John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 4) “Bad company corrupts…”

Over and over in Proverbs you hear the words “fear the Lord.” In fact, some of he references are Proverbs 1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10;14:26,27; 15:16 and many more. Below is a sermon by John MacArthur from the Book of Luke on 3 reasons we should fear the Lord. (I have posted John MacArthur’s amazing sermon on the fulfillment of Old Testament scripture before on my blog.)

PART 4

Today the subject is very simple: BE WISE IN SELECTING YOUR COMPANIONS.

We have been members of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock since 1997 and during that time Dennis Rainey had taught a six grade Sunday School Class that has had a big impact on lots of kids at Fellowship. I actually had the opportunity to be a teacher in the 6th grade when Wilson took this same course and it was a very powerful illustration that demonstrated how bad company corrupts good morals that many students still remember. We taught the course the way that Dennis had written it.  Here are the exact words of Dennis Rainey:

Outside the guidance we continue to have at home, nothing will influence our children as much as the choice of their friends. The Bible speaks pointedly about the power of the people we spend time. Paul wrote: “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals'” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

The opposite is also true: Good company guards against the development of bad habits. Many parents are so afraid of peer pressure they seldom use “good” peer pressure to their advantage.

For years I taught a sixth-grade Sunday school class, and one of the highlights was the “bad apples” demonstration. Surprisingly, most youth today have not heard the old saying, “One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.”

On a Sunday morning early in the nine-month class, I would bring some apples. I called them my “buddies.” I usually had one beautiful, shiny red apple and a couple others that looked nice but had at least one bruise.

“These two apples with the bruises represent a couple of buddies you should not spend time with in junior high,” I would say. “They have a dark side to them, a compromised area of their lives. This good apple represents you, a good Christian teenager. The good apple sees no problem with the bruised apples. He says to himself, these are my buddies. They wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. They’re not that bad.”

Then I’d put the apples together in a plastic bag and say, “These three apples are going to become close buddies for a few months. I’ll put them in a closet, and we’ll check on them in a few months at the end of the class and see what happens to the good apple.”

In the last class of the year, I would read 1 Corinthians 15:33 and then invite a member of the class to come up and pull the plastic bag out of a paper sack.

It never failed—the two bad buddies had really made an impact on the good apple. The identity of all three apples had been lost; the bag now contained discolored, mushy apple soup. This lesson demonstrated how bad company can corrupt and even consume the best young Christian.

____________

John MacArthur

I remember hearing Dr. Adrian Rogers say that if he had to do it over again he would read from Proverbs every day to his kids. They turned out to be great kids and they were raised right. Nevertheless, if he had to do it over again he thought a more emphasis on Proverbs is the way to go. That is why I am spending so much time in Proverbs with my kids today.

John MacArthur does a great job on Proverbs and here is a portion of his sermon on Proverbs.

There’s a fourth principle and this must be taught as well…and very very important. A father must teach his son…select your companions…select your companions. You get on the offensive. A father has the responsibility to teach his children how to choose their friends. What did the Apostle Paul say? Bad company corrupts…what?…good morals. Bad company corrupts good morals. Your children, believe me, cannot rise above their acquaintances. Rarely does a child have the capability to elevate himself beyond the constituent group in which he functions. You have to select and help him learn to select companions and not let them select him.

Go back to chapter 1 for a moment, I’ll give you an illustration of it. Verse 10, a father would say to his son, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” In other words, don’t get sucked in to the gang. If they say, and they appeal on the basis of excitement and adventure and a thrill, if they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us ambush the innocence without cause, let us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole as those who go down to the pit.” Let’s kill somebody and we’ll find all kinds of precious wealth and fill our houses with gold, throw in your lot with us and we’ll all have one purse. Here’s the gang appealing to the kid. And the gang comes along and sucks up one other person for their own wicked purposes.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, this kind of action, for one fleeting moment of pleasure wicked men are willing to take a life or inflict life‑long trauma on someone pointless, senseless, gang‑violence, like those members of that gang that shot Stacy Limb last week with a 357 Magnum because they wanted to take the wheels off her car. It’s an unthinkable thing that people will do for a thrill. And they want to suck the innocent and the naive and the unwitting in to that. Think about that little boy a week ago in the news who wouldn’t take dope with his friends in New York City, so they set him on fire. The enticements can be pretty strong. Fathers, we have a tremendous task. You may not live in an inner city ghetto like New York, or East Los Angeles, but I’ll tell you what, there is tremendous peer pressure coming upon your sons to conform to a standard of conduct that is the standard of conduct of the people around them. You must teach them to select their companions and not be selected and then intimidated into that kind of alliance.

The whole appeal here is to the father to fulfill his responsibility. In chapter 2 verse 11 the father has to teach his son how to be delivered from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things. You don’t want to be around those kinds of people. From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, you want to make sure your children aren’t around those kinds of people who delight in doing evil and rejoice in the perversity of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. Don’t let your sons around those kinds of people. You instruct them how to choose their companions, those who lift them up.

Proverbs 18:24 is kind of an interesting verse just jumping outside of our ten chapter fence a little bit. Proverbs 18:24 at first reading looks a little hard to understand in English, “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It’s kind of an interesting verse in the Hebrew. It says a man of many rea comes to ruin, but there is a aheb who sticks closer than a brother. It’s two different words for friend. A man who just wants a lot of acquaintances, who wants to be everybody’s buddy is going to be in trouble. Better you should have a deep friend, an aheb, a loving friend who is loyal and honest and uplifting and holds you accountable, who lifts you up. Better a few of the right kind of friendships than a lot of the wrong kind. Fathers, you have the responsibility to God for the process of your children learning how to choose their companions. This is a father’s duty…son, fear your God, guard your mind, obey your parents, select your companions.

___________

WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN? (I CORINTHIANS 15:33)

33 Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.

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Comments

  • MWANDHA BALAAM  On March 1, 2015 at 2:37 am

    We should be wise in selecting our companions Proverbs 18:24

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