The Building Blocks of the Christian Life (2 Peter 1:1-15)


      A look into the epistles of Peter is a glimpse into the end of Peter’s life.  It’s a look into his heart.  It’s the man of God looking back on His ministry and giving to the church the most vital things they need to move forward for God with the benefit of all of it being given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

    Luke 22 records a conversation between the Lord Jesus and Peter.  It takes place just at that last Passover supper before the Christ went to the cross.  In verse 31 and 32, Christ says to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

      John 21 records another conversation between the Lord Jesus and Peter that takes place after Christ’s resurrection.  Jesus asked Peter a question.  “Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me?”  Peter answered, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.”  The Lord told him, “Feed my lambs.”  Two more times they exchanged these words.  “Do you love me?”  “Yes.”  “Feed my sheep.” 

    Through the course of his ministry, Peter finally understood the context of those conversations.  “Strengthen the brethren.”  “Feed my sheep.”  Peter did those things with his ministry, and with his epistles he did them at the end of his life.  Not only that, but in 1 Peter 5, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he encourages other ministers to feed the flock of God.  He encouraged them to do the same things that Jesus told him to do.

      In Chapter 1 of 2 Peter, the apostle tells the sheep that he is going to die soon.  The Lord told him so.  Because of that, there were some things he wanted to tell them once again.  There were some things he wanted them to hear once again.  (Read 12-15)  He said, “I know you know these things.  I know that you’re established in them.  But even after I’m gone, I want you to keep them in remembrance.  It’s vital.  It’s necessary.  I want it on your mind always. 

      Peter was feeding the sheep.  He was strengthening the brethren.  He knew what was good for them.  He knew what they needed, just like a shepherd.  Now God’s people are not sheep in the sense of dumb animals, but they are in the sense that they are the prized possessions of Christ, the Chief Shepherd.  As was discussed in Sunday School last week, the pastor is an under-shepherd.  He is responsible for the continual care of the flock.  

    The pastor has to ensure the proper diet of the flock.  Even if the sheep don’t want to eat, He is responsible to lead them to those green pastures.  Even if it tastes the same as the last time, the flock needs to eat.  Even if it’s not dessert all the time, that makes you feel good, it’s good for you.  When a preacher brings up certain subjects again and again, it’s not that he doesn’t have anything else to say.  He just knows what’s good for you.  So what was it that Peter wanted to put into their remembrance? 


