Words Of Truth
"That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth..." (Proverbs 22:21).
Is It Lawful To Make Future Plans?
Outline by Brian A. Yeager
A. We are told not to boast of tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1).
1. All such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16). *Since some I know of struggle with understanding this text, consider these things...
a. Who was James writing to (James 1:1; cf. Exodus 39:14)?
b. Since it was written to Jewish Christians, consider how THEY might have to learn that time is not guaranteed because of certain truths they learned from the Law of Moses (i.e. Deuteronomy 4:40 and II Samuel 7:1-17).
c. Thus, the need to write such and teach such doesn’t directly apply to those who understand the earth will perish (Matthew 24:35-36).
2. Back to our point… Plans can fail and we know that (i.e. Romans 1:13).
3. Regarding life on earth, our Heavenly Father decides if tomorrow comes (II Peter 3:1-10).
4. We also know the reality of death (Psalms 89:48).
5. To think that God controls everything [often inferred in many contexts of “Lord willing” statements] is false (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12).
B. Those things being said, we are also taught to use our time in this life wisely (Ecclesiastes 9:10, Ephesians 5:14-17, and Colossians 4:5).
1. How do you live as there may not be a tomorrow while also not being foolish in providing for a tomorrow in case it comes (i.e. I Timothy 5:8)?
2. How many Scriptures make no sense if you should never make plans for a possible future (Proverbs 6:6-11, Titus 1:5-9, II Peter 3:18, etc., etc., etc.).
II. Body: It Is Very Unreasonable To Conclude That You Should Never Make Plans (Luke 14:28-31).
A. For us to do anything, it must be authorized by the Lord (Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 3:17, I Thessalonians 5:21, and II Timothy 3:15-17).
1. Meaning such words or actions must be lawful, expedient, edifying, and to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:23 and I Corinthians 10:31).
2. We must find direct commands (John 14:21-24), approved examples to follow (I Corinthians 11:1), or inescapable conclusions (Hebrews 7:12) to authorize our actions.
B. Yes, we have authority to plan for the future...
1. … Instructions that require us to make future plans (Matthew 18:15-17, II Corinthians 9:6-7, I Timothy 6:17-19, etc.).
2. … Acceptable examples of planning for the future (Acts 18:20-21, Acts 19:21, Acts 20:16, I Corinthians 16:5-11, II Corinthians 8:16-24, Philippians 2:19, etc.).
a. For the sake of clarity, when Paul SOMETIMES said “if God will” or such the like, how that applied to him does NOT apply to anyone today (Acts 16:1-10).
b. Before we plan something, WE should KNOW in advance that our plan is according to God’s will (Ephesians 5:10 and I John 3:22).
3. … Sure implications that approve future planning (Colossians 1:23, Hebrews 3:13-14, II Peter 1:3-11, etc.).
C. Some additional thoughts to consider...
1. We may make plans without saying “Lord willing” or fearing violation of James 4:13-16 if we are lawfully doing so (i.e. II Corinthians 12:14, II Corinthians 13:1-2, and III John 1:5-14).
2. Some Scriptures that once had certain meaning (i.e. Proverbs 13:22; cf. I Chronicles 28:8) do not have such under the N.T. (Luke 12:13-21).
3. A person is NOT a liar if he or she plans something and get hindered from doing the plan (I Thessalonians 2:17-18) OR has a change of mind (II Corinthians 1:13-23).
III. Conclusion: You don’t own tomorrow, but you should be prepared if it does come (Proverbs 21:20).
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© 2017 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager