A High View Of God

Psalm 5[a

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.

Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to You I pray.

3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;

    You destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.

7 But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies.

10 Declare them guilty, O God!
    Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Introduction

In the Parable of the STEWARDS, those to whom their master entrusted money, the third servant has a low view of his master. Let’s pick up the story in Matthew 25…

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

2“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

As you can see, the servant had a very low view of his master. Some folks have a low view of God but David was not among them…King David a lofty view of God. What David believed about God affected his life. It stands to reason that God is going to bless, to favor those who have a high view of HIM.

Although David was the king of Israel, he knew God was the KING of kings, the Holy and Righteous One who inhabits eternity. David knew that the Almighty was his Strength, his Rock, his Shield, his Strong Deliver. David was never defeated in battle and he knew that this was God’s doing.

Transition: note first of all

1. David’s Communion

1 Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.

Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to You I pray.

3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

David was not a perfect man but he was a passionate man and he had a strong habit of prayer. David knew when to pray…before the day’s activities begin. A king’s life is full of decisions and some are hard. David wanted God’s help, His divine intervention, His guidance, His wisdom. David knew that in his own strength, he would surely fail.

It is sad that his son and most of his descendants never came to realize this truth…David’s sons and grandsons were not as devoted to prayer as was He. They didn’t understand this basic truth: The arm of flesh will fail you–we dare not trust in our own strength.

2. DAVIDS CONVICTION

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;
    You destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.

The Hebrew word of “Wickedness,” is resha` and it means a perverted righteousness. The wicked are they who twist God’s law. They twist and pervert it to meet their own desires and purposes. The wicked are they who use their own devices to get what they want whether it be money or power or the destruction of a rival. Wickedness is the opposite of righteousness. Thus the wicked are enemies of righteousness.

Evil is the Hebrew word raand it means bad, disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant, one who causes pain, unhappiness, misery to others, displeasing, worse than, unhappy, unkind (vicious in disposition).

The third word that we need to understand is translated “do wrong” in the NIV. The AV reads “Workers of iniquity”…The ESV and Holman reads “evil doers” which is the preferred translation for Calvinist.

Let’s list David’s conviction…

  • God is not pleased with wickedness
  • Evil people cannot approach Him
  • The arrogant cannot stand in His Presence
  • God hates all who do wrong or evil.
  • God detest those who thirst for blood and deceitfulness.

The only one that creates a problem for Christians is number 4, GOD HATES ALL WHO DO WRONG OR EVIL.

  • Technically, this would mean God hates us all because all have sinned and sin is evil. Does God hate both the sin and the sinner?
  • Jesus said in John 3:16 that God loves the entire world. We interpret everything through the lens of Christ who taught us to LOVE OUR ENEMIES, not hate them.
  • The Calvinist thing we evangelicals are wimpy at this point: They see God as an angry vengeful God who takes delight in the destruction or death of the wicked.
  • Make no mistake about it: there is coming a day when God’s wrath in full measure will be poured out on all who reject Christ but the bible makes it very clear that Christ died for sinners, those who do evil.

3. DAVID’S CONSECRATION

 7But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.

The Hebrew word checed here translated ‘love’, translated ‘lovingkindness’ in NASB is one of those words that Barclay says in untranslatable. It could be translated ‘merciful kindness’ or ‘undeserved favor.’ It is clear that David understands that God will show mercy to those who humble themselves before HIM which is exactly what he is doing. David BOWS and BESEECHES. His hearts desire is to obey the LORD, to follow His guidance.

4. DAVID’S CENSURE

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies.

10 Declare them guilty, O God!
    Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

Paul quotes David from selected Psalms in Romans 3…
There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

All are condemned a part from Christ because all have sinned. The Jewish Religious leaders did not view themselves as sinners, nor would they refer to themselves as wicked or evil but Jesus did…look at Matthew 23 for instance. Only Christ makes us RIGHTEOUS before God.

David is right in that NO REBEL HAS A FUTURE. You cannot rebel against God and hope to prevail. Sin by nature is destructive, Christ came to save us from its destructive power. Once a man determines to do things his own way, a part from Gods mercy, he seals his own fate. Sin will destroy him.

