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Protect Life

Sermon Series:

Words To Live By

Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Proverbs 24:10-12


Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it. And everyone said extremely loudly, Amen and Amen. So if there's one thing that life, marriage and ministry has taught me, it's that it's easier to speak than it is to listen. Everybody got something to say. Not everybody got a listening ear. And for Christians, this should not be the case. I mean, the good book has told us for 2000 years, something pretty clear here. James one nine says, Know this, beloved brothers, meaning know this fellow Christians, let every person and if you can see this, say it with me, be quick to hear slow to speak. Two thousand years of the Bible have been telling us that. You know, as I said, we are continuing the sermon series today.

We're calling it Words to Live By, Wisdom the World Has Forgotten. Last week we looked at how we need to be discerning in this world, and today we're gonna look at what I believe to be a very challenging notion of a call to listen well. Listen well. Please turn in your Bibles to Proverbs chapter 24 verses 5 to 9. If you're gonna stick with us for the sermon series, I hope you do. This is again a verse-by-verse walkthrough of Proverbs chapter 24. So go ahead just put your bookmark in your Bible. If you're unfamiliar with the book of Proverbs, while you're turning there, hear this. It's an Old Testament book. It's really a collection of wise sayings that King Solomon, the son of King David, collected and he probably wrote some of these. But it's clear that this is a book that he wrote for his son. All over the book of Proverbs, he's addressing his son, saying, my son, my son, listen to me, listen to these words, listen to this, my son. It's clear he wants his children to be wise and side note, gonna call us all out here for a moment. This is such a contrast to parents today. Parents today, parents today want their kids to be trendy, cool and well-liked. They want them to go viral. They want them to be athletic. They want them to be intelligent. But how many of you parents can say you are seriously instilling wisdom in your children in a proactive way? That you're sitting with your children saying, my children, my daughter, my son, here's how you'd be wise in such a broken world. How many of you are opening up the book of Proverbs and sharing this wisdom? We are called to share wisdom and to teach our children wisdom, and with that comes a key notion of how to listen well. Do we know how to listen well? And so with that question kind of looming over us, would you hear the word of the Lord?

Proverbs chapter 24, verses five to nine. A wise man is full of strength and a man of knowledge enhances his might. For by wise guidance, you can wage war and in the abundance of counselors, there's victory. Wisdom is too high for a fool. In the gates, he does not open his mouth. Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of folly is sin. And the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. This is God's very challenging word. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord remains forever.

Thanks be to God. Let's pray and then let's get at it. Let's pray together

Father God in heaven above. How amazing are you? Oh God? You are of infinite wisdom and yet you hear us and yet you listen to us Your word tells us that when we worship you and when we follow you you listen to us So father, I would ask this morning that by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit that you would give us ears to listen well, that we might grow in wisdom, to be more like your son and our savior. And it's in his name we pray, in Jesus' perfect name.

And everyone said, amen and amen.

So as we look at this very challenging and I would say, inditing passage, let me give you a thought for today. And here's your take home. Those who are wise, listen well. Not those who are wise listen well. See the difference there? Do you know that right off the bat in the book of Proverbs, chapter 1 verse 5, it says this, it says, Proverbs chapter 1 verse 5, let the wise hear and increase in learning because the wise person knows they've always got something more to learn. The wise person listens. Jesus Christ himself tells us this in Luke 8 18. He says consider carefully how you hear, meaning how you listen. Why? Because people who are wise are people who know how to listen. Those who are wise listen well. And as we wade into the waters of our passage, we're going to get one coin from two different sides as we break apart our passage. Here's your two thoughts for this morning, listening well is leading. Listening well is leading. The second part of our passage is gonna remind us that listening well is life giving. It's life giving. All right, first thing, listening well is leading.

Hopefully you have your Bibles open.

Verse five says this, a wise man is full of strength and a man of knowledge enhances his might. Okay, I want you to stop for a moment and I want you to think who is the wisest person that you personally know? Maybe they've passed on to glory, maybe they're here, but who is the wisest person that you have personally, personally known? Number one, I'm praying someone came to mind, which I'm fairly certain for hopefully most of you, someone did, I'm willing to guess that that person is, how do you say, seasoned in life. Maybe their hair is gray, a little salt and peppery. And you know, side note, I spend 10 minutes every morning picking out the gray hairs of my beard. Maybe if I left those in there, you'd all think I was a lot wiser than I am. But you know, when you think about this, like, yeah, when we think about the wise, we think of those who have, who have some life under their belt, right? But even in that, no offense, physical dominance normally isn't their defining feature.

