Abiding In Christ

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22-25 and John 15:1-17; II Chronicles 7:14

Opening Song: “I need Thee Every Hour” #483

Closing Song: “Draw Me Nearer” #306

Introduction: During the 10 days of prayer, we will be praying for the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-25.

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

In the book Desire of ages on page 313 it says Christ longs to see His children reveal their character after his similitude. After his likeness he longs to see his earth children.

In II Chronicles 7:14 God says, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn form their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Are we not called by Christ’s name? The name Christian means to profess or believe in the teachings of Jesus. So much so that the believer begins to take on the quality of the one he believes in.

The 26th verse of Galatians 5 tell “us to not become conceited, nor provoking one another or in no way envy one another.”

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face.

When a young couple begin to date, they long to see each other’s face. To look into each other’s eyes and express their hopes, their dreams and what they longing for the future.

God desires the same relationship with us. He desires a people that will humble themselves. A people that will take the time to pray.

As the young couple’s relationship grows their wanting to be around the company of their friends decreases proportionally as their love for each other grows.

God desires the same with us. A people that will put on hold their busy lives. A people that will stop to pray and that long to build a relationship with their creator.

Our young couple falls in love with each other. Marry, have a family and sometime later in life they discover they have taken on many of the characteristics of their partner. They can finish each other sentences. They can anticipate the needs and wants of the other before the words are even spoken.

God desires this same trait to be manifested in us. He desires us to establish a relationship so interwoven with Him that we begin to have the same character traits as Christ has. Christ while on earth and even after returning to heaven showed love and compassion toward fallen mankind. He shows joy over one lost sinner that repents.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Matthew 5:9. Christ endeavored for all his earth children to be at peace with one another as Christ is at peace with all who faithfully follow him.

Longsuffering: Oh, the injustice Christ endured upon this earth. Yet he never complained. Sure his faith was tested in the garden and who of us wouldn’t feint on the eve of such a trial that he endured. Christ suffers long for his fallen children. Christ patiently endures the wickedness of this earth, so that his righteousness can be vindicated before heaven and the universe.

If Christ can endure all this, can we also not endure the trials set before us each day? And, hasn’t Jesus promised; “Lo I am with you always, even until the end of the age.

Christ showed kindness every day in every way even to those that persecuted Him, he asked that their sins not be held against them. If the king of the universe could show such kindness to those that hated him, can we not do the same for those that despise us?

Christ the faithful witness. Christ faithfully stood the test of temptation. He faithfully showed us what a relationship with His heavenly father and dare I say our heavenly Father can do for us. Christ daily went to a solitary place and prayed to His Father and to our Father. Without the faithfulness of Christ to fully trust in the Father, he would have failed. He faithfully shows us what a relationship with Him should be.

Gentleness: Suffer the little children to come unto me. Kids of all ages loved to sit close to Jesus. His gentleness and longsuffering was not a barrier to people, but became an attraction. Not for self-glorification, but to show us who the Father really is.

Our kindness and gentleness and longsuffering should also attract others to Christ. If we are really truly living a life in harmony with Christ, then every fiber of our being will be to lift Christ up to others.

As Christ showed self-control in everything He did. So we must do the same. If we truly have humbled ourselves, then submitting our will to God should not be a problem.

But the first step in all this is to Abide in Christ.

John 15:4-5 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothings.

A branch that is not part of the vine soon withers and dies. It is only when we are connected, grafted into the vine that the branch can receive the life giving nutrients from the vine.

A branch that is cut off or has broken away from the vine no longer receives those life giving nutrients and water.

The young couple that no longer communicates, no longer talks freely among themselves will not continue to grow and mature as a couple. Their relationship is doomed to wither and die.

So it is with Christ. When we are faithful to communicate with Him on a daily bases. When we no longer tell him our needs, our wants and our concerns, we cut ourselves off from him and his life saving power. As the sap that runs through the vine and branches bring life to the branches, so a daily relationship with Christ and our heavenly father brings lifesaving water and nutrients into our lives.

Matthew 7:20 “By their fruits ye shall know them.” As the Savior declared. All true followers of Christ bear fruit to His glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. Their lives are elevated and pure. Right actions are the unmistakable fruit of the true godliness, and those who bear no fruit of this kind reveal that they have no experience in the things of God. They are not in the Vine. Jesus said, Abide in my, and I in you.

Without Christ we cannot subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. Many need the Spirit of Christ and His power to enlighten their understanding as much as blind Bartimaeus needed his natural sight.

