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                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        The Two Paths (4:10-19)

INTRODUCTION

1. The acquisition of wisdom is stressed repeatedly in the fourth
   chapter of Proverbs...
   a. "Get wisdom! Get understanding!..." - Pr 4:5
   b. "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all
      your getting, get understanding." - Pr 4:7

2. The importance of wisdom is further illustrated by two paths...
   a. Described in Pr 4:10-19
   b. We must take one path or the other

[In this study let's first summarize the two paths, and then take a
closer look at the metaphor used to describe one of them...]

I. THE TWO PATHS

   A. THE PATH OF WISDOM...
      1. The way of wisdom - Pr 4:11
      2. The consequences of choosing this path
         a. "...the years of your life will be many." - Pr 4:10
            1) As stated before - Pr 3:1-2
            2) Generally speaking, this is true, for wisdom leads one
               down the path more likely to bless the body with good
               health - cf. Pr 3:7-8
         b. "When you walk, your steps will not be hindered" - Pr 4:12a
            1) The reason for this was also stated before - Pr 3:5-6
            2) A person on this path has the Lord assisting them!
         c. "And when you run, you will not stumble." - Pr 4:12b
            1) Life can be hectic, there will be times when decisions
               must be made quickly
            2) Those on the right path are less likely to make mistakes,
               for they have chosen the way of wisdom
      3. In light of such consequences, the following admonitions are
         given - Pr 4:13
         a. "Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go"
         b. "Keep her, for she is your life."
      -- The path of wisdom is what God would have you take!

   B. THE PATH OF THE WICKED...
      1. The path of the wicked, the way of evil - Pr 4:14
      2. Note the strong admonitions regarding this path - Pr 4:14-15
         a. "Do not enter the path of the wicked"
         b. "Do not walk in the way of evil."
         c. "Avoid it, do not travel on it."
         c. "Turn away from it and pass on."
      3. Reasons to avoid to avoid this path
         a. One easily becomes obsessed with doing evil - Pr 4:16
            1) Sin is addictive, and enslaves - cf. Jn 8:34
            2) It dulls the senses, requiring ever more to satisfy - cf.
               Ep 4:19
         b. It becomes a life of wickedness and violence - Pr 4:17
            1) Sin is violent in every form
            2) For it damages our relationships with either God, others,
               or self!
      -- The path of the wicked is what God would have you avoid!

   C. THE TWO PATHS CONTRASTED...
      1. The path of the just is like the shining sun - Pr 4:18
         a. Just as the sun becomes brighter and brighter as it rises to
            reach its zenith in the sky
         b. So those who walk down the path of wisdom are progressively
            enlightened
      2. The way of the wicked is like darkness - Pr 4:19
         a. They go through life stumbling again and again!
         b. In their ignorance, they know not why! - cf. Ep 4:17-18
      -- Thus one path leads to increasing brightness, the other to
         blinding darkness

[Which of the two paths will we take in life?  To encourage us to make
the right choice, let's take a closer look at the metaphor used to
describe those who follow the path of the just...]

II. THE METAPHOR OF PROGRESSIVE BRIGHTNESS

   A. THE METAPHOR OF THE SHINING SUN...
      1. Describes a progressive brightness, not simply brightness
      2. Describing the sun as it rises in the sky until it reaches its
         zenith ("unto the perfect day")
      -- Thus the path of the just is one of progressive brightness

   B. COMPARED TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE...
      1. It is to be a life of progression
         a. We begin as babes, but designed to grow - 1Pe 2:2
         b. We are to grow in grace and knowledge - 2Pe 3:18
      2. Though not always the case with some Christians
         a. Whose lives are not characterized by progression, but
            staleness or even regression
         b. Who fail to grow because spiritual amnesia and blindness
            - 2Pe 1:8-9
         c. Who grow weary in well doing - cf. Mal 1:13
         d. Who think its time to retire spiritually, contrary to mind
            of Paul
            1) Who believed the inner man could be renewed daily - 2 Co
               4:16
            2) Who believed that we should ever press forward - Php 3:
               13-15
         e. Instead of being like the sun that shines ever brighter,
            they are like the fiery meteorites which flash for a moment
            and then flame out!
      -- Does the metaphor of progressive brightness describe our life
         in Christ?

[The Christian life and the path of the just are to be similar:  with
progressive brightness and no decline.  How can we ensure that such will
be the case in our walk with Christ...?]

III. MAKING LIFE WITH CHRIST PROGRESSIVELY BRIGHTER

   A. JESUS IS OUR LIGHT...
      1. He is indeed "the light of the world" - Jn 8:12
      2. We must therefore remember "that our path will brighten, not
         because of any radiance in ourselves, but in proportion as we
         draw nearer and nearer to the Fountain of heavenly radiance."
         - Maclaren
      3. The nearer we draw to Him, the more we shall shine - cf. 2 Co
         3:18
      -- We are simply reflective luminaries (like the moon); Christ is
         our sun!

   C. WE DRAW NEARER TO THE LIGHT...
      1. Through devotional use of our Bibles
         a. For that is how Christ reveals Himself to us
         b. His words and that of His inspired apostles enlighten us
      2. Through diligent practice of prayer
         a. For that is how we draw near to God and Christ - cf. He 4:
            14-16
         b. Prayer ushers us into the throne room of God
      3. Through doing the commands of Christ
         a. Which ensures that the Father and Son will abide with us
            - cf. Jn 14:21,23
         b. Obedience brings us into a closer relationship with Christ
      -- These are simple steps that lead us on the ever brighter path
         of righteousness

CONCLUSION

1. There are only two paths, just as Jesus described two ways...
   a. One leading to destruction - Mt 7:13
   b. The other leading to life - Mt 7:14

2. Which path will you take...?
   a. The path of the just, that leads to increasing brightness?
   b. The path of the wicked, that leads to blinding darkness?

The choice is yours; let Jesus be your light if you want to chose the
path of the just... - cf. Ep 5:8
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