So what does the Bible get in that here when the Bible says a wise man is full of strength and a man of knowledge enhances his might? Now like with all things when we come to the Bible and we're unclear, I think one of the first things that we should be doing is, and this is a bonus for you here this morning, keep reading. Keep reading. Because when you do, you'll find something really interesting. Verse 5 is followed by verse 6. And when you read verse six, you'll see this it starts with this very important word for Now just like in English in Hebrew what this was originally written in the word for in Grammar is known as a conjunction a Conjunction is a word that connects two thoughts verse five is explained by verse six Verse 5, a wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might. How or why, you might ask? For or because, for by wise guidance you can wage war. A wise man is mighty because he listens to wisdom. Young men in the house, listen to me. Wisdom makes our strength mean something. And this comes by listening, learning to listen. And as the Bible says, to wise guidance and an abundance of counselors. I'm old enough to begin to realize that our strong backs will fail us, but wisdom will stand the test of time.

So listen well. Church, I want to say something. I'm going to say it twice because this is how important I want you to hear this, how much I want you to hear this. Your ability to succeed in the long run is connected to your wisdom to listen well. I'll say it again. Your ability to succeed in the long run is connected to your wisdom to listen well. Men in the house, you may be able by your strength to get people to fear you. But it's by wisdom is how people will respect you. People hear these words, hear these words of scripture, this goes for marriage, business, life, and war. Wisdom is listening well, and listening well is leading. Now I want to hang on verse 6 here, because verse 6 is a very popular verse in the Bible.

So let's look at it, verse six. Again, please have your Bibles open if you have them with you. For by wise guidance you can wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. All right, especially for guys like me who are in a leadership position, or if you are in a leadership position, maybe in management, here's what I'd say to you.

Everyone needs to grasp this, but I'd say especially those in authority or leadership. Authority or leadership. Wise guidance does not mean popular opinion. Wise guidance does not mean a majority vote. Wise guidance does not mean the easy way. Wise guidance means just that. Guidance that is wise, not mandatory or compulsory. An abundance of counselors. Church hear me on this. The abundance of counselors does not mean everyone with an opinion, because we all have one.

So let's just flip this for a moment, because I want to address something that as a pastor, I hear, safe to say, at least on a fairly regular basis. And it's this phrase. I wonder if you've ever said this. They just don't listen. They just don't listen. Have you ever said that? They'll say this about the other person or the other side of the argument, they just don't listen to me.

Now church, I'm the one making the argument that most people are terrible at listening, but to make sure that you understand what you are saying when you say the words, they don't listen to me, let me just share some wisdom here for a moment. Just because your spouse, your parents, your pastor, or your boss, just because they don't do what you say or take your advice, that doesn't mean they aren't listening to you. See, people think that the marker of being heard is being obeyed. Listen to me, that's only true for dogs and soldiers. So if you want your relationship to feel like the military or like animals, then you need a two-way communication and you need to understand that just because someone doesn't enact what you say doesn't mean they didn't hear you.

Again, I would say this to spouses, children, people who are employed, church members. So it's important to listen well And we're going to talk about this. I want to talk about specifically how we listen. Well, I want to talk for a few moments about active listening How to how to be an active listener? Now if you've ever done premarital counseling with me, then you know how I teach this And if you've ever been married to me, you know how terrible I am at this. Most people think that listening is a passive thing, that listening is doing nothing while you let the other person speak. And do you know how many friendships are broken and how many marriages are ruined because people have that mentality? That's not helpful. When we communicate, and when we listen, we have to be active in this. And I would say that our inability to listen well has led to the political and cultural divide of this country, or at least contributed massively towards it. Listening is not doing anything while letting the other person speak. Listening is an active thing. So let's talk about what we do when we listen with a wise ear, how to listen well, and how to be an active listener. So active listening is listening firstly to understand. When someone is speaking and you're listening, one of the first things you're doing is that you're listening to try to understand this person. What are they saying? How are they saying it? Why are they saying it? You're listening to understand. Also, the other reason that we listen well and we have active listening is not. Active listening is not assuming you know what is going to be said. I don't know if you're like me, but if there are times that you know me and my wife and have friction, we'll call it, she may begin to say something and I will immediately cut her off and say something like, I know what you're gonna say.

Apparently, me and Kevin are the only ones.

That's not active listening. Active listening is not assuming you know what is gonna be said. And here's the second one, gentlemen. Active listening is not just waiting to respond. Active listening is not just waiting for your turn to speak. Again, if you've done premarital counseling with me, then you know this exercise. I have an engaged couple sit on the couch and they face each other and I instruct one person to share their thoughts or feelings and to be assertive in that. Not domineering or not a jerk, but just assertive. Take ownership of what you want. And so they say, I would like this. I want that. I want more of this. I want less of that. One person.