5. DAVID’S CELEBRATION

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

We cannot rejoice over evil, bloodshed, crime, war and all the things that are produced from man’s rebellion against God but we can rejoice that in CHRIST JESUS we have a shield from this evil that will eventually destroy all who are not in Christ {The ARK of safety}

Blessed Are They Who Hunger

Scripture: Matthew 5:3-6

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Introduction

Again, Jesus speaks in a radically shocking tone: who would ever think that it could be a BLESSING to be hungry or thirsty. But I remind you: THE TRUTHS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH ARE OFTEN STATED IN A PARADOX. [A paradox is a statement that seems to be contradictory but is actually true]

  • We live by dying
  • We get by giving
  • We win by losing [Save your life, you lose it]
  • We are strong when we are weak
  • We rejoice in trials
  • We have nothing yet we have all things

So there seems to be nothing blessed about hunger and thirst…

We need to keep in mind that Jesus was speaking to a middle Eastern crowd. We here in the West, know very little about hunger and thirst. It is radically different on the other side of the world. In America, there is a huge problem with obesity but that is not a problem in Africa, India or most Eastern counties.

Jesus is not talking about physical hunger!

Jesus is saying: You will be blessed if you have an appetite for RIGHTEOUSNESS.

So this HUNGER and THIRST that Jesus refers to could be speaking of at least three things, two other than Jesus. I’m going to save Jesus for last, amen!

I. IT COULD REFER TO RIGHTEOUSNESS IN SOCIETY

We live in a fallen world and that is a fact: there are many societal ills. I would venture to say, America is a great place to live but we are far from perfect. New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill that allows lethal injections to be given to babies right up to the time of birth. In New York, it is illegal to executed a murder. Ironically, their law allows an innocent unborn baby to be executed by lethal injection but they protect criminals who have taken innocent lives. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?

I was listening to Rich and Bubba one morning this week and the left was all up in arms about a photo on a magazine cover of a white man standing in a cotton field with his shot gun. They are screaming “racism.” Are you kidding me, the elites are murdering black babies by the thousands and they are up in arms about a white man standing in a cotton field. The biggest racist in this country are those screaming “racism.” They need to take a trip to Israel if they want to see racism.

Racism is not our major threat: killing babies and condoning sexual perversion will be our undoing. Do you HUNGER AND THIRST FOR SOMEONE TO SET THINGS RIGHT? Do you hunger and thirst for divine justice?

II. JESUS COULD HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHIN

I do worry at times about the EVIL OUT THERE [world] but I worry more about the EVIL in here [my heart]. It is true, I long for Jesus to fix our broken world but I also long for HIM to fix me. Frank Staggs calls this eschatological righteousness. You see, someday, I am going to be righteous and I long for that day.

Jesus is sanctifying me, He is in the process of making me like HIM. When I say like HIM, I mean holy and free of sin. Do you ever get sick and tired of being a ‘fowl up’. Do you get sick of failure, of weakness, insecurity, anxiety, and sin? I do. Folks, I doubt if a days goes by that I don’t think about my sanctification. I know that Jesus is at work in me but how I long to be set free of this body of sin and death.

III. THEN THERE IS THE THIRD THING: ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR MORE JESUS?

One of the wonderful things about this beatitude is the promise. If we hunger and thirst for Jesus, we will be filled. The NASB translates verse 5 like this…
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” The Greek word comes from the root which means “to fodder” which would be feeding livestock. The word fill is not a bad translation because that is literally what the word means but what happens when we get full? We are satisfied!

Now, when it comes to eating, we are satisfied for awhile and then we get hungry again but Jesus is not talking about food, physical food any way. He is talking about HIMSELF.

If you hunger and thirst for more Jesus, you will be satisfied, yet hungry for more. This is what He is talking about, A BLESSED STATE OF HUNGER. You are hungry all the time, you are full all the time, you are blessed all the time because your hunger is for Jesus himself. Steven Arterburn wrote a book, “MORE JESUS, Less Religion.” I love it and that is what we need, more Jesus.

I am not a Greek scholar nor the son of a Greek scholar but William Barclay points out something very interesting about this beatitude. The verb used is in the accusative case rather than the genitive. This means nothing to me and probably nothing to you but Barclay says the case of this verb means Jesus is talking about HUNGERING FOR THE WHOLE THING, not a piece of bread but the whole loaf.

Do you want more Jesus? Do you hunger for all of Jesus?

Conclusion

Hunger and thirst are strong drives. When we get hungry, food is all we think of and when we get really thirsty, water or drink is what we think of. A hungry man will take a cracker over a hundred dollar bill. Esau was so hungry, he traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. Hunger and thirst, from the physical perspective means two things:

Hunger means two things…

It means you are alive. A little baby comes into this world hungry. If you have no appetite, you may be dead and not alive. If you have no spiritual appetite, you are dead.

It means that you are healthy. Often times, sick people, especially those who suffer with cancer, lose their appetite.

Blessed Are The Meek

Scripture: Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.