  1. Faith.  You’re saved.  You’ve been saved by faith in Jesus Christ.  You have believed in His righteousness.  You have faith that He is qualified, able, and willing to save you.  Through Him, you have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  You have eternal life.  Not only that, but by His divine power, His indwelling Holy Spirit that speaks to you through the Word, He has given unto you all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  The power to live a godly life comes not from you but from God.  Now that you’ve been saved, regenerated, and made a new creature, you have the liberty in Christ to live right and access to the power of God to live right.  All of this is made possible in your salvation.  Salvation gives you a home in heaven, but it also gives you much more.  It doesn’t just give you a destination.  It gives you a wonderful glorious journey to that destination.  Now look at verse five.  “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith.”  This does not mean that you need to do more than trust Christ to be saved.  Rather, because you are saved, you need some more things in your Christian life.  Notice he says to do it with all diligence.  Work at it.  Press toward the mark.  Determine to do it.  Faith in Christ is the foundation for the rest of your Christian life.  It is the support.  Without it, there can be nothing else, but it doesn’t end there.  So what do we add to our faith?
  1. Virtue. The kind of virtue we’re talking about here is courage or valor.  It takes courage to live the Christian life.  Be bold in your faith.  Don’t be afraid.  Have the courage to live for the Lord.  (Joshua 1:7/Proverbs 28:1)  Someone once said, “Let not your hearts fail you in the evil day, but show yourselves valiant in standing against all opposition and resisting every enemy, world, flesh, devil, yea, and death too.”  For the Christian, courage is simply knowing and believing that God is bigger than everything else.  Simply understand that standing for Christ is standing with Christ.  Nebuchadnezzar didn’t see the fourth man whose form was like the Son of God until the three Hebrews were in the fire.  But they knew He was there the whole time.  We face nothing alone.  We face everything with Christ who has already faced the worst for us.  Add virtue to your faith.
  2. Knowledge. Next add knowledge to virtue.  We need to know the Scripture.  We need to know what God’s Word says about the issues of life.  We need to arm ourselves with the knowledge of the Word.  How can we prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God lest we delve into His Word?  We fill our heads with so much useless information and leave little room for the Word of God.  Why do we devote so much attention to worldly wisdom when we can fill our minds and hearts with the knowledge of God?  Why not give the Bible have first dibs on space and let it push all those other things out?  With that knowledge, we learn wisdom and discernment as well.  Knowledge is knowing what to do.  Wisdom is knowing when to do it.  It is knowing what to say and when to say it.    It is being full of grace and truth and then speaking the truth in love.  (Proverbs 2:1-7)
  3. Temperance. On top of knowledge, add temperance. Self-control.  Control of your thoughts and affections.  Not getting hooked on the world.  Voluntarily abstaining from pleasures that do not lead to God.  An intemperate person is satisfied with feeding on the husks of the world around him.  A temperate Christian is looking higher to the Lord.  A temperate Christian says no to the world so he can say yes to the Lord. With temperance, you won’t be distracted and led astray when something that appears more attractive presents itself.  It’ll help you even when something else appears easier.  Many a preacher has given up staying true to standards and convictions because it’s easier to get a crowd without them.  But if he’s learned some temperance, he won’t run after the first flashy ministry he sees.  As God’s people, we learn what the right desires and affections are from the knowledge of God and builds temperance on that knowledge.    (Titus 2:11-13)
  4. Patience. Next, add patience.  Notice how we’re building one on top of another.  Each level built helps you reach the next. Temperance keeps you away from the wrong things.  Patience helps you wait on God for the right things.  Patience keeps you from complaining and murmuring against God.  Patience waits in faith for the fulfillment of God’s promises.  For the Christian, patience is faith that has matured.  We know God will do what He says, and we can wait on Him to do it.    Faith says, “God will always do the right thing, and will always do it at the right time.”  Patience says, “I need what God is doing right now as much as what I want to see Him do in the future.”  Patience (James 1:3-4/Romans 5:3)
  5. Godliness. Then add godliness.  Patience bears fruit.  On patience is built godliness.  Godliness does not come instantaneously when you get saved.  It is a sanctifying process.  At this point, you don’t just know how God wants you to live.  You have the self-control to stay away from the easy way and the patience to wait on God for the best way.  Now you’ve come to the place where you want only what God wants for you.  The Lord is sanctifying you and changing you.  You’ve been in the refiner’s fire since you started on the journey of the Christian life, and now it’s starting to show.  With patience, you are getting worked on by the Lord.  He is molding you and making you.  Godliness comes out of that.  Sometimes it gets uncomfortable.  Sometimes it outright hurts, but the end result is a vessel that glorifies the Lord and is useful to Him.  (Psalm 89:30-33)  Even when chastising, He is still kind and faithful.  As His child, you become more like Him, and grow in godliness.
  6. Brotherly kindness. Now we come to brotherly kindness.  Love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Notice the progression that we have been taking.  Now that you have been built up by the Lord, you are able to have brotherly kindness.  You can forgive.  You can encourage.  You can comfort to be a help and other Christians.  This comes so far down the list because it can be so tough.  It requires all the dying to self that we learned in the other building blocks.  Even the brethren are not always so easy to love.  We often just act like lost people.  Loving the brethren is one of the greatest evidences of being a believer.  This being in the list here ought to convince us of the importance of the local church.  It’s a lot easier show to brotherly kindness to my local church that I worship and serve God with than the entirety of the body of Christ.  If you want to show brotherly kindness, start right here in this room.  (Ephesians 4:32)  Beloved let us love one another.
  7. Charity. Lastly we come to charity.  Love people.  Love all people.  Love them with the love that God has for them.  Desire them to be saved, and then act upon it.  Witness to the lost.  When you’ve been built up this far, you’ve made it to the heartbeat of God.  Loving the lost is God’s heartbeat.  (1 Corinthians 13)
  8. Now look at verses 8-9. If you’ve got these things, you will be fruitful and useful to god.  If you don’t, you’ll end up so far from God, you won’t be sure if you ever got saved.  However, if you do them, you’ll not fall.  You have been given the foundation of Jesus Christ.  Let Christ have your whole life and build you into the Christian He designed for you to be.


All the Valiant Men Arose (1 Samuel 31:8-13)

     Jabeshgilead stands out early on in Israel’s history in the Promised Land.  And there would be a connection between Saul and Jabeshgilead that took place before he was ever born.  Years before the reign of Saul, a rebellion took place in Israel.  In the book of Judges and chapter nineteen, we find a heinous crime has taken place in the territory of Benjamin among the inhabitants of Gibeah.  All of Israel is called together in chapter twenty to meet out justice.  The tribe of Benjamin is asked to turn in the guilty to the authorities for judgment.  The tribe, however, refuses to do so.  What follows is a long and bloody series of battles that leaves over sixty-five thousand men dead and the entire tribe of Benjamin decimated except for six hundred men. 