If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and be grafted into the life giving branch, then the vine will bear much fruit. If my people I will turn their face upon Me as a young lover with loving-kindness turns his face upon his bride. Then I will abide in them and they will bear much fruit.

How much do you want Christ to abide in you and you in Christ? Ask God in a special way to give you a deep desire to abide in Him.

Is there anything that would hinder the Holy Spirit from transforming your life? Take those things to God in prayer and surrender them to him.

Because the life giver with the love of a groom toward his bride is wanting to graft you into himself.

Shall we pray.

New Years Sermon One Man with _______ Makes a Majority

One Man With _______ Makes a Majority

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 1:5, 6; No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

Additional Texts:  Matthew 28:19, 20; John 14:15; John 14:1-4

Christmas is over.  Perhaps you like me have noticed that the week between Christmas and New Year’s is filled with many people reflecting back at the past year.  Or if the changing of the year brings a new decade then there is reflection over the past 10 years.  It is only natural to look back at the past successes, reflecting with joy for what God has done in our country, in our church and in each of our lives.

Yet, it can be painful to look at the difficult times.  To remember the times when things were difficult.  When loved ones fell asleep waiting the great day of the Lord.  When that job was lost or the new job didn’t come as it should.  When loved one and friends became sick. It can be difficult to reflect back and see, oh, wow, I certainly didn’t live the life God wanted me too.  I failed to rely on His guidance here, I didn’t stop to pray there.

As painful or joyful as our look back at the past year may be, with the coming of the New Year, there comes a hope that things will be better.  That past mistakes will be forgiven.  There is the hope of optimism that blossoms in the heart in anticipation of the arrival of a new year.

As optimistic as the prospects of a year may seem to be, there is that corner of your heart that wonders what the coming of the New Year will bring.  What will happen to my loved ones? Will I find a new job? Can my marriage be repaired? Can I establish a greater relationship with Christ? What and who are the giants that lay in the year ahead?

For the past 30 days, the children of Israel had reflected back with fondness, remembering Moses and all that he had done for them.  They had remembered fondly the leading of God in the dealing of their nation.  They had made a renewed commitment to follow God and his laws.  They did not make this with the same halfhearted attempt of their forefathers.  Instead they eagerly committed their lives to following God and all his law.

Now as the 30 days of morning and reflection was coming to a close, Israel faced a New Beginning.  New challenges and the dawn of a new era.  After 40 years of wandering in the desert, they were about to cross the River Jordan and enter a new land.

Moses, their great leader was gone, Joshua was the new leader of Israel.  Israel, a group of people that had completely changed over the last 40 years until there were just two, yes just two of them remaining.  Joshua, and Caleb.  Only two out of 2,000,000 people were left to see for themselves what the Promised Land had to offer.

In Deuteronomy 34:9; “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

What a daunting task lay before Joshua and the children of Israel.  Joshua, the task of becoming a leader.  The children of Israel, to step out and do for themselves that which God had done for them the last 38 years.

At this time the Israelites were still east of the Jordan River.  Which presents obstacle number 1. It is the spring of the year and the river is flooded. And obstacle number 2. Should they manage to cross the river, there is a problem because the land is full of giants and walled cities.

The diplomat paced the floor, thinking how to answer this latest set of dispatches from the East. How was he ever to sort out the conflicting reports! Which of the splinter parties was really loyal to his own nation? Was it the group in power now? Or were they just using the military and economic aid to feather their own positions? Of course they were corrupt, but would a different set of leaders prove any more effective? If he could only know which of the factions were under control of that other world power, then.…

He continued pacing.

If only he could see some light at the end of the tunnel.

To our diplomat who is pacing the floor of his office, he is faced with yet a different set of problems.  He is part of the State Department.  It is his job to keep all areas peaceful and maintain control in the area of land that we call the middle-east.  This is no Kremlin diplomat who is concerned with the Middle East.  Neither is the diplomat from any modern European country of even from the United States.  Instead, he is an Egyptian diplomat, pacing in an office in the city of Akhetaton about the time of the Hebrew conquest of Palestine!  And it is Palestine that is his concern.

Far to the north of Egypt, the last decades have seen the rise of a powerful rival empire – the Hittites.  Egypt and the Hittites came into conflict when the Hittites removed parts of Syria and Pheonicia from Egyptian control.