Introduction

Today we deal with the third beatitude: Blessed are the MEEK but before I address “Meekness,” I want to remind you of a couple of things:

[1] The Beatitudes are sequential not random. There is a progression. We begin with humility [the poor in spirit], then we mourn because of our sin and the sin around us. These are the pillars of our faith–humility and repentance. Then and only then can we become meek. Pride and meekness do not go together; arrogant people are never meek. Those who do not recognize their sin and weakness, cannot be meek.

[2] Jesus said in His conclusion of this sermon, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  The scripture records in verse 7:28,  “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching.” So, it is not enough to be impressed or amazed at what Jesus is saying: He wants us to put this into practice.

Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and we comply without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from our trust in God’s goodness and that He is in control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).

Understand this: MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS. The meek are gentle and they don’t fight over the right of way. They are the folks who move off to the side of the sidewalk so you can pass. At first glance, they seem passive but their are not. They have anger but it is under control. Meek people don’t blow their top, come unglued, go berserk, etc. But this does not mean that they are WEAK. Moses was meek but you would never call him or view him as weak. Jesus was perfectly meek but He was not weak other than when He made Himself weak for oursakes.

The problem in our understanding is not the translation. The AV translated the Greek word prä-ü’s as meek and that is a good translation. The NASB translates it “Gentle” and that is also good. The problem is there no English word that is compatible with the Greek word. T. J. Hunt points out a fascinating truth. While living among the Japanese, he learned their language and he discovered that you can “think” things in Japanese that you cannot think in English. The words “Gentle” and “Meek” are very close but not a perfect match. The word prä-ü’s means strength under control. It is a picture of a domesticated animal under the control of a trainer or master. I always used the draft horse as an example: The draft horse is strong but it is under control. It responds to the rein and to the yea and haw.

What good is a wild horse? Other than to entertain you with their running, bucking, frolicking, what good are they. They have boundless energy but what purpose does it serve. How many of you want to buy a wild horse? They will not come near you or allow you to come near them. They are like some people we know, will not come near a church, don’t want to hear the gospel.

A gentle horse is one you can lay hands on; one you can lead, one you can hook to a plow. This horse makes no decision other than to allow you to lay hands on him. He plows what ever field you choose. He works from sun up to sun down and never complains, kicks or bucks. He is not a fire burst or a flash in the pan but a steady and reliable worker.

I’ve been pastoring churches for 50 years and there are some members you will never get a bridle on. They fear commitment. When they see you coming with a bridle, they breakout. They are not going to allow you to lay hands on them, they are not going to commit. Some of them have boundless energy and amazing gifts but what good do they do?

Transition

I want to say four things about the MEEK:

I. THE MEEK HAVE HEALTHY BALANCE

Aristotle had a fixed method to define virtue: he always found it in the middle of the two extremes. Let me give you an example of his method. When it comes to anger, you have two extremes. On the one extreme, you have the hot head who flies off the handle with the drop of a hat and on the extreme, you have the extremely passive. They are spineless. They never get angry about anything. The virtue is in the middle. We don’t need to get angry about everything but we do need to get angry at times. The bible never teaches us not to be angry: it says, “Be angry and sin not.” So we are commanded to be angry, just not to allow it to become something sinful. Jesus got angry, more than once but he never sinned. I can think of three occasions right off hand:

  • When he healed the man with the deformed hand. He was angry with the Pharisees and Scribes because they were heartless and cruel: they had no compassion.
  • He got angry at the tomb of Lazarus: we don’t know for sure why–I think He was angry at the Jews for their unbelief but he may have been angry with death itself.
  • Then He was angry with He cleansed the Temple.

II. THE MEEK LIVE UNDER CONTROL

Blessed is the man or woman who’s every instinct, passion and impulse is under the control of Christ.

If you are to give up self-control and surrender to Christ control: you have to banish pride. A proud heart will not submit to the harness, bridle or the plow.

In Matthew 11:28 and following, Jesus says,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Footnotes: [1] the meek are gentle and humble [2] they take the yoke willingly [3] they want to learn.

The meek are not only your most faithful workers, they are your most dedicated learners.

Blessed is the man who admits his ignorance and applies himself to learning.

III. MEEKNESS IS AN EXHIBITION OF HUMILITY

In the kingdom of Christ, no man can lead until he has learned to follow: no man can serve others until he has subjected himself. No one can possible arrive at MEEKNESS until he or she has humbled themselves.