      The rest of the tribes wept before the Lord and asked Him what to do about this now nearly extinct tribe.  You see, the tribes had taken a vow not to gives their daughters to Benjamin to marry.  There were no women left of Benjamin and the remaining men were holed up in a cave.  Two hundred of the daughters of Shiloh were whisked away by the men of Benjamin in a prearranged setup.  But what would become of the other four hundred men?  The decision was made to destroy whichever city that had not sent anyone to the battle, save alive four hundred virgins, and give them to the tribe of Benjamin for wives. There was just one city that did not send anyone to the battle.  That city was Jabeshgilead.  The tribe of Benjamin was rebuilt over time and two-thirds of the mothers of Benjamin were of Jabeshgilead. 

      Fast-forwarding through time, we come to 1 Samuel chapter eleven.  This is the beginning of Saul’s reign, the first king of Israel who happened to be of the tribe of Benjamin and from the region of Gibeah.  This is where we find a much deeper connection between Saul and Jabeshgilead.  You see, men are rarely valiant unless they are inspired to it.  Whether it is on the physical battlefield or on the spiritual battlefield, we are generally inspired to courage. 

      We are moved to fight for what is right because we watched someone else fight for what is right.  We are valiant because someone else was valiant for us.  It always has been, but in the day we live especially, the need is great for valiant Christians in the church and in the fight for the truth of the Gospel.  Let’s look at some things from God’s Word that will help us be valiant for Christ.  The first thing I’d like you to see is…