So one person's sharing their thoughts, desires, or opinion. And another person who's listening is to be active listening, actively listening. And this person has a job. And this job is, number one, they need to hear correctly what this person is saying. And so when this person is done speaking, their response is not to immediately give their rebuttal. The first response is to establish that communication has happened. The first job of the active listener is to ensure that they heard this person correctly.

So they do that by rephrasing what the person said, not repeating, because anyone can just regurgitate what someone said. You have to rephrase what the person said, which shows that you've internalized it and you understood it. This is also a chance to ask questions and to get clarification because what you want to do is ensure that you have understood what they said and you want to make sure that that person feels understood and feels heard. So once that's established then you can continue to build a conversation and listen to me if you think this sounds clunky in the communication you've just exposed that you're not great at communicating because communication is hard, especially in marriage. And so when we communicate, you need to actively listen. What are they saying? Why are they saying that? And when they're done, what you say is, okay, if I heard you correctly, what I think you mean is X, Y, and Z. And then you give that person a chance to confirm and affirm that. Once that's established, then A, you've done active listening well is leading so men. Men hear me if you want to be the leader in your home in your community in your marriage You must master this

And I would say you shouldn't be a leader until you've mastered this ability to listen well. A wise man is full of strength and a man of knowledge enhances his might. For by wise guidance, you can wage war and in an abundance of counselors, there is victory. The assumption there is that that leader knows how to listen. This is not just for kings and generals. This is not just for husbands and fathers. This goes for mothers and daughters, pastors, and for politicians. This goes for progressives and conservatives. This goes for anyone who wants to fancy themselves to be a wise person. Wisdom is listening well, and listening well is leading. And when a leader stops listening, they should stop leading. Hold me to that, people.

This leads to the second, or I should say the other side of the coin, that listening well is life-giving. It's how we instill life. Now as we turn our attention to verses 7 to 9, we're going to immediately see a contrast here that Solomon props up. It's a constant contrast that he makes throughout the entire book of Proverbs. You may know it. It's the contrast between the wise and the foolish. Those who are wise and those who are fools. Solomon, as he wrote Proverbs for his son, he's constantly warning his son to put into practice these words of wisdom so that he won't be a fool. He doesn't care if his son is good at basketball, he wants his child to be wise.

Now this is important, I wanna remind us of something about the Book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs is 3,000 years old. Let me put this in context for you the book of Proverbs was written before English was a language The book of Proverbs was written before the Enlightenment It was written before Rome conquered the world the book of Proverbs was written before Confucius Plato or Aristotle The words here have stood the test of time We are still reading it or at least we should be still reading it, and we still should be challenged and learning from it. How foolish it would be to cast aside this book as having nothing to offer you. In fact, we would all do well to spend more time in the book of Proverbs. And honestly, church, as I envision how this year is going to unfold for our church, there's a reason I wanted to start with the book of Proverbs, we're going to need the wisdom to know how to continue to minister to this broken and wicked culture, and to how to respond faithfully to what God's doing in this world.

How foolish it would be to cast aside this book, but some will, some will. And the Bible tells us why. Verse seven, because wisdom is too high for a fool, and in the gate, he does not open his mouth. Wisdom is a lofty thing, and not everyone has the humility to receive it.

So let me ask you when was the last time someone gave you godly advice and you took it and you did something with it? Do you have those people in your life sharing those words with you? And do you listen so much that it changed your approach to life? Write this proverb down, it's a good one. Proverb 17:10. I love this. It says a rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. Meaning, the wise person knows he always has more to learn, but you can't even beat wisdom into a fool. Because wisdom is too high for a fool, verse 7 says. And then verse 7 says something interesting here. It says, in the gate, he does not open his mouth. Now what's that all about?

Now, anybody who wants to read the Old Testament understands what the Bible talks about when it talks about the gate or in the gate. It's all over. It's so important. Please don't think of it like a white picket fence with this little door swinging. That's not what we're talking about when the Bible talks about the gate. The gate, as described by Baker Bible Dictionary, is this. In the Old Testament, the city gate has a central role in that city's military, economic, judicial, political, and religious aspects of life. It wasn't just a fence with a door. It was a structure. In the Old Testament, when people talked about the gate, this is what they thought of. They thought of a structure, they thought of a building. It was not just used for protection. The city gate was a building, often two structures with a courtyard space in between them. And in this space is where the official business of the city happened, kind of like modern-day township halls. It was at the city gates where the prophets of old would proclaim the word of God. It was at the city gates where military action was planned, where a city's leaders and elders would convene to make determinations. The gate was not just a passageway, it was a critical meeting space for the life of the city.

