RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED. The Choice Is Ours. Righteous or Wicked?

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1 RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED The Choice Is Ours Throughout the Scriptures we see men grouped into one of these categories. There is no middle ground between the two. Either a man is righteous or he is wicked. This goes against modern man s idea that there are no absolutes. Man sees lots of grey areas when it comes to morality. God sees no such grey areas 1

2 The principles of what makes one righteous or wicked are easy to understand. Obedience to God makes us righteous disobedience makes us wicked. Ro 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? God has always allowed man to choose for himself whether he will be righteous or wicked. To those who chose righteousness, blessings were always promised. Maybe not always in this life but always in the life to come. To those who chose to be wicked, punishment was always promised. Maybe not always in this life but always in the life to come. 2

3 Listen to what God told the Israelites as they were about to enter the land of promise. De 28:1 "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God He then goes on for the next 11 verses naming off all of the good blessings they would enjoy for obedience. After this He tells them what will happen if they disobey. De 28:15 "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: 3

4 For the next 52 verses God lists off the curses he would bring on them for disobedience. The same is true under the Law of Christ. Blessings to those who are obedient (the righteous) and curses upon the disobedient (the wicked). Ro 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 4

5 Psalms 1 The great distinction between the righteous and the wicked is brought out in Psalms 1 Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. Psalms 1 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 5

6 Psalms 1 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. Do we want to be Righteous? Then we should develop the characteristics of the righteous man David just described. Vs 1 says Blessed is the man Blessed is from the Hebrew word esher meaning how happy The Righteous Are Happy We need to ask ourselves, am I happy? A servant of God should be happy. Ps 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Pr 16:20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. 6

7 The Righteous Are Happy Pr 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. The servant of God is not only happy when things are going good but he is also happy while enduring persecution because he is a follower of God. 1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled The Righteous Are Happy 1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. What a great example of happiness we have in the apostles. After being called before the council for the second time for preaching the gospel, they were commanded not teach in the name of Jesus any more. 7

8 The Righteous Are Happy Ac 5:40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. After being beaten for the cause of Christ they were happy. The follower of God is happy. Am I happy? The next thing we learn from Psalms 1 about the righteous man is. He walks not in the counsel of the ungodly He does not follow the advice of the wicked in matters of right and wrong. This was the problem that Eve had. She listened to the advice of the wicked (satan) 8

9 Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 9

10 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. She had all the information in front of her. The command of God and the Lie of the Devil. She chose to follow the counsel of the ungodly Another famous example of someone following the advice or counsel of the wicked is Jeroboam. God made great promises to Jeroboam if he would only obey Him. 1Ki 11:29 Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. 10

11 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you 32 '(but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 33 'because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. 11

12 34 'However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. 35 'But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and give it to you-ten tribes. 36 'And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. 37 'So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 12

13 38 'Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. Jeroboam must have been a good man at this time. Even Solomon saw good qualities in him and put him into a position of authority before this time. God must have seen good things in him or I do not believe He would have given him this opportunity. God promised to build him an enduring kingdom like David s if he would only obey. Sadly Jeroboam did not believe. He doubted what he was told by God. Because of this he followed the advice of the wicked. 13

14 Listen to what Jeroboam does once he became king. 1Ki 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: 27 "If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah. Jeroboam thought if the people continued to go to the temple in Jerusalem to worship then they would eventually want Rehoboam son of Solomon to be their King again. 14

15 Instead of believing God he sought the advice of wicked men and they devised one of the most wicked plans in history. 1Ki 12:28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" 29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. He told the people it was to much trouble to do things God s way. He made two idols, golden calves, and told them these are the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt. It is amazing how many times human beings repeat the mistakes made in the past. This is what the Israelites did at the foot of mount Sinai while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law from God. 15

16 Ex 32:7 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!' This was a part of their history that they knew very well and now because of wicked advice Jeroboam is doing the same thing all over again. This sin had devastating effects 1Ki 12:30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 1Ki 13:34 And this thing was the sin of the house of Jeroboam, so as to exterminate and destroy it from the face of the earth. 16

