Class 35: “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” / “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette” (Part 5)
Today, we are continuing our study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” and “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette.”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Coleman Young. He said, “Thinking your way through your problem is better than wishing your way through.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
Eighth, the educated man exudes an inexplicable quiet confidence about himself. He is not loud, boisterous or arrogant. But you somehow get the feeling that he knows what he is doing. He normally does not say much, but you somehow sense that if he does say something, it would be more important and weighty than what most people have to say.
Ninth, the educated man is not a perfect man, but he strives to be a moral man. He has a strong sense of what is right and wrong. And it is his aim to do the right thing. Because of this, he normally finds favor in the sight of God and man.
Finally, another mark of an educated man is that he understands etiquette and protocol. In other words, not only is he smart; he knows how to look smart as well. He knows what to say in different settings. He knows how to act at a backyard barbecue as well as at a stately dinner. He dresses and acts appropriately on any given occasion.
Dear Y.B.M., I strongly suggest that you strive to be this kind of man.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Notice what the Bible says about confidence.
1. Psalm 27:3-4: “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
The Christian knows where he will ultimately reside — in the presence of the Lord, in Heaven. Thus, nothing on this earth can be threatening enough to shake his confidence. The battle between good and evil has already been fought and won. The follower of Jesus Christ is on the side of the victor, and therefore, has no need to ever fear or feel ashamed.
2. 1 John 2:28: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
There is a sure confidence that results from knowing your life is not futile. A Christian realizes that he was bought with a price, and his life is incredibly significant in the eyes of the Lord. This demonstration of love and acceptance brings with it a bold willingness to live for purposes much greater than your own.
The truly educated man knows that this life does not end here on earth. He realizes that we are living for much greater purposes, and thus, he lives with an eternal mindset. He does not get carried away with making a huge salary, having a high social status, or attaining much power. Rather, he attempts to know Christ better and make Him known, for time is limited. So, when the Lord returns, as He has promised He will, there is no need for the wise believer to worry. His eternity is sealed, and his life was not wasted on temporal efforts.
Although he is not perfect, an educated man strives to live a moral life. Notice what these verses say about that kind of lifestyle.
1. Psalm 5:12: “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
The Lord’s favor is an indescribable thing. It provides strength, comfort, assurance, and love. This verse claims that those who are righteous, or live uprightly, will inherit the favor of God. Such a treasure far surpasses anything this world could ever offer. It is better to live righteously and have the Lord’s blessings.
2. Matthew 5:20: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
The Pharisees were big talkers and small doers. They said all of the right things and appeared to have it all together. However, their hearts were far from the Lord. They rejected the widows and orphans and epitomized the meaning of hypocrisy. In order for you to enter the kingdom of heaven you must be different. Just talking about morality is not enough. Your life must actually reflect purity and devotion to Christ. Talk that is not backed up by action is simply hot air.
Now, just do it.
Go online or go to a bookstore and purchase one of the books on etiquette recommended in Letter 14. Read it all the way through.
Also, think of an upcoming event in your life — a wedding, dinner in a public restaurant, a business meeting, meeting someone for the first time, etc. Once you settle on an event, go to EmilyPost.com and read up on how you should act in that setting. Practice what you learn.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.