Sunday, July 26, 2020

Psalm 110: God is Enough (Summer Playlist Series)

When going through the worst days of your life, God is enough.

This Sunday, we are reading Psalm 110.  Psalm 110 was written by David who was no stranger to hard times and worst days.  However, David wrote many Psalms about God supremacy and authority over his life.  In Psalm 110, David declares that his God is more than enough in troublesome times.

God is Enough, Psalm 110
God is Enough, Psalm 110

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
The Lord will stretch out Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Your people will volunteer freely on the day of Your power;
In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head. - Psalm 110

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.


God is enough when:

1.  Your enemies want to destroy you.

David had faced enemies.  As a young boy, he fought the giant, Goliath.  He constantly battled the Philistines.  He was always running from King Saul who wanted to kill him.  For years, David was an anointed king but he was running for his life.  However, even though others were constantly seeking to destroy or kill David, he exclaimed that his Lord was enough.

In Psalm 110:2, we see that God will rule with great power right in the middle of what seems to be the enemy's deadliest attack.  

In Psalm 110:3, we learn that people who are subject to the Great King (God) will follow Him gladly and freely.  God's people will constantly be refreshed.  

What enemies do you face?  Cancer?  Depression?  A broken relationship?  A struggling family situation?  

When you become discouraged under the enemy's attacks, go straight to your King God.  God will conquer your enemies and He will renew and refresh you.   

2.  Your sins consume you.

Not only was David constantly under physical attack.  He faced internal struggles as well.  David was plagued with his sin of adultery with the wife of Uriah.  That sin led to more sin including murder.  This all led to the death of David's son.

When sin consumed David's life, David still knew that his God was enough.

In Psalm 110:4, we learn about a truth that will last for all eternity.  Jesus is our King forever and our Priest forever.

You might be asking, "Who is Melchizedek anyway?"  At this point in his sermon, my pastor tells us what we know about Melchizedek.  Here is a brief summary.

In Genesis 14, we learn that Melchizedek is a minor character in the Bible.  God has promised to Abraham that He would multiply his descendants, make him the father of many nations, and make him wealthy and prosperous.  Abraham has a nephew named Lot.  Abraham and Lot were very close.  They were both wealthy and lived near each other.  Lot lived near Sodom.  Sodom went to war with other cities.  A king named Chedorlaomer takes over all the valley where Lot lived.  Lot becomes caught up in the battle.  He eventually becomes a prisoner of war along with his wife, his kids, his entire family including all of his flocks and possessions under King Chedorlaomer.  

This struck a nerve within Abraham.  In my pastor's words:

"This is not smart, because Abraham is like Liam Neeson.  He has a special set of skills.  If you take one of his family members, he is going to hunt you down.  He will find you and he will kill you."

Abraham goes after King Chedorlaomer.  God gives Abraham power so he wipes out King Chedorlaomer.  He takes back Lot and all his family and possessions.  The he takes all of Chedorlaomer's possessions.  Then, Melchizedek comes along.  Melchizedek is introduced without genealogy which is unusual for Old Testament characters. We know he was the king of Salem.  Salem has the root Hebrew word for peace.  Melchizedek's name means King of Righteousness.  Melchizedek is the  King of Righteousness whose kingdom is peace.  Who does this point to?  Maybe Jesus?

When Abraham sees Melchizedek, he bows and worships Him.  He immediately gives Melchizedek 10% of everything he took from Chedorlaomer.  Melchizedek doesn't show up again until Psalm 110 when David says his King is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  David points to the ultimate King Priest, Jesus.  

We fast forward to Hebrews 7.  Melchizedek is mentioned in Genesis 14, Psalm 100, and then again in the New Testament in Hebrews 7.  

We sin.  We all sin.  Sin separates us from a Holy God.  Sin will condemn us to an eternal separation from God.  However, God, in His mercy, sent our King Jesus forever, our Priest forever, to pay the penalty for our sin once for all.  Jesus is the only one who can make sinful man right with a Holy God.

When you feel consumed by a sin or multiple sins in your life.  You might see no way out, but there is a way.  Jesus forgives.  Jesus heals.  David tells us in Psalm 100 that God is enough and He is, even when your enemies want to destroy you and even when your sin consumes you.

3.  When your future seems hopeless.

Have you watched the news lately?  If you watch, you'll probably feel overwhelmed with all the bad stuff going on in the world.  When I watch the news, I feel like our future seems hopeless.  The news media is flooded with reports of racial riots, protests, anarchy in the streets, lawlessness, political upheaval, bombings, etc.  King David's world felt hopeless too.  David's son would murder his other son to avenge his sister's rape.  Despite all of that, David loved Absalom, welcomed him home, and greeted him with a kiss.  How did Absalom respond?

Absalom conspired to overthrow the king, slandered his father's reputation, forced him to flee for his life, raped all of David's wives, and ultimately cost the lives of 20,000 men.  That certainly paints a portrait of a hopeless future for David and his family.  David must have wondered about God's faithfulness, but in the midst of all the ugly, David proclaimed that his King was more than enough.  

