, but later repented and went and worked anyway. The other son respectfully said he would, but he did not. Which one pleased his father? Consider it. If a wicked man will hear and turn from his wickedness, he shall live (Ezek 18:27-28).

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lord of heaven and earth, kindly offers, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). But He also warns, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Humble yourself today, dear reader!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 12:26 A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray

All men are not equal, not even close. A righteous man is superior to his wicked neighbor in character, conduct, situation, and expectation. But this superiority does his neighbor and other wicked men no good, for they are seduced by the world to continue in their wickedness. They cannot and will not choose the more excellent way of righteousness.

Saul and David, the first two kings of Israel, illustrate this proverb perfectly. Solomon would have known the comparison very well from childhood, so the Holy Spirit reduced the royal history preceding him to this pithy and precious statement of wisdom.

David was a righteous man after God’s own heart (I Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). He conducted himself so perfectly his name was much revered in Israel (I Sam 18:30). Every king had to be compared to him (I Kgs 15:1-5), and even the Lord Jesus is known as David and the Son of David (Jer 30:9; Matt 22:42). The sweet psalmist of Israel was more excellent than his neighbor. He was a noble man, as all still admit to this day.

Saul was his neighbor. Saul was a profane man. He would not wait for Samuel, but offered a sacrifice himself (I Sam 13:10-14). He tried to kill his own son for eating a little honey, but the people stopped him (I Sam 14:43-45). In the matter of the Amalekites, God compared his rebellion and stubbornness to witchcraft and idolatry (I Sam 15:22-23). Rather than waiting on the Lord, he consulted the witch of Endor (I Sam 28:1-7).

God compared these two men. Samuel said, “The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou” (I Sam 15:28). Samuel also said, “And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David” (I Sam 28:17). Understand the proverb. Be attentive to comparisons God makes.

Saul knew the superior excellency of David. He heard him play the harp skillfully; he watched him kill Goliath; he heard his modest response; he watched his son Jonathan prefer David; he saw the people accept David; and he knew that God was with David. He said to David, “Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil” (I Sam 24:17). Saul also said to David, “Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail” (I Sam 26:25).

But this knowledge about David’s superiority did Saul no good, for the envy of his wicked heart found greater comfort and satisfaction in the way of the wicked. He was seduced away from David’s righteousness to his own folly. Rather than begging God for forgiveness and befriending David, he sought repeatedly to kill him in jealous rages. He degenerated in wickedness until he was lying on the ground before the witch of Endor. Two days later his head was cut off and his body nailed to the wall of a Philistine village.

“The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour.” Righteousness is the goal. You need to live like the sons of God (Matt 5:43-48; Eph 5:8; I Thess 5:5-11; I Pet 2:9-11). If the world hates you, rejoice and be very glad, for they hated the Saviour and all His disciples, though this wicked world was not worthy of even their presence (Heb 11:38).

“But the way of the wicked seduceth them.” Worldly men may heap up riches and live extravagantly; they may give themselves over greedily to all sort of carnal pleasures; they may live ever so fine with the groupies of this world singing their praise; but they are rushing through the wide gate and down the broad way to destruction both now and later.

The righteous and the wicked have equality in their nature from Adam, but they are totally different by other measures. The character of the righteous is more excellent, for they have the Spirit of God within them, conforming them to the image of Jesus Christ and bearing much virtuous fruit against which there is no law (Gal 5:22-23; Eph 2:10; 4:24; II Pet 1:3). They love, forgive, serve, and die like no others of the human race.

The conduct of the righteous is more excellent, for they have intimate knowledge of coming judgment and Christ’s infinite love to motivate them (II Cor 5:9-15). They have the glorious example of the Lord Jesus Christ to follow (I Pet 2:18-25). And they have the perfect rules of heaven’s wisdom in the Scriptures that the world despises (Is 8:20).

The situation of the righteous is more excellent, for he is a child of God, a king and priest with full privileges at the throne of God, the temple of the Holy Ghost, with God’s ears open to His prayers, a sympathetic mediator at God’s right hand, perfectly righteous by justification in Christ, a friend of God, and with heaven’s angels for his personal servants.

The expectation of the righteous is more excellent, for they shall be admitted to heaven’s glory with great joy, while Jesus Christ shall repudiate the wicked and cast them into the lake of fire. Which neighbor is more excellent, Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, or the rich man in hell? Which inheritance is more excellent, heaven’s mansions or hell’s fires?

Wicked men cannot see the superiority of the righteous, for they are seduced by sin and Satan to follow the world to hell. Balaam prophesied of Israel’s excellence, but his love of money seduced him (Num 23:10; II Pet 2:15). Herod gladly heard John the Baptist, but his wicked wife seduced him to behead John (Mark 6:17-29). Stephen’s face glowed like an angel; the Jews could not resist his wisdom; he preached a great sermon; but the rabid Jews were provoked by their hatred of Jesus Christ to stone him (Acts 6:8 – 7:60).

The way of the righteous and the way of the wicked are totally incompatible with each other. The righteous hate the wicked, and the wicked hate the righteous (Pr 29:27). It has always been that way, and it will always be this way. Righteous men seek out other good men to love (Ps 16:3; 119:63; Tit 1:8), and they do all they can to avoid the wicked (Ps 101:1-8; II Thess 3:1-2). The wicked are happy in their large crowd rushing down the slippery slope into hell, and the righteous rejoice with a few believers seeking holiness.

Christian reader, what can you learn? What the world thinks of the righteous is irrelevant! The world may offer temporary pleasure, but it is only seduction to destruction. Wise men reject this world and all its pleasures, philosophies, parties, and privileges. And your life should be more excellent to raise questions from other righteous souls (I Pet 3:15). Grasp these four applications. Choose to grow in favor with God and good men, by rejecting the ways of this wicked world (Luke 2:52; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17). God forbid that any reader of this proverb should be seduced by the insanity of this world.

The blessed Lord Christ was more excellent than all men, yet this world despised and hated Him. They lied about Him, falsely accused Him, exchanged a murderer for Him, mocked Him, tortured Him, and nailed Him naked on a cruel cross in public. The Jews’ love of hypocrisy and ceremonial religion seduced them to get rid of the most excellent neighbor the earth has ever seen! They would do it again today, if they had the chance. And they will do the same to His followers, who are also more excellent than they.