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Will you do me a favor?

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lass=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 2-14-11…AM…SBC     2)“Will You Do Me a Favor?”

Intro:                                                                       Selected Proverbs

How many times have you recently heard…”Can you do me a favor?”

Prizing – valuing or esteeming something highly

·         throwing baseballs at valleyfair and getting the big  prize

·         chuck-e-cheese prizes and their seemingly significant value to kids

Transition:  What we find Solomon teaching us today is that…


Proposition:                                       A wise person prizes criticism.


PRAY

1)   Prize criticism because it is a kindness

 

A-    Criticism wounds. It’s painful. Not all wounds are faithful wounds—some wounds come from reckless words that pierce like a sword (Proverbs 12:18). But I’m not talking about the sting of reckless words. Today were talking about the sting of criticism that comes even from a faithful wound. Even from a friend, criticism wounds

1-      27:5-6     

a-      v5 points to the need for communication and interaction among people;[1]

b-      In other words correcting a person’s fault is an evidence of love and kindness, but failing to correct him shows one’s love is withdrawn.[2]

c-      v6 contrasts genuine and phony expressions of friendship[3]

d-     An enemy may seem to be a friend by his many kisses, and a true friend may seem to be an enemy by the wounds he inflicts. Yet, ironically, the rebukes may actually be more genuine expressions of friendship.[4]

Application:  Have you ever wondered though when hearing this verse what exactly is it that criticism wounds?

·         I think the simple answer is that criticism wounds the sin that has not been crushed. A wise, man said once: “What hurts isn’t dead yet.” And that is often what criticism wounds—my still-living, still-breathing pride.

·         Receiving criticism and correction is necessary, because it reveals the blind spots in my life and the pockets of pride that have not been put to death (Colossians 3:5, 12).

·         Therefore we need correction. But by saying this I am not arguing that receiving criticism will be painless or enjoyable. Far from it!

·         David got this. He understood the benefit, as well as the pain, of correction:        Psalm 141:5

“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.”

-          Say again? A kindness?

-          Left to ourselves you and I don’t share David’s perspective. This kind of kindness we can do without!

-          But criticism from a faithful friend is a kindness. It is the kindness of the friend willing to bring an area of concern to my attention, and most importantly it is an expression of God’s kindness, because often through the criticism I perceive my enemy that still lives—my sin

-          Receiving criticism hurts. It always will. I don’t anticipate maturing to a point where receiving correction will become a pure joy. A wound is a wound. It leaves a bruise. It hurts. But we need it.

-          Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness.—Let us not refuse it.

Transition: We should not only prize criticism because it is a kindness to us, but we should also…

2)   Prize criticism because it is a means of attaining wisdom

 

A-    Study Proverbs and you will be surprised to discover that gaining wisdom is often the fruit of correction.  Maybe you’re thinking, “Surely it has to be possible to learn wisdom without any need for correction and criticism.”

1- Apparently not!    19:25b             15:5     29:15 (kids)

a-      one way to the wisdom that we talked about for first three weeks of this series is through correction

b-     If we could mature in wisdom without any need for correction—and how I wish we could!—I would have discovered a way to do it by now and probably written a bestselling book explaining how. But that’s not how it works. We cannot separate growth in wisdom from criticism, correction, and reproof.

Application:

·         In his commentary on Proverbs, Derek Kidner writes that wisdom’s “frequent companion is correction”

·         We do well to firmly fix that phrase in our minds. If you ask for wisdom to hang around in your life, you will find that she doesn’t prefer to travel alone.

·         Since God often uses the criticism of others to reveal the idols of our hearts and to accelerate our growth in humility, we must be eager to receive criticism.

·         We should be eager to receive correction, but usually we’re not. And it’s no mystery why we’re not eager to receive criticism—WE ARE PROUD PEOPLE.

9:8

Ø      Yet Proverbs teaches us that a wise man loves correction

Ø      The scoffer will flat-out reject criticism and hate the one who brings it. On the other hand, the wise man will embrace the criticism and love the one who brings it

Ø      Having been humbled by the gospel, humbly receive correction and even to pursue it.

Transition: Another reason why we should prize criticism is because it is…

3)   Prize criticism because it is more favorable than flattery

A-    28:23

 

1-      This saying encourages frank and honest speaking to a friend or neighbor and the avoidance of flattery[5]

2-      It is not kindness to a person when his faults are glossed over, and he is made to feel comfortable in his wrong-doing.[6]

3-      Giving a needed rebuke rather than overlooking it or flattering a person (cf. 29:5) is difficult. But in the end (later) a wise person is grateful for it[7]

4-      Peter could write “our beloved brother Paul” after the searching ordeal he underwent in Antioch (2 Peter 3:15).[8]

Application:

·         Criticism can be a gift. Yet how a man responds to correction is one of the clearest distinctions in Proverbs between the fool and the *wise man

·         A fool desperately needs correction, but refuses to pursue it or receive it.

·         A wise man needs correction less than the fool, but he pursues it and welcomes it.

Conclusion:

1-      Salvation:  The correction of the Gospel is needed and to be embraced –God—man—fall—Christ—Response

2-      The biggest danger of receiving criticism is not to your reputation, but to your heart. You feel the injustice of it and feel sorry for yourself, and it tempts you to despise the critic.

·         When criticism arrives, many temptations arrive with it. Often our response reveals the presence of pride in my heart.

·         Criticism can uniquely reveal my heart, and often what I see isn’t pretty.

3-      The biggest danger of receiving criticism is not to your reputation, but to your heart. You feel the injustice it tempts you to respond sinfully

*·         I feel sorry for myself in the face of the “injustice.” – not getting what you think you deserve – feeling sorry

*·         I am tempted to despise the critic – judge the motive of the critic rather than focus on the content

4-      When criticism arrives, temptations to sin come fast and furious in our hearts. And if we aren’t prepared for criticisms, if we don’t prize growth in godliness, we will despise criticism rather than embrace it. Sadly I have many times.

5-      But by God’s grace, there is an alternative. We can view personal criticism as a God-appointed means to produce humility in our lives, even if the criticism isn’t accurate

6-      Here is what we learned: If we value wisdom, this will be evident in our pursuit of, and response to, correction. But we do not truly prize wisdom if we do not welcome criticism, pursue correction, and receive reproof.

Here is what’s easy:

  • It is easy for me to desire wisdom.
  • It is easy for me to profess a love for wisdom.
  • It is easy for me to say, “I want to grow in wisdom.”
  • It is easy for me to pray, “Lord, give me wisdom.”

But here is what’s difficult:    It is difficult to respond humbly to criticism.

·         Our response will determine if we are wise or the fool

7-      Criticism is just one of the many ways God will pound the pride out of us. But only when see criticism as a mercy from God, will we humbly embrace—rather than proudly react to—the criticism when (not if) it arrives.

8- Do yourself a favor—Do someone else a favor—Do me a favor and embrace giving and taking criticism.


----

[1] Garrett, D. A. (2001). Vol. 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (216). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Pr 27:5). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Garrett, D. A. (2001). Vol. 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (216). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Pr 27:6). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (2000). A handbook on Proverbs. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (599). New York: United Bible Societies.

[6] Ironside, H. A. (1908). Notes on the Book of Proverbs (410). Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Bros.

[7] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Pr 28:23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Ironside, H. A. (1908). Notes on the Book of Proverbs (410). Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Bros.

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