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Mosaic Boston

Mosaic Boston

67 episodes

Nov 22, 2020

Refiner's Fire: Week 4 

Nov 15, 2020

Refiner's Fire: Week 3 

Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston and our neighborhood churches, or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. We're in the book of Malachi. Malachi is sent by God as a prophet to reawaken his people who are in spiritual stupor. They have grown numb to God. They are indifferent to the cause of God, the word of God, to the mission of God. They're indifferent to the work of the temple. The reason why they're indifferent is because their heart has been divided, they are in the middle. They're on the one hand loving the world, on the other hand, asking for God to bless them. And they're starting to ask questions like, is this worth it? Is it worth following God? Is it worth doing his work? Is it worth trying to live a godly life? As they're looking around and seeing that the people who are pagans, people who are living any way that they want seems like they're happier, seems like they're living better lives. And the reminder from Malachi here today is that God is a God of eternity, that God is a God of justice, that God has already sent his son Jesus Christ to bear the wrath of God for our sins. Jesus came the first time as a savior of his people, meek and mild, offering salvation, offering forgiveness, but he will come back and he will come back as a king and as a judge. And none of Christianity makes sense if we lose sight of the fact that eternity is real. The very moment you die you stand in the presence of God and you either spend eternity with God or apart from God in a place of eternal, conscious suffering called hell. And when Christians lose sight of that reality, that this is real, we lose sight of the most important thing in our lives, which is the mission of God. We have been saved to now carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are not yet saved. So Malachi is sent by God to awaken his people with a fire from heaven, and I pray that he sends the same fire today. Today we're in Malachi 2:17 through 3:15. I'll begin by reading Malachi 2:17, 3 through 5. You have wearied the Lord with your words, but you say, how have we wearied him? By saying everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delights in them or by asking where's the God of justice. Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight. Behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming and who can stand when he appears? He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. They will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old, as in former years. Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who press the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless against those who thrust aside the sojourner and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. This is the reading of God's holy, inerrant, infallible, authoritative word. May he write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Two main points from the text, don't weary God, and second, don't rob God. First, don't weary God. Malachi 2:17, you have wearied the Lord with your words. They have wearied the Lord. How do you make sense of this? If God is omnipotent, if he's impassable, on the one hand he's transcendent. So he's above suffering or feeling pain. On the other hand, he is being wearied by these people. Isaiah 40:28 says, have you not known, have you not heard the Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth? He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. On one hand, he can not grow weary, on the other hand, we can try God's patience to the point where he is weary of us, of our reactions. Isaiah 7:13 he said, hear then O house of David, is it too little for you to weary men that you weary God also? You're testing the patience of God. With their disobedience, they are wearing God, they're grumbling. Very few of us repent of the sin of grumbling, of complaining against God. God, you are not doing what you're supposed to be doing. You're not doing your job as you're supposed to be. You are not the God that you're supposed to be. We are wearing God with those complaints. What does it mean that God can be wearied when he is transcended above everything? Well, because in his love, in his kindness, he opens up his heart to us. He chooses to love us and he chooses to feel true love. Therefore, God does feel emotions. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that God does love in a true love, like a feeling love because he chose to love. And God like a good father, at some point as we see in the old testament, he does get tired of the complaining and he does discipline that. Any parent understands this. Every once in a while you get to the point where you've just had it with your kids complaining. Dad what's for breakfast? Eggs again? No, I want ice cream. No, we're not doing that. What's for dinner? Soup, mom made soup. No, I want something interesting. That's what they do. This morning my daughter woke up... We've been living in the city for 11 years, this morning she woke up, my oldest daughter. She said, "I'm sick and tired of not having my own room, no backyard. I'm sick and tired of being a pastor's kid." That's what she said. I'm sick and tired of being a pastor's kid. And at that moment, I felt just a little bit of what God feels where it's like, "I'm getting tired of this getting. I'm getting tired of your complaints." Is there a sense in which God can experience emotional frustration, disappointment? Yes, because he truly loves. That's why he's wearied because he truly loves. Genesis 6 tells us that the Lord does experience emotions. Genesis 6, before the Lord sends the flood, it said that he regretted that he had made man. He got to the point where he was so fed up with the evil of humanity that he sends the flood. Judges 10:16 says that God couldn't bear Israel's misery any longer. Isaiah 63:9 through 10, in all their distress, he too was distressed. Psalm 2:4, the one enthroned in heaven laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Luke 15:20 talking about the parable of the prodigal son. The father sees the son repenting, returning and the father, scripture says, was filled with compassion, ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The reason why the Lord does feel true emotion is because he opens up his heart to love us and hear his people, they just complain. Malachi 2:17, but you say how have we wearied him? By saying everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delights in them or by asking, where is the God of justice? How are they wearing him? They're saying, God, are you even just? God, are you even good? Why? Because we see evil all around us. We see the evil people prospering, God, why aren't you bringing down your condemnation upon them? Are you delighting in that evil? Therefore, they're questioning his character, impugning his character. In Malachi 3:13 through 15, the other side of questioning God is now they don't see the point in serving God. Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord, but you say, how have we spoken against you? You have said it is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed, evildoers not only prosper, but they put God to the test and they escape him. God, we see these evil people who are living any way they want and you're not bringing judgment and condemnation upon them. We're serving you, what's the point of serving you? What profit is there? The arrogant are blessed, evildoers prosper. What about us? And this is the age old question of why do the wicked prosper? Why do the righteous suffer? You do the right things, you can't get ahead. They scoff at God and they're doing great. The Jewish people really felt this. They felt true suffering as a people in Malachi's day. They were under the thumb of the Medo-Persian empire who were godless and yet they were prosperous. They're people who've got a back in the land of Jerusalem, but their temple is but a shell of its former glory. And the Jews have become disappointed with God. God, you didn't give us the life that you promised to give us. We expected blessing and yet all we have is suffering. God are you just? It's a synagogue agnosticism, doubting God's existence, his goodness. God are you delighting in evil? Are you good? Are you just? And what they're doing here is they're questioning God's job. God, do you know what you're doing? I could do your job so much better than you. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how hard it is being God. I get a little understanding of how God gets wearied with us sometimes with our complaining, with our groaning, our griping with my kids. I have four kids, I have four daughters, kids complain. Daughters are just more articulate at it. They're just better at words, better... and they know where... like fast at speaking and they come out. And especially if you have smart kids, that's even harder. The smarter the kids, the more words. And I get to the point where I'm frustrated. There's a frustration because I love you so much, I want the best thing for you. Something interesting. What's something interesting to you? It's always carbs, it's always sugar. No, I don't want to give you carbs and sugar for breakfast because I don't want you to get diabetes by the time you're 40. You're going to thank me later. So I'm at the point where it's like, "Yeah." I've been a pastor for 11 years and I know how... I think this is the hardest time in the history of the world to be a pastor. I think every pastor probably feels that, whatever I'm alive today so I get to say it. Pastor's back a hundred years ago, literally you saw people once a week. Maybe they have appointments with you, tremendous office hours. Today pastors have never been more accessible, email, Facebook Messenger, IG messenger, Twitter, phone, they know where you live. And in Boston, Massachusetts, everyone's got an opinion. Everybody has opinion. That's why you live here, you're very opinionated and you're good at expressing your opinions. And in this pandemic, this has been the hardest time of ministry in my whole life. And I get your emails, I get your messages, I get your texts, I get your phone calls, I get all of it. And your voice is heard. And we truly are a mosaic where whatever your opinion is, on whatever the matter, there's 10 people diametrically opposed to you. And Pastor Shane, Pastor Andy somehow we need to keep everything going. And at the same time, I'm grieving for the state of the church. I'm grieving over it because I love the church. I've given 35% of my life to the church. I see what the enemy is doing through all of this. Yes, you read the studies. Yes, the stats. Yes, the news. But on top of all of that is a demonic war and I see what the enemy is doing in all... By the way, the whole pandemic started when we started a sermon series called Stratagem: How to Discern the Strategies of the Evil One. And literally in the middle of that series we're like, "Pandemic." I've been discerning the work of the enemy through this. I see how the church is being weakened through it. There's an indifference to the church. There's an indifference to the gathering of believers. You know what the word church means? Literally, ekklesia means the gathering of believers physically. We need that. Humans need that. And more than anything the church of Jesus Christ whom he loves, the body of Christ, which is physically together, the Holy Spirit moves when we are together. This is our witness. Our worship is warfare. I say all that to say, we just need to love God, we need to love Jesus. And the mission is more important than anything. Whatever your preference, the mission's more important. People literally die and go to hell every single second to spend eternity apart from God. All I want to say is whatever your preface, whatever everything, there's nothing more important than that. The glory of God and the church of Jesus Christ and stop telling God how to do his job. That's the point of this text. And when we do question God, when we do weary God, what's the response? The response is repent. Repent. Who are you to question God? Job suffers for 38 chapters in the book of Job, he loses his kids and he loses his wealth, he loses his health. He loses everything. He's griping against God for 38 chapters, God shows up and he just says, who are you? Who are you to question me? He's God, he gets to do whatever he wants to do. Our job is to repent of sin and follow him. And then the presupposition that he's dealing with here is, Malachi is dealing here is, you want justice? You're telling God that he's not just, you want justice? How many of us would be alive if God flips the switch and destroys all of the evil in the world? How many of us will be alive in a second? That's what he says in Malachi 3:2, who can endure the day of his coming, who can stand when he appears? He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. So when we say, wouldn't it be great if Jesus came back? Yes, it would be great. But how many of us are ready? How many of us are ready for the justice of God to come? Malachi 3:1, behold, I send my messenger. Before he sends Christ in the first coming and before he sends Christ in the second coming, there's a messenger. He will prepare the way before me and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to the temple and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight. Behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. Prophecy as usual in scripture has double meaning, sometimes more. The first meaning of this prophecies, John the Baptist is going to come to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Isaiah 43, a voice cries out in the wilderness, prepare the way the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Zechariah's prophecy when he prophesies over his son who was in the womb, when he prophesied, he says, you will go and prepare the way of the Lord. Jesus applied that prophecy to John the Baptist in Matthew 11. Malachi 4:5 says, behold, I will send Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. Elijah the prophet, his spirit descends upon John the Baptist. That's how the prophecy comes together. And then we see in Malachi 3:1 that he, John the Baptist, is preparing the way for the Lord. So in the sense, this human Messiah that comes is also going to be the Lord. And we see that from Malachi 3:1, behold I, God, send my messenger, John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah. And he will prepare the way before me, God, me, the Lord, that's Adonai in the Hebrew, whom you seek will suddenly come into his temple and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. And here in the Hebrew, it's Yahweh. There's two Lords. Here what's going on, Yahweh here represents God, the father, Adonai is Jesus Christ. How do we know that? Because we see that difference often in scripture. Psalm 110:1, the Lord, Yahweh, says to the Lord, Adonai, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. So the Messiah is clearly David's son yet David calls him Lord. And there's two Lords, Yahweh and Adonai. What's this talking about? In the old testament, this is prophecy of the Trinity. That there's three persons in the Trinity, God the father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit. God the father sends God the son by the power of the Holy Spirit. One God, three persons, one essence. And we have this in Malachi3:1, John the Baptist comes as a messenger telling people to repent. What was John the Baptist's message? Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh, he's here. Therefore, repent of your sins, bear fruit with that repentance. Repentance isn't just saying, God, I'm sorry, all I want is your pardon so I can continue sinning. Repentance is God, I changed my way. I changed my life. God, I want to be used by you because I am yours. That's what repentance is. John the Baptist preached that, prepare the way for Jesus Christ. And the second meaning of the prophecy is before Jesus' second coming, Revelation 11 talks about this, there will be two witnesses who will powerfully bear witness before the coming of Christ, and the second coming, one of those witnesses will be Elijah himself. The preparing the way of the Lord, this imagery, is clearing roads, preparing towns for the visit of the king. It's a messenger sent to the towns who tell people, "Hey, clear the road of rock, of debris. Fill in the ruts and the potholes." God in his grace sends a messenger before his coming. He did that through John the Baptist about Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lives the perfect life, dies on the cross bearing God's fire of judgment and condemnation for our sin, our rebellion, our wickedness, dies, is buried, on the third day he's risen. And the scripture says by our faith in him, his grace is applied to us. His judgment, his substitutionary atonement, his death, that is counted to our account the very moment that we repent. That's the only way that the fire of God, when it comes, it will be a fire that cleanses, that refines instead of incinerating. God in his grace sent John the Baptist, God in his grace sends the church, sends us, we are priesthood of all believers and God in his kindness before the second coming of Christ will send another witness. Our job now, here, is to see where in our life do we need more of the refiners fire. Malachi 3:2, who can endure the day of his coming, who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. God wants to pour out his fire upon the church, upon each one of us. Wherever there's an indifference to sin, an indifference to God, a lack of love, a lack luster relationship with him we're to ask, God please send this refiners fire. Please wash us with the fullers' soap, the soap that cleanses. In Malachi 3:4, he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. To the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old, as in the former years. Here the imagery is God sends his fire to purify. This is the process of making silver. The oriental silver smith would heat it and the impurities, the dross, the slag, they bubble to the surface. He would skim the surface to the point where he could see his reflection in the silver. So this is what God is telling his people. You want justice, justice begins with you. You want God to punish evil, to cleanse the world of evil, it begins with you. It begins with you repenting of your sin and pursuing righteousness on a daily basis. And he is sending the struggles, he's sending the difficulties in order to purify us. All whom he loves, he purifies. It's painful, but it's not as painful as the judgment in the second coming. In the second coming, this is Malachi 3:2, then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow, the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the soldier and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. These people wanted God to judge their enemies, but they didn't judge themselves. They didn't fear God. God says, first judgment needs to come into your own life reawakening cleansing of sin. This is the process of sanctification and that's how we prepare ourselves for the second coming. In the second God will bring judgment. He will bring all of these people a swift witness against them, it's talking about the ultimate judgment. The sorcerers here, anyone who practices the occult, adulterers, anyone who is sexually unfaithful in particular in their marriage vows. Those who swear falsely, those who bend the truth, this is perjury under oath in court or in anything else, those who oppress the wage earner, anyone who is dishonest in their financial dealings. So what's the difference between the two fires? One is a fire that refines, the other fire is the one that incinerates. What's the difference? The difference is the covenantal love of Jesus Christ. Have you accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf? Have you repented of sin? Have you turned to Jesus Christ? Have you trusted that his death on the cross when the fire of God's wrath came down on him, do you trust that this is Jesus dying on the cross for your sins? Do you see how Holy God is? How sinful we are? How loving God is? How just God is and how much we need his grace. Do you see that? That's the only hope. There's nothing more important than that. There's nothing. There's absolutely nothing more essential than you trusting in Jesus Christ, you repenting of your sin, you following him. There's nothing more essential than that. There's nothing more essential than you worshiping the God of the universe. And then the temptation is, as we see the evil around us, as we are... the more you grow in holiness, the more you walk with the Lord, the more it breaks your heart that there's sin in your own life and that there's just outright evil and injustice around us. And the more godless a city, the more pagan a city, the more it grieves you and it wearies you. It's exhausting spiritually. And there's a temptation to hate the evil person. And here, as we pray for the justice, God come, God, we pray for the second coming, God, swift fire from heaven, please. We'll never lose sight of the fact that these people are eternal souls. And if Jesus Christ comes back right now, they will spend eternity in hell. So as we pray for justice, we are to care with a compassionate heart for those who don't yet know the Lord. We are to develop a compassion for those who are unbelievers. Second Peter 3:8 through 13, do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. And then the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed since all these things are thus to be dissolved. What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Don't weary God, if we do, if there's a grumbling spirit of complaining toward God, we are to repent of that. And then the second point is don't rob God. Malachi 3:6, for I the Lord do not change. Therefore, you O children of God are not consumed. He's setting this up, he's about to tell him that you've been robbing me. On the other hand, he said, my fire of judgment hasn't come down on you yet because I've chosen to pour my love out on you. I don't change. God is the only one who can say I am that I am. He's the only one who can say that. Every single one of us, we have to say, I am not yet the person that I'm supposed to be. I'm growing in the grace of God. God's the only one who can say I am that I am. A.W. Pink says he can not change for the better for he is already perfect and being perfect, he cannot change for the worse. And God is telling Israel, look, I should have destroyed you, I have not yet. And the reason is because I made a covenant with you. God chooses to love, and God is a God of his word. When God says, I love you, he will love you to the end. He will not let you go. And I'm setting that up all to say these people have been complaining to God, "God, what's the point of serving you when you are not blessing us? We're doing so much for you and you're not giving us what we want." And God here actually says, no, you're not doing everything you ought to be doing. Malachi 3:7 through 8, from the days of the fathers, you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, how shall we return? Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me, but you say, how have we robbed you in your tithes and contributions. We're saying, "God, we're doing so much." And he's saying, "No, no, no. You're not doing everything I've called you to do. You're comparing your obedience to that of the pagans, you're not comparing your obedience to that of God's law. And really here the main issue is they're in this lackadaisical, middle ground of miserable, pitiful, half-hearted Christianity. This is lukewarm Christianity. In Revelation God says, "You're neither hot nor cold, you're warm. You're lukewarm. I'm going to spit you out." It's like coffee, there's only two kinds that are allowed, hot and iced. That's it. Warm coffee is disgusting. You want to spit that out. That's what God is saying. He's saying to his people, "You Christians are miserable." The reason why you're miserable is because you're lukewarm, you're half-hearted. It's the most pitiful condition to be because you can't enjoy sin like you used to because God, the Holy Spirit, rebukes you every time and he disciplines you. And because you want sin more than God, you're not getting the fullness and benefit and satisfaction and joy of God. And in order to diagnose their lukewarmness, he points to their bank account. Well, what's the connection here? The connection is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, wherever your treasure is, that's where your heart is. Wherever your money naturally flows, that's usually what you love most. And scripture often talks about money as the litmus test, generosity as the litmus test of our relationship with God. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, pagan, was stealing, robbing the people of Israel and he repents. And Jesus says this in Luke 19:8 through 9. Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore fourfold." And Jesus said to him, today salvation has come to him to this house since he's also a son of Abraham. He's not saying he's saved because he gives, but he's saying, because he's saved, he gives. He has this natural generosity. Because he loves God and the things of God, he wants to be generous to the causes of God. And that stands a stark contrast to the tragic accountant of the rich, young ruler who comes to Jesus, falls on his knees, says, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus says, "You know the commandments." He said, "I fulfilled all of them." Jesus says, "You're lacking one thing." Mark 10:21, and Jesus looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You lack one thing. Sell all that you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, come and follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. And again, this isn't saying that if you sell everything you have, you get salvation. But Jesus was saying, "What do you love most?" How do you inherit turn life? You love God more than anything. You repent of your sin, you love God more than anything. Jesus saw that there was an idol in the way, and that idol was money. This guy worshiped money. Luke 16:10 to 11, and one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much. And one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you true riches? Unrighteous wealth, that's money and true riches here, that's the stewardship of souls. That's the souls of people. God says there's nothing more important than caring for people's souls. And if we have been unfaithful in finances, God will not entrust to us greater responsibility, which is that of caring for souls. So here the question is, are you greedy or generous? And that's always a degree. We always have to check our hearts and see how much greed has taken over. Do we have integrity when it comes to money? Are our priorities or motives for earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, are they in line with God's word? And how much should we give? That's the important question. In the old testament the number 10% comes up often. Abraham once gave Melchizedek 10% of the spoils from a single battle. Jacob promises to give God 10%. The law of Moses, however, prescribes several tithes. And if you combine all of them together it's probably 20 to 25%, some say even a third. In Israel, the tithe function more like an involuntary tax. Here Malachi 3:10 says, bring the full tithe into the storehouse. The 10% is a great place to start, but the idea is we are to give proportionately with what God has given us. So for some of us, 10% is a great place to give, some of us, it's going to be a sacrifice. So in the new testament, first Corinthians talks about giving sacrificially, joyfully and not under compulsion. Give to whom? We give to God. And what's important in Malachi 3:19 through 10 is that God says, give to my house. This is Malachi 3:9 through 12. You are cursed with a curse for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. He's talking about the temple. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts. If I will not open the windows of heaven for you and to pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord. So you're robbing God by not giving to his house, you're withholding the tithes and offerings. Therefore, you're neglecting the ministry in the temple. So the temple is gone now, we don't have the temple. We have the church. The church is the body of believers. So they gave so that the work of the ministry would continue in the temple. We today give to the work of the church. Why? Because Christ loved the church, gave himself up for her, he, though being rich, gave himself for the church so that we could be rich in him. Jesus said, I will build the church. And really the issue is we give to things that God loves. Does God need our money? No, God commands us to give because we need to give, we need to sacrifice. It's more blessed to give than to receive. And God wants us to give to the work of the church because the church is the vehicle through which God's glory is displayed and the gospel is proclaimed in the world. So it really comes down to giving to the things that God loves, the things that God prioritizes, things that God cares for, which is the work of the gospel and salvation of the souls. And here God says, put me to the test, which is fascinating. In the very beginning he's saying, you're testing my patience. Here he says, test me. What's the difference? There they were testing him with their disobedience, here he says, test me with your obedience. There they with testing his patience, here he says, test my promises, test my promises. See if I don't open up the windows of heaven. Malachi 3:10, see if I will not open up the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there's no more need, until there's no more needed. And he's not promising wealth, he's promising enough, satisfaction. Second Corinthians 9:8, and God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. Now this is risky. With finances, it's risky. The reason why it's risky here and the reason why he says test is obedience comes first, blessing comes after. He says, you first give and see if I don't bless. Sometimes we want, "God bless me, if you bless me to a certain point, then I'll give." It's risky, it's faith. But he says, "Test me, let's make a deal." That's what he's saying. And I found this to be true in my own life. And I found when Christians do this, there is really this pattern of God does bless faithfulness. The text began with them questioning God and then he says, you're robbing me, but in the middle he says return to me. And really this is the main issue, the heart of the matter is the heart. Malachi 3:7, from the days of your fathers you've turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts, but you say, how shall we return? It all starts with the heart. It all starts with us realizing how good and gracious God is. That though we were in our sins, though we defied him, rebelled against him, cared nothing for him, despised him. And you say, how have I despised him? By being indifferent to him. Indifference is the worst form of hate. And Jesus Christ comes and he dies for us, wicked sinners, on the cross, the God of the universe bearing the wrath of God. God came to save us from God's wrath and condemnation. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. Christ loses everything on the cross, pours out his blood for us and by grace through faith we're saved when we realize that generosity of God, the largest of his heart, that now duty becomes delight. It all starts with a relationship to return to him, to love him. However, relationship with God does not mean you don't have to obey. This is the problem with much of American Christianity. Oh, it's not religion, it's relationship. I know what you mean. It is relationship with God, with the God of the universe. And if you have a relationship with the God of the universe, of course it means obedience. Repentance is not, God, I'm sorry for my sin so now I can continue living in sin. Repentance is, God, forgive me, a wicked sinner who deserves hell for all of eternity. God, forgive me for loving things more than you, for loving pleasure more than you, for loving idols more than you. God, forgive me. And God does and now you become a child of God and a servant of God. John 15:10, if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I've kept my father's commandments and abide in his love. There's a connection. You want to experience God's love, you got to keep his commandments. John 15:14, you are my friends if you do what I command you. You can't say, "I love Jesus, my sins are forgiven. I'm under grace. I can live any way that I want." It doesn't work that way. God is a jealous God. He's a zealous God. When he makes you his own, when he makes you his own, he's never letting you go. And if you experience dissatisfaction, indifference in your heart, if you experience this questioning, grumbling spirit in your heart, God, you're not giving me the life that I want to live and then you start to pursue sin, that is the most miserable place to be because he will discipline you. Goes to Hebrews 12, he's a good father and he will discipline you. And sometimes that does mean physical suffering and sometimes even to the point of death, first Corinthians 11 talks about that. There's a sin onto death. So the word here from Malachi for us today is return to the Lord, return to him, be satisfied in him, rejoice in him. There's nothing better. Is it worth following him? Of course. What's the point? The point is we are to glorify him, enjoy him forever. Mark 10:28 through 30, I'll close with this. And Peter began to say to him, "See, we have left everything and followed you." And Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or a mother or a father or children or lands for my sake and for the gospel who will not receive a hundred fold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life." Let's pray. Lord, we thank you for the Holy Spirit. And I pray, Holy Spirit, continue to refine each one of us. Lord, those of us who are Christians continue to refine our souls with your fire, refiner's fire and continue to cleanse us and our souls as with soap so that we long for holiness, that we fight sin, that we take up a cross and follow you on a daily basis because we understand that there is a spiritual war to wage and we are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and we are pursue you with everything that we do. And Lord, for anyone who is not yet a Christian, I pray today, convert them, regenerate them, draw them to yourself, show them that they right now are on the path of eternal separation from you. I pray, draw them to yourself, convert them, give them the gift of repentance. And I pray that they accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And I pray all this in Christ's name. Amen.

