Sermon

A Wise Father’s Teaching (Proverbs 4)

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On Father’s Day, we honor fathers by listening to a wise father’s teaching. A wise father’s instructions are “life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body” (22). He says:

Guard Your Heart (23)

The wise father tells his children to guard their heart. Notice that we are not told to follow your heart or listen to your heart. We are told to guard your heart. Paul Tripp defines the heart as “the casual core of your personhood. It’s the seat of your thoughts, emotions, desires, and motivations.” The only way to guard your heart is to surrender it to Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that “the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. The heart is the source of life and what you do flows from who you are. We need God to create in us a clean heart (Psalm 51) so that we can be pure in heart (Matt 5).

Guard Your Mouth (24)

The wise father tells his children to guard their mouth. The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is simply not true. Words can lift up and they can tear down. The only way to guard your mouth is to surrender it to Christ. David prayed: “LORD, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). We must not speak deviously, but “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess 5:11).

Guard Your Eyes (25)

The wise father tells his children to guard their eyes. Our eyes are valuable but easily deceived. Our eyes look upon the outward appearance and must be guarded. The only way to guard your eyes is to surrender them to Christ. “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways” (Psalm 119:37). We must be “keeping our eyes on Jesus” (Heb 12:2).

Guard Your Feet (26-27)

The wise father tells his children to “carefully consider the path for your feet.” Be careful to “keep your feet away from evil.” Proverbs 7:22 speaks of a foolish man following “impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter.” The only way to guard your feet is to surrender them to Christ. We are told to carefully consider the path for our feet. Follow the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23).