Be encouraged.  Jesus is near in seemingly hopeless situations.  In fact, in verse 6, we read that King Jesus will repay the godless and unbelievers that threaten you.  One day, He will destroy those who mean to harm you.

Regarding verse 7, if you look up the Hebrew word for "drink," it is used for the purpose of celebration such as a wedding feast.  The word for "brook" refers to a torrent of water that comes after a deluge of rain.

In the midst of hopelessness, we can remain hopeful because King Jesus preserves His people no matter the circumstances, leading them to a celebration that is coming sooner than you might expect.

If you are in Christ today, be hopeful!  Our King is coming!

In the darkest of days, God is enough.  Jesus is our King.  Jesus is our Priest.  Jesus is our Hope.

How will you respond to Psalm 110?  

If you have not bowed to King Jesus - if you have not repented of your sin and given your life to Jesus, then I want to challenge you to wait no longer.  Surrender your life to Jesus today.  He will overcome your enemy, forgive your sin, and give you a future and a hope.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11
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Psalm 110:  God is Enough (Summer Playlist Series) 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Psalm 139: You are valuable! (Summer Playlist Series)

Today, we are reading Psalm 139 as my pastor leads us through our summer in the Psalms.  

It is part of our human nature to want others to notice us.  We want others to know us and love us.  We want them to be interested in us and to care about us.  We want others to realize our value.  I have good news for you.  Somebody knows you.  His name is God.  You are valuable.  You are known by God.  You have purpose and responsibility in this life.

Psalm 139:  You are valuable!
He knit you together in your mother's womb.  You are valuable.
 

The following Bible study notes are based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.


Psalm 139:  You are valuable!

Psalm 139 is a Psalm of David written for the choir director.

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 If only You would put the wicked to death, God;
Leave me, you men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there is any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.  - Psalm 139

Psalm 139:  You are valuable.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
This item is available here. 

 1.  You are known by God.  

We may or may not know everything about each other but there is nothing God doesn't know about you.  Even the hairs on your head are numbered.

But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not fear; you are more valuable than a great number of sparrows. - Luke 12:7

We can make people THINK they know us but God DOES KNOW all there is to know about us.  God knows you better than anyone else.  He knows all and is everywhere.

There is no place we can go where we are not in the presence of God.

Adam and Eve tried to hide from God.

Now they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” - Genesis 3:8-10

Jonah tried to run from Him.
But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship that was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and boarded it to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord. - Jonah 1:3
Jesus asked the disciples, "Do you want to leave too?"  Peter responded, "Where shall we go for in you we have found the words of eternal life."
 
We cannot hide from God.  We cannot run from God.  When you think He doesn't know, He does.
God is the only one who can rightly judge you.  He's the only one from whom you cannot escape. 
 

2.  You have a purpose.

Life in the womb is valuable to God.  God knit YOU together in your mother's womb - your character traits, gender, disabilities, etc. YOU have purpose and meaning.

David was thrilled that God would knit him and weave him together in his mother's womb.  God did the same for YOU.  He made you.  He made up your DNA.  He wrote down your days in His book.  Your life matters.  

3.  You have responsibility.

We have a responsibility to protect the truth of scripture.  We cannot take God and His word and strip it of it's meaning and power.  We cannot take out parts of God's Word that we don't like (holiness, justice, judgement) and only keep the parts that cover peace, love, joy, grace, and mercy.  We have a responsibility to die to ourselves and our sins and submit to God.

David finishes the psalm by asking God to search Him, to search his heart, to see if there is any wicked way in him.  Then he asked God to lead him in the everlasting way.

What is the answer to the problems of our day?  

The answers to today's problems are not in political change, social justice, new laws, or social media wokeness.

The answer to the problems of our day is found in God and God alone.

Do you know the God who knit you together in your mother's womb?  Do you know the God who knows you, who values you and has a purpose for your life?  Do you know Jesus?  Learn more about how you can have a personal relationship with Him here.  He is the only way to have an abundant life.  

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Psalm 139:  You are valuable!
You are valuable!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Psalm 15: Characteristics of the Believer in Jesus (Summer Playlist Series)

Psalm 15:  Characteristics of the Believer in Jesus
Characteristics of the Believer

Today, we continue our Summer Playlist Series in the Psalms as we read Psalm 15.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Have you ever had someone ask you a question and then immediately answer it before you do?  Have you ever done that yourself?  I'm guessing that we have all done that at some point in time.  This is what David did in Psalm 15. David asked a question in Psalm 15:1 and then answers it in Psalm 15:2-5.  

My pastor informs us that many Bible scholars believe that Psalm 15 was written to commemorate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

David's first attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem failed because he failed to follow God's clear instructions.  Only the assigned Levites were to move the ark using poles carried on their shoulders.  Instead, the Ark was carried on a cart pulled by oxen.  When the oxen stumbled, a man named Uzzah reached to steady it.  Uzzah was immediately struck dead.  The fear of God caused David to postpone his trip to Jerusalem and he left the Ark in the home of Obed-Edom who was a Godly man.