Nov 8, 2020

Refiner's Fire: Week 2 

Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston and our neighborhood, churches, or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. Good morning. Welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan, one of the pastors here at Mosaic. And if you're new or if you're visiting welcome, we're so glad you're here and we'd love to connect either through the connection card and the worship guide or in the connection card in the app or online. If you filled out allegedly, we will get in touch with you over the course of the week. That said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's word? Heavenly Father, we thank you for the privilege it is to come into your presence because of the sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ on the cross, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Lord, you command us that we are not to have any gods before you. You summarized Jesus, the law of the Lord by saying, love God with all your heart, soul strength, and mind, love your neighbor as yourself. I pray today. Lord, you show us that love without obedience toward you is not love. When you call us to love you. You call us to honor you and revere you and fear you. And make us the people who care about honoring your name. People who care about holiness and righteousness, people who allow you to be Lord and King over every aspect of our lives. No matter how intimate to us. I pray. Lord, open up your Holy scriptures to us and give us hearts to hear and to receive and to love these truths. We'll pray, Holy Spirit, fill us, rebuke us, where we need to be rebuked, and comfort us where we need to be comforted. We pray all this in Christ's Holy Name. Amen. We're continuing our sermon series through the book of Malachi this week, two more weeks, I was just covering chapter by chapter. And then that will lead us into advent and where we'll just look at Matthew:1-2, so the very next pages in the Holy scriptures. Malachi and the title of the sermon series is a refiner's fire. Malachi is a prophet of God. His name means my message, your God has sent this prophet to speak a work of fire to the people of God, to burn off the dross that has encapsulated their hearts. Their hearts are numb toward God, desensitized toward God, and they need a fire to burn that dross off. And really that the heart of this book, it is the question, do you love God with all your heart, soul strength, and mind? Does God have a central place in your life? Meaning does faith in God permeate all of your life? Does God get to be God over every aspect of your life? Or does he just get a little time slot on your Google calendar of Sundays for an hour, hour and a half, a few minutes at the beginning of each day, perhaps? Is God the absolute most important person in your life? Do you do everything that you do for the glory of God? Through the prism of worshiping God, boil a question down is, God central or is He supplemental? And many of us struggle with the centrality of God because a lot of us have learned to compartmentalize God. There's my school box. There's my career box. There's my relationship with box. There's my money box. There's my sex box, whatever it is. And then there's my God box. And this is that part of life where I honor God, I sing songs to Him, I pray some prayers and I do some scripture. And when God gets compartmentalized in our lives, He just becomes an afterthought and we run to Him when we need something. When we need a blessing, when we need forgiveness, when we need spiritual cleansing, when we need him to remove shame or guilt, when we need rescue, we run to Him when we sin. God forgives, Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I've sinned. I see the calamity of my sin. I don't want to deal with the consequences of my sin. Jesus forgive me. And as soon as I'm forgiven, I run back to my sin. And we see the cycle over and over in the Holy Scriptures. He gets our sin, we get forgiveness and we go back to our sin and God gets our leftovers. We actually only go to God, to say, "God, forgive me, deal with the excrement in the filth of my soul in my life." And then we go right back to it. So how does God feel about that cycle? About that tepidness? About that lukewarmness? How does God feel about us bringing our leftovers to him? Well, today we will find out what God says, actually your worship to me, what you're giving me, it's actually feces, is the word dung. And he says, "I'm going to take the dung that you're bringing me. I'm going to rub your face in it. So you realize that this isn't going to work." So that's the text that we're in today, Malachi 2:1-9 to begin with, and then we'll deal with verses 10 through 16, after that. Malachi 2:1-9. “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not listen if you will not take it to heart, to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “Then I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not take it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings; and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I've sent this command to you? That my covenant with Levi may stand," says the LORD of hosts. "My covenant with him was one of life and peace. And I gave them to him, it was a covenant fear and he feared me. He stood in owe of my Name. True instruction was in my mouth and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge. And the people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way, you've caused many to humble by your instruction, you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts. "So I make you despised and abased before all the people inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.” This is the radium God's Holy inerrant, infallible authoritative word, He writes these eternal truths upon our hearts, three points to frame-Up our time. Verses 1-9. Stop giving God your Paresh, we'll talk about what that means. Two is don't marry pagans, that's verses 10-12. And three, fight for marital faithfulness verses 13-16. Point one; stop giving God your Paresh. He writes and speaks these words to priests, that's verse one. "And now, O priests, this commandment is for you." In context, talking directly to spiritual leaders in the Old Testament, these were the Levites. In the new Testament, spiritual leaders of the pastors or the elders. And so in context, He's talking about those who are entrusted to teach the people of God, the truths of God, and to not just teach them the instruction, but also show them, model how it's to be done. "Imitate me as I imitate Christ," the Saint Paul says. Life and doctrine go together. 1 Timothy 4:16, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching, Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." So if you are to teach the word of God to others, if you're going to instruct people from the word of God, you first have to pay attention to yourself, make sure you're living it yourself, and pay attention to your teaching. That's in line with the teachings of scriptures. In James 3:1, says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers for you know, that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." God sets a higher standard for those who preach his word, who teach his word. The job of spiritual leaders wasn't just to do the work of the ministry. It was to teach God's word. It was to ordain the worship service, that's the word of God. "We commit ourselves to the word of God and to prayer," as the book of Acts says. And then also it's to keep people accountable to that teaching and equip the saints for the work of the ministry. How does this apply to us? This text primarily applies to spiritual leaders. So Pastor Jan, you're preaching to yourself, Pastor Jane, Pastor Andy, the spiritual leaders. Also, applies to community group leaders. If you're leading a community group in the church, you need to know that this text's for you. But it also applies to any Christian because any Christian is called to make disciples of other people. Jesus gave us the command in the great commission, "Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit." On top of that, every Christian is called a priest. 1 Timothy 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light." So in the church age, Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Levitical code and superseded it. He's our great high priest and we are priests under him. So there's levels of authority given Jesus at the very top, then the spiritual leaders in the church. And it just descends, but every single one of us in some capacity, are called to teach the word of God to those in our community. And as we do, we need to know that there are standards that God sets for priests. Malachi 2:2 "If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name," says the LORD of hosts, "then and I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I've already cursed them because you do not lay it to heart." The first thing that a minister of the gospel, the first thing that any priest, any Christian needs to do is to learn to listen, not just with our ears. Jesus used this phrase often. He says, "Do you have ears to hear, take care of how you listen." And twice in this verse, he emphasizes, "take it to heart." So he's saying not just listen with your ears, but listen with your heart. Not listen to your heart, listen with your heart. And what's the connection between the heart and listening heart and learning truths? The connection's the same as the connection between faith and love. You can't believe in God or believe in doctrines about God without loving God because faith isn't just a matter of the mind. It's a matter of the heart, even more so. And we have a propensity to listen, in particular, things that we love, things that we want to hear. So he says, "First of all, when you're listening to God's word, you got to make sure your heart is calibrated to hear, to listen, particular, his warnings." Do you heed God's warnings? Do you heed his rebukes in the scripture? When the word is preached, as you read it, do you take the rebukes from the word of God? Do you take them to heart? And if not, then maybe the real issue is that you do not fear God, you do not honor God. And that's the connection. "If you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name." The scripture talks often about loving God and we in the American Church, we've done a great job talking about a God who is love and a God who calls us to love him because He first loved us. I think we've done that at the expense of talking about God, who is to be feared, who is an awesome God, a God who is to be revered and honored. He is to be so honored. So feared that we even revere his name, that we speak his name with honor with reverence. That's what he's saying here, "Will you give honor to my name?" This is such a big of a deal. This was one of the 10 commandments, "Thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain." Yes, don't just say, "OMG," don't you just throw out God's name when you're not talking about God or thinking about God, but that's only a surface-level understanding of what that commandment means. What that commandment means is that God has made us his own. We are the children of God. Christ said, "You are mine. I've given you my name, you're Christians live with Christ. So don't take my name in vain, where you take my name, but you dishonor me with your lifestyle." That's what he's really getting at, is that these priests were not honoring God with their lives. And that's really where everything fell apart. They were teaching people about God and then people were looking at their teaching, then comparing it to their lifestyle. And they had nothing to do with God. And thus, they led the people of God astray. So God says, "You're saying, God bless you. God bless you. God bless. But I'm actually going to turn these blessings into curses." And that's the second part of verse 2, "I'm going to curse your blessings. Indeed, I've already done that." And then in the text, he talks about cursing. The blessings cursing, the Levi's offspring where there'll be cut off from the ministry, and then their ministry will be cursed. What he's saying is you talk about God. You want God to bless your life, but your life has nothing to do with the doctrines of God, the order of God, the tenants, and the laws of God, and God cannot bless what he already promised to curse. Then Malachi 2:3 Behold, words of God. "I will rebuke your offspring, the offspring of the priests, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings and you shall be taken away with it." And this is the Hebrew word Paresh. And what he's getting at, is what this Paresh means. Excrement, it's bodily waste from these animals that they were supposed to bring as a sacrifice, as an offering, a sin offering to the Lord at the festivals. In Exodus 29:14, it's outlined there where it says, "But the flesh of the bull and its skin and it's dung, you shall burn with fire outside the camp." It is a sin offering. So the job of the priest was to take the animal to the people, brought to the priest, and say, "This is our offering to the Lord, our sin offering." And there was a take the choice parts of the animal and sacrifice to the Lord as a sin offering, a sacrifice for their sin, atonement for a little time. But the inner parts, the intestines, including the excrement, they were supposed to take outside of the temple, outside of the camp. And there's two indictments here. The first indictment is the priests, were allowing the dung to stay at the temple. And they were bringing that as a sacrifice to the Lord. And the second indictment is, and we read this in chapter one, that they were allowing the people to bring their leftover animals to God, their lame animals, the blemished animals, the blind animals. When God said, "If you're going to bring a sacrifice, it's got to be the best that you have." And what God is saying. He's saying, "Your worship to me is dung, it's excrement, it's feces, that you're presenting your worst to me. I'm going to take this and I'm going to take these feces and smear them in your face because you are making a mockery of the worship. You keep shoving, literally bull Paresh, BS, in my face and asking me to bless it? And I'm about to return the favor." What's he getting at? He's saying you've learned that there is a way for your sins to be forgiven through the sacrificial system. And you come and you go through the motions of the sacrificial system and the whole sacrificial system was giving as a way of repentance. It was the method of repentance. This is how we're repenting of our sins. You're doing this, you're going through the motions. And then you're going back to your sins. Meaning you love something more than God. You want God just to forgive you so they can keep on doing the sin. And this cycle of sin, ask for forgiveness, sin, ask for forgiveness. And what happens ... on the outside, you're presenting this religion to me on the inside there's nothing but death and corruption and Paresh. And this is the thing that Jesus Christ stood against more than anything else, warned against more than anything else. He has all of his woes in the gospel in Matthew. Woe against the hypocrites. Why did he talk about that so often? He says, be careful in presenting this front of facade of religiosity and cleanliness and purity and caring, nothing about purity on the inside." And that's why he gives us this very vivid imagery expressing the revulsion that the Lord felt when he saw that these priests were presenting an image of cleanliness, but there was nothing like that on the inside. That's what Jesus talking to the hypocrites. Those who claimed to know God and love God. He said, "You're whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and uncleanliness. You clean the outside of the cup and the place, but inside are full of greed and self-indulgence." He says, "Be careful of a worship that has nothing to do with your heart." Be careful of coming to God and singing songs about loving God and giving him lip service. And then when no one's looking, your life looks nothing like what you were singing about. Be careful of the inner corruption. Now, Malachi 2:4-6 "So shall you know that I've sent this command to you that might covenant with Levi may stand." Levi was the first priest of the Levitical code, says the LORD of hosts. "My covenant with him was one of life and peace. And I gave them to him. It was a covenant fear and he feared me. He stood in owe of my name, true instruction was in his name and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness. And he turned many from iniquity." Why was Levi's ministry as a priest so successful? Because he feared God, he honored God. He stood in awe of God. He lived according to God's principles. And when no one was watching, and because there was a love for God, a true love for God from the inside. When he taught people, it blessed people and moved people away from iniquity. He turned many away from iniquity. And the emphasis here is on, "He walked with me." He walks with me is a Hebrew, halacha. Enoch walked with God and he was no more. Noah walked with God. Abraham was told by God, "Walk with me." Jesus Christ, when he comes, the first thing he says to his disciples is, "Follow me, walk with me." This is what it means to be a follower of the Lord. You walk in his ways, you know his ways, you follow him in his ways. That's the only way you can show others how to walk in his ways. He's talking about a lifestyle, a lifestyle of reverence, and obedience and love. And also a lifestyle of hating sin. To fear God means that you hate sin, that you rebuke yourself of your own sin. Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is that hatred of evil." To love God is to fear God. And to fear God is to hate evil. The question that's before every single one of us as believers of the Lord is, do you truly hate evil? Not just the consequences of evil. Do you truly hate evil because you love God because you fear God? And you can't honor and fear God without hating your own sin, rebuking your own sin. You can't be a priest of the Lord without rebuking yourself for your own sin and doing the same to your own brothers and sisters with whom you have covenant community. And this was one of the rebukes of God against Eli. Eli was a great priest in the old Testament. But at the end of his life, God comes and he rebukes him and he says, "You've dishonored me. Why Eli? Because Eli taught people the way of God. And he tried to do the same, but he did not rebuke the closest people to him of their sin. Primarily his sons. He didn't confront their evil. 1 Samuel 2:30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel declares: "I promise that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever." But now the Lord declares, "Far be it from me! For those who honor me, I will honor, and those who despise me will be lightly esteemed." He's saying, "Eli, you claim to honor me, but you allowed evil to reside in your own home without doing anything about it." You need to confront evil. You need to speak truth in love and that's exactly what Malachi is doing. Malachi 2:7 "For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge. And the people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts." So every priest, every pastor needs to understand that they are nothing but messengers. They're not editors. They're messengers. They get a message from the Lord, from the Holy scriptures, thus saith the Lord. Malachi was messenger, the priest is supposed to be a messenger. We're supposed to be messengers and we have to guard and preserve and store up what this message is, even if people don't want to hear it. And why does Malachi begin with verses 1-9 talking about, do you love God? Do you fear him? Do you honor him? Do you revere his word? Are you a messenger? Because in a little while in the very next text, he gets to the very intimate parts of life where he begins to meddle in people's intimate lives with the word of God and apply it. And at that point, people have a decision. Are we going to repent of our sin? Or are we going to try to kill the messenger? Martin Luther said this. He said, "Always preach in such a way that if people listening do not come to hate their sin, they will instead hate you." One of my favorite examples of this is Karl Barth, who was a theologian in Germany prior to World War II. When Hitler was fanning the flames of antisemitism, and some of that was going on in Karl Barth's church. And Barth came out and he preached a sermon on John 3:16. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." And what he said was, "Jesus Christ was a Jew and Jesus Christ died for the whole world and Jews a part of the world. So we need to stand against any hatred of Jews. We need to love Jews and actually love our neighbor." Many in the congregation got up and discussed. So the Jews killed Jesus and the whole antisemitic ideology. And they wrote him scathing letters. And one of the biggest donors in the church wrote him a letter, the scathing letter, denouncing the sermon. Barth responded with a single sentence. And he said, "It was in the text." I'm just delivering the mail. This is the Bible. And this is how we as Christians need to judge any church, any sermon. And then this is how we also need to judge our own teaching about God. Are we speaking truth about God? Is it from the text? This is how we evaluate. Because the whole ministry of God, the whole ministry of the church is founded on this. Act 6:4 "The apostle said we are going to devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word." We're going to devote ourselves to prayer. That's the worship service. That's the ordinance of worship. The worship guide for the anchoring church is called the book of common prayer. It's not just praying to God. It's the whole worship experience of the congregation. And then the word of God, which is the ministry of preaching the word and teaching the word of God. That's what the church depends on. That is our life source, it nourishes and it strengthens. And we need to unabashedly speak the word of God because that's where life is even if our audience doesn't like it. Do we fear God more than men, than people? And actually, this is what Malachi says in verse eight and nine. This was the problem with the priest. They feared people more than they feared God, "But you have turned aside from the way, you have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts. "And so I make you despised and abased before all the people inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction." What's the issue here? The issue is that for a price, the priest told the people whatever they wanted to hear, the ministry of the word was being bought. In this case, the priests were overlooking clear disobedience in the community and the people are offering substandard sacrifice and the priest said, "Oh, that's fine." Micah spoke against this in chapter three, verse 11, of Micah. Its heads give judgment for a bribe. Its priests teach for a price. Its prophets practice divination for money. Yet they lean on the Lord and say, "Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us." Priests are teaching for a price. I'll teach what you want to hear as long as you keep paying my salary, that's what was going on. And the priests are, "If we demand from people exactly what God demands from the people, the people are going to get offended, they're going to leave. Then we need to make the message a little more palatable. So people show up so that people give so that we have a livelihood." This has always been a temptation in the church. Samuel Butler in the 17th century wrote a little poem about it. And he says, "What makes all doctrines plain and clear? About 200 pounds a year. And that which was proved true before, prove false again? 200 more. You want to know the truth? Pay me 200 pounds a year. You don't like it. Pay me another 200 pounds a year. That's what was going on. Does any of that go on today? Yeah. Look at the religious landscape of Boston. 99% of churches that have buildings today, that's what they do. They don't preach the gospel, but they have an endowment that allows them to just not preach the gospel. And I knew early on in the ministry, I knew this was the thing. And practically I made a decision, I don't know who gives what to the church. The only person I know that gives any money, how much? Is my wife and I. We know exactly how much we give. And I will preach whatever the truth of the gospel is, no matter what. And this gig doesn't work out. It's okay. I've got crazy painting skills. I'll go paint houses with my dad, no, no big deal. And you're like, "Okay, that's the pastor's house, how does it apply to us?" Are you willing to stand up for your faith publicly? Are you willing to tell people in your life; colleagues, students, neighbors, roommates, that you love Jesus Christ, that you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. Specific sins, particular sins, sexual sins, lust, pride, whatever, specific sins. Do you believe that God ordained before the foundation of the world people to salvation that God has an order of this is gender? This is marriage. This is what it means to raise a family? Are you willing to stand up and say, "Yes, I am a Christian." Do you fear God more than you fear people? What they said about Jesus, Luke 20:21. So they asked him, "Teacher we know that you speak and teach regularly and show no partiality but truly teach the way of God." We Mosaic we want to do God's work God's way which is all in line with God's word, whatever that word is. Now, Malachi gets really specific. He set that foundation. "Do we honor God, revere God, do we honor his word? And are we willing to teach it and live it both at the same time?" And he has two prime examples that get really intimate, and where he goes is marriage, marriage, and sexuality. So is point two, don't marry pagans. So he set that foundation in the verses 10 through 12, he says this, "Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah has been faithless; and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god." May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob, any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts. So one of the issues that he gets really particular with, but specifically, the priest started allowing marriage to pagans. And they started even doing it themselves. Why? Because people came to them and said, "How dare you priests tell us whom to marry?" There's my God box. And then there's my marriage box. It's this hermetically sealed compartmentalization that happens when there's a cognitive dissonance where people want the sin and don't want God to intrude. So Malachi comes in and says, "Actually it is God's business whom you marry." If you're a child of God, that's why he starts with, "Have we not one father?" Pure child of God, then God expects obedience and as a father, a loving father, yes, God gets to have a say in whom you marry, the father gets a say in the child's choice of a marriage partner, because God loves you. And what does God say here? "Whom does God want these people to marry? There's basically one condition, it's that they love God, that they're Christians, that they're saved, that the regenerated, that they do not worship as verse 11 says, "A foreign God." And so the issue here is not racial intermarriage and it's not ethnic intermarriage. And we see a lot of examples of people from other races who came to the people of Israel, Rahab, Ruth, Abigail, but they were converted, they repent of their sins, became believers in the Lord. So the question is spiritual intermarriage, and he uses the word abomination here. This isn't just a little mistake. This isn't just a matter of options. An abomination, a word that's used for idolatry, witchcraft, and sacrificing children. This is a big deal. And we see that this is a problem all throughout the Old Testament, also in the New Testament. And why was this an issue in during this time of the people of God when Malachi came to speak? Well, because it's been centuries from the time where Moses said, "Do not intermarry with people of other faiths." Centuries have passed. And now at the time of Malachi that people say, that's antiquated. That's regressive. Why does God care whom I marry? No, no, no, my God doesn't do that. It's too restrictive. We shouldn't take it seriously. We shouldn't take it literally. It's inapplicable in the modern-day. The objection is, well, God doesn't care about whom I marry, he just cares about my heart. Because God cares about your heart. He cares about whom you marry. God demands that we love him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. And how can we give our heart that's committed to God fully to a person that doesn't love God fully? If we have a covenant with God, how can we make a covenant with a person that doesn't love God the same? This is a problem all throughout the Old Testament, all throughout the New Testament. It begins with Genesis 6 where Satan's ploy to take down humanity is spiritual intermarriage, and that actually leads to the flood. In Genesis 24, Abraham makes his servant swear, "Please don't let Isaac, my son marry a Canaanite who worships a foreign God." So Isaac marries Rebecca and then they have two kids, Jacob and Esau. Esau marries two unbelieving wives that brought grief to both Isaac and Rebecca. Jacob marries a believer, but his daughter, Dina is involved with Canaanite men. Those men then invite Jacob's other children to intermarry with them. Jacob's son, Judah marries a Canaanite woman, begins to live like them, and to protect Abraham's descendants so that Jesus could come from this line because God promised to Abraham, God sovereignly takes Joseph out of that land so that he doesn't marry a Canaanite. And that leads to 400 years in Egypt. God then leads them out. In Deuteronomy 7:3-4, God speaks through Moses to the people of God and says, "You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to your sons or taking your daughters for your sons for they would turn away your sons from following me to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you. And he would destroy you quickly." Why is this such a big deal? Because Satan knows the way that your faith flourishes if you love God. So if he can pull your heart away from God, when you love a person who competes with your affection for the Lord, and that person then pulls you away. And this was really the strategy of Balaam. If you study the false prophet, Balaam is hired by King Balak who was the King of Moab. Balak says, please curse the people of God. There's so many, they're going to take over. Please curse them. He tries multiple occasions, the curse but he can't because God already blessed them. So then Balaam comes up with a plan. He said, "I can't curse them, but get them to intermarry with Moabite women. And that will destroy their faith. And they will destroy their reverence and honor to the Lord." And we see this ploy by Satan continued. Samson, the strongest man gets taken out through the same tactics. Solomon, his heart gets pulled away from God because of all his wives who worshiped other gods. Ahab with Jezebel, and after captivity, Ezra comes in back to the land with Nehemiah and they see the same thing going on. In the new Testament. Saint Paul says, "Marriage in the Lord. That's the only requirement, that you love the Lord." And 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial, it's a false idol? And what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols for? For we are the temple of the living God. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, Saint Paul tells people who are married to unbelievers, how to continue the relationship. When he says, "Just love them in the Lord. If you're married to an unbeliever, love them in the Lord. Witness to them, reflect Christ to them." But he's not endorsing entering such a marriage, he's giving to those who become believers after. Why? Why is this important? Because this is what we talked about in the very beginning. Does God get to be God over every aspect of your life? From the smallest to the greatest to the most impactful, is God the most important person in your life? If so, how can you entertain the thought of committing to make a person the most important person in your life who doesn't view God as the most important? Doesn't love the Lord, doesn't reference his word, and plan according to his will. But we love each other. That's the objection we hear. But we love each other. How can I say no to my feelings? Does God get to be God over your feelings? Yeah, he does. And when God speaks and says, "No, that feeling is wrong." You need to change that feeling, by the power of the spirit of that can happen. It's a question of obedience or disobedience. I've heard, but I've prayed and I feel like this is God's will, "No it's not God's will because God will never contradict what he's already said. It's not God's will." So if you, Christian are dating right now an unbeliever, you need to break up with them. Completely break up with them. "We're no longer dating." "Why?" "Because God said this is wrong." If you really love him, this is what you do. If you really love God, that's what... But I'm witnessing to them? You can witness to them without having to date them. Bring them to church and you're sitting six-feet-apart, praise God. It's not on you to save them. Tell them about Jesus. God's sovereign. If he saves them, tremendous. Then you can get married. Praise God. So are you willing to honor God there? And this is very important decision that you can make even prior to, so if you're dating. And then if you are hoping to get married, pursuing marriage, praying about marriage, your options are believers. And I understand that as Boston is limited. I understand all that, but we believe in a God of miracles. So just keep praying. And by the way, I'll just say, it's not that big of a deal. Marriage isn't that big of a deal. My wife's not here at the service, so I can say that. It's not that big of a deal. Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians, he says, "If you're married, okay, great. If you're doing business, okay, great. What really matters ultimately is that you love God that you're satisfied in him. That's the most important relationship. So that's number one. Number two if you do get married still, you get to a place where you together are worshiping the Lord. So you can worship the Lord when you're married. That's the point there. Point three is fight for marital faithfulness. If you do get married, you fight for marital faithfulness as decreed by God. And this is Malachi 2:13-16. So one of the issues that the priests were allowing and actually participating themselves, they were marrying unbelievers. And then the second issue was once they got married, even to believers after a while, they're like, "Ah, we're not in love anymore." And they would pursue divorce. So Malachi speaks in verse 13. And this second thing you do, you cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping, with groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, why does he not? So the people were like "We're worshiping God, we're asking for his blessings. He's not blessing us." There's a lot of emotion here. And God doesn't seem to be hearing their emotion. Well, because God doesn't bless a lifestyle that he has already rebuked in his law. But you say, why does he not? Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless. Though she is your companion and your wife by covenant, did he not make them one with a portion of the spirit in their union? And what was the one God's seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth, "for the man who does not love his wife but divorces her," says the Lord, "the God of Israel covers his garments with violence," the LORD of hosts. "So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless." So verse 13, the second thing you do that God sees and God does not honor is displeased with, you cover the Lord's altar with tears. That you are showing a lot of emotion. God's not blessing. That's verse 14 because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, same word that was used talking about intermarriage. Again, faithless talking about a lack of fidelity to God, which leads to a lack of fidelity in the marriage. And what's being forbidden here is not divorce in general. It's aversion divorce, divorce because of dislike. In the old Testament divorces permitted for a sexual infidelity, in the New Testament scripture also adds the desertion when an unbeliever desserts a believer, divorce is allowed. But the divorce that he's talking about here is neither of those. He's talking about divorce because they just fell out of love. And he emphasizes here, "No, no, you've made a covenant with the wife of your youth. She is your companion, your best friend." That's what marriage is at the heart of it. It's a friendship, husband and wife companions, best friends. And there's a covenant. That's the word that's used. A covenant is not a contract. A contract is if I fulfill my end of a bargain and you fulfill your end of the bargain and we keep the contract. If not, the contract is broken, a covenant is a lifelong commitment from the perspective of scripture. The Hebrew word for companion, since the covenant is being knit or joined together, pointing to the closest to the relationship. Verse 15, did he not make them one, husband, wife? And we see this from Genesis 2, Adam wakes up and he says, "You're bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, you're blood of my blood, we're the same blood, we're family." Marriage makes family and family is from God's perspective, family's to be permanent. So as asinine, as crazy, as ludicrous as it is to say to my kids, "I am going to abandon you, I am going to divorce you." From God's perspective, that's the same level. Marriage is permanent. And Jesus in Matthew 19, points to Genesis 2 and says, "Yes, that was intended from the very beginning. And Malachi looks at divorce from the perspective of Genesis 2, but then also from the perspective of children. "With a portion of the spirit and the unions of God makes them one with the Holy Spirit." And what was the one God seeking? So God has a purpose in our marriage and a purpose that transcends our feelings or fulfillment or satisfaction. And the purpose is godly offspring. He attacks the sin from the perspective of children because this decision of marriage is where children are influenced to understand God, who God is. And they understand what family is. And our marriage are to be gospel presentations to our children and to the world. And our families are to be gospel presentations that God does not abandon his children. Jesus Christ loves his bride and doesn't divorce her. So from God's perspective, he says, "It's not just about your feelings, not about your desires. It's not about your satisfaction." How does this impact your children from a generational perspective? So this is why you don't marry an unbeliever because God's desire is Godly offspring. And this is why you work at staying married. He says, "Guard yourselves in the spirit, protect yourselves, because God cares not just about this relationship, but generationally speaking. My wife and I were talking about this. And she's like, "What are you preaching on?" I was like, "The fact that God tells me to love you." And she's like, "Why does God have to tell you to love me?" She doesn't come to the service. I can be a little more honest. It's kind of a catch 22. So my answer was, "You know exactly why? Because God tells you the same thing." There are times where you're married even if you don't like each other, just like there are times when you are still caring for your kids. There are times where I don't like my kids, there are. And you do it because God tells you, that's the reason why God's telling you because he has to tell you because there's flesh and sinful desire and all of this. So when we view marriage as just something romantic and then when the romance is gone and then we ... No, it's, it's a matter of obedience. Love is a choice. Love is a commitment. And by the way, there's also times when I don't like myself and you don't like yourself, and it's not like you get divorced from yourself. You still like, "We're in this together, me and myself." Where you just keep going. C. S. Lewis has this great definition of love in Mere Christianity. He says, "Love as distinct from being in love is not merely a feeling. It's a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforce in Christian marriages, the grace, which both partners ask and receive from God. They can have this love for each other, even at those moments when they do not like each other, as you love yourself when you do not like yourself." So from God's perspective, we need to understand that marriage isn't about us. Marriage is so much more. It's to be a picture, a sign of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And God has plans for our marriage, for our families that are so much more than just ourselves. In Malachi 2:16 "For the man who does not love his wife but divorces," says the Lord, "the God of Israel covers his garment with violence," says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless. Twice he says, this isn't for me. This is from the Lord. Why does he do that? Because people don't like to be told what to do. In particular, in the most intimate parts of life. Did God really say? That's the first temptation in the garden? Yes, he did. And here he talks about the man that does see divorce. He covers his garment with violence. What's he talking about? It's referring to the Hebrew custom of a man when he proposed, he would cover the woman with his garment, draping and over her as a picture of protective care and provision. I'm devoting myself to care for you. And he says, "When you divorce, it's like yanking off that protective covering." And the idea here is that the husband is the head of the wife called to tenderly, nourish, cherish, and protect her as his own body. The Bible doesn't command men to be the head of the wife. It's an inescapable fact. The question is, what kind of head of the household are we husbands? Are we faithful and diligent and effective, or we passive inattentive and ineffective? And it's not that we Lord over. And we don't King over our wives. We shepherd. We are under-shepherds under Jesus Christ. We follow Jesus Christ. So we, as the shepherds, we know where we're going because we're following Christ, we're leading by example. And we're involved, responsible, protecting, providing, instructing, and correcting. And so here, this is a word of the Lord for spouses, for our marriages. What's the marriage secret technique that God gives us here? Is guard your spirits. Guard your spirit do not be faithless. Guard your spirit don't be faithless, the word guard here means to fight, fight the good fight of faith that has to do with loving God, our relationship with God. And also, our relationship with our spouse with our family, it is a fight. We have an enemy in Satan, we have an enemy in our flesh. We have an enemy in the world. It is a fight. So we fight indifference, halfheartedness, passivity, and we fight it by looking to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ does not compartmentalize his faith. Everything he did was for the glory of God, everything. He loves people. He loved God. He loved his bride, which is the church. And he gave himself for her. Jesus Christ, the good shepherd laid his life down for the sheep. But he's also the lamb of God who went to the cross as a sacrifice for our sin. A lamb that was led to the slaughter. He was faithful even when we were faithless. And on the cross, Jesus gave his best. God gave his best to us. And God's best on the cross, God's son. This lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. He became sin. He became that offering, the part of that offering the dung, that was supposed to be brought outside the city. Jesus was brought outside the city in a sense, he became our sin so that we might receive the righteousness of God. That's how we see how much Jesus loves, how much God loves us. And when we see that it fills our heart with love. He fought for us, we are to do the same. He sacrificed for us, we are to do the same for him, for our spouses, for our children, for our church. Why? Because Jesus Christ paid it all, and all to Him I owe. So if you're not a believer, we welcome you to become a believer today in God. We welcome you to repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ and give your life over to him. And if you are a believer and you're seeing yourself indifference, lackadaisical of spirit and following the Lord, come repent, receive grace. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you for this time. The Holy Scriptures, what an incredible book, the book of Malachi is. And we thank you, Lord, that you are faithful even when we are faithless. And we do repent that often we remove you from the centrality in our lives. And we put ourselves on the throne of our lives. We repent of that. And we ask that you come, you cleanse us. And that you also feel the Holy Spirit to empower us to live lives of righteousness, lives that honor you, lives that revere you, not just the name. And we pray this in Christ's Name. Amen.