So the gate is where the official business would happen. Today we might call it the boardroom or the leadership table. And we don't let fools at the leadership table. So when Proverbs says in verse 7, wisdom's too high for a fool, in the gate he does not open his mouth, it's like saying there's no place at the leadership table for fools. When leaders meet, the fool has nothing to say. Not because in wisdom he's listening, but because the fool is out of his league and has nothing to contribute, so he keeps quiet. But here's an interesting thought, but follow me on this. Remaining silent is often the wisest thing to do. Proverbs 17:28 says, "'Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise.'" When do we keep quiet? Because Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, "'There's a time to keep silent and a time to speak.'" So this begs the question, people, when is it wise to keep quiet? Let's look at a few reasons why it would be wise to keep quiet.

Reasons to remain silent.

First thing is to keep yourself in check. Proverbs 29:11 says, "'A fool gives full vent to his spirit, "'but a wise man quietly holds it back.'" It's wise to keep silent to keep yourself in check, meaning silence is a key indicator of self-control. It's the unwise man who loses control and says things that they need to repent of. And if there's anyone on the hot seat right now, it's yours truly.

Proverbs 13:3 says, "'Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life.'" This ties into the whole point that wisdom is life-giving. The second reason it would be wise to keep quiet is as we're talking about because you are active listening because you're listening well. Proverbs 18:13 I would never tell someone the need to get a tattoo but men this might be a good one to put backward on your face so that when you look in the mirror you can read this every single day. Proverbs 18:13 13, if anyone gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. See, the wise person listens so that he knows how to respond. See, if you are speaking before you are finished listening, then chances are you are just emotionally reacting rather than wisely responding. And everyone said, welcome to social media. That is all that happens. Something happens in this world and immediately people start throwing out their thoughts. And I'm thinking, you've had no time to process this. You're just emotionally reacting. You're not wisely responding.

So let's not be that people. Ask my wife, she will tell you this is one of my greatest weaknesses. I respond before I listen. I get charged up, I think I know the answer. The alpha comes out in me and I bowl over people because I think that I Know better and here's what God's telling me that I think we all need to learn the lesson meant is this is that you don't know If you know better until you first listen well

My mama used to say something and

When she would say this to me, she actually had a hand gesture that went with it Tell me if your mama ever did this for you. When I was little, she would say this, zip it. And she's actually like, making a little gesture like my mouth was actually zipping shut. She'd say, zip it. And you know what? I don't want to overstate this, but my mom was saving my life. She was teaching me that sometimes you just need to shut it.

You need to zip it. And that leads to kind of the third thing, a reason why it's wise to remain silent. It's to discern whether or not you are dealing with a wise person or a fool. You listen to this person to discern if you're listening to a fool or a wise person. Proverbs 10, 19. When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Meaning, if a person is rambling, chances are there's guilt or foolishness, but we can only know that if we are wise enough to remain silent and listen. And the reason that we need to know this is because foolishness and folly do not lead to life. Do you know where it leads? To sin. It leads to sin.

Verse 8 says something really important to us. It says, whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. Who here in their life either have children or you have grandchildren who are 10 years old and younger. Anyone? In our venues, online, let me know. Okay, who here has ever been 10 years old or younger? Okay. I'll tell you what, this is what I am so trying to instill into my children, especially my boys. I think the way that we can translate this idea of like, don't be a schemer, I think one of the ways we can say this nowadays, and this is how I say it to my sons, is don't be sneaky. Don't be sneaky. Dad can't stand that. Don't do things behind my back. Don't be sneaky. If you don't want people to know about it, then don't do it.

Not because we're trying to seek approval, but because that's a key indicator if something is right or wrong. Do we want people to know about it? Gossiping, backstabbing, or here's something in my time I've seen people do, which is just such a scheming thing, it infuriates me, is they build a coalition. They go and scheme and build a coalition rather than confronting the problem. This is what schemers do. I tell my son, that's not befitting of children of God. That's not befitting of godly men. We don't scheme We stand up and confront if you've dealt like people if you dealt with people like this, you know, they are toxic Don't be a schemer. Don't be sneaky because the Bible says something that it does not mince words in verse 9 The devising of folly is sin and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. The devising of folly is sin.