Conclusion

I am not a meek man but I want to be. But I do have a friend who has gone on to be with the LORD who was very meek. Matter of fact, he was the most meek of anyone I’ve ever known. Most people thought he was weak but he had the courage of a lion. When I was about to be fired or intimidated to the point of throwing in the towel, this man stepped up. I will not lie, I was a bit shocked myself. I saw this man in action: when push came to shove he stood firm. He never lost his temper but he did and said what was necessary and he did not care who liked it or didn’t. He was fully committed to do what was right and he had no intentions of backing down. When I thanked for saving my bacon, he said, “I didn’t do it for you; I did it because it was the right thing to do.” Needless to say, I was no less thankful. This man became one of the best friends I’ve ever had and I always defended his honor and integrity. When I heard folks belittle him for his quiet and unassuming manner, I would correct them. I would say, “You don’t know the real man. He has more courage than all of us put together.” Seriously, this man was not even afraid of death.

Calm Assurance

Psalm 4

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.

Answer me when I call to you,
    O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
    Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
    How long will you make groundless accusations?
    How long will you continue your lies? Interlude
You can be sure of this:
    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
    The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
    Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude
Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
    and trust the Lord.

6 Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Introduction

Psalm 4 is a companion to Psalm 3: both are related to David’s distress when Absalom chased him out of Jerusalem, threatening his life and desiring his office. Psalm 3 is David’s morning prayer and Psalm 4 is his evening prayer. Before we get into the message, there are a couple of things that AMAZE me.

  • First, I am absolutely amazed at how God uses David to write these beautiful Psalms that inspire me. David was far from perfect, yet he writes the most beautiful poetry in the world. I marvel, I am astounded at how these hymns inspire and lift me and millions like me.
  • I am equally impressed that God can use our sorrow to touch the lives of others. David wrote these beautiful and inspiring hymns while he was in a state of distress. Is this amazing or what!
  • One other think I would mention is David’s spiritual disciplines. He begins, spends and ends his day with prayer. Awesome!

Transition

How did David weather this storm of distress?

Before I try to answer this question: let’s think for a moment about the conditions that caused David’s distress.

  • David’s life, job, security, family is being threatened by Absalom’s rebellion and Absalom has the support of the vast majority.
  • David has been the victim of a “Smear campaign. The democrats did not invent slander even though they seem to have a corner on the market. David’s reputation had been tarnished.
  • David is forced from his home; put to flight. Anyone of these things would cause distress but David faces all three.

How did David deal with this Crisis?

First: David Prayed

Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Dr. Jack Taylor said that we Baptist want to prayer so we can get on with the business, but PRAYER IS THE BUSINESS. Nothing is more important than prayer. My wife and I are in some distress as I speak. {Illustration: a rebellious child] In our distress, there is only one thing we can do…PRAY.

Second: He Calmed Himself With the Assurance of God’s Sovereign Love.

You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for Himself. The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Charles Spurgeon said, “The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which we lay our heads at night.” I don’t know much but one thing I do know is that God is in absolute control and I am not. My daughter pays no attention to anything I say; she is destroying her life and I seem forced to watch but I know that God is in control. He can bring good out of bad. He can turn sorrow into joy just like He turned water into wine. David knew that God chose and anointed him to be king. This was God’s choice, not David’s. David had the assurance that he would be king as long as God willed it so his only prayer was “Thy will be done.” On the other hand, Absalom was a manipulator. He was using deception. He was using people to get what he wanted. He did experience a moment of glory but a moment was all God could spare.

David was a godly man in the sense that he was going in a godly direction. Absalom was a worldly man and he was going in a worldly direction. David knew that he was under the influence of God’s grace. This gave him calm assurance that everything would be alright. In the end, things would work out.

Third: David had A Solid Quiet Time

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Remember, it was David who wrote Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.” We live in a age of noise, business and everyone seems to be on a frantic pace. If seems like the world and the devil have conspired together to destroy peace and quiet. If we are not in the noise of a busy workplace, we are in the noise of traffic and then we come home and turn on the TV because the quiet unnerves us. We AMUSE ourselves to death so we will not have to MUSE. We cannot think deep thoughts about God in a den of racket and we refuse to get alone with God. David knew that when we get in a hurry, we respond rashly and make bad matters worse. Why don’t we pull away from the noise, be still and get along with God. It is okay to be angry at sin but we cannot give way to our anger. If our anger is out control, it will lead to more sin.

I read this past week the story of Potiphar and Joseph. Potiphar had the most valuable slave in Egypt: Joseph could do everything. Potiphar only concern was what he was having for dinner. Potiphar’s wife was a floozy and she lied to her husband about Joseph’s behavior. Potiphar went into a rage and did the most foolish thing he had ever done: threw Joseph into jail. He did not act rationally, he acted in anger and haste.