Nov 1, 2020

Refiner's Fire: Week 1 

Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston and our neighborhood churches, or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. We'd love to connect with you. We do that through the connection card, either the physical connection card or the one that you can get online or in the app. With that said, would you pray with me over the preaching of God's Holy word? Lord, we come to you with humble and grateful hearts for the fact that you, the God of the universe did not reject us when we rebelled against you. Instead, you chose to pour out your love upon us. You chose to extend mercy to us and grace. Lord, we take a moment now to repent of the fact that we take your love for granted, we take your acceptance for granted, we take a relationship with you for granted. Lord, we repent of the fact that often we are bored in our relationship with you. We are apathetic toward you. I pray today, Lord, send a fire of affection, a fire of zeal into our hearts today. With that fire, burn off the draws of indifference and apathy and stir our hearts to love you like never before. Deepen our relationship with you. Deepen our understanding of what it means to be a child of God adopted into your family through the sacrifice of our older brother, Jesus Christ. Who came and did absolutely everything that was required by your law, and then died on a cross bearing the weight of our sin, bearing the wrath that we deserve for our law breaking. Holy spirit, come now into this place, come now and fill our hearts. Continue to lead us, continue to guide us, continue to fill us. We thank you for the Holy scriptures. I pray that you take these words that you have given us, help us understand them, and I pray that they go deeper than the mind and into the heart and transform the will. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen. We're starting a new sermon series today through the book of Malachi which is at the very center of scripture, so to speak. In that, this book is at the end of the Old Testament, and it's right before the New Testament. We are going to spend four weeks in the book of Malachi covering the four chapters. That's going to lead us immediately into the beginning of Matthew. We'll cover Malachi chapters, one, two, three, and four. Then that leads us into advent with Matthew chapter one and two. The title of the sermon today is eternal love. I'm praying the Lord helps us understand his love for us. If you haven't heard, this is a big week in the United States. If you haven't heard, the election is this week. This election has been called the most important, the most monumental, the most consequential election of our lifetime, maybe. Today I want to talk about election, but a more important, more consequential, more monumental election. Today I want to talk about God's sovereign election of people, of us, of believers before the foundation of the world. I want to talk about his love that's a divine love, a sovereign love, an eternal love, a particular love and an electing love. The word Malachi, Malachi of the prophet, Malachi just means my messenger. God has a message for his people. It's the final message given to the people of God, the people of Israel before 400 years of silence before John the Baptizer comes as the prophet preceding, preparing the way for Christ. It's the final instructions. The context is that Israel has been brought back from Babylon. They've been in the promised land for about 100, 120 years. They've rebuilt the temple during the years of Ezra. Nehemiah has come in and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. As they're rebuilding, they're getting back to worshiping God, to the religious rituals. They're getting back to what it meant to have a relationship with God. On the outside, everything looks great. But on the inside, there's corruption and God sends Malachi to the people of God with the question, how are you doing spiritually? How are you doing deep inside? How's your relationship with the Lord? Their very first answer is, we're fine. We're doing well. Then Malachi in a very systematic way unfolds where they have fallen short of worshiping God, giving Him the worship that He deserves. Malachi is bringing to them a message that's hard. It's hard to hear. God, through Malachi, is confronting their apathy, their indifference to God. They're going through the motions, but their heart is far from God. God speaks through Malachi. 47 to 55 verses are God speaking directly to the people of God. God's goal is to wake them up from this indifference, apathy, numbness, desensitization that they're feeling toward God and get them to a place where they reposition their lives to live lives that God delights to bless. What's fascinating about the book of Malachi is it ends with a warning. The last word of the book is destruction or curse. It's the only of the prophetic books that ends in such a manner. It ends this way because before us is a choice, is a decision. Do we want a blessing or do we want a curse? The instructions are given here to live lives that God loves to bless, lives honorable to God. Today we're in Malachi Chapter 1. We'll cover the whole chapter. Would you look at the text with me, Malachi Chapter 1? The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. "I have loved you." Says the Lord. But you say, "How have you loved us? Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" Declares the Lord, "Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I've hated. I've laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert." If Edom says, "We are shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins." The Lord of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tear down and they will be called the wicked country and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever. Your own eyes shall see this and you shall say, great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel. A son honors his father and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? If I am a master, where is my fear?" Says the Lord of hosts to you, priests who despise my name. But you say, "How have we despised your name?" By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, "How have we polluted you?" By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. "When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? When you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor, will he accept you or show you favor?" Says the Lord of hosts. "Now entreat the favor of God that He may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will He show favor to any of you?" Says the Lord of hosts. "That there were one among you who would shut the doors that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain. I have no pleasure in you." Says the Lord of hosts "and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting, my name will be great among the nations and in every place, incense will be offered to my name and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations." Says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it. When you say that the Lord's table is polluted and it's fruit, that is, it's food may be despised. But you say, "What a weariness this is?" You snort at it, says the Lord, the Lord of hosts. "You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering? Shall I accept that from your hand?" Says the Lord. "Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock and vows it and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King ..." says the Lord of hosts, "and my name will be feared among the nations." This the reading of God's Holy inherent and infallible, authoritative word. May you write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Two points to frame our time together. First, we'll talk about the spiritual diagnosis as given by Malachi, which is apathy. Then the spiritual medicine, which is election. First, the spiritual diagnosis, apathy. Malachi 1:1 says, the oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. The word oracle here means burden. It means something that God has given to him, it's heavy on his shoulders. He's bringing it and not because he wants to, but because he has to. Jeremiah talks about a word that God puts into his bones that's like a fire in his bones, not to be trifled with, not to be changed, not to be disregarded or played with. Half the verses and the texts have something to say along the lines of, thus says the Lord or says the Lord or says the Lord almighty. It's not just the word about God, it's the word from God. A word to instill in us trepidation before the holiness of God, the judgment of God, the eternal condemnation of God. It's a burden to be delivered to whom? This is fascinating. It's not just the pagans, it's not to people who don't know anything about God or the word of God or things of God. It's people who love God. It's people who are raised in the faith. People who knew about the faith, the Old Testament covenant. They knew this from infancy. Because they've known it from infancy, they have grown indifferent to it. When God started a relationship with the people of Israel, it's a relationship that he compared to marriage. It's a covenant relationship. He chose to pour out his love on Israel. Now it's grown tepid. It's grown lukewarm. There's a passion leak that happened along the way. It's become a functional relationship. Almost like a functional marriage where you stay together just because of the kids or you stay together because you've been together for so long. It's a functional relationship with the Lord. God comes to them, and the very first thing that He says is, "I love you." Their response is a lukewarm, "Well, how do we know that he loves us?" The reason why he starts there is because they've lost the fire of love toward God. They've grown apathetic toward God. Spiritual apathy is something that every single believer, every single Christian needs to watch out for. But it's so sinister because it's hard to watch out for it. It doesn't come out of nowhere. It creeps in and we grow apathetic by degree. It's like the parable about the frog. How do you boil a frog alive? You throw it into cool water and then just warm up the water, warm up the water until it boils. That's how apathy works in our heart. No one starts off in a relationship with apathy. No one starts out with a relationship with God apathetically. It sneaks in. Sneaks in perhaps because we had expectations that were not met by God. "God, why did you allow this to happen?" That's what happened in Israel. They came back. The temple was rebuilt, but it was just a shadow of itself. Only 100,000 Jewish believers returned when they were a nation of millions. They come back and they said, "Does God really love us? It seems like the nations around us are prospering more than we do." It's hard to spot spiritual apathy in us, but the telltale sign of spiritual apathy is self-justification. I feel this. This is my reality. This is my experience, and I am right to feel this. If my relationship with God is not more passionate, then it's not on me. It's actually on Him. If God wants me to feel different about Him, He should've given me a lot in life, given me a different hand to play. God should have given me the things that I thought He would give me. Then I'd feel better about Him. That's what we see in this text. God comes to them. God wants to show them how apathetic they are to Him, and their reaction was self-justification. Meaning, we have a reason to feel this. Nine times in the scriptures, God is attempting to have a conversation with them. We see the phrase, but you say. Malachi 1:2, "I have loved you ..." says the Lord, "but you say ..." But the people of Israel, this is their response. "How have you loved us." Assumption, you haven't loved us. You haven't showing your love to us. Malachi 1:6B, priests who despise my name. But you say, "How have we despised your name?" God's saying, "You're hating." "How have we hated you?" Malachi 1:7, "By offering polluted food upon my altar." But you say, "How have we polluted you?" Malachi 1:13, but you say, "What a weariness this is? You snort at it." Says the Lord of hosts. God says, "I want a relationship with you. I want to bless you." They said, "But it's so boring to follow you. What a weariness it is." Malachi 2:13-14, He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, "Why does He not?" They're blame shifting. God is saying, "You're bringing offerings that's your leftovers, your second best to the Lord." They said, "But that's on God. That's God's fault that He isn't accepting what we're bringing Him." The same thing that Cain did. Malachi 2:17, You have wearied the Lord with your words, but you say, "How have we wearied him?" Malachi 3:7, "Return to me and I will return to you." Says the Lord of hosts. But you say, "How shall we return?" Malachi 3:8, will man rob God? You are robbing me. But you say, "How have we robbed you?" Malachi 3:13, "Your words have been hard against me." Says the Lord. But you say, "How have we spoken against you?" God is saying, "You've offended me." "How have we offended you Lord?" It's a hard-hearted reaction to God. Instead of repenting, they are self-justifying. The worst part, isn't just the indifference, it's the response to the person. How great is the person's God and God's love in which is an incredible love. Malachi 1:2, God comes. The very first words on the lips of God in this book are, "I have loved you." In Hebrew, it's not just, "I have loved you in the past." But, "I have loved you with such a great love and I continue to love you despite everything." Their response to that is shocking. But you say, "How have you loved us?" The response is, "We don't feel loved God. It's your fault that we don't feel loved." "I love you." But we don't feel loved. You're not doing enough to show us that you love us. What would warrant such a response? Part of it is, they're so focused on their situation. There is financial, political, relationship turmoil in their lives. God comes to them and says, "I love you." They say, "That's nice, but what have you done for me lately? What about my bills? What about my relationships? What about our health? What about my housing? My prospects, my past, present and future." You can tell from their responses, they're dead inside. They're callous. They're numb toward God. The word apathetic comes from the Greek apatheia, which means no feeling. They don't feel anything toward God. There's a dryness. There's a stupor. There's a senselessness. There's a boredom. That's what Malachi 1:13, their response is, "What a weariness this is? God, we're bored with religion. We're bored of the things of God. We're bored with the word of God. We're bored with God." If you're a parent and if you have kids, you've had this and it happens all the time. My kids come to me and are like, "Dad, I'm bored. I am so ..." Especially over quarantine it's like, "I am so bored. There's nothing to do. There's nothing to wear. There's no place to go. There's nothing to eat." Nothing to eat, always that comes after mom makes soup. They look at it and they say, "There's nothing to eat." Which is the biggest slap in the face to a parent. It's like ... My response is, "You should be lucky you're here. You're welcome. I have gifted you with existence. You're bored and partially because you're not doing anything. Go wash the dishes. Vacuum the car. Go do something." That's part of it. But the other, then you start to analyze what's going on in their heart. What's going on in their heart is, they think that you exist for them, that you, parent, exist to entertain them. They're at the center of the universe. "Mom, dad do everything that I demand. I am bored." That's what Israel is doing. I'm bored with you, God. You're not doing enough to meet our needs, to meet our demands. Now you see that really the core issue of this boredom, of this apathy, of this indifference is pride. That God, you exist for us and you're not doing enough for us. Why do they say that? Because they're focused on their circumstances. So focused on their situation, their financial situation, their health situation, their relational situation. Whenever we get too focused on our situation, too focused on ourselves, no matter how wonderful you are, no matter how wonderful your situation is, no matter how much you accomplish, no matter how prosperous your life, you will always get to a point where you get bored with you. If you're focused on you, you will always get bored with you because you are not enough to satisfy you. We have infinite souls, we have eternal souls and we need something greater than ourselves to live for. We need a greater purpose than ourselves to live for. When we're stuck on focusing on the day-to-day, the situation, and we lose sight of God's purpose for our life, God's plans for our life, we can't be bored. If God had so loved Israel, they're asking, "Why aren't we the blessed nation that we were supposed to be, that we were? We have no army to protect ourselves. We're still under the Persian King. Why is life so difficult?" Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This indifference then leads to very raw, very dead, very dry religion. A religion that has no heart in it. They bring God their leftovers. They're hedging their bets when it comes to God. That's Malachi 1:6 and 7. God says, "A son honors his father and a servant his master. If then I'm a father, where's my honor? If I'm a master, where is my fear?" Says the Lord of hosts. "Priests who despise my name." But you say, "How have we despised your name?" By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, "How have we polluted you?" By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. It starts with, God speaks to the people of God, "You're indifferent to me. How have we loved you?" Then God turns His attention to speaking to the clergy, to the priest, to the pastors. He's saying, "You have not taught the people well. You haven't taught about fearing God and honoring God and worshiping God because He's worthy of worship." They step back and they say, "How have we hated you? We haven't hated you. We haven't despised you." Then Malachi explains, this is how. Verses eight and nine, when you offer blind animals and sacrifice, is that not evil? When you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? "Present that to your governor, will he accept you or show you favor?" Says the Lord of hosts. "Now entreat the favor of God that He may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will He show favor to any of you?" Says the Lord of hosts. He said, "This is how you have hated me. This is how you've despised me, how you've defamed my name. You've given me leftovers. Try bringing the offerings that you bring me to your governor, to the politicians who are in charge of you. Let's see if they accept that offer." What he's talking about is the sacrificial system that God had instated in Israel. This is how you worship God, by bringing Him your best. God said, through the law, that the people, if they wanted to worship God, they had to bring their first fruits. They had to bring their firstborn of the flock and the most excellent of one's property. God wanted to show that true love always had to do a sacrifice and obedience. This is a real test of faith. They brought animals from their flock, the best animals. The best animals were the best breeding stock. By bringing God your best on an annual basis, you know that you are diminishing your breeding stock. The animals that are coming now from your secondary best are not going to be as good as the animals that came from your first best. It was really a test of faith. I'm going to bring God my best, the best stock, knowing that my obedience of God is going to put me in a place of blessing and prosperity that is diametrically opposed to the world's path to prosperity. Now, God is speaking to priests here because priests got to a point where they said, "We see lethargy in the people. We see indifference in the people. We can't demand absolute obedience from the people because the people will stop showing up. If we demand the absolute best from the people, the people will stop offering anything. We're going to lower the barrier of obedience and tell people, you know what, it's all going to go up in smoke anyway. Let's just be good stewards. You don't have to bring your best, bring your secondary best. Bring the blind animals or the maimed animals or the blemished animals. The ones that you can't sell at the market. At least bring something." They realized that the spiritual temperature of the people was so low that if they demand the best, then they get nothing. They're more worried about themselves and they're more worried about offending people and losing potential income from the church than anything else. God goes to them and says, "You're so worried about offending people that you forgot that you are offending me. I demand the best." That's what God is saying. Mediocrity, I reject that. Half-hearted worship, I reject that. Begrudging worship, I reject that. How does this apply to us today? I have pastor friends in the city, whenever we meet with one another for mutual edification. One of the things that we always talk about, and especially now during the pandemic, is how's attendance at church? How are the numbers at church, et cetera, et cetera? As a minister of the gospel, I've been in the ministry for 11 plus years now. I've read all the church growth books and I know what we can do to grow the church. I know it. There's things that you can do, levers that you can pull to get people in the door. There's things that if numbers were all that mattered, if getting people in the door is all that mattered, there's things that I would do and there's things that I would not do. One of the first things that I would not do, first of all, I would stop preaching about spiritual indifference and apathy. I wouldn't talk about that. I wouldn't talk about sin. I wouldn't talk about obedience. I wouldn't talk about giving God your absolute best. I wouldn't talk about the holiness of God, the judgment of God, the condemnation of God. I wouldn't talk about eternal hell. I wouldn't talk about God's damnation, God's wrath. I wouldn't talk about any of that. I would just talk about God who exists to love you and bless you and protect you. God who is like an enhancement. God who like fairy dust God or Santa Claus God. He just wants to make your life better. Come to Him. He loves you. He loves you the way you are. You can keep living the way you are. Just show up on Sundays. Give God your lip service. Give God a tip and just go and enjoy life the way you want to live it. By the way, a lot of churches do this. What they say is, "Well, we don't want to offend anybody. We want to make a relationship with God more palatable. We want to lower the entry, the on-ramp. We want just to make people's lives better. That's why we preach keys and techniques, and this is five, six, seven steps, 11 steps of how you can live a blessed life. God says, "I'd rather you just ... Instead of making it less off-putting, instead of making it more palatable, instead of making the faith accessible, instead of accommodating people, I'd rather you just close up shop. I'd rather no worship than mediocre worship." That's what he says in verse 10. "That there were one among you who would shut the doors. I'd rather someone show up and just close up the church, close up the temple that you might not kindle fire in my altar in vain. I have no pleasure in you." Says the Lord of hosts, "and I will not accept an offering from your hand." He said, "Priests, you've made the faith about the people. You've removed God. By doing so, you've dishonored God." This is why God writes this word to them. He says, "Look, unless you change, there will be an absence of the presence of God." Lukewarm is not better than nothing. Mediocre worship is not better than nothing. God doesn't want that. What does God say? How do we rekindle our hearts, rekindle our affections for God? This is point two, the spiritual medicine to our apathy is God's sovereign election. The solution to our spiritual apathy is deepening our understanding of God's love for us. That God is sovereign in choosing people to salvation before the foundation of the world, just because He chooses so. He chooses people not based on anything they had done, not based on anything that they will do, but just because that's His sovereign choice. One thing I will mention here in the very beginning, is we're not reading Calvin. A lot of people say, "This is Calvinism. That's one person's interpretation" We're not reading Calvin here. We're reading the scriptures. We're going to read some scriptures from St. Paul. We're going to read scriptures from Jesus Christ. It's in the scripture. It's everywhere in the scripture that God's sovereign election of salvation is taught throughout the scripture. That's number one. Number two, I grew up in a church that did not teach election. It did not teach predestination when it comes to salvation. I only heard about this for the first ... I actually heard about this for the first time in my early 20s, as I started studying scripture, as I started studying theology. I went back to my dad, who was an elder at the church I grew up in, and I asked him like, "Hey, why wasn't this ever taught?" He said, "We didn't really want to offend people. We didn't think it was that useful." It's like theology for people who want to deepen their knowledge of the scripture. But there's a reason why God talks about it. He talks about it often. He talks about not just for people who want to study this with their brains, but He talks about this in a way that's very helpful to our daily walk with the Lord. Then I realized that the people who did teach, the churches that did teach election predestination are churches that preached scripture. By scripture, I mean not just topical sermons where we're going to preach whatever we want on any given day. It's churches that preached books of the Bible. Verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter so that you can't skip the things that are not as palatable to people. That's it. Then I started studying the church history. In church history, I realized that the world's greatest minds, the world's greatest Christian minds all believe this. They didn't believe, they loved the doctrines of election predestination. Augusta and Aquinas, the magisterial reformers, Luther. How was your Reformation Day yesterday? We celebrated Reformation Day or Reformation Day anyone? You dressed up your kids as Luther, as Calvin, as Zwingli and got them some candy. Yesterday was Reformation Day. 1517, October 31st Martin Luther goes and he takes 95 Theses and nails it to the door of the church in Wittenberg to reform the Catholic Church. You've got Luther, you've got Calvin, you've got Knox, you've got Zwingli, you've got Bucer, you've got Bullinger. Those who later then sought to bring the reformation to the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Blaise Pascal, one of the greatest minds in the history of the world. Then the Puritans, John Owen, John Bunyan. The great awakening was led by Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, John Newton, Richard Cecil Augustus Toplady. The greatest missionaries Livingstone, Carey, Martyn, Morrison, Patton, William Burns. The greatest preachers Spurgeon and Martin Lloyd Jones. They loved the doctrines of grace, of sovereign grace. Because to understand sovereign grace is to begin to understand the depth of God's love for us. That's why when God talks about, "I've loved you." They say, "How have you loved us?" This is Malachi 1:2-3, He then brings in the doctrine of election. "I've loved you." Says the Lord. But you say, "How have you loved us? Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" Declares the Lord. "Yet I've loved Jacob, but Esau I hated." "I love you." "How have you loved us?" "Let me tell you about Jacob and Esau. One guy, I love. The other guy, I hated." What's going on here? Then he goes into the two nations that descended from these two brothers. Now, Jacob and Esau, they weren't just brothers, they were twin brothers. It wasn't like Isaac and Ishmael where God chose Isaac and not Ishmael. They're brothers from different mothers. Here, it's two brothers, they're twins, same mother. Malachi 1:3-4, I've laid waste to his hill country and left his heritage to jackals or the desert. If Edom says, "We are shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins." The Lord of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tear down and they will be called the wicked country and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever." Edom started with Esau and was an enemy of Israel always. They were never an ally of Israel. At no point in Israel's history were they friendly? As Israel was weakened in 7th century BC, Edom encroached and the people of God were asking, "Why are the Edomites taking over?" Et cetera, et cetera. There were enemies. As God is answering, "Why do I love you? Let me show you how much I loved you. I chose you." He's not just talking about nations. He's talking about Edomites as well. One of the things to know about the love, hate language here. God, isn't using this language in terms of human psychology. There's not a vindictive spirit. There's not a personal animosity. It's language in terms of the covenant. The covenant is, like a marriage covenant, there's a choice. In Deuteronomy actually 23:7, God told Israel, "You shall not abhor an Edomite for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian because you were a sojourner in his land." The language of love and hate is a language of choosing. Love is a choice. Within this general election of nations is a specific relationship that begins with individuals. God chose Abraham. "I'm going to bless you." Then from Abraham's children, Isaac and Ishmael, God chose Isaac over Ishmael. Then Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, God chose the younger, Jacob. God determined that the people of Israel would descend from Jacob, not from Esau. He loved them in a special way, in a particular way. A love that did not extend to Esau and to the Edomites. Why? Because there was something good in Jacob. There was something good in Israel. God actually emphasized. No, He chose Israel because they were the least ... Deuteronomy 7:6-8, for you are a people Holy to the Lord your God, the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It's not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord has set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of the people. But it is because the Lord loves you. He's keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of Israel, from the hand of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. "Why did I choose you?" God is saying. "Because I love you." That's it. This is kind of ... It's hard for us to understand because when someone loves me or loves you, you're usually like, "Yeah, because there's ... Good choice. You have great taste. I'm glad you love me." It's because there's something loving in us, of course. God is saying, "No, there was nothing lovely in you. The only reason why I chose you is because I chose you. The only reason why I chose you is because I love you." God did not base his choice in anything He foresaw in either Jacob or Esau. Rather God did it because God did it. In Romans 9:11-13, St. Paul expositive this text from Malachi. He says this, "Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad in order that God's purpose of election might continue. Not because of works, but because of Him who calls." She was told, their mother, "The older shall serve the younger as it is written Jacob, I loved, but Esau I hated." Some people try to dodge the implications of this doctrine by saying, "Well, God chose Israel to serve him, not to save them." But Romans 9 clearly isn't just talking about nations. It's talking about individuals and salvation, personal salvation. Now why does Malachi begin with the doctrine of election? He begins with the doctrine of election to deepen our understanding of the vastness of the love of God for us. He says, "Your hearts are indifferent. The reason why they're indifferent is because do you do not understand God's love for you." God loves you so much that before the foundation of the world, before you were born, before you had done anything, your name was already written on His heart, graven on His hands. He, before anything was created, had chosen to love you, to pour out His mercy on you. The reason why it's given us to us here is to get us to this place of utter humility. Why am I a Christian? Because I believed, because I repented, because I studied, because I was faithful, because I read the apologizes, because I read the scripture? No. The reason why you're a believer and the only difference between you and an unbeliever is the sovereign choice. The sovereign grace of God. He chose to love you. That right there, I remember the first time I understood this in my early 20s, I realized I did not know God. I didn't know the love of God. I didn't know the greatness of God. The vastness of God. This is what it means that Jesus loves me? Yes. This is what it means that God poured out his grace on you? Yes. Not just that He forgives you of your sin, but because from the foundation of the world, He chose to save you. You have been saved, you are saved, you always will be saved. It has nothing to do with us, it has nothing to do with earning with good works. Actually Esau was probably the better guy. If you look at just their morality, Esau wasn't a deceiver like Jacob. Esau did get angry that Jacob stole his blessing, but then he got over it. He forgave. Both men were sinners, but God chose Jacob instead of Esau. At this point, the objection is, but that's not fair. The first thing that St. Paul deals with in Romans 9 is, well, what's your definition of fairness? Who decides what fairness is? Then in Romans 9:14-18, he deals a little more with that. Shall we say then is there injustice on God's part? Is it unfair? Is God not fair? By no means, for He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy on. I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. Then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, for this very purpose I've raised you up that I might show my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Then He has mercy on whomever He wills and He hardens whomever He wills. It's not fair. Then St. Paul says, "Well, what's not fair? Is it your mercy?" No. Whose mercy is it? It's God's mercy. Who gets to do ... Does God get to do with His mercy whatever God chooses? Yes, of course. Does God get to be God? Yes, of course. Was God unjust when He condemned Satan and all of the demons when they rebelled against Him? Was God unjust? No, of course not. He was absolutely just in condemning them. Was God not just when He did not provide a way for them to be reconciled with Him? No. They rebelled. They got judgment. God is glorified in judging as much as He is in giving mercy. The question isn't, why doesn't God save everybody? The question is, why does God save anybody at all? Why does anybody get any mercy whatsoever? God would have been perfectly just in condemning the entire human race. He doesn't owe anybody mercy. This is what God is telling the people of Israel, as He's telling us, we should be absolutely shocked, minds blown by the fact that God chooses to extend mercy to us. In Romans 9:19-24, St. Paul continues with the argument and he says, "You will say to me then, why does He still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and the other for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show His wrath and make known His power has endured with such patience vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction? In order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory. Even us whom He has called not from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles. How can God hold anybody accountable if He chooses some and He doesn't choose others? That's really the question that he's asking. A very logical question. St. Paul's answers, God gets to be God. God is God. He is who He is. He decides what He wants to do with His mercy. It's not just a matter of standing. It's a matter of submitting. Here's how this applies to our ... If we're indifferent toward God's love, if we're numb inside, if there's a coldness toward God, we as believers need to ask the question, where would we be if it were not for the grace of God? Where would we be without the mercy of God if He didn't pour out His love on us? God is sovereign. He gets glory for judging people as much as He gets glory for saving people. That's why Malachi 1:5 after he says this, goes through the doctrine of election. He says, "Your own eyes shall see this and you shall say, great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel." The reason why he starts off with this in a context of their coldness in terms of worship, as he says, "Now is your worship commensurate? Is your response to God's love commensurate to the greatness and vastness of His love? How can we bring our second best to God, our leftovers to God?" How can we give Him the leftovers of our time, of our resource, of our money, of our energy? How can we be disobedient to God like this? He loved us with such a great love. Why isn't our response commensurate? That's why 1st Peter 2:9 and 10 says, but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for His own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. He says, "God's called you up. He's given you a purpose. He's given you a job to proclaim His glory and to extend His mercy to others." That's why it makes absolutely zero sense to be bored with God because He's such an amazing God. What a glorious God. He's called the God of hosts eight times, the Lord of armies. He commands all the armies, all the galaxies of the universe and this God chose us. Number one, what this should do to our hearts as Christians, it should melt our hearts with humility what a great God this is. Number two, it should comfort us. That no matter what happens in our lives, we are safe. We are saved. We are with Him. Then it should take our gaze off of our circumstances. When we see God's plan of salvation, it puts everything else into perspective. Then we should ask, okay, the people of God in the Old Testament, how does the Old Testament end? It ends with their sacrifices not being enough. It leads us to ask the question, Lord, well, what is enough? What can we offer you that is enough to reconcile us with you? The answer is, there's nothing. There's nothing that we can do. There's nothing that we can offer to finally be reconciled with God. It leads us to this place of hopelessness unless we see the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is shown up in the offering system that the people of God would bring offerings to God for a temporary absolution of their sins. Which is a sign of a need for a greater sacrifice, which is Christ. In the book of Malachi, the people would bring their secondary best. Jesus Christ comes and He gives Himself. His very best, God the father gives His son to die on the cross for our sins. In Malachi, God says, "Jacob, I loved. Esau, I hated." On the cross, Jesus Christ takes our curse upon Himself. In a sense, God the father says, "Yon, I loved. Jesus, I hated." Jesus Christ took our curse upon Himself. Why? Because that's how much He loved us. That was planned before the foundation of the world. That's how great God's love is for us. How much greater should our response be to His sacrifice? God, didn't give His leftovers. He gave His absolute best. If this God, this great, gracious God is for us, then who can be against us? Salvation is a free gift. We can't earn it. We can't do anything to pay for it. We can only accept it freely. But once you accept this gift, God demands everything that we have in response. Finally, before we turn to communion, what if I'm not elect? If you're not a Christian, you got to be asking that question. What if I'm not elect? I would tell you exactly what Jesus Christ says. Jesus Christ is talking about God's election, God choosing some and God not choosing others. In that same breath, He gives an invitation, come on to me. This is Matthew 11:25-30. At that time, Jesus declared, I thank you, father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my father, and no one knows the son except the Father. And no one knows the Father except the son, and anyone to whom the son chooses to reveal Him. God, thank you that you opened the eyes of some and you closed the eyes of others. In that same breath, what does He say? He issues one of the greatest invitations in all of human history and says, come on to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart. You will find a rest through your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Come onto Jesus. Come repent of your sins. Believe in Him. As you do, accept the mercy and grace that He's willing to extend to everybody. That said, we're going to transition to Holy communion. Holy communion is given to us as a sign of remembrance to remember Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. For whom is Holy communion? It's for anyone who's repentant of their sins. It's for those who repent of their sins. If you are not a Christian, then we ask that you refrain from this part of the service. Or if you are a Christian living in unrepentant sin, we ask that you refrain. Unless you repent, and if you repent right now before Christ asking for forgiveness, asking for mercy and grace, you're welcome to partake. I'm going to pray over the bread and the cup. The way we celebrate communion at Mosaic, is we take the cup, we take the little plastic off. You take the bread in one hand, you take the other little plastic off. You take the cup. As you do that, I'll pray for our time. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the grace that you extend to us. A grace that began before the foundation of the world, before you created anything. You knew that we would rebel and you knew that you loved us so much that you would provide a way for our salvation through the sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, we thank you that you, the perfect lamb of God, the unblemished lamb of God, were sacrificed. We thank you that you bore the wrath of God that we deserve for our law breaking. That you absorbed that curse in order to extend to us a blessing. Lord, we pray that you bless our time in communion now. We repent of our sin, of our apathy, of our indifference. I pray that you continue to deepen our understanding of your love. As we do, to respond with a commensurate love. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Oct 25, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 8 

Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston and our neighborhood churches or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. Good morning, welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan, one of the pastors here at Mosaic along with Pastor Shane and Pastor Andy, if you're new or if you're visiting, we'd love to connect with you. We do that officially through the connection guide and the worship guide or the connection card in the app or online. If you filled that out, we'll be sure to get in touch with you over the course of the week. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's holy word. Heavenly Father, we are so thankful because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross bearing the penalty, the wrath of God for our sin, we now have access into your presence. We don't need a temple and we don't need a high priest, we don't need sacrifices, Lord, because on the cross, as you bore the ultimate sacrifice, you said it is finished and you now give us access into the Holy of Holies which is your presence, we thank you for that Lord. Lord, we thank of that in your presence we have access to the only things that satisfy us. We seek to find satisfaction in knowledge and we know that every truth in this world falls so short of knowing you and being known by you. Lord, we long for unconditional love, we long for a love that lasts, love that is endless and we can't find it anywhere but in you. You loved us so much that you gave us your only begotten son. Lord, we seek justice. We long for justice in this world. We long for this world to be what it ought to be, how it should be and yet it falls short and still that desires deep inside and we know that only you can satisfy that desire under the reign of Christ. Lord, we long for beauty. We long to see that which ravishes the soul and everything in this world falls so short, but it is found in you. And Lord, every single one of us, we long for a home and eternal home, a place of peace and comfort and security and you alone can offer us that in your presence. And we thank you that all of that is accessible to us when we come to you by grace, through faith and repentance and humility and we do that now and we ask Lord, satisfy our souls. And we pray all this in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Today we're concluding our sermon series through the first part of the book of Psalms that we've been calling Balm Psalms in terms of this is ointment from God, this is an anointing from God for our souls. When we come to the Lord, open up the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures are an extension of God himself and this is how God reveals his presence to us, his person to us as, his power to us. The title of the sermon today, as we look at Psalm 84, the title is, what do you want? What do you long for? What do you seek? There's this curious passage in the gospel of John in chapter one where John, the baptizer who has apostles, he has his own disciples. He sees Jesus Christ, his cousin, he sees Jesus Christ. And he said, "This is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." The next day, his disciples, one of them being Andrew, another disciple of John, they see Jesus Christ and they follow him. They leave John the Baptizer, they start following Jesus, Jesus turns around and he asks a question. He says, "What are you seeking?" They're caught off guard by the question, they don't really know how to respond. They don't even know what they're really seeking, but they are seeking it. So they respond by saying, "Rabbi, where are you staying?" And in response to them says, "Come and you will see." One of them, Andrew, then the next day goes to his brother, Peter, and says, "We have found the Messiah." What he's saying is, we did not know what we're seeking but we're seeking something that only Jesus Christ could offer. They found the anointed one and they found the anointing for their souls. So question before us is, what are you seeking? What do you want now? What do you want in the future? What do you want in life? What do you need to say? What do you need to achieve? What do you need to get to say when you get it that, "I'm home, I've arrived." It's the question buried under every single one of the questions in our hearts, we are what we want, our desires, they drive us, our wants, our longings, everything deep inside of a heart. All of these things together are at the core of our identity. Our heart is the wellspring. The desires of the heart is the wellspring that leads to our actions that leads to the behavior. That's why Proverbs 4:23 says, above all us, guard your heart because from it flow all the wellsprings of life, everything you do flows from your heart. So we're taught in scripture, pay attention to what you love, not just what you know. Knowing God isn't just a matter of knowing theological treatise, is knowing theological facts and truths. You got to pay attention to what you love, curate your heart, be intentional about it. And growing in the faith is so much more than just knowing facts, it's yes, knowing something and yes, we are to be renewed by the transformation of our mind. The truth need to penetrate our minds, but then we then need to fall in love with the truth. We need to align our longings, align our cravings, our desires with God's. And that's not an excuse, contentment can't be an excuse for complacency. A lot of people here talk about being satisfied in the Lord and a lot of people think, "Okay, now I don't have to do anything in my life. I'm satisfied in the Lord with where I am." No, once you're satisfied in the Lord, he equips, he strengthens you in order to fulfill the purpose that he has for you. Jesus Christ was the most ambitious person who has ever lived. He literally showed up and said, "I am going to save the world." And he did what he did because he found satisfaction in God. It was fuel for him to accomplish his work. As Holy scripture says that the word of God is something that divides our spirit and our soul. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. A lot of people and this is what our culture teaches is, you are what you think, but we're so much more than that. We're not just what we think, we are what we desire. And you can just look at your life, how many times did you do things that you know you shouldn't have done, didn't need to do and thinking it was just physical appetites? You know you should not eat whatever this is in front of you but you're going to, this isn't good for me, but I'm going to eat it. This thing I don't need to buy but I'm going to buy, why? Because I want it. Our desires are more than anything, control our actions. And this is what we're talking about today is, is taking our faith from our mind and let it penetrate and saturate our hearts so that it then begins to transform our lives. That's what Psalm 84 is about, it's an expression, it's a poem of someone longing for that which ultimately satisfies more than anything else, which is the presence of God. Would you look at Psalm 84 with me? Psalm 84:1, how lovely is your dwelling place Oh, Lord of hosts. My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord, my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God, even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young at your altars Oh, Lord of hosts. My King and my God blessed are those who dwell in your house ever singing your praise. Blessed are those whose strength is in you and whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs. The early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength, each one appears before God in Zion. Oh Lord, God of hosts hear my prayer. Give ear O God of Jacob, behold our shield, Oh God. Look on the face of your anointed for a day in your courts is better than 1,000 elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness for the Lord God is a sun and shield the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Oh, Lord of hosts blessed is the one who trusts in you. This is the reading of God's Holy and Falbo authoritative word, may write these eternal upon our hearts, three points to frame up our time long for God to draw near to God and finally enjoy God, first long for God. If this is your first time reading Psalm 84, if you're new to Christianity, or if you think of Christianity just as some world religion, you perhaps find verses one and two very puzzling. The emotion here, the descriptive language of the affections that this person feels, this worshiper of God feels for God, how lovely is your dwelling place? What a tremendous word, lovely. When's the last time you used the word lovely? How lovely is your dwelling place, Oh God. He's focusing on the beauty of God's dwelling place and by dwelling place he's talking about in his mind as an old testament believer as a believer in the old covenant, he's thinking about Jerusalem and in Jerusalem, it's the temple. And within the temple, is the Holy of Holies, that's where the presence of God resided. And it was marked by a mysterious light to show the presence of God. It was God's Shekhinah glory and only the high priest, only once a year, only after undergoing rigorous rituals could enter into the Holy of Holies. Everyone else desired to be there, but they understood, we can't be in the presence of God and the Holy of Holies without dying because of our sin. He longs to be there in the presence of God. Verse two says, my soul longs, yes, it faints for the courts of the Lord. When was the last time you had a desire like this, I long to be there? And it's talking about a particular place. If you are not from the area and you've desired to go visit family during the pandemic, you know this feeling of homesickness. In particular if you're an international student or from outside the United States you know this or if you're an immigrant you know this feeling, this desire of homesickness. My family immigrated here when I was five, but for some reason every winter I still have a desire to go back to Estonia. There's something about going back and smelling the air and feeling the presence of your homeland, that's what he's talking about. You miss this place. He longs for it. And it seems so strange for us to talk about God's presence like this, this longing or homesickness for the presence of God. How often do we long for God like this? And I want to show you that we do long. We have these yearnings deep inside of our hearts and it's yearning and a longing for things that only God can give you. Even if you're not a believer or if you're just interested in Christianity or you're new to the faith, I want to show you that deep inside your heart you will long for things that only God can give you. And what do I mean? I mean, things that separate us from the animal realm. Animals are satisfied if they have everything necessary for survival; food, shelter, security. You can have the best food, you can have shelter, you can have security and you will not be ultimately satisfied, why? Because there's something in our human consciousness that desires, something that transcends the physical. We have at least five transcendental desires, deep inside of our hearts. We have a desire for perfect knowledge. We have a desire for perfect love. We have a desire for perfect justice. We have a desire for perfect beauty and the desire for a perfect home. Perfect knowledge is the first one, perfect knowledge or truth. We want to know and we want to know what is true. We long for this, even as little kids. Little kids, what's their favorite question? Why, why is the sky blue? My daughter's had this kick, my daughter Elizabeth. She had this kick where she wanted to know the world record of everything like, "Dad, what is the heaviest stone in the whole world? What is the deepest point in the ocean? What is the fastest animal in the whole animal..." Why, why, why, I don't know why. Thank God for Wikipedia, and I don't even know if that's true. But have a desire for what is true, we long for desire for what is true. Even in a post-truth culture that we live in, there's fact-checkers. We hear something, is this true? Then there's a fact-checker, and then you find out that a fact-checker is actually sponsored by a certain political side. And then you find out that that's not true and what is true? I don't know. But we long for Truth. What is Truth? Capital T, Truth. Partially, this is why we long for knowledge. We love to know. We love to learn. This is why there's such a boom in podcasts. This is why Amazon is such a gift from the Lord, in terms of books. Do you want a book? Yes. And half a second, you buy that book and then it comes in and you add it to the stack of the other 30 books by your bed that you have not read. You read the introduction you're like, "I'm bored, next book." We want more, podcasts and books and lectures online and we long for scintillating conversations with people. We're impressed with knowers. You're about to finish one degree and you're thinking about... I'm finishing my doctorate in preaching from Westminster at the Abbey, I just finished my last class. And as I'm finishing my last paper, I'm like, "Ooh, now I can start another degree." We want more knowledge. We want to know more. I was having a conversation with someone recently and they were like, "Imagine not having any bills. What would you do if you had zero bills?" And the person's like, "I would go get another degree." Maybe that's just Boston. We want to know. We want knowledge. We long for truth. We also long for perfect love and not just to be loved, we long to be perfectly loved, unconditionally loved. We long to be fully known and fully loved, and everybody is looking for this. And what we think of in terms of perfect love, unconditional love, is love from another person. But we understand no matter how great a person is they're not perfect therefore, they will not love you perfectly; you're also not perfect. So then if you're looking to each other for that ultimate love, that perfect love, you'll only meet dashed expectations. We can't satisfy each other's perfect or unconditional love. I was trying to think through who is the closest person in my life that loves like this. I think it's kids. I think it's little kids who they don't know just how bad you are just yet, they get to know that the older they get. My mom and dad, they're not perfect either. But my three-year-old, she doesn't know yet. She shows my wife her love, by going up to her and licking her in the face. "Why are you licking her?" "Because I love her." Why? Because for her and mom and ice cream are in the same level, unconditional, I'm going to love you. And every single one we long for, from our stories to our movies, to the art, to the music, we're in transferred love stories. How did people meet? How did they end up? Where we long to end up happily ever after. We also long for perfect justice and by justice, I don't just mean what's fair. Yes, it begins there. Little kids, you don't have to teach them this is fair, this is not fair, it's written on their heart they know and we like them when we see that something's not fair, we're outraged. If that thing does not get fixed, then all of a sudden it turns into cynicism. But we don't just want justice, this isn't fair it needs to be punished. The opposite side of justice or the flip side, the positive side of it, is goodness. We want goodness. We want good to happen in the world, to people, to us. We want the world to be as it ought to be, as it should be. And we may disagree on what that looks like, but this idea of oughtness or shouldness it's written on each one of our hearts. We expect more justice or goodness than our finite world can deliver. We also long for a perfect beauty. We see glimpses of beauty and nature in magnificent red sunsets, majestic snowcap mountains. We see this glimpse of beauty in music or we see in art. Even sports; the perfect throw, the perfect catch, the perfect hit, the perfect championship. There's art, is this art? The perfect baked good, there's art there. It does not satisfy. We need another vantage point or we need that same thing again or a different or more of it and then after a while, we get bored with imperfection. Think of your favorite song, you hear the song for the first time and it's a hit and you listen to it over and over and over and over. After a while, it loses that power to move you. Nothing changed with the song, but you just got bored with that glimpse of beauty. And then we long for a perfect home or a perfect place of harmony or peace. It's a yearning to feel comfortable in this world, secure in this world. Think of how many channels, how many resources are invested into this and to shows about houses, about restoring houses, renovating houses, real estate shows. Why do we have this idea of a forever home? And that's the phrase that's used; this is where I want to live forever, this is where we are going to find our ultimate home. Five inner desires, and any solely, earthly satisfaction of these five, they always leave us frustrated. No matter how good this physical representation of this transcendental desire, it still leaves us wanting because we want the perfect version because we know that the perfect version exists. How do we know that? Well, it's written on our hearts. We seek these things; perfect knowledge, perfect love, perfect justice, perfect beauty, perfect home and it's things that only God can give us in himself. Deep inside we know that this is true, it's written on our hearts. The New Testament Version of this Psalms is found in 1st Corinthians 2:6-10, which have all of these components and you can study this text. I'll just read it here. Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age who are doomed to pass away, but we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God. That's the knowledge that we're looking for. The ultimate knowledge, the ultimate truth, the ultimate wisdom, is we impart the secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory, for our beauty. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Crucifixion here, this is God's justice poured out on God's son for our sin. But, as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, this is a beauty that we long for. What God has prepared for those who love him, that's a love that we long for. These things God has revealed to us through the spirit, for the spirit searches everything, even the depths of God and the depths of God is the home that we're looking for. We are created to find our home, our knowledge, our beauty, all of these transcendence things in God. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote 1600 years ago, he said, "Thou hast made us." God, you've made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find the rest in you. So what do you long for? I want to submit to you that underneath every single one of those longings is a desire for God, for things that only God can give you. And this is where sin gets in the way. Sin clouds our vision. Sin comes to us, and this is Satan, this is the world, this is flesh. They all tempt us to find satisfaction in things, and experiences, and people, in anything other than God, even in good things. But if you seek the ultimate from a good thing, it turns into idolatrous thing and an evil thing, a deprave thing. A good thing, when you're seeking the ultimate innate, can turn into a deprave thing. Look at Jeremiah 2:12-13, be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Evil one, refusing to find true refreshment for the hunger and thirst of our souls in God, instead seeking that satisfaction for the thirst of our souls in things, other things, cisterns. And that he says, they're broken, they can't hold this water. Forsaking God's fountain and seeking to make our own, whatever this is. The first evil, turning away from God. The second evil, seeking that which only God can give us in whatever it is that you long for. And it starts with the desires of the heart. It all starts there; gluttony, lust, envy, enmity, sloth. It's all in anger. It's all in there. And then we seek to find satisfaction for those things, in things. And what it does, it only makes us thirsty, it only makes us hungry and never satisfied. So this is what the psalmist is saying and he says, "I know that nothing in this world satisfies therefore I want to be in a place that does satisfy, which is the presence of God." And he's picturing in his mind Solomon's temple, but it's not about the temple it's about what the temple represents. And what it represents is, God's covenantal love and his knowledge. He says, "Israel, I've chosen you. I've decided to put my presence within you. I've decided to reveal myself; my will, my law, this is how you find satisfaction in me. That's why Psalm 84:1, he begins with this longing; How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts. And it's a longing to be in the presence of God. Verse two, my soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy. My heart and flesh, he's not just saying my mouth, he's not saying my throat, not my vocal cords, my flesh. He longs for God with almost a physical desire. He talks about this soul; my soul, the innermost being and starts there. But it's like a hunger, it's like an ache that works itself almost physically. And the language that he uses to describe the intensity, the desire, this language that's used elsewhere to talk about romantic relationship. A lover is almost kept from his beloved, that's the kind of language that he uses. And he even expresses jealousy for birds, that's verse three; Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my Lord. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise. He's jealous of these birds who are nesting in the rafters of the temple, their ways unimpeded into the temple courts. They soar above everything that is in the way of this psalmist entering the presence of God, and they build these nests on top of the columns. He's yearning to be in the presence of God like this, why? Because the psalmist, most likely he didn't live in Jerusalem. Most likely he came to Jerusalem once, twice, three times a year at most for the festivals. They would come and they would experience the presence of God, and then they would leave. And as he experienced God he said, "I wish I could just stay here. I wish I could be in the presence of God uninhibited, unimpeded." When I was in my early 20s and I was studying God's word and I loved God's word and loved God's truth and before God called me into ministry I was like, "Man, it must be so cool to be a pastor. Pastors get to be in the presence of God all the time, that's their job. They just study God's word." Of course, the pastor standing up here is going to tell me how great the presence of God is because that's what he does full time. That's all of his professional waking hours, that's all he does. And then I became a pastor. And one of the things I've realized after becoming a pastor is, becoming a pastor like most people that become pastors we call them the ministry, they do it because they love God's word. You love feasting on God's word, but feasting on God's word is a different skillset than preparing a feast of God's word. It's like someone who's like, "I love food. I want to devote my whole life to food. What can I do? I'm going to go into culinary school. I'm going to become a chef." You loved eating, but you spend all your time cooking. That's what's going on. So as I'm sharing with you how great God's word is, how great the presence of God is, I'm also preaching the same thing to myself because you can prepare a tremendous meal without even having a taste of it yourself. So it's to say, you need to develop in yourself this appetite, this longing, this desire for the presence of God. My wife asked me last night, she said, "What are you preaching?" I said, "Developing a longing for God." And she said, "What are your practical tips for that?" I don't have any because you know what, I preach God's word. Are there any practical tips in here? Obviously, I can give you practical tips. You can't develop a longing with practical tips. That's like saying, "I need practical tips for developing a desire to see beauty everywhere." You can't. It's either you have it or you don't and if you don't, how do you get it? You ask God. "God, I want this longing. I want this hunger. I want this thirst." And it's a blessing from God and of ourselves, we do not have this active desire. And here the psalmist, you see it in him. And it's one of these things that's better caught, not taught. Yeah, I can give you these little practical points and I'll give you a few after, but it's more like this person longs for God and they found God and they're satisfied. And God, I want what this person has. And he says, "The maker of heaven earth invites us into this relationship, into this presence of longing anticipation and delight." The second point is to draw near to God. So you long for the presence of God, but then you need to actively draw near to God. You have this desire, if it's given to you by God, if not you ask for it. Once it is given to you, then you need to practically draw near to God. And here I'll tell you this, this is really important and most likely if you've been in the faith for a while, you know this. Whenever there's a longing for God, almost immediately there's something that shows up that keeps you from acting on that longing. And there's different reasons for spiritual warfare or the flesh or the world, there's a resistance. There's almost like a force field that's all of a sudden enclosed over, so he longs for the presence of God. And then verse five, he starts talking about needing strength. Look at verse five, "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion." He says, it's a blessing when your strength is in the Lord. Why is he starting to talk about strength? Because you need it, that's the assumption here. All of a sudden, he's like, "Yeah, longing for God. This is great." And then he's like, "Yeah, but to be drawn into the presence of God, you need a strength that is not your own. You need strength from God." Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in God, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Blessedness of worship belongs to those who desire and then act upon it, despite the resistance from the enemy. Look at James 4:7-8; submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Draw near to God that sounds great, but he says in order to do that you need to actively resist evil out there, Satan, and resist evil within. And the evil within that he's talking about is, this double-mindedness. And the double-mindedness, every single one of us who pursues the Lord you know exactly what this is. The spirit decrees what God commands, but the flesh does not. I want to do what God tells me to do, but I don't do the things I want to do, instead I do the things I don't want to do, that's Romans 7, there's this fight on the inside. And that's why he says, "You need strength and blessed are those whose hearts are the highways to Zion." Why is he talking about highways in the heart? Well, he's talking about a longing to draw near to God that's willing to overcome the patterns that we've been used to. And by patterns that we're used to what I mean is; when you are used to a life of sin, sin becomes almost second nature. Sin becomes like, you don't even have to think about it, your mind just goes there and then your actions follow where your heart and your mind... You ever been really tired at work, back free COVID when you had to drive to work? And you were really tired at the end of work and then you get in your car and then you drive home, and then you pull in and you're like, "I do not remember the last half hour. I have no idea how I got home." It's like your muscle memory took over. You were thinking about a million other things, but you got home safely and you didn't kill anybody. You're like, "Whoa, how did I do that?" Something like that happens in our heart. Our heart, our desires, once our heart wants a thing, and it begins to follow that thing over and over and over there's a rhythm in life and you begin to act without even thinking about that action. It's just natural. It's a pathway. And the more you do that in your heart, the broader it gets. Now, it becomes a highway in the heart. And he says, "Blessed are those whose heart are the highways to Zion to God's presence." Well, this is one of the things, in terms of spiritual disciplines and one of the things that we need to learn to do is, we need to re-navigate the paths of our heart. And we need God's word and God's people in our life and you need to train yourself up in righteousness where it's like, "Yeah, this path feels natural, but I know where it leads. Instead, I want to follow God's pathway, the pathway into God's presence." It doesn't feel as natural and it takes a lot more work, but the more you do it the more natural it becomes. And then when you're by yourself, and you have nothing to think about, think about Sunday afternoon, there's naps and then there's Sunday afternoon naps. I don't know why Sunday afternoon they're just more blessed especially after church; church, Los Amigos Burrito, nap. Right before you go into your nap, analyze what you're thinking about. Analyze where your mind naturally gravitates when you don't have to think about anything. And he says that, if you want to experience the presence of God on an ongoing daily basis, train up your heart, your thoughts, your desires, to travel on the highway to God. Do we have highways in our heart to the presence of God? And this includes spiritual disciplines on a daily basis; wake up, a cup of coffee, scripture, prayer. And includes fasting, silence, solitude, community with other believers, corporate worship. Corporate worship is so crucial to our health as believers, our maturity, but also our health. For 11 years, I've been in one of those transient cities in the world trying to convince people, "God is great. Find your satisfaction in God." And then people become believers, and it's like, "Corporate worship is crucial, it's important. Joining a church membership, you are all one body of believers. Covenant membership, crucial. You have the Holy Spirit as a believer and the more believers together, the more Holy Spirit we have together. So yes, corporate worship is important and this is how we show the world the glory and the majesty of the presence of God by gathering together. Corporate worship, corporate worship, corporate worship, it's important," then COVID hits. And then we didn't have church for like three, four months and then we're back to church and wearing masks and social distancing. And then we've got people in the church and there's people in the culture, on two sides of the spectrum. The first side of the spectrum right here is, "I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I can't do anything. I'm going to die. Yeah, I'll go to the grocery store and I'll hang out with my friends." This right here, part of the sermon, this is for between you and the Lord, what's the Lord telling you? Obviously, there's people who need to stay home immunocompromised. But there's also people who are like, "Yeah, I'm not going to go to church. I'm going to take a flight across the country." And I've been on a flight recently, it was on American Airlines. And here's what happens on American Airlines, I had a person sitting right next to me. And also on American Airlines they're like, "Mask, mask, mask, mask, mask. Okay, it's coffee time. Okay. Everyone, take your mask off." And then everyone's pretending like, "Oh, okay. COVID knows during coffee break do not..." What I'm saying is, just be consistent. If you're going to stay home, just be absolutely consistent and so don't hang out at the beach with friends, et cetera. I just don't use COVID as an excuse. Pastor Shannon, Pastor Andy and I for the longest time, we didn't want to do live streaming because we understand the very second you're doing a live stream when a person is just a little lazy on a Sunday, they're staying home and they're like, "I'm still worshiping with my..." No, there's something physically important that is, body beliefs. That's one side. The other side, we've got Christians who are like, "Do you understand what this is? This is government overreach. This is going to lead to totalitarianism. It starts with a mask. It's only a mask, and then all of a sudden they're going to send you to the Gulags, that's number one. And then going to church with a mask and then being told where to sit? No, that's impinging on my freedom. Liberty or death, that's my only two options." So we got people over here and people over here and all I just want to say is, corporate worship is important and that's it. There's risks in everything. There's risk in driving. There's risk in taking the tea. There's risk in going out to eat; even more so now with outdoor dining, you're going to get a chill and get sick. Psalm 84:6; as they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs, the early rain also covers it with pools. He says, "We need the presence of God, see God, long for God." And then after we do, you begin to draw near to God. And as you do, there's temptation, there's a force field, there's an enemy. And then also, there's these physical challenges to drawing near to the presence of God. And here he brings in the Valley of Baca, which is the valley of weeping. I'm pursuing God, I want God's presence, but then as I long for God's presence, I see my own brokenness. I see my own sin, I see this in the people around us and represents this place of affliction. And part of the affliction's the enemy pulling us back from God or times when we just feel dry inside, empty of joy like a parched desert. And what he's saying is, when you find yourself, you're drawing near to God and you find yourself in this place of temptation or Valley of Baca, valley of weeping, you got to keep going. When you get here, the temptation is to stay there. When you feel a lack of joy to stay in this place, a lack of joy, and instead of breaking through and continuing to seek after God, we begin to seek joy in sin, joy in things that only cause more spiritual thirst. So he says, when you stay here, when you fight through this Valley of Baca, that's when God will send springs and rain and covers it with pools; living water, springing up to eternal life. And then he says in verse seven, they go from strength to strength. So you got strength from God to keep going. When you got strength to keep going, you got a little stronger and you go from strength to strength. It's as if, "God, I want your presence, I'm drawing near. There's a forcefield, I'm going to break through." As you break through, you get more strength. And the more strength you get, the more presence of God you want and the greater the pull toward the presence of God. And then as he mentioned, Zion, one of the things that he does here is, he stops, he pauses and he prays for the political situation in Israel that's verses eight and nine; O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer. God of hosts, which is used in verse one, three, eight, and 12, is saying, God of armies. God of all spiritual armies. God there's something in the political realm, the physical realm in my culture and my society, that's keeping me from experiencing your presence. And he says, God, Lord of hosts give ear, God of Jacob, Selah, behold our shield, O God, look on the face of your anointed. Your anointed, he's talking about the King. God, look in the King. God help us politically. Your ultimate protection, your ultimate shield. Most likely the psalmist here is in Second Kings chapter 18, in the days of King Hezekiah. Where the King of Syria comes in, he takes over Jerusalem and keeps the people of God from worshiping God. So the psalmist calls out," Lord, please bless us. And as we draw near to you, give us strength." So long for God, draw near to God and then as you draw near to God and you begin to enjoy the presence of God, you begin to realize that whatever the cost was to get here to the enjoyment of God it was worth it. Look at verse 10, for a day in your courts is better than 1,000 elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. By doorkeeper, he's talking about, I would rather be on the threshold of the presence of God. I would rather be the lowest of the low in the presence of God, the highest of the high, in whatever the world has to offer. And the presupposition here, and this is really important, is he understands that there's trade-offs. If you want to experience more of the presence of God, deeper fellowship with God, walking with God, abiding with God, to say yes to that, you got to say no to a lot of other things. In your heart, you need to resolve God's presence. One day of God's presence is more satisfying than 1,000 years in sin and 1,000 days elsewhere. And this is one of things that we need to and I'm not sure we believe this is Christians. I'm not sure we believe God's presence is better than sin. Do you believe that? And I ask because this is one of the greatest temptations of Satan, the greatest lies of Satan. And one of his most insidious lies is that the Christian life is boring, that it's dull. It's full of drudgery. It's void of anything scintillating, exciting. Sin is exciting and anything to do with Christianity is just boring, and that's one of the biggest lies of the enemy. And once you start analyzing, even go through times in your life when you have sinned, what happens next? What happens next is emptiness every single time. It over promises and under-delivers every single time, and yet we still believe that sin is more exciting than the presence of God. It's not. Look at how the psalmist talks about God's presence. Psalm 16:11, You make known to me the path of life, in your presence, there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures for evermore. He says, you can have the ultimate satisfaction for your soul, which makes all of life so much more enjoyable. Psalm 34:8; Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 36:7-8; how precious is your steadfast love, O God. The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you will give them drink from the river of your delights. Uses the metaphor of food and drink, as a way for us to understand satisfaction of the soul. Psalm 63:3-5, Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live, in your name I will lift my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. It's getting to that time, where I'm getting hungry for lunch. He's saying this God's presence satisfies the soul like fat and a rich food. What's fat and a rich food? He's talking about steak, obviously. What's it say in the Hebrew? Ribeye. Tomahawk ribeye. That's what he's talking about. He uses the greatest physical food as a way to say, this is what happens in the soul. My wife and I last night we were... we do bedtime story from the Bible and scripture and prayer with our daughters. And last night when my wife was reading from a children's Bible about Jesus, this is where words chronologically, Jesus at the wedding in Cana, they ran out of wine. Jesus' mom comes to him and says, "Hey, you got to help them out, they're out of wine." Major faux pas back in the day. And then Jesus, he said, "Okay. Take the six jars," they're about 30 gallons each. "Fill them up to the brim with water and turn them into wine," and then the wedding continued. And then I'm like, "What's going to be the application of this story in a children's Bible?" And the application was, we're all sinners and we need to repent of our sin and when we do, Jesus forgives us. Amen. Let's pray. It's true. Repent of you sin and you will be forgiven. I was like, "I don't think that's the application." My wife's like, "What's the application?" I was like, "The application is, this wedding's boring and Jesus made it fun. That's the application." Responsibly, obviously, 180 gallons of wine responsibly. It's an absolute lie of Satan that life is more enjoyable apart from God, that's a lie. It's an absolute lie. God wants you to enjoy life, but he wants you to seek ultimate satisfaction in him which makes the rest of life so much more enjoyable. Indeed, the presence of God is worth it. One day in God's presence is better than 1,000 in the greatest vacation. That's why St Paul said, "Indeed, I count everything as loss, because it's a passing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I've suffered the loss of all things count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ. I'll give everything up, in order to gain Christ." Psalm 73:25-26; whom have I in heaven but you? And there's nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 84:11; the Lord is a sun, a source of life and light, and a shield, he is our source of protection. The Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. He said, "Seek ultimate satisfaction in God and then God longs to bless you with honor, with favor, with all the other things. He'll give you those good things, as long as they don't become idols." He says, "God is our shield." Why is God our shield? What is he a shield from? First of all, he's a shield from our own sin. He is a shield from the wrath of God that we deserve for our sin. And how do we know that God is our shield? Because he sends his son to die on the cross for our sin, bearing the wrath of God that we deserve for our law-breaking, for our evils of seeking satisfaction and things other than him. And Jesus Christ covers us, when we run to him as our refuge. And then Psalm 84:12; O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you. Blessed is the one who trusts in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Blessed is the one who trusts in God, who fills us with the Holy spirit. Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. We don't need the temple, the priest, the sacrifice, because of Christ we have access into the presence of God. So we go back to the beginning question, What do you want? What do you seek? The scripture tells us, seek God, he alone is a source of perfect knowledge and truth. Jesus is truth. He alone is, and offer's perfect love. God is love. He alone offers us justice and goodness. He is perfect justice and goodness. He alone offers us perfect beauty, he is beautiful. And God alone offers and is our perfect home, our perfect place of belonging. I'll close with the Ephesians 3:14-21; for this reason I bow my knees before the Lord, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you that you are the all-satisfying God. Lord, we do repent that so often we seek satisfaction in things, other new people, other new experiences, other than you. Lord, we thank you for the reminder that you are a God who cares about our wellbeing, our ultimate wellbeing, beginning even now. You said that whoever believes in your son, Jesus Christ, has eternal life now. I pray that everyone here; everyone hearing these words, turns from sin, turns to you and lives a life of satisfaction and joy and peace as we pursue you, as we long for you, as we draw near to you and as we enjoy you. And we pray this in Christ's name, Amen.

