The passage before us this morning reminds us of how radically different our lives are to be as Christians.
To show this Paul sets up a vivid contrast between the woeful state of the unbeliever and radically spiritual state of the believer.
To strengthen his argument and emphasize how important holiness must be, he begins by pointing out what we are not. The Christian’s call to purity will be seen all that much more distinctly when it is held against the backdrop of the pitch, black corruption of the unbeliever’s life.
So, as we look at verses 17-19, I want us to take note of how woefully corrupt the unbeliever is.
John Wesley once observed a disagreement between two women. One was speaking vehemently and gesturing wildly, while the other stood perfectly still—tranquil and unperturbed. Finally the first woman stamped her foot and shouted, “Speak! so I can have something more to say to you!”
This is so true. The more I study the Proverbs I find that the Lord commends to us silence. That is no less true for the passage we come to this evening. In it we find again the wisdom of silence over against a great amount of words. He who says the least shows himself to be the wisest man.
The verse before us begins with the foolish man—the man who is not afraid to use words. It says, “he who belittles his neighbor lacks sense.”
I. The talker
Some of you may have “he despises his neighbor” and you might have noted the difference between our versions. That would be a good translation and get at the essence of what is here. But our versions are not contradictory. To despise someone is to belittle them. That is to say, if you despise someone you look down on them. And the way you show your contempt for them is by speaking or acting in a way that is demeaning.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.