17 The righteous will follow the counsel of God and not the counsel of the wicked. Whose counsel are we following. Remember there is no middle ground. We are either following God s word or we are not. If we aren t then we are following the counsel of the wicked. RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED The Choice Is Ours 17

18 In our last lesson, we asked the question Will I choose to be God has left this decision to us. We determined the righteous will obey the commands of God The wicked will not obey the commands of God. We also saw God has promised good things to the Righteous and bad things to the wicked Common sense would dictate that we would want to be righteous. To help us better understand how to be a righteous person we began a study in Psalms 1 in order to see how David describes him. Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 18

19 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. We ve already discussed that the Righteous man is Blessed or Very Happy He will be happy even in the face of persecution. 19

20 David also says the righteous man will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. He will not follow the advice of the wicked in matters of right and wrong Instead he will look to God to direct his paths Ps 73:24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. The next thing we see about the Righteous man is that he does not stand in the path of sinners. Stand comes from the Hebrew word amad which means to tarry, delay or remain Path comes from the Hebrew word Derek which means course of life. The righteous man will avoid the way of life of the wicked and when this wicked way of life presents itself he will flee from it. 20

21 One of the best examples of a righteous man not tarrying in the ways of the wicked is Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. When Joseph arrived in Egypt he was sold to a man named Potiphar. Potiphar recognized that God was with Joseph and put him in charge of his entire household. It was not long before problems arose for Joseph. Ge 39:7 And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." 8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 21

22 9 "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. 11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. Joseph didn t hang around and toy with sin. He fled! 22

23 The Apostle Paul warns Christians not to stand or linger in the paths of the ungodly. Instead like Joseph we should flee from sin. 1Co 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1Co 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1Ti 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. If we have made the decision that we want to be righteous like the man in Psalms 1 then we don t need to stand in the paths of sinners. When sin presents itself we need to flee from it in the direction of those things that lead to righteousness. 23

24 David also says the righteous man will not sit in the seat of the scornful Websters defines scornful as one who shows contempt. The ASV and RSV translate scornful as scoffer which is defined as: to show contempt by derisive acts or language The scornful do not have the proper respect for God or His law. What makes this sin even worse is sitting in the seat of the scornful. Some commentators believe this word seat carries with it the idea of a teacher. A person of authority. Remember what Jesus said about the Scribes and Pharisees. Mt 23:2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. They were supposed to be teachers of the Law of Moses 24

25 Those who sit in the seat of the scornful would be those who teach others a contempt for God and His law. This describes more than just the atheist or the devil worshipper. I believe this would apply to anyone who does not show proper respect for God by teaching mans thought and ideas instead of God s Law. Anytime man thinks his ways are better than God s ways we are showing contempt for God. All of these showed contempt for God by the things they said or did Cain by his offering Balaam by his greed and by teaching Balak to get the Israelites involved in sin Jeroboam with his altar and golden calves King Uzziah when he tried to burn incense in the temple The Scribes and Pharisees by teaching the traditions of men. 25

26 Mt 15:1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." 3 He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? Mt 15:4 "For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5 "But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" -- 6 'then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 26

27 Mt 15:7 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' If we want to be righteous like the man David describes we certainly don t want to become involved in teaching others to show contempt for God! One final thing we will notice this morning about Psalms 1:1 is the progression of sin. If we begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. It won t be too long until we are standing in the way of sinners. And eventually we will be sitting in the seat of the scornful. 27

28 Let s look at drugs for an example. Our friends may tell us this is great stuff, you have got to try it, everybody does it If we even entertain the idea of using them then we are listening to the counsel of the ungodly. If we continue to listen we will develop a desire to try those things and it won t be long before we do. Once we try it then it will be easier to do it again. We are now standing in the path of the wicked. If we continue to stand in the path of the wicked by continuing to use the drug then it will not be long before we are encouraging others to do it with us. We are then sitting in the seat of the scornful. This is a path of progression that many a person has followed to their own destruction. 28

29 Conclusion If we have made the decision to be righteous then these are three things that we must avoid. These sins may appear to bring pleasure to some here in this life but the pleasure is fleeting and the cost is too high. Lets all take the advice of the Apostle Paul and flee from such things and pursue righteousness. 29

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