Oct 18, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 7 

Audio Transcript: Good morning and welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan. I'm one of the pastor's here at Mosaic along with Pastor Andy and Pastor Shane. If you're new or if you're visiting with us, we'd love to connect with you, either through the connection card that you can fill out and then toss in the box at the at the back. Or you can fill out the connection card in the app or on the website. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's Holy Word? Heavenly Father, we come into Your presence with fear and trepidation. Trepidation, because You are a holy and a mighty God. We thank You that You are just. And as we thank You for Your justice, we recognize that we deserve to be punished for our sins. So we cannot pray for Your justice without also asking for forgiveness for our sins. We're thankful for Jesus Christ who lived the perfect life and died the death that we deserved to die. By grace through faith in Him, we are given imputed righteousness and now we can cry out, "Give us Your justice and give us Your righteousness. Holy Spirit, we pray that You come into this place, come into this space. Come and fill our hearts. Prepare our hearts to hear from Your holy Word. Lord, as we today open up Psalm 72, in which the psalmist prays for the King, we see a pattern that we too, Your people, are called to pray for those whom You have placed into positions of authority. We pray for every single person in a position of authority over us. We pray for the town council here in Brookline. We pray for Mayor Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston. And we pray for governor Baker, Governor of Massachusetts. We pray for our congressmen, and we pray for our senators, and pray for the Supreme Court. We do pray for our President and our Vice President, we pray for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. We pray that You fill them with wisdom like You filled Solomon. You call us to pray that Your Holy Spirit guides them. You tell us that, You, the great God of the universe, You guide the hearts of Kings, of those in authority like water in Your hands. We do pray for this upcoming election and we pray that You give us wisdom in how to vote in every single sphere, every single level of the election. We pray that You put into power, put into authority, the person that You have decreed before the foundation of the world. We pray for religious liberty that we can continue to gather as Your people to hear Your Word proclaimed, to worship You in freedom. Freedom that's lacking in so many parts of the world, a freedom that we take for granted all too often. We do pray that You make us a people who don't look to our political representatives to fix all of our problems. They cannot, they are but frail humans. So we look to You, oh great God. We turn to You for forgiveness, and we turn to You for healing, and we turn to You for blessing, and we turn to You for security and protection, and we turn to You for ultimate guidance. You are the one who can order the chaos of our hearts and of our lives, and we ask for that now, no matter how painful it is. We ask for Your grace, and protection, and mercy. Bless our time in the Holy Word. We pray this in Christ's name, amen. We are in a sermon series called Balm Psalms, where we are looking at some of the choices. Psalms in the first half of the Psalter, we'll pick up the second half of the Psalter at some point later on. We'll do Season Two on Balm Psalms. Today, we are in Psalm 72. Next week, we cap off the series. After that, we got a four week series in Malachi, which then brings us to Advent in which we will look at the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. Today, we look at Psalm 72, which is a prayer of coronation, a prayer for the king, a prayer for people in power over us. The first lesson that we must draw from the very beginning is that we as God's people are called to pray for those in positions of power. How often do you pray for those in positions of power over us? Do you pray for them more often than you complain about them? Here's my challenge to you. For every time that you share a political meme on social media or in group texts, pray as often. I think if we do that we're going to have revival in the land. But scripture does teach us to pray for those in positions of power. 1 Timothy 2:1-2. "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." He does not tell us to pray according to their godliness or according to their righteousness, he says pray because they've been placed in this position of authority. And as we look at Psalm 72, which is a psalm of King David. King David writes this prayer for his son, Solomon, and he prays for Solomon. He prays that Solomon will be blessed by the Lord. If one of the greatest kings, King David, prays for his son who had one of the greatest Kingships of the Old Covenant. If that person needed prayer, how much more do the rulers over us? We must pray regularly for leaders no matter how just or unjust they might be. Pray for wisdom as well in whom to vote for in this coming election in 16 days. And as we do, one of the things you realize as you pray Psalm 72, you realize how far our leaders fall short of the standard. As we pray this, we bemoan that sinful people are leading sinful people. And we cry out to God, "God, send us a true King. The King that, His image is written on our hearts." This is why we're so disappointed with earthly leaders. No matter how great they are, were ultimately disappointed. Even Israel was ultimately disappointed with Solomon and with King David ... Will serve you. He refuses, they succeed, they rebel, and then following the following kings ruling over Judah don't even come close to the glory of Solomon. In 586 BC, the last Davidic King goes into Babylonian exile and there's no more kings on the throne of David from then on. So as the people of Israel after 586 BC, as they pray Psalm 72, they're praying Psalm 72 in a similar way that we are praying it. They do pray for their current leaders, but ultimately, the Psalm was about the great leader that's coming. It's a prophecy of the coming King, and I'll just set that up with the verbs in the Psalm. Psalm in verse 1, there's an imperative, "God, give Your justice. God, give Your righteousness to the King." That's an imperative. It's a command. And then every verb after that is an imperfect, and it can be translated either as adjustive, may it be. Or as a future tense, it will be, he shall be. And you say, "Which one is it?" Well, poetry is infused with ambiguity often, because it wants you to read both meanings. So as we read this as a prayer, "May this King be, may this King be righteous, just. May He be good, may He lead to prosperity, may He protect His people." You're also reading it as a cry for the prophecy, "He will be." Who's that? Jesus. Jesus will rule with justice, Jesus will rule with righteousness. So it's a prayer for our leadership now, and it's a prediction and a cry for the future Messiah to come and reign. That Psalm is long and we'll read every single section under each point. The five points that cover our time in Psalm 72, we'll look at the righteous reign of the King, verses 1-4. The eternal reign of the King, verses 5-7. The universal reign of the King, verses 8-11. The compassionate reign of the King, verses 12-14. And the blessed reign of the King in verses 15-17. First, we see the righteous reign of the King. Verse 1 begins with a petition. It's a prayer, it's pleading for God to do the following. Verse one, "Give the king Your justice, O God, and Your righteousness to the royal son." Or the son of the King. He's not asking the King to just be just, though that would be good. He's not asking for God to make the King just righteous, that would be good as well. No, he's asking for something greater. He says, "God, give the King Your justice. Give the king Your righteousness, O God." First thing that we noticed from the very beginning, is that the people of God do not look to the King for ultimate justice and righteousness. They're not praying this prayer to the King, they're praying this prayer to God. The first thing that this prayer does is it reorders our priorities. We don't look to the President of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts, or the mayor of Boston to reorder our lives, to fix absolutely everything. We know that this person is placed in authority under someone who has a greater authority, which is God. I think that's one of the problems with politics in the United States. One of the biggest problems is we look to this one figurehead to figure out all of our problems. And every four years, there's the poll that goes out and survey that's run in the whole country, are, "Is your life better off after the four years of this person in power?" And then you're like, "Is my life better off?" Actually, if you're really honest, probably 99.99% of your life really hasn't changed that much. So why do we spend so much emotional energy, so much stress, so much anxiety, thinking about this one person who is empowered? What this does in the very beginning of this prayer, as you pray for those in powers you realize there's someone in power over this person. And Lord, I pray that whoever's in power realizes that You have ultimate authority, that You will judge, that You have a standard of righteousness, that there is a standard of righteousness. The cry here is, "Lord, put people in positions of power that recognize that they are under authority, that You will judge, You will bring to justice this person with their actions and their decisions. And as we cry out for this, Lord, we pray that You give Your justice to the King, we can't but pray the same thing for ourselves." Because that would be hypocrisy. How can we pray for the King to receive God's justice if we don't pray that for ourselves? Do you pray that for yourself? Are you willing to pray, "God, give me Your justice for everything I've done. God, judge me according to Your perfect law." You can't pray that for the King if you don't pray that for yourself. And one of the beautiful things that we see here is that as you pray this, you see your need for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because the ultimate hope for our country is not for the right president, or the right senator, or the right congressman, or the right governor, or the right mayor. The ultimate hope for our country is the gospel of Jesus Christ, transforming us first. God, I do cry out for justice, but I realize how far I've fallen from Your standard of justice. So I pray for forgiveness as well, and I pray for imputed righteousness." How can you pray that God gives the King His righteousness, "God, give Your righteousness to the King." What's that talking about? That's talking about an imputed righteousness. You can't pray that for the King without praying that for yourself, "God, give me an imputed righteousness." Whose righteousness? "That of the ultimate king of King Jesus. God, forgive me of my sins. Thank You that Jesus Christ led a perfect life, died on the cross for my sin, the death that I deserved to die. Bearing the wrath of God, and now by grace through faith, an imputed righteousness is offered to me." So as we pray for the King, we recognize our need for a greater King, and that's King Jesus. No king, no matter how talented, no ruler no matter how successful, no matter what the innate abilities. No king can reign with this justice and this righteousness, this justice and this truth without the empowerment of God. "So God, we ask that for the King, we ask that for ourselves." All too often, this election and the past election, but what we've seen is ... and the one before that, if you have a good memory. And the one before that, every single election, we always look at the final two candidates. The people that went through the whole primary and all of that and we say, "These two? These are the only options? There's 330 million people in this country, these are the only options?" And then you get to debates, the lesser of evil, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. What this does, what the Psalm does is it shows us that the greatest need is not for the leader, it's for a people. The greatest need is for us to be transformed. The reason why it's these two, no matter who it is, is because these two reflect the people. They reflect us as a country. That's why I say the greatest hope of this country is not the President, the greatest hope is a gospel that can transform the people, reawaken the people to the rule of God, to the rule of Jesus Christ. And the more people who submit to the rule of Jesus Christ, the more people like that, that there are people of justice, people of righteousness, perhaps then We'll have better candidates. And that's why verse 1 is so important. He recognizes that it's the people, it's the people that pray for the King. It's the people who pray for the King to be under God who is the ultimate King. It's the King who rules on behalf of God, it's the King who needs the wisdom of God, and needs to ask for the wisdom of God just like King Solomon asked. 1 Kings chapter 3, God comes to Solomon in a dream and says, "Ask whatever you want. Anything, anything that you want. Anything in the world. You want riches? I'll give you riches. You want power? I'll give you everything that you want." And this is the dialogue, verse 9, "Give Your servant therefore ..." Solomon says, "'... an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?' It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, 'Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.'" Lord, I need an understanding mind, that's what Solomon asked for. That's what we want in the rulers, that's what we want in the person in charge over us. And as we pray, "God, give Your wisdom, understanding, a discerning mind to those in power over us. Give us the same, give me the same." And where does wisdom begin? It begins with the fear of God, we recognize who we are under the authority of God, created by God to glorify Him. "God, give us wisdom and give our leaders wisdom. God, make Your judgments be the King's judgments, may He rule in accordance with Your justice and judgment." Verse 2 of Psalm 72, "May He judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills in righteousness. May He defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor." Few things I want to point out here is he emphasizes righteousness. Righteousness in the context of not just upholding uprightness or truth, but a righteousness that includes compassion. Compassion to the least of these. It's a responsibility to give justice, to seek vindication, the rescue of the afflicted and the needy. It's a King who cares for the weakest of the kingdom, the most in need. So he talks about, "Give Your poor with justice." And he talks about, "Including the deliverance of the children of the needy." God has a soft spot for the disenfranchised, for the marginalized, for the weakest. And in Scriptures, His categories for the least of these, they're the widows, and they're the orphans, and they're the immigrants. Those people who do not have financial power, that's what he's talking about primarily. "May the King, may those in leadership care about those who need this socio economic justice, particularly for the children in need. God, we pray that those in leadership care about children." That's emphasized, it's highlighted here, particularly of the children of the needy. In Old Testament contexts, in Scripture, children life did not begin at birth. The whole phrase of "she was with child", the Psalmist and the prophets talk about, "You knit me in my mother's womb." The child is there, that's life. It has its own heartbeat, it has its own DNA. "God, we pray for leadership that cares about life in the womb, life at conception. God, we pray that You send someone to defend, we pray that You send someone to crush the oppressor, that You give deliverance to the children of the needy." So the king, the righteous king of God, the people in leadership that we want and long for, are not people that conquer, it's people that defend. Defend the nation, defend the people. In particular, defend those who are most defenseless beginning with children. So as we look at our options, who is standing up for life? Who wants to defend the children? Defend life and defend their innocence? We live in a culture that says you can choose your gender and not your sexuality. You can choose your gender at age eight. And our leaders will praise that. Well, 1 Peter 2:14 tells us the job of those in leadership is to punish evil and praise that which is good. What is good and evil? Well, you can't decide what's good and evil apart from a standard, apart from the God that we pray to, "God, give justice. God, give righteousness." There is a line between good and evil. So the King is the one who protects children, he protects the poor, he defends the people. Why? Because he understands they're not his people. Look twice in this text, it says, "May he judge Your people. May he judge Your people. May He defend the cause of the poor of the people of the needy for Your people." Over and over, God wants justice because God is their Creator. The people belong to God, not to the King. And then in verse 2, the other thing I want to point out here, "May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your poor with justice." Why emphasizing poor and justice? He says, "We need to pray for leaders that are not swayed by those who have powerful interests. Not swayed by money, not swayed by bribery where the rich get justice or don't get justice, and the poor do not because they can't buy their way out." So Lord, we pray the wise ruler does not allow justice to be bought or sold." Isaiah 1:17, "Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." Amos 5:15, "Hate evil, love good and establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." Amos 5:24, "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Whose justice? God's justice. To even talk about justice is to assume a God with laws. A God who is just. And ultimately, the only righteous King is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the author and Creator of life and of our salvation, He's the perfecter of our salvation. He came as a King who came to serve those in subjection to Him. He came to love care. He said that ... The Scripture says that, "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering flax He will not put out." Jesus is the perfect combination of justice and compassion. Of justice and compassion. You look at Him every once in a while and you're like, "Who is this?" As He goes into the temple, as He starts tossing tables of tax collectors and money changers who were oppressing the poor from worshiping God. And then He's so tender, so gentle to the woman caught in adultery. He's got toughness against the oppressor, and He's got compassion for the oppressed. He's tough and strong enough to deliver us from every oppressor, and tender and gentle enough to care for the oppressed. So as we pray this for our leaders, we also pray, "Lord Jesus, come. Lord Jesus, we submit to You. Rule over us every square inch of our lives, rule over us with justice and righteousness and make us a people who reflect You. So then hopefully, by Your grace, we can have a leader who reflects You as well." Point two is the eternal reign of the kingdom. Verses 5-7, he talks about a dynasty. A dynastic endurance of this King. Verse 5, "May they fear You ..." King, "... You while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. May He be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth." What he's crying out is, "Lord, we want great rulers. And since they're so great, we don't want them out of office." Obviously, this isn't talking about a human being, it's talking about someone greater. God promised to King David, "David, you will have someone, a descendant of David will rule on your throne forever." 2 Samuel 7:16. "And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before Me, your throne shall be established forever. Forever." With Rehoboam like the second generation as Solomon's son, all of a sudden Israel's kingdom gone. Now he's got 2 tribes instead of 12 to rule over. And then after 586, we don't have any of that. Obviously, this is a prophecy. A King who would indeed rule justly, a Kingdom marked by righteousness, peace, prosperity and a Kingdom that would endure forever. Verse 7, "In his days, may the righteous flourish and peace abound, till the moon be no more." Here, he is back to something very more tangible, very more specific. "Lord, we pray for rulers that allow the righteous to worship, that allow the righteous to flourish." He's talking about those who worship God. "Lord, we pray for leaders that create an atmosphere, create a culture, create a society where the people of God are free to worship Him as He decreed. Where the people of God are free to teach the whole counsel of God without fear of retaliation or consequence. Lord, we pray for leaders like this, leaders that establish conditions for the Church to do the Church's work." So as we choose whom to vote for, this is one of the things we got to keep in mind as well. Who is going to further this condition or who is going to detract from it? Who will create conditions for the people of God to flourish? And who will create a condition where the people of God do not? "Lord, we pray for rulers that allow us the space to fulfill the great commandment, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.'" Love as is decreed by the truth of God's Word. And here he says, "May peace abound, may the shalom of God." The universal flourishing, righteous flourish. And as the righteous flourish, they work to further the common good, and then peace flourishes in the culture. Point three is the universal reign of the king. He prays for a King who has a global kingdom embracing the reign of a King whose Kingdom was global. Look at verses 8-11. "May He have dominion from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth. May desert tribes bow down before Him, and His enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render Him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. May all kings fall down before Him, all nations serve." Solomon's kingdom was great. But as great as it was, we couldn't conceive of Solomon's reign having global dominance. Yes, the Queen of Sheba did come to King Solomon and she did bring gifts as a sign of allegiance. Four and a half tons of gold, which is an astonishing amount. Other kings came bearing gifts, silver, gold, garments, weaponry, spices, horses, mules. Kings from Ethiopia came and brought gifts. But certainly, Solomon did not have a global Empire. This is talking about a different King. Zechariah 9:10, the prophet echoes the sentiment, he says, "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off and He shall speak peace to the nations. His rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth." This King that we're crying for is a King who is a King of all people. He transcends all people, therefore He can be King over all people. Whose this talking about? This is why it's so important. Obviously, he's talking about Jesus Christ who has a Kingdom not of this world for now, He has a kingdom of hearts. One of the reasons why the Magi from the east came when Jesus was born, Magi from the east came with gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh, is to show that people of all the ends of the earth will one day submit to this King. This is why King Jesus before His ascension, He gave us, the Church, the Great Commission, "I want you to go and make disciples, of followers of Christ, disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit. And lo, I Am with you, always until the end of the days." What was He talking? He was talking about, "Go and share this gospel that transforms hearts, hearts of all people." So that one day, people from every single tribe, nation, tongue will bow down before King Jesus and worship of Him." Point four is the compassionate reign of the King, this is verses 12-14, "For He delivers the needy when He calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence, He redeems their life, and precious is their blood in His sight." God is calling for us to pray for a King or ruler that protects those who need protection, but a compassionate protector. We mentioned this in righteousness, but here it's explicitly expounded that we pray for someone who has concern for the poor, the needy. The poor is mentioned three times as a category verses 2, 4, and 12. The needy is mentioned four times in verses 4, 12 and 13 twice. God is telling the people of Israel to pray for a King that protects the most vulnerable. Why? Because the people of Israel had a problem with this just like people of all times, people from all nations. Frequently, the rights of the poor were trampled by the powerful through dishonest gain. And over and over in Jeremiah and all the prophets, and Leviticus as well, God talks about the fact that He abhors dishonest gain. Oppression and violence are the two evils that threaten the poor and needy. Oppression is the exploitation of the powerless by the powerful, often using usury, or just exorbitant amounts of interest to put people into debt for all of life. And violence was just ruthless disregard for life. So he says, "Lord, we pray for a King who has pity on the needy. He will protect from the oppression of violence and will redeem their life. Their life is precious, their blood is precious in His sight." And hear the language of redemption. We see this language all throughout Scripture, and particularly we saw this language at play where someone redeemed the poor in the book of Ruth. Do you remember? We had a great sermon series over quarantine in the book of Ruth. In the book of Ruth, we see Ruth with her mother-in-law. They come into Israel, they have no money, they have no finances, they are in this category of poor. And by the way, poor in the Old Testament isn't the person who can't afford the iPhone 12. If that's the definition of poor, that's me as well. That's not the definition of poor. The definition of poor is someone who could not feed their families. If you don't have food, you are poor. You have food, you have sufficiency, you are not poor. That's how the categories work. So Ruth comes in. And what Ruth did was she saw work. God provided ... In the Old Testament, He provided provision through the gleaning laws, where people in positions of power, land owners, people who owned farms or farming establishment, what they were called by God to do is provide work for those who are the least of these. The widows, the orphans, the immigrants. Ruth was a widow and she was an immigrant and Ruth started working. God cared. The King cares by providing meaningful work for those in need, primarily a hand up not just a handout. However, it was also taught in Scripture, that if a person is not able to work due to sickness, an accident, old age, et cetera, that the people who had means of wealth were to care for the least of these. Jesus taught us the same thing, to provide for those who are the least of these. He said, "What you do the least of these, you do unto Me." The King's job is to make sure that they're protected from this oppression, protected from violence, so that they can be provided for. And ultimately, this shows us the picture of the gospel. Boaz redeemed Ruth by providing work for her, but ultimately not just providing work for, he ultimately paid for all her debts. Now she had freedom, and then he ultimately made her his. This points to the ultimate King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus Christ comes into ... He redeems us, redeems us from our greatest bankruptcy, which is our spiritual bankruptcy. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor." Poor in what? Poor in righteousness. Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt who come to the Lord and say, "Lord, forgive me of all my debts." He does forgive because He paid for our debts on the cross of Jesus Christ. We are to pray for a King that allows us to fulfill the great commandment to love God with all heart, soul, strength and mind. And love our neighbors as ourself. To fulfill the Great Commission, that's our job. Not the King's job, that's our job. And fulfill the great compassion. Lord, as we pray for the king to provide for the needy, are we working to provide for the needy? In particular, we saw this in action over quarantine with our COVID fund. We saw people with influence, people with resources caring for those who were hit the hardest during quarantine. May that continue to be the pattern of our life as the people of God. And fifth, the blessing reign of the King. The king blesses the people and the people bless the King. See, here in verses 15-20, we have 10 petitions for the King, the land, the people, and the nation's. Verse 15, "Long may He live, may gold of Sheba be given to him. May prayer be made for Him continually, and blessings invoked for Him all the day. May there be abundance of grain in the land. On the tops of the mountains, may it wave. May its fruit be like Lebanon, and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field. May His name endure forever, His fame continue as long as the sun. May people be blessed in Him, all nations call Him blessed." May all the nations call this King blessed, he's ultimately talking about the kingship of Jesus Christ. And this echoes the promise that God gave to Abraham, "In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." What's fascinating is the verse 16, he prays for abundance in the land. "Lord, we pray for abundance in the land, we pray for prosperity." And he's talking about a supernatural prosperity. When the nation prospers and the nation is filled with righteous people, then everyone prospers. He says, "May there be abundance of grain in the land. On the tops of the mountains, may it wave. May its fruit be like Lebanon." If you've ever been to the top of the mountain, I'm sure you've seen a lot of great things. You go to the top of Mount Washington, there's a lot of great things up there. There's even a little tour shop up there and you can buy snacks and stuff. One of the things that you do not see at the top of Mount Washington or any of the mountain, is you do not see grain. There's no grain at the top of a mountain. There's grain on flatland, there's grain on lower ground. There's not grain and abundance of grain on mountains. What he's talking about is, "God, may You send us a supernatural prosperity. Prosperity that only comes from You." We see the same echo in verse 3, "Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills in righteousness." Hills are fertile, mountains are barren. Why is he asking for prosperity in the mountains? And by the way, prosperity means a flourishing of shalom. From the very top bank, prosperity come. He asked for supernatural prosperity, a supernatural blessing. And God does promise a supernatural blessing for people under one condition, the condition is that you submit to God, that you are a righteous people. Look at Leviticus 26:3-6, "If you walk in My statutes and observe My commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go throughout land." If you're righteous, you shall be blessed. That sounds great, until you look at the United States of America. That sounds tremendous, until you look at your own life. "Lord, this blessing depends primarily on me. If so, what hope is there? What hope is there for me personally? What hope is there for my nation." This is why the gospel Jesus Christ is such good news and our ultimate hope. The gospel of Jesus Christ comes to us and says, "You are not righteous, you are sinners. You have rebelled against the ultimate King of the universe, the God of the universe." We deserve punishment, we deserve pestilence. We do not deserve prosperity. So God sends His Son, Jesus Christ. He, though being rich, became poor so that we might become rich in Him. The King of the universe subjects Himself to be murdered by us, rebels. The King of the universe submits to what we deserve for our rebellion, He submits to the wrath of God. He does this to save His people. I don't care who you're voting for ... I do care. You should listen to earlier in the sermon, there's a clear criteria. It's important who vote for. Don't give your ultimate allegiance to the person. The Scripture says, "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, strength and mind." Not that person. No matter how great any King, no matter how great any politician, they did not die for you. They did not go to the cross for you. They did not observe the wrath of God for you. They're just a person and they need Jesus just as much as you do. So we cry out, yes, we pray for our politicians, we pray for the people in power over us. But ultimately, we pray for Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:8 says, "But of the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your Kingdom." Jesus Christ came and the very first words that He said in His very first sermon is, "The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near. Therefore, repent and believe in the good news." As we pray for that King, we pray that that King repents and believes in the good news, but we also pray the same for ourselves. "Lord, we repent of our sins. And Lord, we pray that You forgive us and give us faith." The prayer in Psalm 72 answers in part ... The cry of it is answered in part with the coming of Jesus Christ the first time. With His life, His death, His resurrection, His missionary mandate, His ascension to heaven, He ushered in the Kingdom. An all ready but not yet Kingdom. Where is Jesus' dominion to the end of the earth? He healed people, but not all people. He preached the good news to the poor, but not to all. He died and rose again, sent His disciples as witnesses to the end of the earths, but still we haven't preached the gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus ascended, seated at the right hand of God the Father, and we still are told to cry out for the second coming. Jesus taught us to pray for the second coming. "Our Father ..." He said, "Pray like this, 'Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.'" The ascended Lord promised in Revelation 22:20, "Surely, I Am coming soon." And you know what the saints cried out? "Amen, come Lord Jesus." So we pray for those in authority over us, we also bemoan the fact that they fall so short of the standard that's written on our hearts. Written there by God Himself and is a story of Jesus Christ. It's the image of Jesus Christ, so we cry for Him to come. The Psalm ends with this benediction, Psalm 72:18-19, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be His glorious name forever. May the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen." The God of Israel, the God of Jesus ... our God, the triune God of the universe, He alone can do such wondrous things. He alone and endow rulers with righteousness and justice, He alone can make not only hills but mountains wave with gorgeous grain and prosperity. He alone can give the King dominion to the ends of the earth. May His name, His name be glorious and blessed forever. And may His name and His glory fill the ends of the earth. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we thank You that You the great King of the universe came and died for us, Your rebellious subjects. Lord, You call us to Yourself not just to be Your servants, but when we are saved by grace through faith, when we repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ, You also make us Your children. Children of the King. I pray, make us a people who reflect the ultimate King of the universe, make us a people of justice who cry out for justice because we have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Make us a people who live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Make Your Church flourish. I pray that we do not forget our mandate, that we don't our responsibility, the responsibility of the Great Commission, and the great commandment, and the great compassion to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to all the earth. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Oct 11, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 6 