Now don't sit there and think, oh come on preacher, are you saying we can't have any fun? Listen here, don't confuse folly with fun. That's what man-boys do. Godly men and godly women know the difference. You know the difference between folly and fun. It goes back to the principle of wisdom Which is the fear of the Lord folly has no fear of the Lord fun on the other hand Fun is part of how we live life to the fullest in Jesus' name Christians should be the most joyful fun people because we know how to have real true fun that gives life Folly has no fear of the Lord, but fun is living life to the fullest in Jesus name and there are sinful hearts that plan and devise folly. And the Bible tells us that only sinful people plan to do stupid things on purpose, so be cautious about what you laugh at on YouTube. Because you just may be encouraging someone to sin. The devising of folly is sin; the Bible says the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. You know the scoffers. I know you do. Right, these are the critical people of the world who complain but don't care to make anything better. They'll tell you everything that's wrong, but they'll never celebrate what's right. They're the scoffers. In the Bible, not me, the Bible says they are an abomination to mankind. They don't make things better, they only make things worse.

So, my friends, discern wisely what you are critical of, but have nothing to contribute to. I'm going to say that again. Be careful of what you are critical of but have nothing to contribute to. There is no wisdom in the words of scoffers. They are not life-giving, they are life-sucking. Listen, as the leader and as one of the leaders here, I want to be humble enough to learn from every godly critique that I need to hear it. But so often scoffers are only critical and they just suck the life out of you. They kill relationships, they kill pastors, they kill ministries.

But those who are wise, but those who are wise are those who give life by their words, even in words of rebuke. The wise person knows how to rebuke in a way that still gives life. Jesus was the master at this. His words were only life-giving and yet at times we see Jesus push back. We see Jesus rebuke, but he was always life-giving. Why? Because Jesus was the master at listening. He listened to the conversation. He listened to people. Jesus embodied how listening well is leading. He embodied how listening well is life-giving. Jesus is the one who shows us that those who are wise listen well. Of all the reasons I follow this guy, this is definitely one of them. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son, who by his own right didn't have to listen to anyone. There's nothing any one of us could say to Jesus that would add value to what he already knows. Jesus didn't need or have to listen to everyone and yet he listened with intention.

He listened carefully. He listened compassionately. His response was always wise. Even his rebuke, his words were life-giving because they always came off the heels of listening. If you want life-giving words, turn to Jesus, which is why we all need to ask ourselves right now, who are you listening to and are you listening to the words of the one who has the words of life, Jesus? I wanna end by kind of just looking at a quick story from the Bible real quick. And this is where Jesus has kind of amassed like a following. And he is talking about, he's introducing the concept of communion. And he's talking about how we need to have his life in us. And Jesus goes like real gritty, real vivid imagery here. He says that we need to have his life in us. And the way that we have that is that we actually eat his flesh and drink his blood. Okay, as gritty and vivid imagery as possible. And there's a bunch of people who are following Jesus, who love him, who are like, whoa.

I wanna read to you the response. This is from John 6. It says, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, this is a hard saying, who can listen to it? And after this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus turned to the 12 and said to them, do you want to go away as well? And Simon Peter answered him, Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. My friend, my friend's life, true life is found in listening, listening to the words of Jesus, whose words were not just life, but eternal life. This is the gospel that Jesus died on the cross in our place for our sins, but that wasn't the end. In His resurrection, He was raised to new life. This is the promise and the guarantee of our new life, eternal life when we believe in the gospel. And the gospel, you know this, the gospel is the good news. You hear the news, you listen to the news, you receive news.

So believing in Jesus is listening and receiving the good news of salvation in His name. And Jesus Himself even said in Matthew 7, 24, Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Amen. Would you please stand. As we prepare our hearts for worship, I want to preface something here for a moment. We're going to sing one of my favorite songs to Old Hymn called Come Thou Fount. And I want to read to you some of the words from this song. It says, Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace. We need to sit in a posture where we are reflecting on what God has done for us, what Jesus has done for us, and what the Spirit's doing through us, and we let Him tune our hearts to His goodness, knowing that our salvation is by grace, the grace of God.

So as we sing, we're coming into conformity with God's plan for us, with God's good and loving salvation plan for us. So if you are a saved Christian, then you best be singing out loud.

And if you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior yet, He's inviting you today, and I'd love to help you with that. Come find me, let's talk. And we can find how you can have life, not just life to the full, but life eternal.

So Father God, as we come before you now, Lord, we sing unto your glory in the name of Jesus by the power of the Spirit, we do ask, Lord, that you would tune our hearts to sing thy grace. Fill this place with your Spirit that we may lift up praises to you, our God, who hears and listens because of the blood of Jesus Father you're so good to us and we're so thankful help us now even if we are weak to respond in worship to you God we love you and we thank you we pray this in to respond in worship to you God we love you and we thank you we pray this in Jesus name and everyone say amen and amen

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