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Proverbs 2:13 (Mini Sermon)

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13. Pro 2:13 - "Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;"
A. In this verse and the following two, we are given a vivid description of evil men.
B. Who leave the paths of uprightness
i. Notice first of all that evil men leave the paths of uprightness.
ii. The fact that they leave the upright paths means that they were once walking them.
iii. Uprightness n. - The state or condition of being sincere, honest, or just; equity or justness in respect of principle or practice; upright quality or conduct; moral integrity or rectitude.
iv. As was noted in Proverbs 2:8, paths are courses of action or procedure, lines of conduct, ways of behavior.
a. Putting it together then, paths of uprightness are courses of action and behavior in life that are honest, just, and characterized by moral integrity.
b. These paths direct a man to the strait gate and narrow way "which leadeth unto life" that few find (Mat 7:13-14).
c. Men that walk such paths are good men, or at least appear to be while they tread them.
v. Men who leave the paths of uprightness are either:
a. 1) Righteous men who backslide into sin and veer off of the path, or
b. 2) Wicked men who never had a right to walk them in the first place, but only did so for a time to obtain some personal gain.
c. The Bible speaks of both types of men, warning Christians to take heed to not become the former, and to be careful to avoid the latter.
vi. Scripture gives many sobering examples of regenerate children of God who turned from the way of righteousness, such as:
a. Solomon
(i) God gave Solomon "wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore" (1Ki 4:29).
(ii) Yet when Solomon was old "his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God" (1Ki 11:4).
b. Israel
(i) God delivered Israel out of Egypt and they "by faith...passed through the Red sea as by dry land" (Heb 11:29).
(ii) Yet they died in the wilderness because of their sin, rebellion, and unbelief (1Co 10:5-10; Heb 3:17-19).
c. Examples like these should make us all be not highminded lest we also fall (Rom 11:20; 1Co 10:12; Pro 16:18).
vii. Scripture also gives examples of wicked men who will for a time company with the saints on the paths of uprightness in an effort to infiltrate the church to destroy it, or to hide their sin under the cloak of religion.
a. The Pharisees, who were of their father the devil (Joh 8:44), crept into churches as "false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out [their] liberty which [they] [had] in Christ Jesus, that they might bring [them] into bondage" (Gal 2:4).
b. Jude warned of "certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jud 1:4).
c. These wolves in sheep's clothing (Mat 7:15) will for a while appear to be walking the paths of uprightness, being "ministers of righteousness" (2Co 11:15), and will "by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom 16:18).
viii. The Bible teaches us how to avoid both types of men.
a. Whether the man is an unregenerate reprobate who crept into the church to lead others astray, or whether he is a child of God fallen into sin and gone out of the way, wisdom given by God through His word will deliver us from him (Pro 2:10-13).
b. Wisdom teaches us to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1Jo 4:1).
c. Wisdom tells us to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1Th 5:21).
d. We must do so by measuring every man's words by the scripture to see what manner of man he is (Isa 8:20).
e. The key to not being led away by the wicked is continuing to grow in the knowledge of Christ (2Pe 3:17-18).
C. To walk in the ways of darkness
i. There is no middle ground: a man is either on the narrow way that leads to life or the broad way that leads to destruction (Mat 7:13-14).
a. Those who leave the paths of uprightness don't depart them to wander the roads of spiritual neutrality, but they rather do so to walk in the ways of darkness.
b. To walk in darkness is to follow the devil who is the prince of "the darkness of this world" (Eph 6:12).
c. If a Christian is to avoid walking in the ways of darkness, he must follow close behind the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 8:12; Joh 12:46).
ii. Christians must reprove and avoid those who walk in the ways of darkness, not maintain fellowship with them.
a. Evil communications corrupt good manners (1Co 15:33).
b. We must cast off the works of darkness (Rom 13:12; Eph 5:8).
c. We must not be unequally yoked with sinners who walk in darkness (2Co 6:14; Eph 5:11).