Audio Transcript: Good morning, welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan, I'm one of the pastors here at Mosaic along with pastor Andy and pastor Shane and if you're new or if you're visiting with us, we're so glad you're here. If you'd like to connect with us, we do that either through the connection card that you can pick up in the back and then leave it in the back, or online in the app, or on our website. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's word. Heavenly father, we thank you for the Holy scriptures and we thank you that in the scriptures you do not gloss over sin. Even the greatest heroes in the faith have fallen because every single one of us is a sinner by nature and by choice, and we thank you for the example of King David. We thank you that you pursued him, you did not relinquish him to his sin, instead you came and you made him see the darkness of his sin. We pray Lord that you today send us the Holy Spirit and let us see the darkness of our sin. It's within each one of us that every single one of us we have sin within and the capacity to sin infinitely more egregiously than even David himself. So Lord keep us from our sin, do not lead us in ways of wickedness, instead lead us in paths of righteousness and Jesus we thank you that you have given us that example, but you didn't just come to give us the example, you came to atone for our sin, to pay for it so that you the God of the universe remain just as you justify those who are unrighteous. And we thank you Christ that you offer forgiveness, that you offer grace, that you offer mercy simply when we come to you with a broken and contrite heart. So send us hearts of contrition today, soft hearts toward you and help us be a people who accept your grace and extend it to others, show others the path of righteous, where to find that grace at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. We pray bless our time in the Holy scriptures and we pray all this in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, amen. We're in a sermon series called Balm Psalms and which we are going through some of the choices, Psalms and scripture, the word balm meaning it's balm to our souls, that it does send us healing. It provides relief from the pain of this world, the pain of our own sin and folly. Today, we are looking at Psalm 51 in which King David, a man after God's own heart, one of the most choice servants of God himself, he pens a prayer of repentance. If you look at King David's life and you ask what is the greatest victory of all of his life? You can look at perhaps his victory over a bear in which he wrestled with his hands, a bear, or you can point to the fact that he wrestled and killed a lion with his bare hands, or the fact that he took on Goliath with just a few stones, or you could look at the Philistines that David himself took with the very small band of brothers took on the Philistine army. You can point to all of those as potential great victories, but I would submit to you that his greatest victory we see in Psalm 51. We see the picture of a man who is victorious over his sin, over his pride, over his self righteousness and he is on his knees before God, a broken man. He's a contrite man, he's a man with a limp, he's a man with a wound. He's a man in desperation, a bruised reed and in this text you see a man who is confronted with the gory nature of his sin as he sees the glorious nature of God's forgiveness. It's a familiar story, the story of David and Bathsheba. We see this in second Samuel chapters 11 and 12 in which King David sends off his armies to continue fighting, continue building his kingdom, he stays home. He stays home and he's spending time on his palace roof, he begins to wander, goes for a little stroll. His eyes began to look around, he glances where he should not and he begins to think of things that he should not. He sees a woman bathing on her rooftop, Bathsheba, calls for her not knowing at this moment as he's blinded by lust, as he's blinded by sinful desire, not knowing that this will lead him to break half of the commandments of God, half of the 10 commandments. Not only does he commit adultery, he also kills, steals, bears false witness and all started with covetousness. In second Samuel 11:5, Bathsheba sends him a message with three words, I am pregnant. At this moment, David he's faced with a decision, do I come clean? Do I repent of my sin? He chooses not to, choose to cover it up. Sends for Uriah to come to spend time with his family, Uriah does not even enter his house, sleeps outside. He says, how can I go in and sleep in the comfort of my home when my brothers are out on the field, sleeping on the ground. Uriah goes and he's a stand up man, a man of principle, contrast that with David. And then David is left with either repentance or murder, he chooses murder, tells his commander in chief I want you to send Uriah to the front lines, at the very last moment when the enemy is about to destroy everyone, I want you to pull back the rest of the soldiers so Uriah dies. And to cover it all up, David goes in silence. He murdered by decree after committing adultery, for months he's got a quiet conscience because it's a steered conscience, it's a hardened hiding conscience. And then we see the grace of God in Second Samuel chapter 12, where he sends the prophet Nathan and he confronts King David. He confronts him when King David tried to block off the truth of God as it speaks into this situation. Before I read the confrontation of Second Samuel chapter 12, one of the things I want to point out is a lot of us... if this is your first time reading this text, or even if you've heard the story before, a lot of us we read this text from a position of self righteousness where we say but I've never done that, nor could I. I do not even have the potential to commit murder or adultery. I could never do that. If you read the text in that way, from a position of self righteousness, you are no different than David before Nathan comes to him. You are no different than David when David is incensed by the sin of someone else, of a hypothetical person in his kingdom and all the while blind to his own. So this is the story of Second Samuel 12, one through seven then verse nine and I'm going to read this in order to set the context for Psalm 51. And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, there were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, it grew up with him and with his children and he used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock, or herd, or prepare... to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man and he said to Nathan, as the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die and he shall restore the lamb fourfold because he did this thing and because he had no pity. Nathan said to David, you are the man. Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. David is outraged by the sin of another... a lesser sin, significantly lesser. In Psalm 51 David finally comes to grip with... comes to grips with his own sin and this isn't just a Psalm that's given to us to show us the repentance of David, it's a Psalm given to teach us how to repent, how to repent from the heart in contrition. So that brings us to Psalm 51, would you look at the text with me? Psalm 51, verse one. Have mercy on me O God, according to your steadfast love. According to your abundant mercy, blot my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me against you. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit, then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from the blood guiltiness O God, O God of my salvation and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. So Lord open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise for you will not delight in sacrifice or I would give it. You will not be pleased with a burnt offering, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart O God you will not despise. Do good to Zion and your good pleasure build up the walls of Jerusalem, then will you delight in right sacrifices and burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings, then bulls will be offered on your altar. This is the reading of God's holy inerrant, infallible authoritative word, may he write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Three points to frame up our time as we meditate on true repentance. Repentance first of all, turns from sin, then it turns to God and finally repentance believes the gospel. First of all, repentance turns from sin. In order to understand Christianity and to understand the gospel in the Holy scripture, you got to understand what repentance means. You got to understand, you've got to have a working definition of repentance and learn the discipline of repentance on daily basis. My favorite definition of repentance comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the definition goes like this. A saving grace, repentance is a saving grace whereby a sinner out of a true sense of his sin and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ does with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God and with full purpose of an endeavor after a new obedience. So we see that in it you realize who God is, he's Holy, who I am, I'm a sinner. You realize that sin is actually destructive, it also breaks the heart of God. So I want to turn from sin and I want to turn to God and do everything I can empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience. Therefore, repentance isn't just feeling bad for your sin. It's not feeling bad for the mistakes you've made. It's not even just... it's not having heart wrenching grief over the consequences of sin, that's not what repentance is. It's being convicted, inwardly humbled that you've sinned against a Holy God and you want to do everything you can to turn from it, thankful for the grace of Jesus Christ. We all experience guilt and we all experience shame Christian or not, Christian or not. It's a universal human feeling because the morality of God is written... God's moral code is written in our hearts. We've all done things that we know are wrong, have been wrong and we all feel shame. I shouldn't have done that, we feel guilt, guilty for doing that. Even if we don't believe in some external moral code, we still feel the weight of this and I'm not just talking about adultery or murder that separate us from God. It's every single sin, every single transgression against God's law is a treason against our creator. David here recognizes his sin before God and he does not blame shift. He does not justify his sin based on his accomplishments, based on his past righteousness, based on the songs that he's written, based on all the great work he's done for God, he doesn't, he doesn't blame shift, he doesn't make excuses. Look how often he uses me and my in the first five verses. Have mercy on me O God, blot out my transgression, wash me thoroughly from my sin for I know my transgression, my sin is ever before you. I have sinned, I was brought forth in iniquity, in sin did my mother conceive me, he owns it. He takes responsibility for his sin. He takes responsibility for his own decisions because without admission of guilt you can't accept God's forgiveness. And what's fascinating is he recognized in verse five, this theological category called total depravity. That we are born with sin, where every single faculty of our being is tainted with sin. We're not as bad as we could be, but there is sin within, original sin that leads to total depravity. But he says I'm born a sinner, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me, he owns that but he doesn't use it as an excuse. He doesn't say it's my past, you don't understand my family, but I wasn't brought up in the right way. There's nothing that he points to, to excuse his behavior and that's the first step to true repentance. You got to get rid of the blame shifting, you got to get rid of the excusing and you got to own the sin. I made these decisions, yes I'm a sinner by nature, I chose to sin. That's the star where he uses me and he uses my and there is sorrow over that sin, which leads to forgiveness and transformation. Last week, we talked about the different categories of sin of transgression. In sin and iniquity, transgression is seeing God's law and stepping over it on purpose, defiantly, rebelliously. He says I've transgressed, I've stepped over the law, blotted out and uses this verb often several times, blotted out, blotted out. And he's talking about this idea that God is a judge and he Chronicles our sins and he's begging God, God when you open the book of justice, please, please, God I want that redacted. I want black stripes over that, over my sin, over everything I've done. Please blot it out of the Chronicles of justice. In sin he misses the mark of righteousness and he says Lord cleanse me, I need a cleansing from sin, the iniquities twisting what God made straight, wash me from that. He owns it and this is the beginning of repentance. I have sinned, Lord forgive me of my transgression and my iniquity and my sin. Psalm 51 verse four, against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. God, you are the one I have violated. You are the first one that I've sinned against, before sinning against anyone else I've sinned against you. The prodigal son when he comes to his senses, returns to his father in Luke 15:21, he says father I've sinned against heaven and before you, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. He understands that his sin is first of all against God the father before it's against his earthly father, because every sin is always against God first. David loved God, but at this moment when he commits this heinous sin, he loves something more than God, he loves sin more than God. David committed adultery with Bathsheba because he loved a sin more than God and he says, God have mercy on me because I sinned against you first. If you went to David when he was a teenager, writing Psalms under trees, as he's watching his dad sheep. If you go to him as a teenager and say David when you are the pinnacle of your career, when you have all of the greatest blessings of God, it won't be enough for you and you will actually take that which is not yours, that which is forbidden, David would have never believed you. He would have never believed that he was capable of that. How did David end up there? David who was a man after God's own heart, David who saw God worked for him so powerfully miracle after miracle, how did he end up in this place? Well, he didn't stumble into it, he didn't go from perfection to this. He gave in incrementally, little by little a thought arises in his mind, a desire in his heart and he does not put it to death. He lets it fester, he lets it grow and little by little it begins to take over his imagination, his heart and then ultimately it leads to deeds. Imagine if David had repented before committing the sin, imagine if he had repented of the desires and the thoughts. And this is the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Jesus says sin starts in the heart and you need a heart transformation, you need heart surgery spiritually speaking. In the gospel, Jesus Christ gives us strength to deal with those desires, to fight those desires before they lead to action. So this is what I want to encourage you dear Christians. I want to encourage you to fight sin on a heart level, thought heart level before it leads to deeds. And here's why this is... and this is why if you read the sermon on the Mount, this is why Jesus starts with the heart. And he says, you think you've heard that it was said that adultery is wrong, but I tell you whoever looks upon another person... whoever looks upon a woman or a man with lust for them in their heart, you've already committed adultery. Meaning adultery is what leads to the sinful lustful gaze. In the same way, he says if you're angry with your brother or your sister, that's tantamount to murder because you in your heart, your anger is leading to this hatred where you wish that they had disappeared. So the true battle against sin that God is calling us to, the true battle against sin that leads to righteousness and holiness is on the level of the heart and the level of the mind. The earlier we repent, the less damage our sin does. God forgives David ultimately for the penalty of the adultery and of the penalty of the murder. God does not remove the consequences of that sin and this is why a lot of Christians they mix up these categories. Oh, if I ask for God to forgive me, then he'll protect me from the consequences of the sin, not necessarily. This is why God tells us not to sin in the first place because of how destructive sin is in our own lives, in the lives of the people around us. So God didn't remove the greatest consequences of the sin, Uriah was still dead. Bathsheba's family was destroyed. The child that Bathsheba and David had, that child died and there was family dysfunction in David's family for the rest of his life. Second Samuel 12:10 through 15, the words of Nathan. Now, therefore the sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife, thus says the Lord. Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun for you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. David said to Nathan I have sinned against the Lord and Nathan said to David, the Lord also has put away your sin, you shall not die. Nevertheless, because of this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord and the child who was born to you shall die. And Nathan went to his House. Repentance is turning from sin and it's turning to God. You see, David isn't demanding that God forgive him. He pleads with God, look at verse one, have mercy on me O God, according to what? According to David's great track record, according to everything David has done for God, according to all the great things David could do for God, no, it's not according to David's track record at all. It's according to your steadfast love, it's appealing to God's character. God, you are a God of love, steadfast love, of love that's unshakeable. According to your abundant mercy have mercy on me, because your mercy is abundant please give me some. Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. David is begging God for the new covenant. He's begging God for something deeper than just repentance, what's he asking for? He's asking for regeneration. He's asking for heart transplant as is prophesied in Ezekiel 26, 25 through 27. I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness and from all your idols I will cleanse you and I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the hardest stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh and I'll put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. He's saying God, I'm not just asking for forgiveness of the sin because it's not enough. The sin is still within me, I need a clean heart, I need a willing spirit, I don't just need cleansing, that's part of it, I also need regeneration. I need something different, why? Because if you think repentance is just turning from sin, you will never overcome sin because sin is too powerful, it's too medicine, it's too magnetic, it's too entrancing. Look at Second Samuel 12:9, this is what Nathan says to David. Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in his sight? You've despised the word of the Lord in committing the sin because the word of the Lord is an extension of the Lord, so you've actually despised the Lord, why did you... how do I know you despise the Lord? Because you loved something greater than the Lord. And that brings us to something really important and that's this, David didn't just commit five. He didn't just break five of the commandments, he didn't transgress just five of the commandments. In order to break any of the commandments, you have to first break the first commandment. What's the first of the 10 commands? Thou shall have any gods before me. So before David killed and committed adultery and stole someone else's wife and bore false witness and coveted that which was not his, before he did all those things, what led him to do all those things is he stopped loving God. He now loved something more than God. Before he committed adultery, he committed idolatry and what was the idol that he was following? It was himself. He started worshiping himself, he started worshiping his own desires, he started worshiping his own lust. So in order to get rid of a sin, turn from us and you got to turn to something greater, sin is something that does capture our hearts and our desires, we love it, that's why we're stuck in it. So the way to overcome it is to love something with a greater love. This is what Thomas talked about when he said the expulsive power of a new affection, where you love something more than the sin when what scripture calls us to love is God. There's no greater power in the universe than God's love. That's what David is asking, God based on your abundance of your love, please forgive me and as he turns from sin, his heart is filled with God's love which begins to transform him. And you see the depth of David's repentance, he's deeper than the ground. I think of repentance like this, a lot of us we don't see our need for repentance because of the light pollution of self-righteousness. At night in Boston, you rarely see the beauty of the stars because of light pollution. Some of us are like we think because we measure ourselves against other people, we measure ourselves against our past. David measures himself against God and as he sees how far he falls short of the standard of God, he ends up in the depth of a well of his sin. And the deeper you go in the well of repentance, when you gaze up, there's less light pollution and you see the glory of God's grace, the bright stars of his grace and that's what begins to transform you. You see that God is willing to forgive no matter how dark our sin. One of my favorite illustrations of repentance and the effect of repent and the process of repentance is from C.S Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and which there's a little boy named Eustace was really selfish and he loves riches, and he finds this gold bracelet, he puts it on his arm and he's in love with this. He's coveting this thing, he's thinking about dreaming about it, captures his imagination and when he goes to sleep he becomes outwardly what he was inwardly, which was a ravenous dragon. Transforms to the dragon, he's driven from humanity. In a moment of loneliness, begins to cry then Aslan the lion, the Christlike figure comes and offers him transformation and Eustace doesn't accept, tries to remove the dragon himself to no avail. And then finally he asked for Aslan's help and he says the very first tear he made was so deep that I thought had gone right into my heart. When he began pulling the skin off... worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. And then the rest of the texts he describes just how Aslan peels it off, it's painful, but he's able to bear it with the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off then ultimately turns into a boy again and he's baptized in the waters and dressed in new clothes. Repentance is always painful. It's always painful to come to terms with your sinfulness to say, I am not the person I thought I was, I'm not as righteous as I thought I was, I'm actually sinful and I desire wicked things, harmful things, destructive things. I need cleansing, I need transformation. Psalm 51, six through 12. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness. Let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, take me... take not your Holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, uphold me with a willing spirit. Now he goes deep. He's dealt with the transgressions, the iniquities, he's dealt with the fact of the sin, now he goes deep and starts repenting of the heart desires that caused him to stumble. And he says Lord, you delight in truth in the inward being. He goes into the very depth of the heart and he says, Lord you delight when this truth inside assumption that there's not always truth inside and he says you teach me wisdom and the secret heart, what's he talking about? He's not just talking about the heart, he's talking about the secret heart. He's talking about the part of your heart that you are not even honest with yourself about, it's the secret heart. There's things in your heart that you know you desire, but then there's secret part of your heart where God needs to teach us wisdom, if he doesn't, there's folly. So we need to stand in judgment so to speak as an umpire over our own secret heart and guard it, guard your heart, be careful what comes out of that secret heart. Do you speak truth and wisdom to the folly to counter the folly of the secret heart? Or do you let those little thoughts bubble up into your heart, into your mind, into your imagination, ultimately into your actions. So we've got to ask Lord, please teach me wisdom in my secret heart, teach me to fear you which leads to wisdom. He says purge me with hyssop, hyssop is a shrub with hairy little leaves where it retains more of the water and they would dip it into a bucket with water, a bucket with blood when there's the atonement and they'd splash on people in order to create an atoning cleansing feeling. He says please Lord, with the hyssop purge me of the sin. The word for purge in the Hebrew is just a play on the word sin. De-sin me, de-dragging me... unsin me, please Lord, that's what he's begging. And so he's saying sin in a sense, it leads to a feeling of dirtiness, a shame that you feel you need cleansing from, almost like you need a shower but you need a shower for your soul, and the deeper the sin, the deeper the cleansing that you need. That's what repentance is, repentance is like a shower, that's why we need it on a daily basis. But once in a while, you need a deeper cleansing and for deeper cleansing, if you're from a Slavic background, or a Finnish background, or Scandinavian background, you know if you want a deeper cleansing, you go to the sauna. My dad, his father was from Finland and my dad built a sauna recently, he was sending me pictures... we have a group family chat and he was sending me pictures of the sauna that's finished. He was like hey, come by for a sauna and I like... great, I like the sauna session, but sauna session with real Russians with... my dad's in that, you can't just sit there. You also need a venik and a venik is, its they rake birch branches, they dry them out, they bind it together and then you go in there and they dip it in water and then they say turn around and then you give them your back and they go... they start wailing on your back in a very like sadistic way, make it as painful as possible and then you can say hey, it's kind of painful. My dad's response is yeah, but it's good for you. I'm cleansing you of the toxins of your skin and the beauty is you always have to trade and then whoever... you reciprocate of the love. So true deep repent is kind of like that, it's painful. With every smack it's painful, but there is a cleansing and David understands that this cleansing is going to transform him and though his sins are scarlet, he asked Lord please make me whiter than snow. But the deepest part of his prayer is this. He says God, I don't just want to be forgiven of my sins, I don't just want for you to blot out my sins, I want you and he begs God, don't cast your presence... don't cast me outside of your presence. Don't take the spirit of God from me, let not your Holy Spirit be taken from me, why is he saying this? Because he's seen this happen to Saul. He saw King Saul, and he saw Saul turn away from the Lord and when he should have repented, he didn't. And then the spirit of God departed from Saul and Saul's life just went into shambles, fell apart. And he says please, don't take your Holy Spirit from me. We see that true repentance in David's mind, he begins to get it, the greatest thing that we get through repentance isn't just forgiveness, we get God. He doesn't just want the cleansing, doesn't just want the forgiveness, he wants the presence of God. In the Old Testament, in the Old Testament saints were regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit was with them, it wasn't in them. In the New Testament after the day of Pentecost, now the Holy Spirit regenerates and it doesn't just regenerate, it seals our hearts and the Holy Spirit is now within every single Christian. And that needs to change how we think about sin, that the Holy Spirit first of all is always with us. So he always gives us power to overcome sin, but then also if we choose to go against the spirit, we grieve the spirit and we go into a sin, into act of sin with the Holy Spirit, with us, that's what leads to grief. And David says I don't want that, I want your presence, I don't want to continue sitting. I want not just cleansing, not just forgiveness, I want renewal and transformation, that's why he says Lord, give me a clean heart. Give me an upright spirit, a new and willing and upright spirit, so repentance is deeper than remorse, it's a cry for regeneration. He says, I don't want to vacillate anymore between holiness and sin, I want holiness. Second Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come. So repentance is turning from sin, turning to God and asking for all that God is willingly offering us. God you are the heart cleanser, clean my heart. God you are the spirit giver, give me the Holy Spirit. God you are the joy restorer and the bones that have been broken by the consequences of my sin, restore so that they dance with joy. God you are the life upholder, the sin remover. God I want all of that and as we draw near to Christ, he draws near to us. Repentance is turning from sin, its turning to God and its believing in the gospel. Where do we get the gospel from Second Samuel? Where do we get the gospel from Psalm 51? Look at second Samuel 12:13. David said to Nathan, I've sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, the Lord also has put away your sin, you shall not die. The Lord has put away your sin, you shall not die, how can God say that? How can the just God of the universe say that and still remain just, he doesn't say here for your heinous sin we're going to bring a lamb, a sacrificial lamb, or goat or a bull, none of that happens. He says God has chosen to put your sin away, what sin? Sin of adultery and murder. Well, surely a righteous God can't just put away sin, you can't just pretend that it didn't happen without penalty. God is a righteous God and his wrath burns hot against sin, so why wasn't David killed? Why didn't David die for his sin? He should have, he deserved to. How can God just forgive him and remain just. And also if you look at the Levitical code, Leviticus one through seven, which addresses the sacrifice... sacrificial system prescribed by God, it was only for unintentional sins. There were no sacrifices prescribed by God for premeditated or defiance sins, they couldn't be removed by sacrifices. So the penalty for adultery in the Old Testament, in the Levitical code, it was death. The penalty for murder, also death. So if there's no sacrifice for the sins and David deserves the death penalty, how could he be forgiven? And if all you have is the Hebrew scriptures, if all you have is the Old Testament, there is no answer. David didn't know a thousand years later, God would send a son of David, God would send his own son. Jesus Christ came into the world and lived the life that David should have died... should have lived and Jesus died the death that David should have died. Before the foundation of the world, God planned to pay the penalty for David sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Hebrews 9: 13 to 14, for if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh. How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Jesus Christ lived the perfect life. Jesus never looked upon a woman and thought what can I take from her? He looked and he said how can I serve her? The greatest illustration of that is the woman at the well who has been used by men for years, comes to Jesus and Jesus says I want to offer you true water, water that leads to eternal life. Jesus never took advantage of woman, Jesus never took advantage of a man. Jesus unlike David did not send an epistle, a letter for Uriah to die, instead Jesus Christ is the letter of God that was sent into this world. He is the word of God and Jesus took on Satan, sin and death on the front lines and he took it upon himself by himself, in the father's presence, the Holy Spirit's presence were taken away from the son and Jesus dies on the cross crying out my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The father and the Holy Spirit they left the son so the son could absorb the wrath that we deserve for our law breaking... This is mind-boggling. Jesus Christ, the sinless son of God became on the cross an adulterer. He became on the cross a murderer so that he could forgive David of his adultery and his murder. Sin became sins that we might become the righteousness of God. He didn't just take on David's sin, he took on our sins, all of our sins, each of our sins. In the very moment before he died, he said it is finished. In the very moment he said it is finished, the curtain in the temple surrounding the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom as proof that he is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Our sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ, that's why David could be forgiven, that's why we can be forgiven. That's why when God commands us to repent, he's issuing an invitation, come, bring all of your sins, bring all of your shame, bring all of your guilt to Jesus Christ, who's willing to forgive. In Psalm 51:13 David says this, I will teach transgressors your ways, then after being forgiven I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to you. He says my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness, my mouth will declare your praise, what's he saying? He's saying Lord forgive me and after I'm forgiven, I want to teach other sinners to find the grace that I have found. This is why if you truly come to faith in Christ, you care about others coming to faith. You want your neighbors and your friends, those who are far from the Lord, this is why Mosaic exists, we exist so that our friends, our neighbors, everyone in the city, everyone beyond, everyone that we come into contact with can have their sins forgiven. God wants to forgive, God wants to cleanse, God wants to wash and what does he demand for forgiveness, for acceptance, for eternal life, he says this. The sacrifice of God are broken spirit, a broken in contrite heart, O God you will not despise. Jesus brought the ultimate sacrifice and now he calls us to bring our sacrifices, which are broken in spirit and are broken in contrite heart. So how do we accept that forgiveness? How do we do it? We do it by repenting the same way King David did and he prayed like this. Have mercy on me O God according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy. Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, let's pray.