Fourth: Understand Everything Is Grace

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,  and trust the Lord.

David lived under the old covenant: you could not approach without a priest and a sacrifice. No one was to enter God’s presence without a sacrifice. Man is a sinner deserving of death: the sacrificial animal dies in our place, we enter only with the blood of the innocent sacrifice. David’s appeal is not based on merit. He is coming to God via the sacrifice. We cannot approach a holy God in our sinful condition. God demands perfection. Jesus came and lived a perfect life in our behalf, now we enter God’s presence in Christ {covered by His blood}.

FIFTH: Trust God

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,  and trust the Lord.

The song writer said it best, “take your burdens to the LORD and leave them there.” Cast all your care on Him because He cares for you. Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. The bottom line is: You can’t fix it. David could not fix his problem and he was a king. I certainly don’t have the ability to fix my problems. In Luke 18 Jesus said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.” There are some things you cannot fix; all you can do is trust God to fix them.

Conclusion

What is the result of a calm assurance in God?

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

  • God’s Favor [Grace]
  • God’s Joy
  • God’s Peace.

Blessed Are They Who Mourn

Text: Matthew 5:4

v.3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

v.4  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. NIV

Introduction

Today we are looking at the second beatitude. There are a few things I want you to remember. [1] The Beatitudes are not pious platitudes to muse over and then brush aside. I had a preacher tell me this week: I don’t preach the sermon on the mount because no one can live up to it. We have this idea that the law is a bad thing but the law is a good thing: it is our standard for living. The closer you and I come to this ethic, the better our lives will be. Jesus came to help us, not hurt us. He expected us to obey His teachings.

Fast forward to Matthew 7:24…

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Jesus is not talking about building houses, He is talking about building a life and we build our lives on His word, instructions and teaching.

[2] Each Beatitude comes with a promise.

[3] They are sequential: not random.

[4] They are oxymoron’s: Blessed are the poor–doesn’t make sense to us. Blessed are they who mourn–are you kidding me. This what we call a divine paradox: it seems to be contradictory but in fact it teaches a life principle that we need to know.

Transition

Jesus is talking about life within His Kingdom and this life begins with “Repentance.” Like the Law, Repentance is a good thing, we all need to repent. Jesus is both the Door and the King of the Kingdom, we cannot enter without repenting of our sins.

  • John’s first sermon– Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 3:2]
  • Jesus first sermon– From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:17
  • Repentance not an option– “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:5]

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Blessed are they who mourn?”

I. Quit Literally, it means that God can reverse our sorrow…use it for good.

The word ‘mourn’ here is the strongest word in the Greek language for sorrow, grief and mourning. It is the same word used to describe Jacob’s grief when he believed that Joseph was dead. It is a grief so deep that it cannot be hidden. There is no doubt that God uses this kind of grief to:

  • Whet our appetite for heaven
  • Hone and refine us
  • Show us the value of friends
  • Acquaint us with Himself, the God of all comfort

II. Most certainly it means, mourning is essential to our salvation

Blessed are those who have genuine sorrow for their sins and sinful condition. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:10… For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

  • Most of us can see the sins of others: we are quit good at spotting other folks sin but do you see our sin? Does your sin bring you grief?
  • Life with Christ begins when we recognize our sin and the sin of the world. Isaiah, “Woe is me!”
  • If you are having a hard time locating sin: LOOK AT THE CROSS.
  • If you think sin is a joke, a trivial matter: LOOK AT THE CROSS.
  • If you have no grief, no sorrow for your sins and the sins of our nation: you’ve probably not been born again.

III. There is a third meaning: Where there is no grief, there is no love.

  • If you have no Godly Sorrow about the cross and what sin did to Jesus: it is PROOF that you don’t love HIM.
  • If you are not grieving over social injustice {Abortion for instance and Alcohol which claims 5% of the world’s deaths} then you don’t love people. If you don’t hate the drug industry, you don’t love people. To love Jesus and people is to hate sin.
  • I have actually conducted funerals were their were no tears.

Conclusion

You know why we don’t have REVIVAL…sin doesn’t bother us. We don’t grieve over it, we don’t confess it and we don’t repent of it.

Triumphant Faith

Scripture: Psalm 3

O Lord, I have so many enemies;
    so many are against me.
So many are saying,
    “God will never rescue him!” 

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. 

I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
    Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
    Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord.
    May you bless your people. 

Introduction

Psalm 3 was written by David. He wrote this Psalm when Absalom chased him into the wilderness. Absalom deceitfully won the hearts of the people and his coup was highly successful in terms of numbers. The majority was backing Absalom and that includes the Elders. The odds were against David; he was supported by a small number but they were devoted followers of the king.