I.  The Memory of the Victory. In chapter eleven, forty years before the valiant men arise; we find the city of Jabeshgilead under siege by the Ammonites.  The Ammonites were marauders.  Under the leadership of Nahash, they encamped against a solitary city in Israel.  Saul had just been anointed king, but Israel was still just a loose confederation at this point.  The land was very easily invaded as there was little nationally organized defense.  Jabeshgilead finds itself in a doomed condition.  I can almost see those old men amongst the valiant as they prepare to assault Beth-shan and get Saul’s body back.  Maybe they stood still and went back in their minds’ eye to when they had not felt so valiant.  Perhaps they thought back to the day when their city was on the brink of destruction.  Most everyone can go back to a low point in their life.  Perhaps it was before you got saved or maybe it was afterward, but you can remember a time when you felt like there was no way out.  Maybe it seemed as if no matter what you did, things were going to end badly.  That’s where Jabeshgilead was when the Ammonites surrounded the city.  It seemed that no matter what they did, there would be…
A.  A Reproach on Israel. If they surrendered to the Ammonites, it would bring shame not just to Jabeshgilead but to all of Israel.  More so, it would bring reproach upon the name of God.  If they fought, they would be slaughtered fairly quickly and still there would be a reproach because of an easy victory for the Ammonites.  Our decisions always affect more than just us.  There are others to consider.  Truthfully, if all Israel had been right with God including Jabeshgilead than perhaps the situation would not have been as dire in the first place.
1.  The Fear-filled Decision. Jabeshgilead was surrounded by an unbeatable foe.  What should they do?  How could they get out of this?  One small city versus an army?  What could be done?  Christians everywhere often look at the battle of living for God, or the battle against the world for their children, or the battle for holiness in the church, or the battle for souls and think that there’s nothing that can be done.  The men of Jabeshgilead decided it would be better to capitulate than die.  O that God’s people would decide that it is would be better to die than capitulate.  Some battles are always worth fighting.
2.  Facing Desperation. Jabeshgilead was between a rock and a hard place.  Nahash said that he would accept them as his servants only if he thrust out their right eye first.  This meant more than just simple servitude.  The soldier of ancient times generally held his shield in his left hand.  It blocked his view from that eye.  Without the right eye, a soldier would be blind in battle.  This meant no possibility of ever rising up against their masters.  Sometimes that’s where we seem to be…facing a desperate situation with no way out.  They needed a deliverer, and so do we.  We need our champion, the Lord Jesus Christ to take up our cause and give us victory.
B.  A Response from the Indignant. Complacency is the Christian’s worst enemy.  Complacency says we can’t do anything about it.  If we believe we can’t do anything about it, then we won’t do anything about it!  Complacency stops the forward momentum of the Christian life.  Where there is complacency there is no growth.  God can turn the tide against evil, but God’s people must rise, deal with their own sin, and not stand by idly.  Decide that you will not go silently into the night, that you will live for God and stand against sin.
1.  A Failed Determination. When Israel heard about the dire situation of Jabeshgilead, they wept.  There doesn’t seem to be a call to action amongst the people.  At some point we have to realize it is not enough to be upset about sin.  It’s not enough to bemoan it.  Yes, we might be upset, but lest we act, it amounts to a waste.  There must be a turning point where we say enough is enough and act.  We must go to the battle.  And this battle is for the souls of men.
2.  A Fiery Demand. So often, the whole won’t act until the one does.  Saul came in out of the field.  He found the people weeping but did not know the reason.  When he found out the reason, his reaction was different than that of the people.  The Spirit of God came upon him, and in righteous anger he spurred a people to take up the fight for a righteous cause.  Saul fought for a city.  What will we fight for?  Will we fight for our city?  Will we fight for our state, our country, our world?  The stakes are much greater than ever before.  What will we do?
II.  The Motive of the Valiant. What makes valiant men arise?  What makes ordinary men become valiant men?  What changed in the hearts of these men to make them hazard their lives for a man that was already dead?  What makes the soldiers that guard the tomb of the Unknown Soldier keep their post in a hurricane when they’ve been ordered to leave?  Saul’s death occurred forty years after his rescue of Jabeshgilead.  Many of those valiant men may never have even met Saul.  Why would they do what they did?  What motivates you?  As a Christian, why do you do what you do?  How far does that motivation take you?  How far are you willing to go for Christ?
A.  A Matter of Honor. For the valiant men, it was a matter of honor.  Saul was their hero and the king of Israel.  His position and his feats demanded that such action be taken.  Not even his body deserved this kind of treatment.  They remembered Saul’s sacrifice.  They remembered his loyalty.  They remembered how far he went to rescue their city.  They owed everything to Saul.  And let me say this, we owe all to Jesus Christ.  Should there be a limit on how far we will go for Him?