Oct 4, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 5 

Audio Transcript: Good morning, and welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan. I'm one of the pastors here at Mosaic, along with Pastor Shane and Pastor Andy. Today we are celebrating our ninth birthday as a church. Happy birthday Mosaic, happy birthday. Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday. My wife asked if we're having cake today. I said, "Baby, what is it? 2019? No. We'll have extra cake in 2021 at our 10 year birthday." Lord willing, Lord willing. Thank you, everyone for your sacrifices, for your service, for your ministry. In particular, everyone who's been here one plus years, raise your hand if you've been here more than one year. Wow. Praise God. More than two years. More than three years. More than four years. More than five years. Vlad and Edgar. You've been here for five years? Six years. Seven, eight, nine. Elizabeth raising her hand, my daughter, Elizabeth. I remember how old Mosaic is because of Elizabeth. She's also nine. And Edgar. Edgar's been here from the beginning. Edgar started the church. Good job Edgar, thank you. One really, really, really, really important note I want to make at the beginning. For us to reopen full force, we need to reopen Mini-Mosaic. To reopen Mini-Mosaic, we need 11 volunteers. 11 volunteers to sign up to help with Mini-Mosaic. Four assistant teachers, four front table. I start with those because those are the easiest. Front table is you just literally sit there and you look welcoming and you sign people up. Front table assistance, you don't really have to do much. It's just the gift of presence. And then we need three teachers. Now this is an appeal in particular to the parents. Why in particular the parents? Because I know how tired you are being with the kids all week, this is a respite for you. You just want to come to church and just get a break from your kids. I know. It's hard. But here's the thing, if we get parents to sign up just for once a month, once a month, you serve all of the other parents in the community. So that's the appeal to the parents and then to anyone else who feels led by the Lord to serve in a really important way. We would love to help you sign up. You can do that by going downstairs after the service and talking to Raquel Ross, who was our Mini-Mosaic director and thank you in advance, TIA. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's Holy Word? Holy God, we thank you that you are holy. Even though we are sinners, we don't have to lower your holiness. But we can be honest about your holiness, so we can be honest about our transgressions, our sins and our iniquities. Why? Because of your son, Jesus Christ. Lord, we thank you that you sent your son because you so loved the world, you sent your son, to die for our transgressions, our willful defiance against your law of our sins of missing the mark not because we didn't see it, but because we didn't want to see it and you're willing to forgive us of our transgressions, of our iniquities, of our sin because you placed it all on Jesus Christ and you are more willing, more ready to forgive us of our sins when we confess, than we are to confess. Holy Spirit, I pray that you come today and that you send each one of us the gift of repentance, the gift of faith, and then ultimately the gift of good works, which is proof of heartfelt repentance. Holy God, I pray that you bless our time in the Holy Scriptures what an incredible Psalm, Psalm 32 is, and I pray that you help us experience the joy, the deep, heartfelt joy of being forgiven, the blessing of that gift. And we pray all this in Christ's Holy name, amen. We're in a sermon series that we're calling Balm Psalms. Why? Because the Psalms are like balm for our souls. John Calvin said that the Psalms are an anatomy of every part of our souls. Therefore, if you want to study the human person, if you want to study yourself, if you want to know yourself, you need to study the Psalms. Anyone can give us knowledge of the human body, not anyone can give us knowledge of the human soul. Very few places that you can go to, and scripture is that place. The Psalms give us an expression of the whole range of human emotion from the highest of highs to the lowest of depths. And one of the main emotions that is described in the book of Psalms is gratitude that leads to joy. Thanksgiving that leads to happiness. So the psalmist talks about Lord, we thank you. We're so grateful that you have saved us from the hands of our enemy, and we experience so much joy. Lord, we thank you that you allow us to come into your presence. Thank you for your presence, and we experience so much joy in your presence. And Lord, we thank you that you are our rightful king. You rule righteously and everything that you do we worship you for that. And we thank you for that. And we experience so much joy as we thank you. Well, today we're going to talk about thanksgiving for forgiveness. As the psalmist, King David, as he repents of his sin, confesses his sin, he doesn't stop in the contrition. He doesn't stop in the confession. He doesn't stop in the broken heartedness. He moves on to thanking God for forgiving him, therefore experiencing incredible joy. He emphasized contrition, yes. But he doesn't stop there. And it seems paradoxical to talk about repentance in the context of thanksgiving and joy. When we think about confession, especially if you come from a Catholic background, confession is where you go and you tell the priest of all of your sins. You tell him, everything that you've done that's wrong, and then you walk out. You feel a little relief, but usually there's no transition into joy that then strengthens you, empowers you, enhances your walk with the Lord. It seems paradoxical to talk about God, I thank you for forgiving my sin. And to talk about the bliss, the rapture, the thanksgiving you feel, the joy you feel after he forgives. It seems paradoxical unless you've experienced it. If you've experienced the joy that fills your heart when God forgives you, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you've experienced the relief of forgiveness, the removal of guilt, of shame and the freeness of the restoration, not just the forgiveness of sin, but a restoration of fellowship and service with Christ. Here in the middle of our a sermon series in the Psalms, we're going to cover Psalm 32 today and Psalm 51 next week. And it's a two part examination analysis of what repentance looks like, true heartfelt repentance. Psalm 51 gives us the full confession, the full journey of realizing how Holy God is, and realizing just how deep and dark our sin is. And he goes through that whole progression. Here, in Psalm 32, we don't get the full progression, we get the destination. So the point of the Psalm is, why wouldn't you repent of your sin? Look at the destination. So much freedom and your soul. So much forgiveness God is offering us. So Psalm 51 is the journey of complete confession, Psalm 32 is the destination, that's what we're talking about. Holy Scripture tells us that God is in the business of turning a negative into a positive. And the more negative the negative, the more positive the positive. The deeper the loss the greater the win and the restoration. Scripture talks about God turning doubt into trust. Anger into love, sadness into joy. He talks about darkness getting turned into light, death into life, sinners into saints, and at the very center of Christianity is Jesus Christ dying on the cross, the ultimate death of the Son of God. The worst thing that we can imagine happening in all of the universe, and then God restores it into the resurrection. And that's what this Psalm is about, that God is willing to find us, meet us in our loss and he's willing to forgive us any and all sins upon sincere confession. And what is sincere confession? It's not just acknowledging our sin, but it's also acknowledging that we have a desire to no longer sin in the same way. To no longer fall in the same way we fall. To no longer commit transgressions and iniquities. And true confession leads to true restoration. And that's the two parts of true repentance. Confession is the negative side and then restoration is the positive side. So that's what we're going to look at in Psalms 32. Would you look at the text with me. Psalms 32. A maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was dried up as by the heat of the summer. I acknowledge my sin to you. And I did not cover my iniquity I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. And you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Therefore let everyone who was godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found. Surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me, you preserve me from trouble, you surround me with shouts of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule without understanding which must be curbed with a bit and bridle or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked but steadfast love surrounds the one who trust in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice a righteous and shout for joy, all you upright in heart. This is the reading of God's holy, inerrant, infallible, authoritative word. May He write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Two parts to the sermon, because there's two parts to the Psalm, we'll talk about the happiness of confession and then the happiness of restoration. First of all, the happiness of confession. The big idea of this Psalm, especially the first part of the Psalm is that God wants you to be happy. He's offering you happiness, He has created you for happiness in the presence of Himself. And happy are those who when we sin, which we do on a daily basis, instead of keeping silent, we confess our sins to the Lord, and the Lord is sure to forgive. So this is Psalm 32, a maskil of David. Maskil means instruction. It's a Psalm of instruction and it instructs in the way that we should go, and particularly and way to find happiness in the presence of the Lord. And He begins with a double blessing. Verse one and verse two, you see that blessed and blessed. The word blessing, I asked my daughters last night. Every night, we have devotion before we go to bed. And we've been going through the Psalms, because I'm preaching from the Psalms, I've been living in the Psalms. So we were in Psalms 32, and I said, "What is blessing?" And my daughter, Sophia says, "Blessing is when God blesses you." Public school nowadays. You can't use the word in as you're defining the word. You can't do that. But I think a lot of us we have a hard time because it seems so abstract. In what other contexts do you hear the word blessing other than, Instagram hashtag blessed when you're in a very nice place? What does it mean that we are blessed? And the word really in the original, it just means happiness. It's the ultimate form of happiness, and theologians get into the difference between joy and happiness. But it's the ultimate form of bliss, of euphoria that you feel, that says there's a blessing that comes with knowing that you're right with the Lord. The greatest source of blessing is God Himself. And what gets in the way of us experiencing God, and the presence of God, experiencing a deep, profound, abiding relationship with the Lord is our sin. So if sin is in the way of experiencing joy, we need something to save us from that sin. So He says, blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity. We get three nouns here for sin. There's three different aspects, angles that we get of sin. The first word they use is transgression. What is transgression? This is utter rebellion. It's a personal defiance, deliberate defiance against God when you know God's way, and you know how you should be living but you choose not to. It's a raised fist to God. Sin. What is sin? Sin is missing the mark that God set. A mark, it's an archery term, and we miss it. We shoot at the mark and we miss it, the word is used in Judges 20, where there were elite soldiers, Benjamites who could use a slingshot in such a way that it would hit a single hair. And if you hit the mark, you have not sinned. That's what the original term means. And then iniquity is deviation from the right path. It's going astray, taking the wrong road. So this is the picture that He paints for us, that there's a mark, God says, "This is how to live a godly life, a happy life, a full life." That's the mark. And you're to walk in that way toward that mark, and one degree off and you're going to end up in a completely different place, one degree off, and he says what happens is we see the mark, we see the path, but we choose to transgress. We choose a different path deliberately because we think we can circumnavigate God to find happiness. And this is what the world promises, this is what Satan promises, this is what our flesh promises, that true happiness is found outside of God. He says, this is my sin together. They particularly the full dimension of human, evil, all of our sin. And then, to counter the three nouns for sin, he gives us three verbs for forgiveness. There's forgiving and there's covered and there's not counted. Forgiven is there's a burden on me. It's like a backpack full of rocks, as you're climbing up a mountain, there's a burden upon you. And to be forgiven means that the burden is lifted. Covered, the sin is covered, it's concealed, it's out of sight. It's a forensic term. Like you're in a court of law and the judge says you're not guilty and not counted, not imputed, it's not reckoned. God doesn't record it. So here, David says, "This is really the key to happiness." Are you struggling with happiness in your life? Do you find that you're missing happiness? That you're going through days, that you're going through weeks through months, you're just in a funk. He says, perhaps you're missing out on the blessing of the forgiveness, of the covering of the not counting, or not imputation. So he takes all of sin, as dark as it is and he says, "No matter how dark the sin, God can deliver from all of it." And he indicates with these three verbs, a completeness of divine deliverance from all evil within, of everything that we've done that's evil. We have a hard time understanding just how incredible this is, because we take it for granted. Many of us, if you've heard of Christianity, if you heard of Jesus, if you heard of God, yes, of course, God forgives. Yes of course, Jesus loves me. He died on the cross for all my sins. Yes, of course, I should just believe in Him and be forgiven. Yes, yes, yes. But it doesn't lead to joy because we don't see the depth of our sin. We don't see it graphically. And this is why the Old Testament is important every Christian needs to be... We don't have enough Old Testament theology in our practical lives of theology. If you read the New Testament, apart from the Old Testament, you don't get the full picture of God, of holiness, of sin. In the Old Testament, God provided for sin to be atoned for. And He provided a very vivid, a very graphic, a very gory picture of forgiveness. Study in Leviticus 16. Leviticus 16 talks about the Day of Atonement where the people of God will gather before God's presence. And the priest would, after slaughtering a bull the priest would take two goats. The first goat he would slaughter, blood, gory, all of that. And then that blood was to be a symbol of the provision that we need for the atonement of our sin because sin leads to death. The penalty for sin is death. So if we are to be forgiven, if our sin is to be atoned for, if we're not going to die, something has to die in our stead. That's the first goat. The second goat, the priest would lay hands on that goat and confess in particular, all of the sins of the people of Israel. As the hands are laid, he's confessing the sins of the people, the transgressions, the sins, the iniquities and then sends the goat away to die in the wilderness. In the Old Testament, God promised that there is forgiveness, there is atonement for a limited time, in bringing this guilt offering. And every year, the people got would be reminded that sin leads to death. Sin leads to death, sin leads to death. And only in that context, can you understand the incredible grace of God where He sends the ultimate Lamb of God. Not a goat, but a lamb, a sheep. And that sheep is Jesus Christ, He's the Lamb of God that took all of the sins of the world upon Himself. And He died on the cross in our stead, with all of our sins, every single one of our particular sins laid upon Him as if He had committed all of those transgressions, acts and iniquities, and then He is slaughtered. Like a sheep, He's led to the slaughter and then He's slaughtered, His blood is shed, His body is broken, so that there is now provision for the forgiveness of our sins. So Jesus now is our ultimate sacrifice. Jesus Christ is our ultimate high priest and Jesus Christ is our temple. Therefore, as we think about Jesus forgiving our sins, we can't rejoice in the forgiveness of sins until we come in contrition, in brokenness of heart to the foot of the cross and see Christ dying in our stead. Anything you have ever done can be forgiven by God, any sin, any iniquity, any transgression. And you can get specific and you can... We have those places in our minds where we store our pasts. They're just there. They're embedded, it's indelible, you can't get rid of it. It's just there. And we try and close that door. But when we understand that Christ, His sacrifice is enough to cleanse me from all of that, we can now begin to experience joy and happiness. Now what's the catch? Is there a catch to the forgiveness of all of my past sins? And not just past, but past, present and future. What's the catch? And there is a catch. That's Psalm 32, two, blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and whose spirit there is no deceit. That's the catch. There is no deceit. He's saying, God can't forgive you of sins that you keep covered up. God can't forgive you of sins that you keep masked in masks of fake righteousness, self righteousness, self justification, mask of duplicity, deceitfulness, disguise. And here's why we do, because it's so hard to own up to that's how dark my sin is, that's how wicked I am, that I can do this X, Y and Z, we would rather cover it, "No, I'm not that bad." And he's saying, if there's a spirit of deceit in us, there is no hope for forgiveness. Because the spirit of deceit keeps us from being honest with God. And as we're in the Psalm you need to ask yourself, and it's difficult, I know. But you need to do this really hard soul work and just ask yourself, what am I hiding from God? Because I'm hiding it from myself. That's the ultimate reason why we're hiding it from ourselves because you can't hide anything from God. But we're not honest with God. What are you covering up in self justification or with comparison, where you grade yourself on a curve, because the people around you are so much worse than you are? So this Psalm calls us, to come to the Lord of naked transparency, to take off every single one of our masks. Stop pretending that you're better than you are. Jesus loves you. God loves you, not the masked you. Take the masks off, come to Him, be honest with yourself and with God. How did David do it? David, a great man after God's own heart, David, who wrote so much of the Holy Scriptures, David, the greatest king that Israel had ever had. Had David ever experienced a season where he was ensnared by the spirit of deceit? Yes. And that's what makes this Psalm so profound, that he lived through this. This great man of God had been blinded by the spirit of deceit, and you can study this, and Holy Spirit, we'll deal with it more next week. But David, when he should have been in battle, he stays home. And he's on his roof and he starts looking where he shouldn't have been looking. And one thing leads to another and he sees this woman, Bathsheba, who was married to Uriah. And he has her brought to him and he impregnates her. And then instead of repenting of that egregious sin, he tries to cover it up because of spirit of deceit. He would rather cover it up because it's too costly to be honest about the sin. So he masks himself, masks what he's done, and then he calls Uriah, Bathsheba's husband who's at battle to come home, because he thinks if Uriah spends time with his wife, then there's an excuse for the baby that's coming. Uriah being a loyal soldier, he refuses and says, "Look, I'm not going to sleep at home in the comfort of my home when my brothers are at war." So he doesn't do what David wanted him to do. So David's sin, it's more likely it will become public. So David sees that there's only one way to continue covering up the sin and that's to get Uriah out of the picture. So he tells Joab his general, "Send Uriah to the very front, the forefront of the hardest fighting and then draw back from him so that he might be struck down." David with his words, commits murder. Uriah now dies, he's out of the picture, David can now marry Bathsheba. Uncomfortable. And if you study especially the Old Testament, you see how graphic sin is. How dark it is. And that's for us to understand just how incredible grace is. But it all starts with the spirit of deceit. No, that's not a sin. No, I'm entitled to this. I deserve this. I've sacrificed so much. God owes me this. There's a million ways to rationalize our sin when we lawyer up ourselves. Deceit kept him quiet. Verse three, from when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as by the heat of the summer. He gave us three nouns to describe sin and then he gives us three verbs for how God forgives. But he gives us three ways that he suffered before he repented. When he was silent, his bones wasted away, day and night your hand was heavy upon me, and my strength was dried up. How long did David keep quiet after sleeping with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah? How long did he keep quiet? Almost a year. Almost a year this great man of God pretended that he was holy, pretended that he was righteous, pretended that he was leading the people of God in all righteousness. And in the meantime, he's got this mask on of righteousness, of hypocrisy. And deep inside, he's wilting away. He talks about his bones almost rotting, languishing from deep inside. His bones are wasting away. He's talking about his core. In his core, he doesn't have words to describe his spirit, his soul. But it feels like in his bones there's rot. And he's talking about the physical anguish that starts with mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological anguish. It's devastating. And this is a metaphor for a depression that comes when there's known sin in our lives. Sometimes, sometimes, and I'm not saying that there's not physical depression, and we can have that... But I am saying that sometimes we feel depression in our lives because of unconfessed sin. That's what this text is saying. Silence about sin makes us physically sick. I'm not saying that all sickness is because of personal sin. That's not true. Because even the disciples looked at a person who was blind and they said, "Jesus, who sinned? Was it him or was it his parents?" Because they think that all sickness can be attributed to a person's sin or the parents' and etc. Jesus said, "No, it's for the glory of God." But sometimes, and this is a conversation that a lot of Christians don't want to have nowadays, because they're like, "Oh, now we're getting into the medical field and the pastor is not a doctor, so he can't talk." I'm saying it's clear from scripture, that some sickness does come from sin. The presence of habitual sin in our lives. In all kinds of ways, where anxiety increases, stress increases, and perhaps leads to knots in the back or higher blood pressure, shorter temper, insomnia or extra pounds. There's an unexplained affliction in our lives. If it comes out of nowhere, we must ask as we're praying for healing, as we're praying for restoration, we must ask, "Lord is there sin in my life that is leading to this?" David clearly knew, he says, "My bones are rotting, they're wasting away." There's something wrong deep inside. And God sometimes does send that heavy hand of affliction, which is a proven sign of His love. Revelation three 19, those whom I love, I reprove and discipline. So be zealous and repent. God's is a good father and when His children are sinning, sometimes, because we won't willingly repent, He does send reproval or discipline. Psalm 32, five, from the anguish that he's experiencing, spiritually, psychologically, mentally, emotionally, all of that. From that anguish, the graphic imagery of that anguish, we see a matter of fact declaration. Psalm 32, five, I acknowledge my sin to you. I did not cover my iniquity I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Selah, by the way, means just a break. It's just a pause and he wants us to pause here and meditate on what he's just said. And by the way, the confession is missing, the confession itself, that's Psalm 51, we'll talk about that next week, when the prophet Nathan confronts David and David confess I've sinned against the Lord. But David here, and I want you to notice, he says, my, three times. My sin, my iniquity, my transgressions particular. I confess, I acknowledge it, I will confess to whom, it always starts with the one against whom you primarily sinned, against the Lord. This is what true repentance is. It's not just saying, "God forgive me of sins." God forgive me for my sins. My iniquities, my particular transgressions, he owns his sin. He fights the spirit of deceit. He owns his sin. He acknowledges it, he doesn't cover it. He confesses it the sin weighed him down, and God's forgiveness releases him from the burden. One of my favorite things about verses one and two is in the Hebrew the verbs precede the nouns. He talked about his transgressions, he talked about sins, he talked about his iniquities. But in the Hebrew, the verbs forgiven comes before transgression. Is forgiven transgression, is covered over sin, not counted by the Lord for iniquity. And what he's saying is that God is so ready to forgive us of our sins. He is a forgiving God. He's a God of grace. He's so gracious that we can't even talk about our sin without speaking first about forgiveness, about the covering, about the not counting. The ordering is important. Because even for us to acknowledge our sin is already a work of grace in God in our heart. For us to even think about repentance is already proof of the work of God in our lives. We don't come to repentance because we finally logically worked it out, reasoned it out. Repentance is alien to us. Just like Gods imputed righteousism is alien to us, repentance is alien to us. We are so sinful that we cannot even repent on our own. That's why when a lot of people say, "Yeah, you know what? For a season I'm going to sin." Christians grow up in church and then they go to college, "I'm going to sin for a season and then I'll come back to church." Repentance is not in your power. Repentance is a gift from the Lord. Where do I see this? Romans two, four, or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience? Not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? A lot of Christians, they are getting degree by the degree subtly hardened to the presence of God, to the person of God, because they are presuming upon His grace, "I'll repent when it is convenient to me." That's false. That's a false narrative. Repentance comes from God. God leads us to repentance in His kindness. Acts 11, 18, when they heard these things, they have fell silent and they glorified God saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life." Repentance itself as a gift from the Lord. Second Timothy, two, 24 and 25, and the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness, God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. Repentance is a gift. So if you feel the Holy Spirit working in you, this desire to repent of your sin, of your iniquity, of your transgression, do not presume that there will be multiple other chances. Perhaps there will be. Whenever you feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of sin, leading you to repentance, at that moment, you must repent. It's an act of the Holy Spirit in us, resulting in the outflow of repentance in our rebellion. This is how rebellious we are, how naturally stubborn we are, that we cannot repent on our own. Even repentance is a gift. Even faith to believe in the God of the universe who's holy, against whom we've sinned, even to have faith is a gift. Ephesians two, eight through 10, for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. What's the gift of God? Salvation. Not a result of work so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in Him. You've been saved by grace through faith, that's a gift. Salvation is a gift. But it is the gift of God. The emphasis isn't just on salvation, it's on faith itself. This is how gracious God's grace is that even the faith to believe in Him is a gift. And the repentance comes together with it. So he says, do not be silent about your sin, confess your sin to the Lord, it's already been exposed on the cross. On the cross all of your past, present, future sins, all of them have been laid down on Christ. There's no need to hide. And if God would immediately forgive King David for his egregious sin before the coming of Christ in person, how much more so will He forgive us our sins that have already been paid for, and confession is just how we accept this gift. First John one, seven through nine, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. Even when we're walking in the light, we still have sin, and we need to be cleansed of it. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There is a caveat, that a lot of people don't talk about. The caveat to having all of your sins forgiven is honesty. Brutal honesty, naked transparency before God. St. Augustine, one of my favorite theologians, he had Psalm 32 inscribed on the wall by his sick bed to remind himself. And this is a person who had lived decades of holy, righteous living, worked for the Lord, served the Lord. But he wanted to be reminded of his sin, iniquity, transgression, that's all been forgiven, covered, removed, not counted against him. Why? Because he said, "The beginning of knowledge is to know oneself to be a sinner." The beginning of knowledge is to know oneself to be a sinner. Doesn't matter how many years you invest in getting an education, getting knowledge, if you don't know yourself to be a sinner before a holy God, you don't know anything of ultimate importance. This is why when Jesus Christ came, what was the very first word on his lips as written down in Holy Scripture? Gospel of Matthew chapter four, verse 17, the very first word out of the mouth of Jesus Christ in the Holy Scripture is the word repent. Repent. And because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, the commandment of repent is not God issuing condemnation, it's God issuing an invitation. By repent, He's saying, come and receive forgiveness. Come and receive a new heart, a transformed mind that leads to a new life. Now we don't stop there. This is important. I always get carried away with point one. We don't stop there. A lot of people say confession, just confess your sins, acknowledge your sins. God forgive me my sins. True repentance always leads to a transformation of life. And this is the point two, happiness of restoration. Happiness of confession always leads to a change of worship, a change of the way that we live. Psalm 32, six and seven. Therefore, based on that forgiveness, therefore everyone who's godly offer prayer to you at a time, when you may be found surely in a rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for him, you preserve him from trouble, you surround him with shots of deliverance. All of a sudden, he went from sinner, transgressor, a person who commits iniquity, he goes to being godly. You see that word in verse six, who is godly. He calls himself godly. This is imputed righteousness of God. God who is now my security, He is my rock, He is my salvation. He is my preservation and Him alone now I worship. We see in verses one through five, he had sinned because his object of worship was wrongheaded. He was worshiping pleasure. He was worshiping an idolatry, comfort, security, significance. Now repentance leads to new worship and he's worshiping God with shouts of deliverance. Isaiah 55, six and seven, seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him returned to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. He's saying, seek the Lord while He may be found. Pray to the Lord while He may be found. Verses eight, and nine, I will instruct you, who's talking now? It's God. All of a sudden we go from David speaking to God, the Holy Spirit's speaking, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. He's saying true repentance always recognizes, I've been on the wrong path, I'm going to repent. That's what repentance is, it's a change of mind that leads to a change of heart, that leads to a change of life. Now he says, I want to live a different life, I want to follow the instruction of the Lord willingly. This is how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything. Every other religion, every other worldview, you study any revolution, you study anyone who tries to change the world. Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, everyone tries to change the world by changing forcefully the behavior of a person. Submit to me, say this, follow this way, become part of this particular movement, or else. Christianity comes in and God doesn't just say, repent, or die. He says, repent because Christ has died. See how much I loved you. I've given myself in order to forgive you. When you see Christ dying on the cross for your sin, it changes your heart. Now you want to follow him. Now you're not like the donkey and you're not like the horse or the mule, which they need pain in order to follow. He says, no. Christ took our pain. And now when we see that he did on the cross for us, we now follow because our hearts are changed, our hearts are live toward God. Psalm 32, 10, many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trust in the Lord. And that's the key phrase, the wicked trust in themselves. They trust in their works, they trust in their righteousness they trust in themselves. Whereas the righteous person, trusts in the Lord and when they trust in the Lord, the Lord's love, is the power that surrounds them and empowers them. Psalm 32, 11, be glad in the Lord and rejoice, oh, righteous and shout for joy all you upright in heart. Started with the blessing of being forgiven, the blessing of having your iniquities covered, your transgressions removed. And then he ends with gladness, rejoicing and righteousness, and a shout for joy. Three calls to exalt. Be glad, rejoice and shout for joy. Do we face hardships in life when we follow the Lord? Yes, of course. Maybe even more so. But he says when the waters of difficulty rise against us, they won't reach us. In the beginning he said, it's blessed to be forgiven, blessed to have our transgressions removed, not counted against us. The mark that we talked about, that mark, the end goal, that's home. A lot of people sin, because they think that home is not where God is. Home is something that we build for ourselves. And that's what happened with the prodigal son. The prodigal son said, "I am going to experience more happiness and joy apart from the father. I'm going to take everything that father's given me and I'm going to and enjoy life. I'm going to build a life for myself apart from the father." And apart from the father, he doesn't find happiness. He finds brokenness. And then finally he repents, he comes to he's senses. That's what repentance is. And he comes back to the father hoping that there's a chance that he will be forgiven. And this is Luke 15, 18 through 20, I will arise and go to my father, I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I'm no longer worthy to be called your son treat me as one of your hired servants. And he arose and came to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. This is the beauty of Christianity because this is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We don't even have the potential of being forgiven. God is so ready to forgive us. He is on the road waiting for us to return. And then he runs toward him, he hugs and he kisses him and he completely forgives him because of the compassion he felt for him. This is the God that we worship, this is the God that we praise, this is the God who was ready to forgive. So if you do have sins, if you have a spirit of deceitfulness, today is the day of repentance in particular because we are celebrating Holy Communion. And I'm going to read first Corinthians 11, 23 through 32. And as I do, Elizabeth, would you mind bringing me one of the little communion cups? I forgot to bring it. I was so excited to preach. I forgot we're... Just one of them, Elizabeth. Since you're nine, and we're celebrating Mosaic's ninth birthday. Okay, nobody look at her so she won't be shy. Thank you, sweetheart. She looks very autumnal today. Thank you baby. First Corinthians 11, 23 through 32. The words of St. Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit, for I received from the Lord what I also deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed, He took bread. And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also, He took the cup and after supper saying, "This cup is the new covenant of my blood do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. What does it mean to partake in a Holy Communion in an unworthy manner? What can make us worthy before the Lord? Nothing that we do. What makes us worthy before the Lord is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But in particular for us, what makes us unworthy today when we believe in Jesus Christ is to partake in the Holy Communion with a spirit of deceit, where we know that there is unrepentant sin in our lives that we have allowed to fester, and to grow. Before you partake in Holy Communion, make sure that you repent wholeheartedly before the Lord. Confess, acknowledge and cry out to the Lord to give you the power of the Holy Spirit, to turn from the path of sin, to step into the path of righteousness. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. Whoever therefore eats the bread, or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and the blood of Christ. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup for anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak, and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So if you are a Christian, a repentant Christian, who's repentant today of sin, particular sins, this is a chance to repent, to accept grace and to participate in Holy Communion. If you are not a Christian, if you have not repented of your sin, we ask that you refrain from this part of the service. It won't do anything for you, instead, just spend the time meditating on the gospel of Jesus Christ. What does it mean that the God of the universe sent His Son to die in my place for my sins, and is willing to forgive? Would you pray with me as we pray over the bread and the cup. Holy God, we thank you for the bread and the cup. We thank you that the bread symbolizes the body of Christ, which is physically broken for us and the cup symbolizes the blood of Christ, which is physically poured out for us. But the physical pain wasn't the greatest pain that you experienced. In the same way that King David experienced spiritual anguish, psychological anguish, deep inside, as his bones, it felt like, were wasting away, Jesus you experienced that wasting way of the soul because you took our sin upon yourself. That was the greatest anguish as you took our sin. The sinless Son of God took our sin and bore the wrath of God that we deserve for our sin, for our transgression, for our iniquity. And Jesus, you did that willingly. Because you love us. You want the best for us, which is God. And you reconciled us with God because of your sacrifice. And we thank you for that. And now in the presence of God, we can experience the joy of forgiveness and the joy of God's presence. Bless our time in the Holy Communion. We repent of all our sins and we pray that you forgive us. We pray that you count them not against us. We pray that you reckon not on our account, instead in pure to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen. On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took the break and after breaking it he said, "This is my body broken for you, take eat and do this in remembrance of me." He then proceeded to take the cup and He said, "This cup is the cup of the new covenant of my blood which is poured out for the sins," many, "take, drink and do this in remembrance of me." Holy, gracious and merciful God, we thank you, that you Holy Trinity did not leave us in our sins but before the foundation of the world you had a plan to redeem us. You predestined for us to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit because of your son's work on the cross. We thank you, Jesus, that you showed us the way of life and the way of life is the way of the cross, where we are called on a daily basis to deny ourselves and to follow you. And Lord wherever we do sin, transgress, wherever we commit iniquities of stepping off your path, I pray that you give us the gift of repentance, the gift of grace to turn from that sin and turn back to your path, so that we can continue to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose name we pray. Amen.

Sep 27, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 4 

Audio Transcript: Good morning. Or for us here today, good afternoon. My name is Andy. I'm one of the pastors here at Mosaic, along with Pastor Jan and Pastor Shane. This is a prerecorded service. We are meeting online right now this Sunday, because the temple where we meet has plans and preparations for one of their great annual holidays. So, we are meeting online. We look forward to seeing you next week. Thank you for just being flexible, after a long season of being flexible. But we pray that the Lord would continue to work profoundly through the mediums of technology that he's given to us. Today, we are continuing. Before I go into that, if you are new to Mosaic, you can still sign one of our connection cards. You can click on a link and fill one out. If you want to learn certain information about the church, the body here, our values, community groups, fill that out. We want to get to know you. We will follow up with you. Please do that. But today, we are continuing in our series, Balm Psalms. We've been going through this series through the Psalms, talking about how the Psalms are like balm for our soul. They're soothing. They meet us. They give us words to our deepest and strongest emotions in the Christian walk. Additionally, they drop balms of truth for us. Today, we're going through Psalm 22. Growing up, my mom used a lot of skin products. And some skin products, you just have to use over and over and over again for days before they make a difference, before they improve your condition, before they improve that cracked skin. Psalm 22 is one that you really have to spend time with. You have to meditate on. If you don't know, this is the Psalm that is typically referred to on Black Friday. Good Friday, excuse me. On Good Friday. And on Good Friday, we typically read about the afflictions of Jesus Christ, as he approaches the cross, and he's on the cross. Often, the pastors, preachers will spend time quoting Psalm 22. Psalm 22 is the most quoted Psalm, most quoted, most alluded to Psalm in the New Testament. This is a crucial Psalm in the history, in God's redemptive history. And so, just want to delve right into it. The best way to really take in this Psalm is to read it by yourself. Meditate on it. Spend time with it. Go back and forth in between the New Testament and the Old Testament. When you spend time with that, you see this is a Psalm written 1000 years before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Before crucifixion was even invented, crucifixion is predicted here. There's a lot of debate when you dig into the commentaries. Does this prophesy? Was David functioning as a prophet when he wrote the Psalm? Yes, it should be blatant. It should be obvious. You should read this Psalm with me right now, and think that you're in the New Testament. Today, I'm not going to exposit it. It's a little too long for me to take you through all 30 or so verses in one sitting. I want to pull out a crucial theme that is a part of this text. Would you please listen as I read the word of God? Psalm 22. "To the choirmaster, according to the Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. "Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted. They trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued. In you they trusted and were not put to shame. "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me. They make mouths at me. They wag their heads. 'He trusts in the Lord, let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, for he delights in him.' "Yet you are he who took me from the womb. You made me trust you at my mother's breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. "Many bulls encompass me. Strong bulls of Bashan surround me. They open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted within my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws. You lay me in the dust of death. "For dogs encompass me. A company of evildoers encircles me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. "But you, O Lord, do not be far off. O you my help, come quickly to my aid. Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog. Save me from the mouth of the lion. You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen. "I will tell of your name to my brothers. In the midst of the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him. All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel. For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. "From you comes my praise in the great congregation. My vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied. Those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. "All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship. Before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him. It shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it." This is the word of our Lord. Please pray with me. Heavenly Father, we praise you for this text. We praise you for just the details that you have laid before us to show the lengths, the depths that you went, that Jesus Christ endured, to preserve your name and provide a means of salvation for us. Lord, we praise you for your holiness. We praise you for working for your great name, and inviting us into relationship you with great compassion. Heavenly Father, we pray right now. Use this time of worship together to give us a grand vision of you, in all your glory and all your holiness. Give us a healthy fear. Shake us to the core, that we may worship you properly. Holy Spirit, please be with us. Correct and sharpen our hearts, as we delve into your word. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. If you know the tiniest bit of Christianity, you'll know that the Bible claims that God is holy. You might have distant memories of singing Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty, if you grew up in the Protestant church. If you're from a Catholic background, you might be triggered by the word holy, to think of first holy communion. If you like history, you might think of Holy Wars. Sadly, some of you, many of you, when you hear the word holy, you might only think of ways that you've sinfully used it in a profane manner at a time of exasperation. Whatever your association with the word holy, if you've been in the church for any amount of time, the word has probably become commonplace to you, a common part of speech, something you encounter a lot in God's word, and hear and say in prayer in small groups. But when we think about the word holy, the sad reality is that a lot of us in the church don't understand God's holiness. And we downplay its importance in our lives. That's wrong. Isaiah 6:3 is a passage that highlights the importance of God's holiness. The prophet Isaiah, at the time of his calling, he receives a vision from the Lord, sitting on his throne in all of his glory, with seraphim, these heavenly beings on either side of him. One seraph calls out to the other seraph and says, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory." We can't speed past the repetitive nature of holy made here. It wasn't sufficient for the seraph to say, "God is holy." The seraph had to use the word holy three times to capture the depth and breadth of God's holiness. In Hebrew culture at that time, to say something twice was to make clear that this was really important. The listener here should focus in upon hearing something repeated twice. To say something three times was to attach supreme, superlative importance to something. In all of scripture, the only quality of God that is mentioned three times in succession is holy, holy, holy. Isaiah says, God is not simply holy or even holy, holy, He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy. And that's not enough. The whole earth is full of his glory. When we think of holy, holy, holy, it's supposed to stretch the boundaries of our intellect, stretch the boundaries of our imagination, whatever you think of when you hear the word holy, hear that God is holy, you need to know that God is in an entirely different category of holiness. He's much holier than you ever thought he could be. When we think here, holy, holy, holy, it's meant to humble us with the realization that God is different from us. That God is infinitely greater than anyone and everyone who has ever lived, who has ever existed. This is essential to know that God's holiness is the crucial feature of his being. The crucial essence of his being when we come to Psalm 22. When we come to Psalm 22, we're walking on holy ground. Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher, pastor once said, "We should read Psalm 22 reverently, putting off our shoes from off our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture, it is this Psalm." Why is it holy? In seeing the grave detail, we see the length that God went to preserve his own holiness, by pouring out his wrath for the sins of man on his own son. Perhaps more than any other piece of scripture, the holiness of God is on full display in Psalm 22. His ways are altogether different. He himself is altogether different. Today, I want to talk about God's holiness. I just want to clarify even further, what is holiness? What is God's holiness? Why does God's holiness matter? How does God's holiness provide comfort? I'll go back and forth to this more topical connection with the text. What is holiness? The word for holiness comes from the Hebrew word qadosh, which means to cut. To be holy means to be cut off, to be set apart from everything else. It means to be in a class by oneself, a cut above the rest, when we think of great athletes, great artists, great figures. Qadosh has another layer of meaning. I mean, to be holy, qadosh means to be entirely morally pure, in every way possible, at all time. Often, holiness is cut short in its definition. It's defined by using only one aspect, one of the aspects that I just presented, but we have to include both. To say that God is holy is to say that his holiness occupies a place of power and moral purity that no one else has ever had before, or where no one else has ever sat before. We therefore don't have anything that we can compare him, as a frame of, compare God's holiness to as a frame of reference. Because there's no metaphors, there's no similes, there's no comparisons that quantify what God's holiness is in relation to us. God is altogether different. He's altogether pure. To say that he is holy is synonymous with saying that he is God. Psalm 2, we touched on this in recent weeks, it taps into this. "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 'Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.' He who sits on the heavens laughs. The Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 'As for me, I've set my King on Zion, my holy hill.'" It's folly to think, for rulers of the nations to think themselves, think of their thrones on a similar level of God in his holiness. First Samuel 2:2 proclaims, "There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none besides you. There is no rock like our God." Exodus 15:11 asks, "Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?" To clarify even further, God's holiness is not just a feature. I misspoke a couple of minutes ago, it's not just a feature of who he is or what he does. His holiness is not just one of many other attributes that sets him apart from all other beings. God's holiness is the essence of who he is. Everything God thinks, desires, speaks, and does is an expression of his holiness. Therefore, God is holy in every attribute and every action. He is holy in power. He is holy in justice. He is holy in awe. He is holy in mercy. He is holy in grace. He is holy in sovereignty. He is holy in wisdom. He is holy in patience, holy in wrath, holy in faithfulness, holy in compassion. He's holy even in his holiness. So why, point two, why does this matter? If you're anything like me, you're probably thinking, "I kind of get it. I think I can define how he's holy. But what does this mean for me? How does this doctrine impact my life?" First and foremost, the holiness of God is at the center of the redemptive narrative of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's at the center of scripture. It is the holiness of God that brings us to this moment, highlighted in Psalm 22, that points to Jesus Christ bearing the wrath for man's sin on the cross. Without the holiness of God, there'd be no moral law to which every human being is responsible. Without the holiness of God, there would be no divine wrath, as depicted graphically in Psalm 22, against man's sin. Without the holiness of God, there would be no need for a perfect son sent as an acceptable sacrifice, as atonement for the sins of man. Remove God's holiness from our doctrine, or remove it from the life of the church, remove it from the speech of mankind, and it all boils down to your sense of right and wrong. Really means nothing. Your sense, your desire for justice means nothing. Our sense of these things, it stems from God's holiness. God has imputed to us some of, communicated to us some of his attributes. As image-bearers, we know, we have it written on our heart what is right and wrong. And so, we can't ignore God's holiness. Some people come to Christianity and they say, "I want to learn about God." They want to read. They want to study. They want to do the apologetics. They want to engage in argument. But they don't want to confront God's holiness. They think they don't need that. You can't come to Christianity without confronting God's holiness. It's at the center of the story. So, how does God's holiness provide comfort? Want to read from Psalm 22 again. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The famous words that Jesus Christ spoke while he was hanging on the cross. "Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel." In a moment that seems so out of control, that seems so evil, where wrong seems to be rewarded and right seems to be punished, where God seems to have abandoned the Psalmist, abandoned Jesus Christ, it's the recollection and the love of the holiness of God that allowed the Psalmist, that allowed Christ to persevere through the crucifixion. This is the first thing that he says in that feeling of forsakenness, that feeling of abandonment. With the utterance of "my God, my God," in the midst of this excruciating trial, Christ still views God the Father as God. He doesn't lash out against God. He doesn't shake his fist at him. He does not revoke his faith in the Father. He does not seek his own vindication in the moment. What he finds refuge in, what he seeks, what he proclaims first and foremost is, "Yet you are holy." It's the holiness of God, and leaning into that, in this moment, that allows the Psalmist, that allowed Jesus Christ to stay faithful and persevere through the most despairing of moments. Jesus Christ, thinking about his father, his holiness, knows that God is far bigger in his holiness than the circumstances that he faces. A.W. Pink, theologian says, "Never did divine holiness appear more beautiful and lovely than at the time our Savior's countenance was marred in the midst of his dying groans." This Christ himself acknowledges in Psalm 22. When God had turned a smiling face from him and thrust his sharp knife into his heart, which forced that terrible cry from him, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me," he adores this perfection. A lot of theologians take time to argue, he had the whole Psalm in his mind. What the Psalmist knew when he wrote this, what Jesus knew and believed with the eyes of his heart, was that in every situation that he was in, in the care of his sovereign and holy father. In our lives, it's the same. Every situation you have been in, every situation you are in, the situation you're in right now, every situation you will be in is under the sovereign control of the holy God. It often doesn't seem this way, but it is true. Because God is holy, what he does is always right. What he says is always true. Whatever he wills is just. Whatever he promises, he will always deliver. In year 2020, do you believe this? Psalm 22 teaches us in verse 1, in our perceived forsakenness as Christians, perceived abandonment, God is holy. Furthermore, Psalm 22, verse 1, when God seems far away, "God, you've called me to this task yet I don't feel like you're showing up," he is holy. When he doesn't seem to answer your prayers, the groanings of your heart, he is holy. Verse 2, when you're crying and anxious, but still get no answer, God is holy. Verse 6, when we're stomped on like a worm and scorned and despised, God is holy. Verse 7, when you're mocked, God is holy. Verse 8, when accused of wrongdoing, God is holy. Verse 12, when the people of power look down on you, he is holy. Verse 13 to 15, when your body is sapped of all strength, when you feel like you're reduced to a lifeless heap of flesh, when you thirst and feel like death, God is holy. Verse 16, when enemies of God's people, these dogs surround you and harm you, God is holy. Verse 18, when your garments and belongings are taken, he is holy. Verse 21, when he rescues you, he is holy. Do you believe this? Ted Tripp says, you have to preach this message of God's holiness to yourself over and over again. Evil is not in control. Injustice does not rule. Corruption is not king. Satan will not have victory. God is, and will always be worthy of your trust, for this one reason. He is holy. We might not get to see it in this life, but with his holy might, God will defeat every evil thing that has inflicted pain and brought upon every difficulty injustice. And this form of despair will eventually deliver us to a world free of all that is wrong, forever. So, when we as Christians, when we don't find comfort in God's holiness, there's something wrong. There's something going on. The message of Psalm 22, of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is that Jesus Christ was forsaken by the Father, so that we who are in Christ would never be forsaken by him. Second Corinthians 5:21. "For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God." Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." There might be times that we don't feel like we're children of the holy God. We don't feel that he's holy and in control. In these moments, these are feelings, not truth. We need to reject those feelings. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. Who can understand it?" And in this flesh until Jesus Christ returns, our own heart can condemn us. Satan condemns us. The world condemns us, but we can't trust those feelings, whatever the source or the cause. We need to fight feelings with faith. Ephesians 6:16, 18, "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." We need to fight condemnation with conviction like the saints of old. Hebrews 11:1. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Though it might appear that God is not with us in the bleakest of moments, we trust that he is. We trust that with him on our side, we're never in the wrong place or the wrong situation. Though we might face temporary injustice, he will eventually bring full justice. One day, we will reign with him in full holiness and splendor. Where does this conversation, this discussion of the holiness of God lead us? What direction should encounter with God's holiness lead us? To praise and celebration. This is the end, the turning point of the Psalm, Psalm 22, verse 22. "I will tell of your name to my brothers. In the midst of the congregation, I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him. All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel. For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. "From you comes my praise in the great congregation. My vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied. Those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever. "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. "All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship. Before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him. It shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They shall come and proclaim his righteousness to people yet unborn, that he has done it." No, we encounter God's holiness, and we praise and worship him for it. Ironically, when we're in the valley, when we're in despair, when we feel like God has abandoned us, we feel like we're falling apart or becoming undone, but it's an encounter with God's holiness that truly causes us to become undone. In God's holy presence, we lose all sense of pride, all reasons to boast in ourselves, the desire to keep on living for our own glory. With our creatureliness and our sin exposed by our holy God, we really see our need for our Savior. We see the impossible gap between ourselves and the Father, and finally understand that the Son who was forsaken by the Father is the only way to bridge that infinite gap. We celebrate God's holiness because when God reveals it to us, the purpose is not to get us to run from him in hopeless terror, but to run to him to find grace for all of eternity. We receive God's offer of grace and we praise him. We lead lives of worship and praise and mission for his glory. A classic prayer called The Valley of Vision praises God for his holiness, and really captures those trying moments, when we see his holiness most clearly, like this moment on the cross. The Valley of Vision. "Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights. Hemmed in by mountains of sin, I behold thy glory. Let me learn by paradox, that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells, the brighter thy stars shine. Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my poverty, thy glory in my valley." Please join me in prayer. Lord, we pray. Give us the vision of Jesus Christ. Let us see you working, for your glory, for your holiness, out of deep love for us, in the valleys, in the moments of despair. Lord, we pray, give us a grand vision of you moving, of you running, pulling the strings of life, guiding the world, all for your glory. And Lord, while we wait, let us run with praise. Let us celebrate your holiness. Let us proclaim it with joy, and invite others into it. Lord, I pray, honor our lives, honor our faithful efforts to you, especially when we don't have strength to walk forward without your help. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sep 20, 2020

