Sermon #1046 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “Ways of Pleasantness”
Text: Proverbs 3:17
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:1-26
Subject: The True Pleasantness of Being a Child of God
Date: Sunday Morning – October 11, 1992
In our text the wise man is talking about Christ who is wisdom personified. He is Wisdom. Apart from him there is no wisdom. As Christ is the “tree of life” to all who lay hold upon him by faith, so “His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace.” I want to talk to you this morning, if God will enable me, about “Ways of Pleasantness.”
While we must not live for pleasure, we all want and seek pleasantness, a life that is pleasurable. Do we not? Anyone who has been reared in a home of bickering and strife longs for a home of pleasantness. Anyone who has experienced great anguish of mind and depression yearns for pleasantness.’
· I want to be a pleasant person.
· I want to provide a pleasant home for my family.
· I want to make life pleasant for others.
· I want to live in pleasantness.
We all want these things. Don’t we? I know people who make themselves miserable, and make everyone around them miserable, trying to attain a state of pleasantness.
My message today will be a very simple one. I want to show you that apart from Christ there is no true pleasantness or peace – Our text declares that “His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace.”
My message has three parts. I want to talk to you about
1. The Pleasures of Christ.
2. The Pleasures of the Fool.
3. The Pleasures of the Believer.
I. First, let me talk to you about The Pleasures of Christ Himself – (Ps. 16:6).
Without question, this is a messianic psalm. It is a Psalm concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told over and over again in the New Testament that verses 9-11 must be applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. So the words of verse 6 are properly, originally, and most fully the words of our Savior as a man – “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea. I have a goodly heritage.”
The man, Christ Jesus, when speaking of his life in this world, says, “the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places.” How can this be?
A. Our Savior was, while he lived in this world, a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief – (Isa. 53:3-6).
From the womb to the cross there was a crown of thorns constantly bound upon our Suretys brow. Though he was always obedient to the Father as our Representative, our Substitute’s life was filled with great sorrow, because he lived in this world as our Surety.
B. Yet, throughout his life of obedience and sorrow, Our Savior’s Life in this world was Marked by Joy and Pleasantness.
I have heard preachers denounce laughter and humor, pointing out the fact that we are never told in the Scriptures that Jesus laughed. Yet, throughout his life, he was filled with joy and pleasantness, even in the midst of great sorrow. Even as he speaks of his death as the sinner’s Substitute, he says, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
While living in this world the Son of God had a joy the world knew nothing of, a pleasantness the world could never understand, and a peace the world could neither attain nor give.
1. His pleasure was submission to his Father’s providence (Ps. 16:5-6).
2. His pleasure was instruction by his Father’s counsel (v. 7).
3. His pleasure was the comfort of his Father’s presence (v. 8).
4. His pleasure was hope in his Father’s goodness and faithfulness (vv. 9-11).
5. His pleasure was in doing his Father’s will (Luke 2:49).
“I delight to do thy will, O my God! Yea, thy law is within my heart!”
6. His pleasure is the salvation of his people (Heb. 12:2).
7. His pleasure is the glory of God his Father (John 12:28).
Though to the natural man there was nothing pleasant at all about the life of Christ, he calls it pleasant, and by example shows us the way of pleasantness.
II. Secondly, I want to talk to you for a minute or two about The Pleasures of The Fool.
A fool, by definition, is “a person lacking wisdom, understanding or common sense.” None of us likes to be called fool, or caught acting like a fool. But some of you are obvious fools. You may get angry with me for saying it, but your own conscience bears witness that the accusation is true. Is he not a fool who chooses that which is temporal above that which is eternal?
The fool’s pleasures are false pleasures. I do not say that they are always, in and of themselves, sinful pleasures. They may be perfectly legitimate pleasures. But if your pleasures are merely the temporal pleasures of this world, they are the pleasures of the fool.
NOTE: I want to be sure you understand me. Pleasure is not sinful. I could almost agree with Martin Luther, who said, “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.” There’s nothing wrong with pleasure. But the pleasures of this world are the pleasures of fools.
If you are without Christ, an unbeliever, all the pleasure you seek and enjoy are the pleasures of a fool! Those are strong words. But they are exactly true.