Transition

The Psalm is divided naturally into four stanzas with 2 verses in each stanza.

  • Verse 1-2–The Problem
  • Verses 3-4–The Protection
  • Verses 5-6–The Peace
  • Verses 7-8–The Petition
  • O

I. The Problem

O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” 

  • So many enemies. This word enemy here can be translated adversary or foe. Those who oppose us and what we are trying to accomplish. But it can also be translated trouble, distress, affliction and sorrow. All of these would apply to David’s situation. Can you imagine the sorrow and distress that such a situation would cause: your own son, your own flesh and blood trying to take your job, your legacy and your life.
  • So many against me. Against is a preposition and synonymous with enemy. David had a great host against him. Absalom had won the hearts of the public. David’s popularity was suffering. He had not paid attention to his son nor what he was doing. By the time this coup comes to the surface, David realizes his unpopularity. This has to be a traumatic experience. I don’t think anyone, deep down, wants to be unpopular. One thing I have never appreciated is those people who come to me and tell me how hated or disliked I am by certain people. What purpose does that serve?
  • So many saying “God will not rescue [yeshua] him.” They were saying in essence, David is beyond saving. He is a hopeless case.

II. THE PROTECTION

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. 

  • Hallelujah: God is our shield. David speaks of God being his shield often: [Psalm 18:2] The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. [Psalms 28:7] The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
  • The Shield was a very vital part of the warrior’s armor. It would be suicide to go onto the battle field without a shield. David believed in divine protection and so do I. I have doubts about some things but one thing I do not doubt is God’s protective shield. Folks, no one knows my vulnerability or at least all of them. I stand before you as a living example of someone whom God has protected. I have survived two coups and even more threats. A man of some wealth vowed to ruin me and he would have had not God protected me.
  • Nothing humbles us like utter humiliation and this is what David faced. Not only did David need physical protection, his confidence and courage needed protecting. David avowed to the LORD, “You are my glory and the One who holds my head high.” Humiliation can cause us to lose our confidence.

III. THE PEACE

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.

  • David fled Jerusalem in the dark of night. He crossed the little Kedron brook with his small band of followers and passed through the very valley that Jesus would use as a garden for prayer. David is a good example of practical obedience: he trusted the LORD but he also did what he could to save himself and a part of that was flight. He put distance between his small army and that of Absalom’s. He traveled all night and all day before camping in the Jordan valley. Probably near Gilgal. Then they moved on to the East bank and Mahanaim, a mountain retreat in Gilead.
  • There is no question that David is exhausted and that he needs rest. He considers his night of sleep a gift from God and he attributes it to the peace that God grants to those in distress.
  • Like Peter in prison, David was able to sleep amidst unpleasant circumstances. {Personal testimony}

IV. THE PETITION

Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Victory comes from you, O Lord.  May you bless your people. 

  • It is a brief but sincere prayer, “Rescue [Save] me, my God.” It reminds us of Peter’s prayer on the lake, “Save me LORD.” It is not the length of the petition but the sincerity that counts.
  • “Slap my enemies in the face.” David didn’t want Absalom’s life but he did want to save face. David asked God to do what he could not. David was not in a position to slap his enemies.
  • “Shatter their teeth,” is a little stronger but again it speaks of a blow to the face, not death.

Conclusion

Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people. 

As believers, we always have to keep the end in mind. In the present, things are far from perfect but ultimately, God will set everything right through Jesus. We may lose a few battles along the way but we are not going to lose the war.

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them, saying:Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

INTRODUCTION

Today we begin a new series: we going to preach through Jesus sermon on the Mount. It is fitting that Jesus delivered this life changing message from the mountain top. God gave Moses the law on Mount Sinai and here Jesus gives us a fuller revelation of that same law. In verse 17, Jesus said…
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or theProphets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” It is a sermon that you could read in less than an hour. I have no idea how many minutes it took Jesus to deliver this message. What I do know is that it will take us months to scratch the surface. I am excited about this series.

TRANSITION

Today we are going to look at the first Beatitude…Blessed are the poor in Spirit. Actually, we are going to be on the first beatitude for two weeks.

This will not be a homileticical masterpiece I can assure you but there are some things that it is vital for you to understand.

FIRST

When Jesus used the term “Blessed,” it doesn’t mean what you think it means. A lot of folks interpret it “Happy,” and that is not totally wrong but it does do the word justice. This blessedness that Jesus speaks of is a state of being not a set of circumstances. It has more to do with our position in Christ than our performance for Christ. The Israelites were “Blessed” because God redeemed them from the cruel bondage of Pharaoh. This blessing was conferred upon them by GRACE. They did nothing to enter this state of blessedness. If you have repented of your part in Christ death and turned from yourself and sin to Christ–You are Blessed; you are one of the ones that Jesus is referring to. If you are not in Christ, you are not blessed. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are: George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are billionaires but they are not blessed.