While the Ark was in the home of Obed-Edom, God blessed him and his family.  When David made his second attempt to return the Ark to its rightful place in Jerusalem, he carefully followed Moses' instructions.

This is where David asks his critical question:

What sort of man qualifies for such a holy task to be admitted into the presence of Holy  God?

This prayer of David was a poem set to a song.  He and those with him may have sang this song as they moved the Ark back to Jerusalem.

Let's recap David's two questions.

1.  Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

Today, we might consider the question this way.  Lord, who qualifies to even temporarily gather together with other worshipers to have fellowship with You? 

The word "abide," in this context, means to gather with others for a temporary time.  In this case, in the tabernacle which was constructed by Moses to the exact specifications given by God.  It represented the presence of the Holy God in the midst of His people.  As they moved from place to place in the wilderness, the Tabernacle went with them.  This symbolizes today's church, having no continuing city, sojourning on earth, preparing for our home in Heaven.

2.  Lord, who may dwell on Your holy hill?

In this question, David uses the word "dwelling."  In this context, the word "dwelling" means to reside or permanently stay in one place.  This could be literally or figuratively.  In this question, David is using the "holy hill" or Jerusalem where the Temple was built as a permanent place of worship.  

What do these questions mean for us?  Another way of asking these two questions might be:

Dear God, how can we qualify to even fellowship with You here on Earth temporarily, much less to enjoy eternal fellowship with you in Heaven?

That question is answered in Psalm 15 of God's Holy Word.  Let's read Psalm 15.

Lord, who may reside in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your holy hill?
One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor do evil to his neighbor,
Nor bring shame on his friend;
A despicable person is despised in his eyes,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change;
He does not lend his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things will never be shaken. - Psalm 15


Psalm 15:2 summarizes the answer to these questions.   Psalm 15:2-5 illustrates what this looks like in the daily lives of Christ followers.

Verse 2 tells us three characteristics of one who qualifies to fellowship with God on Earth and in Heaven.

1.  One who walks in God's ways.

2.  One who works in God's ways.

3.  One who speaks in God's ways.

Let's ask a few other questions based on the three qualifications above.  

1.  Is there anyone who perfectly walks in God's ways?

2.  Is there anyone who perfectly works in God's ways?

3.  Is there anyone who perfectly speaks in God's ways?

The answer to all of those question is "No."  None of us, not even one of us, can qualify to have fellowship with God on our on strength.

There is only one man who perfectly qualified for fellowship with God.  That was and is Jesus Christ.  BUT, when a person comes to Jesus in humility and brokenness, turning away from sin and trusting Him as his or her Savior, he or she can enjoy fellowship with God.

What are the characteristics of someone who has fellowship with God?

Characteristics of the Believer in Jesus

1.  The Walk of the Believer

The believer in Jesus demonstrates a consistent walk in integrity, truthfulness, and sincerity.  The believer has a backbone of integrity, walking upright consistently.

Think of a tightrope walker.  The tightrope walker must walk directly upright, never leaning to the right or to the left.  The tightrope walker must keep his or her focus directly ahead.  Likewise, we must be consistently looking ahead to Jesus.  When we walk upright in Jesus, we will regard vile behavior as nasty and despicable.  We will want to turn away from such behavior.  We will stick to the Word in Truth even when it hurts.

2,  The Works of the Believer

The word "works" refers to the habitual works you practice from day to day.  These works are to be done in righteousness. God requires of believers what is right and just. 

The believer will not do evil to our neighbor.

The believer will not take up a reproach against our friend (such as gossip).

The believer will honor those who fear the Lord.

The believer will not take advantage of others through unreasonable interest on loans or receive bribes under the table.

3.  The Words of the Believer

The speech of the believer is consistently stable, trustworthy, courageous, and sensitive.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil person out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. - Luke 6:45

 The believer doesn't slander others.  

The tongue is not steel, but it cuts, and its wounds are very hard to bear; its worst wounds are not with its edge to our face, but with its edge to our back when our head is turned . . . All slanderers are the devil's bellows to blow up contention, but those are the worst which blow at the back of the fire. - C.H. Spurgeon

In Psalm 15, David is stating that the person whose walk, works, and words consistently demonstrate this pattern will never be overthrown or drawn off course.  He or she will fellowship in Heaven with God eternally.

When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. - Proverbs 10:25

The apostle John had a Heavenly vision as described in Revelation 21:1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. - Revelation 21:1-4

No one can achieve sinless perfection in his or her walk, works, and words but Jesus lived a perfect life and died on a cross as a substitute for us.  After He paid the ultimate price for our sins, He was buried and rose from the grave.  Jesus made it possible for any person who trusts in Him to experience fellowship with Him in this life and in eternal life to come.

Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?  Learn more about how to do that here


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Characteristics of the Believer in Jesus, Psalm 15

 

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