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Image and character - Proverbs 27:2

This is a sermon by Melvin Tinker from the evening service on 20th May 2018.

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Image and Character

Proverbs

 

Style and self-advertising: when looking good takes precedence over being good.

  • The seduction of style

Diana Vreeland and Madonna - when identity merges into image. 

 

Style is changeable and changing, fashionable and fleeting. The importance of image to the task of impressing.

 

The dangers: Proverbs 11:22, ‘Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.’ -‘Tantrums and Tiaras’.

 

Don’t be taken in by appearance. Proverbs 31:31 says, ‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 

Application to the church:

 

  • If the church is preoccupied with image then this will undermine the communication of truth itself.
  • The target of religious hypocrisy.

Don’t let the concern for having the image of a Christian become a poor substitute for the reality of being a Christian.

  • The commendation of character

Character is the inner core of a person - linked to the heart, Proverbs 4:23. 

  • The excellence of virtues and the subjectivity of values.

We are to conform our lives to that moral world. Christians are meant to be truth seekers not truth twisters.

  • The life centred on ‘fearing the Lord’ will mean what he thinks will matter most and what he says never changes. The ‘audience of One’.

This was the approach of the Puritans whose ‘inner directed’ world acted as an inner compass set by God’s Word. This contrasts with the ‘outer directed’ world of today which is constantly changing. 

  • Character impacts community

In terms of our witness: Proverbs 22:1.

 

In terms of our legacy: Proverbs 10:17. There are worse things than death. ‘O let me never, never/ outlive my love for thee.’

 

The example of General Gordon: ‘What at once and always struck me was the way in which his oneness with God ruled all his actions, and his mode of seeing things. I never knew one who seemed to live with God and for God.’ 

 ‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives’.

Seek a godly character.

 

Questions

  • How important is your image? Does this conform or conflict with what the Bible says?
  • How does doing things for ‘the audience of One’ liberate?
  • What legacy are you hoping to leave?
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