“If you are in Christ, you are blessed: if you are not in Christ, you are cursed.”

Two

The second thing I want to do is tell you what this beatitude does not mean. Jesus is not saying, “Blessed are they who are down on themselves… Blessed are those who think little of self [low self-esteem]. REMEMBER, Pride is like a two headed coin. The top side of pride is arrogance and conceit but the underbelly of pride is self-pity.

I love C.S. Lewis novel the GREAT DIVORCE. In this novel, there is a character known as the Dwarf. He is the master of manipulation. Unhappy people can use pity to control others and they do. They do not want others to be happy because they are not happy. They are so invested in self-pity that they chose to be unhappy, sad and offended even though such behavior shrinks the soul. You see, every time the Dwarf felt sorry for himself, he became smaller.

Jesus is not pronouncing a blessing on those who pity themselves and there is certainly no blessing for the arrogant. I know preachers who are arrogant but they are not blessed.

The POOR IN SPIRIT are those who understand their moral depravity. They understand the depth of their sin and that spiritually, they are bankrupt. The Greek word translated poor means– Destitute of wealth, influence, position and honor. It means lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues and helpless or powerless to do anything about it. It is to understand that you are lacking and needy…at the mercy of God. It is the exact opposite of pride.

Third and Finally

There are eight beatitudes and today we begin with number one but I want you to understand that number one is number one for a reason. Jesus was a master teacher and these are not random thoughts; they are sequential. They form and follow a logical order or sequence. I call this beatitude the FIRST BASE of Kingdom Life.

In Baseball, you have four bases in the shape of a diamond. When you put the ball in play, you run to first base. To score you have to go around the bases until you get to home plate. YOU CANNOT SCORE IF YOU MISS FIRST BASE. You cannot hit the ball and run to second base.

The reason Jesus begins with THE POOR IN SPIRIT is that humility is fundamental to everything that a Christian does. Humility is a very illusive virtue but we must see it as a goal. I am not humble but I want to be humble. Humility is my goal. What can you do effectively in the Kingdom of God without humility.

  • You cannot touch the hurting: Proud people make horrible ministers
  • You cannot reach the lost: lost people can pick up on a condescending attitude
  • You cannot pray: God’s hates pride
  • You can’t understand the scripture
  • You can give preference to others
  • You can’t wash feet

You can’t score in God’s Kingdom unless you touch first base. The good thing about baseball is…if you do strike out, you will get another at bat. Get it right today.

Psalm Two

CORONATION OF THE SON
1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers conspire together
against the Lord and his Anointed One:
3 “Let’s tear off their chains
and throw their ropes off of us.”
4 The one enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord ridicules them.
5 Then he speaks to them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath:
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will declare the Lord’s decree.
He said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.
8 Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with an iron scepter;
you will shatter them like pottery.”
10 So now, kings, be wise;
receive instruction, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with reverential awe
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry
and you will perish in your rebellion,
for his anger may ignite at any moment.
All who take refuge in him are happy.
— Psalms 2:1-12 (CSB)

Psalm 2…NLT

Why are the nations so angry?
    Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
    the rulers plot together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
    “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
    The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
    terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
    in Jerusalem,
[a on my holy mountain.”

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
    Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the whole earth as your possession.
You will break[d them with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.
’”

10 Now then, you kings, act wisely!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Submit to God’s royal son,[e or he will become angry,
    and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
    But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Psalm 2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Lord’s Chosen King

1 Why do the nations plot,
    and why do their people
    make useless plans?
[b
The kings of this earth
    have all joined together
    to turn against the Lord
    and his chosen one.
They say, “Let’s cut the ropes
    and set ourselves free
!”

4 In heaven the Lord laughs
as he sits on his throne,
    making fun of the nations.
The Lord becomes furious
    and threatens them.
His anger terrifies them
    as he says,
    “I’ve put my king on Zion,
    my sacred hill.”

7 I will tell the promise
    that the Lord made to me:
“You are my son, because today
    I have become your father.
Ask me for the nations,
    and every nation on earth
    will belong to you.
You will smash them
    with an iron rod
    and shatter them
    like dishes of clay.”

1Be smart, all you rulers,
    and pay close attention.
11     Serve and honor the Lord;
    be glad and tremble.
12 Show respect to his son
    because if you don’t,
the Lord might become furious
    and suddenly destroy you.
But he blesses and protects
    everyone who runs to hi
m.