1.  An Unforgettable Defeat. Saul’s last battle was a resounding defeat.  His heart was hardened. He had no help from God.  His forces were routed.  He and three of his sons died on the battlefield.  Saul resorted to taking his own life.  Israel was on the run.  With the bodies of Saul and sons in the hands of the Philistines, the moral of Israel would beyond repair.  It was the men of Jabeshgilead that decided not to let it get any worse.
2.  An Unwarranted Desecration. The Philistines cut off the heads of Saul and his sons.  They put their armor in the temple of their false god.  The armor, the identifying items of the king of Jehovah’s people was placed in an idol’s temple after being paraded through their cities.  Then they fastened the bodies to the wall of Beth-shan.  It was the wall that faced the land of Israel for all of God’s people to see.
B.  A Moment of Heroism. What if your life amounted to one pivotal moment?  What if there was only one thing you’d be known for?  Would you seize the moment?  What if there was just one opportunity that you have to make a difference for Christ?  Well, we are presented with not just one opportunity.  Every day is an opportunity to impact this world for Christ.  Why not have a moment of heroism every day and reach a world for Christ?
1.  An Unusual Defiance. This moment of heroism greatly differed from the track record of Jabeshgilead.  Up to this point, we don’t see much in the way of a warrior spirit in these men.  They wouldn’t come to the fight against Benjamin.  They wouldn’t defend themselves against Ammon.  They don’t seem to be at the battle against the Philistines.  But this time it was personal.  Nothing becomes powerful until it is personal.  Take the cause of Christ to heart.
2.  An Unflappable Devotion. This is devotion that sees beyond a man’s faults.  This is devotion that moves you to do what you would not normally do.  It’s not easy to inspire men to this kind of devotion.  Saul rescued a city and won the hearts of two generations.  Christ has rescued our souls from eternity in hell, and He has no faults.  He has no failures.  How much more devotion should He receive?
III.  The Memorial by the Vigilant. Then all the valiant men arose.  Jabeshgilead was, archeologists believe, about twelve miles from the Philistine city of Beth-shan.  It was far enough to be a long journey when you’re in a hurry, but close enough to infuriate the men who had come to revere Saul as their hero.  The valiant men arose and went all night to reach that wall.  They went all night with a determination that the men of that city had never known before.  They went all night with one goal in mind.  They desired the proper respect for Saul.  They desired to make good on what Saul had taught them.  They existed because Saul committed himself to their fight.  Now, they were following through on that example, and that was a far greater memorial than giving his body a proper burial.  We’ve had so many that have gone before and paved the way for us.  So many have lived and died for Jesus Christ.  We are encompassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses.  So many took the time to make a difference for Christ in our lives.  May that we be a people who make a memorial unto them by following through on what they have taught us, and then making a difference for Christ in the life of someone else.
A.  The Worth of a Name. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”  Saul’s name meant something to the men of Jabeshgilead.  They knew his name would still mean something to his family and to many in Israel.  They couldn’t stand the idea of men of Beth-shan laughing about the king of Israel’s body hanging on their wall.  Saul made many ruinous decisions, but he earned a good name with Jabeshgilead.  They were determined to protect it from the likes of the Philistines. 
1.  A Loyal Tribute. It was a sad thing that it was only the men of Jabeshgilead and not all of Israel that took back those bodies.  The life Saul lived after he delivered Jabeshgilead tarnished the memory others had of him.  It weakened his effectiveness.  It destroyed his ability to inspire.  The legacy we leave behind us in not left in buildings or events.  It’s left in people.  Saul had a long list of sins and mistakes.  At least from his influence, he left some valiant men behind, but what could his influence have been like?
2.  A Loving Tenderness. The valiant men of Jabeshgilead weren’t the only ones to memorialize Saul.  David had served under Saul, had learned from Saul, and remained loyal to him even after Saul’s death.  He mourned for Saul and his sons.  He thanked Jabeshgilead.  Years later he took those bones and buried them in the tomb of Saul’s father.  Saul had done some terrible things to David and to others.  We are going to fail people.  We are going to hurt people.  But what will we be remembered more for, the help or for the hurt? 
B.  The Worship of a Name. It would be a big stretch to make Saul a type of Christ here, but I would be remiss if I did not point our attention back to Christ.  Truly, the greatest battle and the greatest deliverance that ever took place happened on the cross of Calvary.  The cross is the greatest memorial in history.
1.  A Living Testament. The cross is not just a memorial of death.  It is a memorial to everlasting life.  It is a memorial to what God can do in a life.  We are a living testament of the victory Christ has won.  We are a living memorial of His victory over sin, death, the grave, and hell. 
2.  A Lasting Triumph. Jabeshgilead is gone now.  We are only approximately sure of its location.  Saul’s bones and that of his sons have long since turned to dust.  But we have a living Savior, a living Victor, and a living Deliverer that sits at the right hand of the Father and will one day have final and lasting triumph and rule forever.


A Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31)


“Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies.” 

I.  Her Virtuous Heart. “Virtue is something that is developed on the inside.  It is built and instilled into an individual.  Virtue is not confined just to actions but includes the motivation for such action.  That’s why the price is so high.  Far above rubies.  A virtuous woman is a rare creature and becoming more and more rare.  Yet her rarity makes her that much easier to spot.  Virtue means to be of good, strong morality.  (v. 11)
A.  Her Dedication. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.”  The virtuous woman has an unflagging devotion in her heart to her husband and his heart.  She is a support and strength for him.  He can confide in her.  He can lean on her.  She does not try to take away from his role as head of the family.  She is an extension and magnifier of it.  A godly wife will uphold the godly name of a godly husband.  Notice verse twenty-three.  “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”  His wife is a benefit to his reputation.  (v. 11)
1.  Her Conduct. “So that he shall have no need of spoil.”  The virtuous woman is an excellent steward of the house.  Her husband is not tempted to do something illegal or unseemly in his business because of financial pressure caused by her wasteful ways.  She has no wasteful ways.  She is honest and productive in the management of his house and his assets.  (v. 12)
2.  Her Comfort. “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”  This is not her own comfort but the comfort that she gives to her husband.  Because he knows that her conduct is impeccable, his soul is able to rest.  He finds comfort in trusting her and knowing that she can be trusted.  His possessions and his children are safely guarded under her watchful eye.  (v. 12)
B.  Her Delight. Now go all the way down to verse twenty-nine.  “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”  The delight of a virtuous woman is to do good.  She lives for it.  She rises above below average.  She rises above average.  She endeavors to rise above even above average.  She sees no limit to her spiritual growth.  She sees no limit and no end to what she can do for others.  The virtuous woman does not believe she has “arrived.”  She knows that there is still yet more to do, yet more to achieve, and so she continues to try.  Her personal goal is Excelsior, Excelsior.  Higher, Higher.  (v. 31) 
1.  Her Character. Come back up to verse twenty-five.  “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”  She is richly clothed but not with the high fashion labels.  She is rich and strong in her character.  She is a woman of truth.  She is a woman of meekness.  She is a woman of compassion and understanding.  She is esteemed in high honor because she is highly honorable.  Her good character makes her far more appealing than any fancy clothes she could wear.  (v. 25)
2.  Her Conversation. We find this in verse twenty-six.  “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”  When she speaks, it is with the appropriate words.  When she speaks, it is at the appropriate time.  When she speaks, it is with the appropriate tone.  She is not argumentative and demanding with her mouth, but careful, decent, and kind.  (v. 26)
II.  Her Valuable Hands. Verse sixteen is one of several verses that speak of this woman’s hands.  “She considereth a field, and buyeth it:  with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”  The hands of the virtuous woman produce something.  Something needful and worthwhile comes of what she does with her hands.  She knows how to spend her time wisely.  She knows how to use her time and her hands effectively.  Her price is far above rubies and the fruit of her hands only adds to her value.  When she applies herself to something, it can be assured the it is useful and beneficial to the needs of her family.  (v. 16)
A.  Her Labor. Turn your attention to verse thirty-one.  “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  The virtuous woman does not need to draw attention to herself.  We live in a day where everyone feels they need a cookie and a pat on the back for everything.  They take pictures of every single routine thing that they do, put it on the internet, and expect a trophy.  The virtuous woman is content to let her diligence and labor speak for her.  The gates were where the great men sat.  It was where the news of the town was discussed.  The virtuous woman is willing to be known by her tireless efforts.  (v. 31)
1.  Her Skill. Verse nineteen says, “She layeth up her hands to the spindle, and her hands to the distaff.”  The virtuous woman is diligent at her trade.  Whether she works outside of the home or tending just to the home, she is diligent about her business.  She hones her skill.  She is diligent to become good at what she does.  It is important to her.  It is important to the function of her family.  (v. 19)
2.  Her Strength. In verse seventeen, we find that “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”  She has need of strength.  She has much to do.  She has a strong arm with which she carries out her labors.  She has a strong arm that supports her husband and comforts her children.  She has an inner strength that is expressed by her outer strength.  (v. 17)
B.  Her Love. Verse fifteen says, “She riseth also while it is night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”  It is worthwhile to the virtuous woman to rise early.  There are those that depend upon her.  With great love and tenderness of spirit, she cares for her own.  Even those who are there as hired employees are not exempt from her love.  As the Lord Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed the feet of His disciples, she becomes a servant to those who serve her.(v. 15)
1.  Her Stamina. Look `at verse five now.  “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:  her candle goeth not out by night.”  This virtuous woman knows that her labor is of high value.  She does it well, and it is well worth it.  Therefore, she continues with it.  Her own rest is less important to her than the carrying out of her role as wife and mother.  She takes it as seriously as any other part of her life.  (v. 18)
2.  Her Sincerity. Verse twenty says that, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”  Her kindness and generosity extends further than just to her own family.  A virtuous woman is filled with a compassion for others.  She has trained herself to it by caring for her family.  She has created for herself a habit of compassion.  (v. 20)
III.  Her Vibrant Household. Go to verse twenty-seven.  “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”  The greatest testament of the virtuous woman is the condition of her household.  Her family is well cared for and well presented.  She sees to it with all of her effort.  What comes to her mouth is well earned.  Her household is made presentable by the labors of her hands.  She is the support and strength of her family.  They rely upon her.  Her house functions because of her.  Her presence is necessary because she sees to all of the ways of her household.  She is the overseer and the director of the house.  (v. 27)
A.  Her Provision. “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”  The virtuous woman attends to the needs of her family with diligence.  She makes her house a place of safety, shelter, and comfort.  There is no reason to be concerned with the winter months.  The house will be warm.  Mother makes the house a home.  The family is well provided for in mother’s care.”  (v. 13)
1.  Her Nourishment. Now look at verse fourteen.  “She is like the merchant ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”  She will go to whatever lengths necessary to feed her family.  Mother makes certain that none in her house goes hungry.  The virtuous woman always seems to be the last to eat.  Her children’s stomach and that of her husband come before her own.  She is not virtuous because she does this.  She does this because she is virtuous.  It is her heart’s desire to put her family first.  (v. 14)
2.  Her Necessities. Verse twenty-one says, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household:  for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”  She prepares not just the food for the table but also tends to the other needs of her family.   A mother sees that the homework is done and the baths are taken.  She soothes the wounds and calms fears.  She sees to it that none are neglected but happy and well kept.  (v. 21) 
B.  Her Preciousness. A virtuous woman is precious in the sight of God and in the eyes of her family.  “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:  but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”  A virtuous woman need not be wrapped up in the world’s standards of beauty.  Physical beauty is temporal.  It fades like the flower.  Outward beauty may disguise something hideous on the inside.  Inward beauty may be disguised by plain features.  Isaiah said that to look at the Lord Jesus in His physical form was to not see His true beauty.  “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Yet to see Jesus as Lord and Savior is to see that He is altogether lovely.
1.  Her Heritage. Look lastly at verse twenty-eight.  “Her children arise up, and call her blessed…”  A mother should be adorned with respect and love by her children simply because she is their mother.  Yet so much greater that love and honor is for a mother that is virtuous.  A virtuous mother is greatly loved by her children because of the great love she bestows upon her children. (v. 28)
2.  Her Husband. “Her Husband also, and he praiseth her.”  A good and godly husband will find good things to say about his wife. Yet the husband of a godly, virtuous woman has a bounty of good things to choose from when he praises his wife.  He has no choice but to praise her because of her dedication and delight, her love and labor, her provision and preciousness.  (v. 28)