A. The Pleasures of the World are Never Satisfying.
They pretend to satisfy. When satan tempts you to some wicked pursuit of pleasure, he whispers, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (Pro. 9:17). But when you actually taste the stolen waters and eat the bread of wickedness, you discover otherwise. “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and of that mirth is heaviness” (Pro. 14:13).
Even in your pleasure there is heaviness. Though there is a smite on your lips, there is a cloud of sorrow in your soul and heaviness in your heart. So I speak the truth? I know whereof I speak – “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again!” (John 4:13) – (Eccles. 2:1-11).
As long as you are without Christ, as long as you remain unconverted, impenitent, with eternal hell beneath your feet, this will be your case – “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness!”
B. The Pleasures of this World, at best, are Very Brief – (Eccl. 7:6).
Your days and years upon this little ball of clay we call “earth” is very brief, just the tick of a clock, compared with eternity. All the joy and pleasure some of you will even have is here – Beyond this life nothing awaits you but hell! And there is no pleasure in hell!
Moses found out, by the teaching of God’s Spirit, that the pleasure of sin are only for a season. He chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:25-26).
You who choose to live without Christ do have pleasure, I grant; but it is only for a season! Your pleasures may seem to be a brilliant blaze, but the blaze quickly dies. “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool!”
· Laugh on, if you will!
· Live on without Christ if you dare!
· Your pleasure will soon be over!
C. The Pleasures of this World will be Ended Suddenly, Without Warning – (Ps. 73:18).
Illustration: The Rich Fool – Luke 12:16-21
D. Your Pleasures Today will be Your Tormenters in Eternity.
God will bring you into judgment for every pleasure you have chosen in preference to Christ (Eccles. 11:9).
Do you really imagine that God will not bring you into judgment for your willful, deliberate…
· Contempt of Christ?
· Contempt for the Blood?
· Contempt for His Righteousness?
· Contempt of His Grace?
Is it not contempt of Christ to find your pleasure away from him? The pleasures of this world are the pleasures of the fool!
· The Rich Man in the Parable was a Fool!
· The Rich Young Ruler was a Fool?
· All who choose the World and Despise Christ are Fools.
III. Now, let me talk to you about true pleasure, The Pleasure of The Believer.
As it was with Christ, so it is with all who follow him. Every believer has his peculiar sorrows, sorrows the world knows nothing of; yet, you have a pleasantness possessing your souls that the world cannot understand. You can and do say, with your Lord, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places: yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Ps. 16:6). You who follow Christ in the way will bear me record, will you not? – “His ways are ways of plesantness; and all his paths are peace!” (Pro. 3:17).
A. You have received The Atonement (Rom. 5:11).
Christ died for you and redeemed you from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).
B. You have obtained Free Justification (Lk. 18:9-14).
Looking to Christ as your only, all-sufficient Savior, the propitiation for your sins, God declares to you that you are now justified and righteous in his sight.
C. You have The Forgiveness of Sin (Matt. 9:2; Ps. 103:12).
This is happiness! This is the first sip of the cup of eternal bliss! This is peace!
D. You have your storms; but Christ Comes to You In Your Storms (Matt. 14:24-27).
· You have his Presence! “Lo, I am with you!”
· You have his Promise! “I will never leave thee!”
· You have his Protection! – “He that keepeth Israel…!
E. You have His Grace to meet your every need.
Did he not say, “My grace is sufficient for thee?” This is true pleasure. His grace is sufficient. His ways are indeed “Ways of pleasantness!”
F. The believer’s pleasures are true pleasures, because they are Eternal Pleasures (Ps. 16:11).
· Proverbs 4:18!
· John 4:14!
· Luke 10:42!
All earthly pleasures may, (indeed must), be taken from us, money, health, family, friends, etc. But if we have embraced the Lamb of God by faith, we have that good part that shall never be taken from us. In Christ we have “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away!” From the depth of my soul, I declare, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places!” “His ways are ways of plesantness, all his paths are peace!”
1. You and I, who belong to Christ, whose “ways are ways of plesantness,” ought to live pleasant lives.
Whatever we do, we are commanded to do heartily and cheerfully, as unto the Lord.
2. You who choose the pleasures of the world and despise Christ choose folly and despise wisdom. You choose wrath and despise mercy. Your pleasures today will be your misery forever.