INTRODUCTION

You may find this hard to believe but Psalm 2, over time, has become my favorite Psalm. He holds a unique distinction: He is one of thirteen MESSIANIC PSALMS and one of ten ROYAL PSALMS. To put that in a nutshell, it is about JESUS our LORD and King and His eventual rule over all the earth. It is a prophetic Psalm, it is future to us but History to God. It has not happened but it is going to happen.

Transition: Four Stanzas

  • First Stanza–verses 1-3…The Voice of Defiance coming from the world
  • Second Stanza–verses 4-6…The Voice of Derision coming from heaven
  • Third Stanza–verses 7-9…The Voice of Triumph coming from the Messiah
  • Fourth Stanza–Verses 1–12…The Voice of Wisdom and Warning coming from the word of God.

VOICE OF DEFIANCE

  • Verse 1…WHY ARE THE NATIONS SO ANGRY? The rage of the nations [goy]. The picture is of an animal in a rage because it is being restrained. When I was a young boy, we had goats on our farm. Daddy did not keep them long because they are defiant and destructive creatures and they stink. He tied a billy goat to a tree one day and the goat went into a rage…butting his head against the tree until he broke both horns and his head was bleeding.
  • WHY DO THEY WASTE THEIR TIME WITH FUTILE PLANS? Another word for futile is useless. It is a pure waste of time to rebel against God: there is no future in such rebellion. The Goat was not going to butt down the tree to which he was tied. All his angry struggling was in vain.
  • THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE ANOINTED ONE: JESUS, lead by kings and rulers, encouraged by them. This was demonstrated by Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod. They all conspired against the Jesus.
  • THE VOICE OF DEFIANCE….”Let us break their chains,” they cry, “Let us free ourselves from slavery to God.”

During the French Revolution, one of the anarchist scaled the Cathedral of Norte Dame and pulled down the cross that was on top. He brought it to the ground and broke it into pieces, then he proclaimed to the cheering crowd, “We will pull down every vestige of God’s authority over us.” Someone a bit wiser yelled from the crowd, “What are you doing to do about the stars; are you going to pull them down two.”

“There is no future for those who rebel against God.” …Jack Bailey

THE VOICE OF DERISION

  • The ONE who rules Heaven laughs, He scoffs. It is not a CELEBRATIVE laughter but CONTEMPTUOUS laughter. A few months back our daughter and son-in-law were foster parents for a month. My son-in-law is a big man who is closer to three hundred pounds than two. The foster child was a tiny four year old but he knew how to trash talk. He would threaten my son-in-law with awful threats like…“I’m going to kill you and gut you like and animal.” My son-in-law would look at him and laugh, “Yeah, right!”
  • Our GOD has no insecurities. He cannot be threatened. He never takes our schemes and plots to overthrow His Kingdom seriously. The bunch of blow hard’s in Washington D.C. think they are running things when in truth, they are in control of nothing. Remember Jesus before Pilate and the conversation they had in John 19:10-11…

“Why won’t you answer my question?” Pilate asked. “Don’t you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?” Jesus replied, “If God had not given you the power, you couldn’t do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse.”

  • The Kings of the earth think they are in control but God is in control
  • Yahweh declares: “I have placed My Chosen King on the throne.” In reality, we have not seen this but it is history because God has already made His choice and His choice is JESUS. There is nothing the world can do about it!

THE VOICE OF TRIUMPH

  • This voice is that of the Anointed One, the Son
  • It is not the voice of Pride. Jesus does not talk trash. It is the voice of supreme confidence. He fully believed in the FATHER’S PROMISE.
  • The earth and its kingdoms will one day belong to Christ [v.8]
  • The MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
  • Jesus authority will not be challenged. He will rule with an iron scepter and he will be ruling jars of clay. A clay pot is no match for a rod of iron. Iron shatters clay.

THE VOICE OF WARNING

  • “Be warned you rulers of the earth” [v.10]
    • ACT WISELY
    • SERVE THE LORD WITH REVERENT FEAR
    • REJOICE WITH TREMBLING
    • SUBMIT TO THE SON {Pay homage} The most literal translation is “Kiss the Son.” [AV, NIV, RSV, ESV and many others] But you do not kiss a king on the face: you kiss his feet if you are a servant and his hand if you are a subject. It is an act of utter humiliation and complete submission.
  • Suppose you ignore this warning…
    • He, the Son, will be angry
    • You will be destroyed

The only refuge from the True King of kings is refuge in HIM…Ya’akov