The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

     Once again, the enemies of the Lord Jesus were trying to find a way to trap Him in His words.  This time they sent a lawyer.  This would not necessarily be a lawyer in the sense that we think of today.  He would have been very versed in the things of the Mosaic Law.  He would likely be a teacher, and highly regarded in Jewish society.  He tried to tempt the Lord Jesus with a doctrinal question.  “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus did what He often did in this situation.  He countered with another question.  “What is written in the law?  How readest thou?”  The lawyer gave a pretty good answer.  He said to love God with all the heart, soul, and mind.  He also said to love your neighbor as yourself.  The lawyer’s answer was basically to not sin!  Jesus told the lawyer he was right.  Then he told him to do it, but he’d have to do it without fail.  Jesus’ point was that no could do that but Jesus Himself.  Yet the lawyer was willing to think that he could get the job done.  The lawyer asked a qualifying question.  “Who is my neighbor?”  The Jews hated all non-Jews.  The lawyer wanted to know just who exactly he had to love.  He wasn’t going to like the answer Jesus gave him.  Let’s look at the story.  First, we must see…

I.  The Sinner. The certain man that Jesus speaks of in verse thirty represents the sinner.  He represents every man.  He represents the lost and needy people that surround us every day.  The man in the story is about to make some horrible decisions just as every sinner has made horrible decisions.  He is about to end up in a disastrous, dangerous, life-threatening situation.  That is the same situation that every sinner is in before coming to Christ.  Let’s look at some details about the man and the sinner.
A.  His Path. Let’s take a look at verse thirty.  “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.”  That’s the path of every sinner.  It is the path of all mankind.  Jerusalem was the holy city, the city of God.  Jericho was the cursed city.  After Joshua burned Jericho to the ground, he said, “Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city of Jericho:  he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.”  The path of the man represents the path of a sinner.  Man left the presence of God and entered into the sin curse.  The path that all men take every day is one away from God and toward sin. 
B.  His Problem. Verse thirty next says that he fell among thieves.  What else can be expected when your path leads you away from the Lord?  The path to Jericho was a very dangerous one.  There were thieves and bandits all along the way.  They took his money and his clothes.  We do not know if this was a wealthy man, a poor man, or middle class.  The problems of sin do not discriminate.  Sin will destroy and take no matter whom enters into it.  It brings all to ruin no matter the social class.  Anyone who went down that Jericho road could expect the same treatment.  Anyone who goes down the road of sin can expect the same treatment as well.  Be prepared to lose, and be prepared to lose everything. 
C.  His Prognosis. The prognosis was not good.  In fact, it was as bad as it could be.  Those thieves robbed our traveler, wounded him, and left him lying there half dead.  Half dead is the key of the prognosis.  He was all alone.  He had no friends to help him.  There was no way that he could help himself.  He was half dead and on the way to completely dead.  It’s even worse for the lost man.  He’s completely dead and doesn’t even know it.  He certainly has no way to help himself.  Just as the victim on the road to Jericho, he is in need of outside assistance.  Every lost person is in need of outside assistance.  They need the saving power of Jesus Christ, and they need the helping hand of a believer that remembers when they were dead too.
II.  The Scoffers. As if the thieves weren’t bad enough, there were onlookers too.  Have you ever been on the interstate, and traffic suddenly slows down?  Then traffic crawls for the next two hours until you are ready to take your own life?  When you finally get up to the cause of the slowdown, you find that it was a small accident sitting on the shoulder of the road.  It wasn’t even on your side of the interstate!  The reason why traffic was so slow was that everyone on your side slowed down to look!  They didn’t slow down to help!  They slowed down to watch!  That’s very similar to what the next two figures in our passage did.  Sometimes, though, it is what we do.  We see someone that needs Christ, but we don’t do anything about it.  We turn and look, but we don’t do anything to help.  Christ doesn’t need more watchers.  He needs more workers!
A.  The Priest. Look at verse thirty-one.  “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:  and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.”  You would think that if any person would have the heart to help, it would be the priest.  That was not the case, however.  The poor victim was lying there helpless.  The priest likely would not even check the man for life signs because he already thought he was dead.  The priest had no desire to be defiled by a dead body.  I think that we are often guilty of the same thing.  We see a lost person, but we are too afraid of being “contaminated.”  You know what though?  It’s just how it works.  If you are going to help anybody, then you are going to have to make contact!  You can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty!  The priest represents the rituals of religion.  Religion looks for how it can benefit from people, not how it can be of benefit to people.  It cannot save anybody.  It cannot heal the deep wounds of sin!   
