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Apr 22, 2018

Wisdom is for the Weakened

Wisdom is for the Weakened

Passage: Proverbs 14:21

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Proverbs, Searching for Wisdom

When Jesus tell his disciples,“The poor you will always have with you,” was he being merely cynical in his estimation that no society would ever finally be rid of poverty? Or was he helping them both to grapple with the inevitability of some who would be destitute, and also to prepare them for being present to such as part of what it means to follow Him? In conjunction with this Sunday’s Local Outreach Fair, we’ll listen to what wisdom the Proverbs offers in why and how we can be present to those whose variety of needs invite our concern.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Proverbs 14:21b (ESV)
Call To Worship: Exodus 15:1a, 2 (ESV)
Sermon Title: Wisdom is for the Weakened
Central Text: various Proverbs. Please see below.
Confession of Sin: James 2:14-17
Assurance of Pardon: Titus 2:11-14
Response: Communion
Benediction: Hebrews 10:24-25

04.22.18 Lyrics

04.22.18 Sermon Slides


Pre-Service Text: Proverbs 14:21b (ESV)
. . . blessed is he who is generous to the poor. 

Call To Worship: Exodus 15:1a, 2 (ESV)
LEADER: 15 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

ALL: 2 The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Central Texts: Various Proverbs

Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will repay him for his deed.

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered.

The rich and the poor meet together;
the LORD is the maker of them all.

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.

Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate,
for the LORD will plead their cause
and rob of life those who rob them.
(22:22, 23)

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established forever.
(29:13, 14)

Confession of Sin: James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Assurance of Pardon: Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Benediction: Hebrews 10:24-25
LEADER: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
ALL: but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Post-Service Text: Proverbs 14:21b (ESV)
. . . blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

Related Scriptures:

  • Deuteronomy 15:7-11
  • Job 31:13-15
  • Psalm 146:5-9
  • Isaiah 58:6-8
  • Luke 2:14, 3:11
  • James 2:14-17

Discussion Questions:

  1. What’s your first thought or feeling when you consider the so-called “poor”? What, if any, hesitancies do you have in thinking of care for the poor?
  2. What truths do these several Proverbs on care for the poor surface? What’s one implication you see for yourself, our church?
  3. How does the Gospel speak to our whatever sense of difference we feel from those who are associated with poverty? How does it speak to our sense of responsibility to them, and to our capacity to be present to them?


  • A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members. - Gandhi
  • If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next… It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. - C.S. Lewis
  • More than ensuring that people have enough material things, [care for the poor] includes the harder task of empowering people to earn what they need through their own labor. - Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, When Helping Hurts
  • If you look down at the poor or stay aloof from their suffering, you have not really understood or experienced God's grace. . . If the church does not identify with the marginalized, it will itself be marginalized. That is God's poetic justice. - Tim Keller
  • It is better to give to several that are not objects of charity, than to send away empty one that is. - Jonathan Edwards 

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