Balm Psalms: Week 3 

Audio Transcript: Good morning. Welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan. I'm one of the pastors here at Mosaic. And it's so good to worship together. If you'd like to connect with us and you're new, we'd love to connect with you. We do that through the Connection Card and the Worship Guide or in the app or online. We'd love to get connected with your information and we would like to send a little gift in the mail to say, "Thank you for coming out." With that said, would you please... Oh. One quick announcement. Next Sunday we are not meeting in person. Unfortunately. We will be meeting online. And I will be in the Facebook Live chat. I really enjoy that. And there might be a chicken wing question. Who knows. Who knows. Would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's word? Lord, we thank you for the Holy Scriptures. We thank you that the Holy Scriptures reveal so much about your character. About how gracious you are. About how loving you are. How pure you are. How holy you are. And we thank you that through the Holy Scriptures we get to meet the hero of the Scriptures, your son Jesus Christ. Jesus, we thank you for living the life that each one of us was intended. A purpose to live. And for dying the death that we deserve to die for our law breaking. We thank you Holy Spirit that you are with us. And Holy Spirit I pray you continue to tune our hearts to the voice of God. Let us hear the proclamation of your glory that creation preaches and declares. Let us hear your holy voice that directs us and guides us to live lives that glorify you most. Continue building your church here, Jesus. You are a great builder, and you get all the glory. Thank you for leading us here, and I pray prepare our hearts now. Remove any doubt, anxiety, stress, worries and let us hear from you. I pray this in Jesus name, amen. We're continuing our sermon series through the Psalms. We're calling them Balm Psalms. Balm in terms of it's balm for your soul. It's medicine. It's ointment. It's anointing for your soul and hopefully in your time with the Lord, in your devotions, you're spending time in the psalms. Today, we're in Psalm 19. Junior year in college I had a season of doubt. I looked around at my fellow students, at my professors and no one believed in God. Very few believed in God. Almost statistically insignificant. And then I had this one professor. He was there for just a year from the University of Moscow. And he was a believer. He was a Russian Orthodox believer, but he loved the Lord and he loves the Scriptures. And I asked him, I said, "Why do you believe? No one else around us believes. Why do you believe?" And he quoted Emmanuel Kant and this is the quote that he gave me, "Kant said this in the Critique of Practical Reason, he said, 'Two things fill my mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe. The more often and steadily we reflect upon them. The starry heavens above me, and the moral law within me. I do not seek or conjecture either of them as if they were veiled obscurities or extravagances. Beyond the horizon, my vision, I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.'" And Kant was actually buried in Russia and this is his tombstone and it's the quote on top, it's in German and at the bottom it's in Russian. It talks about the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. That's why I believe in God. Can we know that God exists? Of course we can. Even to ask that question from the perspective of Scripture is folly. Scripture says, "Yes, of course God exists. Look around. The greatest miracle in the history of miracles is creation itself. It's creation ex nihilo. Creation from nothing. Everything from nothing. God speaks. It's there." And today we're looking at Psalm 19 where it says that, "Creation speaks. It declares. It proclaims that God created everything. And it declares and it communicates something about God because God is a communicating God." Can we know who God is from creation? We can know some aspect of Him that He's all powerful. That He's beautiful. That He's an architect. That He's a designer. That He's a creator. But the other aspects of His character are veiled. Creation can't give us those, and that's why we need the other book that God gives us which is Holy Scripture. Got is Elohim, great creator, almighty God. He's also Yahweh, a conventional God who loves us. So God's written two excellent books published for our instruction edification. The first book is creation. Its natural revelation shows that God is a genius of a God. The second book shows us the will of God. That He created us for a purpose and that we are to obey His will. That He is sovereign over every single person. Not just over Christians. He is God over all. And today as we enter into the incredible Psalm that Psalm 19 is, a great writer C.S. Lewis said, "This is the greatest writing he's ever read in his life." The greatest lyricism. One of the finest poems in the world", he says, in his reflections on the Psalms. Today we're going to look at glory of God in all of creation in the Scriptures. And in God's recreation which is Christians. So would you look at psalm 19 with me? Psalm 19, "The heavens declare the glory of God. And the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them, He has set a tent for the sun which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strongman runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them. And there is nothing hidden from His heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure of making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right. Rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them as your servant warned in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern His errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer." This is the reading of God's holy and infallible authoritative word. May you write these eternal truths on our hearts. Three points. We'll look at God's glory in the cosmos. We'll look at God's glory in the Scriptures. And we'll look at God's glory in the Christian. So the first point is God's revelation or God's glory in the cosmos. By cosmos I mean all of creation. Everything that is and it begins with Psalm 19: 1 and 2. "The heavens declare the glory of God." It's as if everything around us is a sermon. It's a preacher declaring the truth that God is and the sky above proclaims His handiwork day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. By heavens, He's talking about the sky. He's talking about the galaxy. He's talking about the universe. The cosmos. And e talked about this a little last week, that we are to meditate on the nature around us. It is created for us to be wow by, to have awe. To be in awe. Which is one of the greatest places to be. Little children ... this is why children are so happy. Children find awe in everything. I was just admiring my daughter, Milana. She had a little bottle of water. She's wowed by it. Because she doesn't see little bottles of water on a daily basis. She sees bigger bottles. And she loves it. It fits her hand so perfectly. She's wowed by it. It's such a happy place to be. Such a joyful place to be. And I think as we grow older, we get desensitized to the awesome nature, the world that we live in. It speaks. There's mystery. There's splendor. There's order. And the galaxies of the cosmos, they're loud. They're direct. People often say, "I've never heard the voice of God. I don't believe in God. I've never heard the voice of God." Well, God doesn't often speak audibly. He speaks louder than audibly. He doesn't just speak to our ears, He speaks to all of our senses if we are willing to receive the message. The heavens aren't just glorious. They declare. They proclaim. It says, "Days pour our speech. Nights reveal knowledge." It's like there's two choirs. The choir of the day, and the choir of the night, and they're singing together in beautiful harmony. They utter forth. That's like the speech bubbles forth. From the very beginning, the Psalm is what He assumes is there's no pretext for disbelief. There's no justification for it. You can't live in physical reality and just believe that it just happened. That's not just disbelief, that's willful disbelief. Reality in a created order demands that we acknowledge the creator. And we aren't just to acknowledge. We are to adore like creation does. It declares. It proclaims that he's glorious. Psalm 19:3, "There is no speech nor are there words whose voice is not heard." So it's not audible. It's not distinct words, but it's real. It's not precise, but it's still an eloquence. It's a wordless word. You ever hear people around you speaking in a different language? The thing I always think when I hear a different language around me, it's like two people speaking different language, they're totally talking about me. And as a bilingual speaker, if you hear me speaking Russian in front of you, I'm totally talking about you. 100%. Why would I speak in English? I'm going to speak in Russian to just ... Right? And it's as if nature speaks a different language. We know it's there. We need someone to decipher that ... what is nature saying? What is it speaking? Psalm 19:4, "The voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." And the assumption here is everybody hears. Everybody hears. The question is, what do you want to do with that testimony? And the New Testament sheds light on this, that there is wrath from God when people willfully tune down the volume of God's creation. Romans 1:18 and 20, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth. For what can be known by God is plain to them because God has shown it to them for His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world and the things that have been made so they are without excuse." Saying the reason why people reject that there is a creator behind the creation is not that there is not enough evidence, it's because there's a suppression of truth. I don't like this truth. Therefore this truth isn't true to me. God says, "No. No. You can't do that. There is no excuse." Romans 10:18, "But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for their voice has gone out to all of the earth and their words to the end of the world." He quotes this psalm. So meaning that nature exists. We exist not just for natural order. There's not just a natural end to our existence. There's a moral end that we exist just like all of nature exists to declare that God is glorious. It's important not just that it is, but what it says, and nature is a form of language and it's speaking about God and the heavens are a sign and every sign about God is a vehicle of ideas about God. So the fact of nature reveals the fact of God. The being of God. The vastness of nature shows that He is immense. The uniformity of nature declares His unity. There's an order in the godhead. The regularity of nature discloses His unchangeableness. He does not change. He's immutable. The variety of nature manifests His exhaustlessness. The adaptations of nature unveil His wisdom and the happiness of nature declares His wisdom. His goodness. That God is a good god. One of my favorite things in the world is to watch animal videos. There were the cat videos that were ... and then there were little puppy videos that go viral, and then there's goat videos. Videos of little goats. And they are like the happiest beings ever. Sophia, my oldest daughter, started dreaming about having a farm and she's like, "I just want some goats." And I said, "Who's going to care for the goats?" She talking about hiring someone. Good for you. There's a happiness in creation. It shows us that God is a happy God. He's a good god. And nature is telling us to think about God. And as we contemplate nature, we have to contemplate God. And it's not His only revelation, obviously. But it's a great and beautiful revelation and God's testimony is both of His work and His work is a testimony about His goodness. And it's plainly discoverable. The more you study, many of you are in fields where you study God's creation on a daily basis. You could probably preach this part of the sermon significantly better than I can. It's everywhere. Charles Misner was a physicist who was friends with Einstein and he said this, he said, "The design of the universe is very magnificent and should not be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religions. Although, he struck me as basically a very religious man. Einstein might have looked at what the preacher said about God, and felt that they were blasphemy. He had seen more majesty than he had ever imagined in the creation of the universe and felt that the God they were talking about couldn't have been the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that the churches he had run across did not have proper respect for the author of the universe." What a quote. The author of the universe. It's as if we're daily reading a book and saying, "There is no author." Psalm 19:4b through 6, "In them, He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber. And like a strongman runs his course with joy. It's rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them. And there is nothing hidden from its heat." So this part of the sermon, He crescendos with the son. He said, "The sun on a daily basis proclaims. It's a witness to God's glory." And he personifies the sun here. He says, "The sun is like a bridegroom." It's like a groom. It's like a groom on his wedding day. If you're married and you were a groom for your husband and you were a groom at one point, you know exactly what this feels like. That morning, you're about to get married. I remember the day, the night before I got married, I couldn't sleep. I slept like three hours. I was just so excited. And thinking through all the details and still mad that I invited my barber who was supposed to cut my hair the evening before, and my barber comes to my wedding, he forgot his scissors. He forgot all of his tools. And that's the only reason I invited you, Joe. So I'm thinking about that and I was like, "Well, it's okay. We'll use a little gel and a little pomade and we'll figure this out." That's what I'm thinking. Then you wake up and I remember with my boys, we went to Dunkin' Donuts, and I still remember the egg, ham and cheese on an everything bagel. I still remember. The extra large coffee. Cream and sugar. I still remember all of that. And then you get ready. The tuxedo. The excitement. He said, "The sun is like that." There's an exuberance that every day is a gift. It's a gift to be alive. There's a joy. There's an eager anticipation. There's a brilliance. There's a radiance. And it moves through the sky, He said, "Like a strongman." Like a world class runner. Where it just seems so easy for them. Right? You ever watch the Olympics, you're like, "Yeah. I could do that. That's so easy." Someone once said like, "Every Olympic event should have just one regular person. Just for like so we know how good is Michael Phelps. Just throw in the commenter. The guy who was saying that Phelps is slow." Throw in that guy. And He's like this is what the sun's like. It's like an athlete. He makes it look so easy. Unaffected by how difficult it is. And it provides continual undeniable proof of the greatness of God. However nature has fallen, it's great and it's good, but it's fallen. So we can know a lot about God but the fallenness of creation gives us doubts. Is God good when there are earthquakes and forest fires and tsunamis and tornadoes? Is God good in those moments? And that's why we need more than just general revelation. We also need special revelation. We have natural revelation. We also need supernatural revelation to show us just how great God is. And this is the second point that God's glory in the Scriptures, God is not silent. He has spoken and He expresses Himself in two books, in nature and the Scriptures. And He comes and tells us that the Scriptures are from Him through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came. He believed that the Old Testament was God's word. He spoke more of God's word, and then sends the Holy Spirit to speak even more of God's word through the church. And Saint Peter, Peter the main apostle of Jesus Christ, the main disciple, he saw the glory of Christ. He saw the transfigured Christ where Jesus Christ unveiled His glory. Removed just a little bit so Peter, James, John, they saw the glory of Christ. And this is what Peter writes about that in connection to the Holy Scripture. 2 Peter 1:16, "For we do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God, the Father. And the voice was borne to Him by the majestic glory. This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place. Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation for no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." This is one of the most mind blowing text in all of Scripture. He said, "We saw the glory of God in Jesus Christ and we have something", not just equal in revelation. We have something even more glorious in revelation. And he's talking about the Holy Scriptures. He's talking about the miracle of the Holy Scriptures, and this is what the Psalmist talks about starting verse seven. He talks about the law of the Lord. It's perfect. Reviving of the soul. And here, I love getting into all the details about the lyrics and just the wordplay. One of the things I just want to point out is, he gives us 12 qualities here about the law of God. And you can study them on your own. He gives us six nouns, six adjectives and six verbs about the beauty of it. So you see how it's all planned. He's talking about the law and when we think of law, we think of just God's commandments, but it's more than that. It's the word Torah, or Torah, which is the God's teaching. It's God's wisdom. God's instruction. So for us, the Torah, for us God's instruction is more than just the Psalm. More than just the Ten Commandments. More than just the Old Testament. It's all of the Holy Scriptures. All 66 books. And if you study the Holy Scriptures, you really do see it's a miracle of God. If you go outside today, if you go up to 40 people, and you say, "Tell me what God is like from your perspective", you won't have 40 perspectives. You'll probably have 400 perspectives. Because every single person probably has 100 opinions on God and they're all contradictory. They will not be in unison. And the Holy Scriptures written over 1,600 years. Over 40 authors. In three different languages. Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Written on three continents. You're talking about people who were tent makers, physicians, shepherds, farmers, fishermen, priests, philosophers, kings, and they're all singing in harmony. They're all speaking about the same glorious God. They're all speaking about the Holy Trinity with Jesus Christ at the center of this one theme. God created everything that humanity rebelled against God. That God sends a redeemer to die in our place. And that God does redeem and that God does transform people by the power of His Holy Spirit through the Holy Scriptures. And the Holy Scriptures have transformed billions of people. Lives are transformed. When people read this book and submit to the teachings of the God of this book, it transforms people. It transforms men. It transforms women. It transforms families. It transforms communities, nations. It transforms everything. And he says, "The law of the Lord, it's perfect. It's whole. It's complete. It's lacking defect of any kind. And it revives the soul." And the beauty of this text is he says, "The law of the Lord", he changes from El, Elohim, to Yahweh. That God gives this law because He's a loving God. And he gives us this law, this teaching, to show us how our souls can be revived. And the assumption for revive for this word is that something is wrong. That our souls are languishing. That there's a lack of energy. There's a lack of vibrance. There's a lack of life and our souls need to be refreshed and restored and reinvigorated. They need to be renewed. And the Holy Scriptures do this. If you're a Christian and you devote yourself as a discipline to studying the Scriptures, loving the Scriptures, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You wake up and it's as if you died a little in the inside. That's the only way I can really describe it. There's like a spiritual amnesia that happens where you forget that everything that happened before in terms of God, you wake up and it's as if everything God did, all of the revelations you got, it's as if blank slate and you need the soul to be revived again. And that's what God's word does. The second part of verse seven is, "The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple." It's sure. The testimony is God's own witness about who He is, what He requires. That's what the law is. And it's sure. It's verifiable. It's trustworthy. It's dependable. And there's a prophet. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simply. Assumption here, apart from God's law, there is no wisdom. And wisdom is very different from knowledge. You can get lots of knowledge about how the world works, but without wisdom which is why the world works the way it is, that's what wisdom is. It's being able to take truths about God and those truths now have purpose. And now you know how to take that knowledge and apply it. Wisdom is thinking the thoughts of God. It's seeing life as God sees life. And it's acting accordingly. Some of the most educated people in the world, if they don't know God, if they don't know why everything exists, if they don't submit themselves to God, Scripture calls that folly. That you can be getting incredible education, but without wisdom, without why are we here, who's behind me being here, what is my purpose in life, you're missing it. So my girls are back in school. Praise God. The youngest. The two youngest go to school now. Milana goes to pre-kindergarten at age three. And that, I feel so good about that. Praise God. The two oldest is still online, but the two youngest are out of the house for at least a few hours of the day. One of the things, as I grow older, like I've read the wisdom part. But as I grow older, I begin to realize a lot of what they teach in school is just folly. Like teach my kids math and two plus two is four. There's no debate on that. Teach my kids math. Teach them how to write. But as far as the content, apart from God and God's wisdom, you remove that from the classroom, and there's a lot of folly being taught. And we need to understand that we need wisdom on a daily basis. We need wisdom about how the world is. How the world works. And the wisdom is this is ... God says, "This is who you are. And here is the design book. Here is the design user manual." You need God's law. Psalm 19:8, "The precept of the Lord are right. Rejoicing the heart." Precepts are right and they rejoice the heart. What are precepts? They're rules. They're regulations. This is how you work, and I want to give you this manual so that you know how to have moral satisfaction. That's what the joy is. To gladden the heart with moral satisfaction. The law isn't given to us by God to restrict us from good. It's given to us to restrict us from evil. You ever meet a child that grew up with zero restrictions? You ever meet a kid like that? And for some reason it's always at the grocery store or at the airport. That's where you meet those kids. I don't know why it is, but it's true. Next time you fly, you'll see those kids. And probably that kid is sitting right next to you on the plane. We know. We know that children need a framework. They need to be told no. We know this. Why in the world would we think that if God has children, He would not tell them no? God does tell us no. He tells us no all the time to give us a better yes. He actually wants us to get to the point where wee tell ourselves no. That's self-control. Self-discipline. And say, "Yes" to the great things of life. That's what parenting is. And that's what the Holy Scriptures are. God is saying, "This is my word to you as my children. I want the best for you." The law is designed to lead us in the way of life, peace, blessing. And that's why His law is very specific about very nitty-gritty everyday things. Here's my law regarding work. He's my law regarding finances. Here's my law regarding desire. All kinds of desire. Here's my law regarding love. Here's my law regarding how you structure your life. And it leads to rejoicing of the heart. Sin steals joy. Holiness replaces it. Holiness fills our heart with incredible joy. Psalm 19:8, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." The commandment of the Lord enlightens the eyes. It's pure in the sense that there is no sin, malice corrupting influence. There's no darkness in God's law. And it does enlighten the eyes. In terms of it reveals what life is like. It reveals the path forward. It enlightens your eyes. It clears your vision. It's like when you wake up. You always got to wash your eyes. There's all kinds of gunk in there. And for me, I don't really see everything until I put on my glasses. Everything is blurry right now. The first two years I would preach without glasses because I was like, "I don't need to see people's reactions." It would just ... I don't need to see people falling asleep. I don't need that. This is what God's law is. It fixes your eyes. You begin to see what is good. And you begin to see what is evil. And on top of that, and this is as you grow in the faith, you don't just see good. You begin to love good. You begin to be drawn to the good. You don't just see evil. You begin to hate evil. The part of loving God is also hating evil. All the evil within, all the evil without. And part of loving God is also loving the things that God loves and God loves the world and God loves people. And God's law does this to the sight of our hearts. The eyes of our hearts. Psalm 19:9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." The fear of the lord, it's clean. Again, there's a parallel with the previous verses. Clean is pure, meaning the fear of God is what cleanses us. The fear of God is what keeps us close to Him. And I believe that a lot of Christians don't really grow in their faith because they don't have a theology of fearing God. If God is the God who created everything that there is, if God is who Scripture says that God is, why would we not fear Him? And I'm not talking about a fear that pushes us away from Him. I'm talking about a fear that pushes us away from anything that would pull us away from God. There's a difference. Fearing God is you love Him so much. You want to do everything you can to bring delight to His heart instead of disappointment. And that's what fear is. He's so great. He's so incredible that when you love Him, you fear anything that will pull you away from Him because that's what brings disappointment to His heart. How is your fear of ... Do you fear God? Do you fear God? And the greater ... I don't know ... You kind of experience this when you meet someone famous. If you've ever met someone who is in power. If you ... I remember one time I shook Bill Clinton's hand and I was in college, one time. And I remember just like people were in awe of the president. People were in awe of this person in a position of power. There's something ... there is like a trepidation that happens. Well, how about the God who created that guy? How about the God who created everything? And a very healthy love for God always comes with fear. Fear of God that's pure and it's enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:10, "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." He's saying that the law of God, the word of God, it's treasure. Many of us we don't really understand Scripture because we read Scripture like we read a law book or like a history book. He says, "No, no, no. This is the way you got to read Scripture. Like a treasure map." Like this map is given you, and you, if you study this map attentively, you will find much treasure. More treasure than fine gold. And He says, "It's sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." My community group knows this and the staff at Mosaic knows this. Whenever we have Scripture and we study Scripture, I start to salivate. Like it's so delicious. There's so much goodness in God's word as you dig into really what's going on. Paying attention to every single word. And he said, "It's like honey." The thing about honey, if you've ever met anyone that is a beekeeper that makes honey, Tanya's dad is a beekeeper in Philadelphia. He used to do this in Ukraine and then he went to a monastery that has huge fields. He walked up to the door and said, "Hello. I'm going to bring my bees here. Is that okay?" And they said, "What are you talking about?" He's like, "Here's some honey. It's a foretaste of the honey I keep bringing you." And they said, "Okay." So he's got these little beehives. He's got little boxes. And he shows us what he does and it's so much work to care for them and to create a space for them to live and to make sure they don't get sick, but it's so worth it. And that's what He says. That's what Scripture is. It takes time to mine for treasures. It takes time to make the honey. But it's so worth it. A few things here about how to study Scripture. My favorite view of how to study Scripture comes from the monastic movement where they would study. That's what they did as a full-time job. And they talk about the five movements of studying Scripture. Because a lot of people think of Scripture of like I need to study the Greek, I need to study the Hebrew, I need to really understand what's going on, and it's a very mechanical understanding of Scripture. But the goal of Scripture is to have a relationship with the Lord. To spend time with the Lord, for Him to satisfy your soul and give you power for the day. The five movements are silencio, lectio, meditatio, oratio and contemplatio. The first one is silencio where you're quiet before the Lord. You sit down with Scriptures. Quiet before Him. And you start praying. You start a conversation with the Lord. You ask for the Lord to fill you. You enter into God's presence. You slow down. You intentionally release the chaos of what's inside and the noise in your mind. And then lectio is you begin to read the word slowly. Paying attention to every single word, lingering over the words, studying the context. Studying how the words work together in the sentence. How the sentence works together in the paragraph, et cetera. When a word catches your attention, stop. Pause. Because at different readings, God speaks differently. Yes, it always means what it meant and the context is the same. But sometimes... and this is why I always say in my community group, "What hit you in a fresh way? What stood out to you in particular as you're reading this text?" Stop and attend to what God is saying. Meditatio, read the Scriptures a second time out loud. Savor the words. Listen for an invitation from the ... and there's something about reading it out loud. Speaking the words of God into the space. Oratio is you respond. Lord, what did you teach me here? How do I need to change? How do I need to repent? Where in my life am I not submitting to your word? And you enter into a personal dialogue with the Lord. And then contemplatio is contemplate. The rest of the day, contemplate. What did the Lord say and what is He continuing to say, yield and surrender to the Lord. Psalm 19:11, "Moreover, by them your servant is warned, in keeping them there is great reward." And from the warning, he transitions to prayer and repentance. And he allows God to warn Him and as God warns him, he turns to the Lord in repentance. And this is point three. The glory of the Lord in the Christian. And by Christian, I mean a person who has represented of their sins and trusted in Jesus Christ. Psalm 19:12, "Who can discern his errors, declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression." He asked God. He said, "God, I have hidden faults." What does hidden faults mean? It's sins that you don't see how sinful they are. It's when you see the world around you living a certain way and then you say, "Why can't I live like that?" And you come to the Lord and you say, "Lord, reveal the sinfulness of sin." That's what he's talking about. That's the hiddenness. And then the presumptuous sins, when you allow hidden sins to remain in your life, they become presumptuous sins. And by presumptions sins, there's a defiance. No, I will not submit to the Lord. Or, and I see this in a lot of Christians, you presume on God's grace. Yes, this is a sin. But God will forgive me. God understands. And that lack of fear keeps you in the presumptuous sin which has dominion over you. So he says, "God, forgive me. Reveal the sinfulness of sin and release me from the dominion of it." Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer." I love how he brings the word redeemer in here, and I love how in the temple we have a Bible verse. I know that my redeemer lives. It's from the book of Job. Why in the Old Testament are we using the word redeemer? And if you remember in the Book of Ruth, we talked about this. That Boaz was the redeemer. The redeemer of this idea was this is a person who will come and pay for your debts. This is a person who will come and free you from the dominion of another owner. And he says, "God, you, Yahweh, you're my redeemer. Redeem me." And ultimately, it was Jesus Christ who dies on a cross for our sins. He said, "No. You humanity, you", every single one of us, we have not kept God's law. We have actually contradicted. Transgressed God's law. We were enslaved to the presumptuous sins of our hearts. Jesus Christ comes. Lives a perfect life. A life of embodying the law. A life of perfection. Purity. Holiness. And then gives Himself as a sacrifice for us, for our sins. And this is why I love these verses in the Psalms, because he's talking. This is how you become a Christian. You repent. You ask for forgiveness. You turn away from sin. You turn back to the Lord who is our rock. And He is our redeemer. 1 Peter 1:10 through 12, "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully. Inquiring what person or time the spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you. And the things that have now been announced to you through those who preach the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven." Things into which angels long to look. In the same way that we stare at the sun or we stare at creation. Don't stare at the sun. In the same way that we are blessed by looking at creation. Angels stare into the gospel, because they can't believe what God did to recreate humanity. Meaning that every single Christian is a miracle. In the same way that creation reflects the glory of God, it's a miracle. In the same way that Holy Scriptures are a miracle. Every single Christian is a miracle of God because it took that. It took God's word, spoken into your heart in order to regenerate you. So God is glorified in the cosmos, in the Scriptures, and in the Christian. In conclusion, what do you think of when you think of the good life? What do you think of when you think of the good life? Do you think of fast cars, vacations, big houses, et cetera? This is what God wants. This is was God says that leads to ultimate satisfaction. What is the chief end of man? This is the Westminster catechism. What is the chief end, chief and highest end of man? The answer, man's chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever. Enjoy God. Enjoy His creation. Enjoy His Holy Scriptures, and enjoy the fellowship that God gives us with His children. Let's pray. God, what a great word that you have given us from Psalm 19. I pray that you make us a people who do enjoy you. Who seek to enjoy you on a daily basis. That you are so much better and so much satisfying than anything else. And we thank you for Jesus who reconciles us with you, and we thank you for the Holy Spirit who is with us. And we pray this in Christ's name, amen.