B.  The Professor. The Levite comes along next.  “And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”  The Levites were servants of the temple.  They were a set aside tribe of Israel.  The Levite represents legalism.  Legalism looks on the soul in that desperate condition and feels that there is no hope.  Someone so far down in the depths of obvious sin cannot fulfill all of the precepts of the law.  Therefore, they are a lost cause.  How often are we guilty of looking on someone who needs Christ, and then thinking that they are too far gone?  In our minds, they could never have a normal Christian life.  We disqualify people from getting the gospel, because we think they’ll never get saved.  Yet Jesus once cast out a legion of demons out of a man, and all that man wanted to do afterward is follow his Lord.  Leave the saving to God.  Let us only stop on our journey to help rescue the dying.
C.  The Probability. It’s interesting that verse thirty-one says of the priest that by chance he came that way.  Verse thirty-two says that the Levite came likewise.  It was happenstance that these two came by the dying man.  Yet it says of that certain Samaritan that as he journeyed, he came where he was.  It seems that the Samaritan regularly made that journey.  It was something he usually did.  His eyes knew that familiar road.  He knew the dangers of it and how to avoid the thieves and the pitfalls.  Perhaps it wasn’t the first time that he’d seen this happen or the first time he had helped a wounded traveler.  The Lord Jesus has come to seek and to save that which was lost.  It is no happenstance that Jesus passed by your way.  It is no slim chance.  The probability is high that Jesus passed by looking for you.  “Jesus passed my way.  And He made me whole that day.  Just a sinner was I, but then Jesus passed by.  And, oh, what a change in my life, since Jesus passed by.”
III.  The Savior. Verse thirty-three says, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.”  The Samaritan was hated by the Jew.  They were half-breeds to the Jew.  They thought them no better than dogs.  Jesus is about to hold up a Samaritan as an example to be followed.  The lawyer shows us his attitude when he answers the question Christ asks in verses thirty-six and thirty-seven.  “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.”  The lawyer wouldn’t even say the word “Samaritan.”  The Lord Jesus was also despised and rejected by the Jews and by the world.  Yet this Jesus they hated was the One that came to bring them salvation.  While they trusted in their religion and hoped in their law, only Jesus could truly take action to heal their sin-sick souls.     
A.  His Servitude. Verse thirty-three says that he saw him and had compassion on him.  That was the stark contrast between the Samaritan and the other two men who passed that way.  The other two travelers came where he was.  They even saw him, yet they either would do or could do nothing.  The Samaritan went the further step.  In verse thirty-four, he went to him and bound up his wounds.  Ritual and religion cannot help the dying man.  Legalism cannot help him.  Only the ministry of the Lord Jesus and His gospel can save a sin-sick soul.  Christ offers His servitude to all mankind.  It was Christ’s ministrations that rescued you from the sin condition.  You who were dead in your trespasses and sins were made alive unto God by Jesus Christ His Son.
B.  His Supply. Verse thirty-four says that he poured in oil and wine.  These items were used medicinally in those days to clean out and protect wounds.  The Samaritan, as an experienced traveler, likely carried them with him for emergency situations.  He was properly and abundantly prepared to treat this broken, half-dead man.  In the same way, the Lord Jesus, the great Savior, has abundant supply to care for the sin wounds of the lost.   The wine represents the blood of Christ.  The precious blood of Jesus Christ flowed from His hands, His feet, and His side. It washes completely clean the sinner’s stains.  The oil represents His Holy Spirit.  He applies His Holy Spirit and seals the redeemed sinner unto the day of redemption.  The Holy Spirit is our protection.  It is proof-positive that we have been treated.  His blood and His Spirit are in enough and far more than enough supply to cleanse and make you whole.
C.  His Sanctuary. Verse thirty-five says that he took him to an inn, and took care of him.  Out in the middle of nowhere, along a dangerous road, there was a sanctuary available for the Samaritan to bring the rescued man.  It seems only logical that the Samaritan was familiar with this inn.  He knew where it was.  He knew the keeper of the inn.  He knew that it was safe to leave the wounded man there.  “And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”  The church is that inn along the dangerous, desolate road.  Christ rescues the sinner, then places him under the care of the church to disciple him and help him grow.  We have all been charged to take care of sinner that has been saved!