During the 215 years that the Israelites had been in Egypt.  Might I remind us all that book of Genesis is about God choosing a people.  Abraham and his decedents to be the bearers of His good news and keepers of his law.  He sent Joseph ahead to prepare a place for Jacob and his family.  Only seventy members strong at the time they moved from Cana to Egypt.  215 years later when they prepared to leave there were now 2,000,000 people, including, men, women and children.

While the Israelites were away from Cana it had become a land bridge, a battle field between Egypt and other powerful tribes such as the Hittites to the North.

Had God not sent his chosen people to safety in Egypt, they surely would have been wiped out in the fighting that took place across Palestine.

Although His people became slaves in the land that protected them, it made their delivery from Egypt all the more powerful.

When the time came for his people to leave the protection of Egypt, God sent a series of 10 miracles to take place.  These miracles were not against the people of Egypt, but instead were to prove to Egypt and the surrounding nations that there god’s were powerless against the God of heaven.

These miracles and the miracle which happened at the Red Sea weakened the Egyptians so that forty years later, our diplomat passing in his office was powerless and confused as to what should be Egypt’s next course of action. Our poor diplomats’ failures and successes only served to further the outworking of God’s plan.

Might I also point out that what happened in the diplomatic office of the state department of Egypt so very long ago isn’t much different that what happens on any given day here in the United States.  There problems are much the same in trying to keep world peace.  At night each would leave the office to return to a suburban home. On his way home he would pass crowed and disorganized clusters of apartment houses.  While making is way home he would pass several cocktail parties with political maneuvering at every turn.  Today it is between Republican and Democrats.  The White house and Congress.  For our diplomat it was the slippery slop of maneuvering between the Amon priesthood party and the party of Pharaoh.  Life now is much as it was in ancient Egypt.

All this political intrigue with the weakening of the Egyptian nation created a power vacuum in Palestine.  Seven states or small kingdoms now stood where God had promised to establish those he had instructed to spread the Gospel and be keepers of His law.  Seven nations now stood where I giant world power had recently stood.  God was preparing a way.

Even as emerging nations struggle today to establish their existence, so in Palestine the people of Israel were about to emerge as a nation, and to challenge a people long established there.

But what took place then has a unique timelessness. In the people and events described in God’s Word, we discover timeless truths about ourselves and our relationships with God. The Bible’s word of history becomes, by the activity of the Holy Spirit, God’s voice guiding us today. As we listen, learn, and respond to the One who speaks to us through the heritage of our sacred past, you and I can see our own years of darkness fade away, and welcome the days of glory that God intends to unfold for us.

Open your Bible with me this Morning to Joshua the first chapter.

And as you turn to Joshua 1, let me say this.  God does not want a leaderless people. But He needs leaders who are uniquely equipped.

Joshua’s previous experience had prepared him for leadership. He had led the Israelite defense against an attack by the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8–16). This indicated previous battlefield experience. It’s likely he had served in the Egyptian army: foreigners were often enlisted into the military services in Egypt. As 1 of the 12 spies, Joshua had learned firsthand the topography of Palestine. At that time his trust in God had led him to advise immediate attack when all the other spies with the exception of Caleb urged the people to disobey. Later, at God’s direction, Joshua was invested with some of Moses’ authority (Num. 27:20).

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying:

“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”[1]

Usually the road to significant leadership is a long one, with many choices along the way. What you and I do with our less significant opportunities determines the part we’ll play later!

But leadership demands more than character and experience. This first chapter of the book bearing Joshua’s name makes it clear that the leader’s relationship with God is crucial. Joshua had basic spiritual resources that are ours as well. How Joshua used the divine resources would make the difference between victory and defeat. What were his resources?

(1)  Joshua had a promise in God’s stated purpose. “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (Josh. 1:3). God’s announced purpose was to give Israel the Promised Land.

(2) Joshua had the promise of God’s presence. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you” (v. 5). God had committed Himself to be with His servant and to take on Himself the burden of bringing success.

(3) Joshua had the promise of God’s faithfulness. “You will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them” (v. 6). God had committed Himself to a cause, and He would not let His promise fail.

In view of these commitments made by God, there was only one thing required of Joshua: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the Law My servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (v. 7).

Neither discouragement nor fear were to influence Joshua to hesitate or to disobey. If Joshua would live in close relationship to the Lord, being responsive and obedient to Him, victory was assured. The leader must be a person who follows. A person strong enough and courageous enough to follow God.

As the mantle of leadership was being past from Moses to Joshua it is a reminder to us all that our leaders don’t lead forever.  Years change from one year into another.  In life people come and go.  This is fine and is part of the fabric of life.

Each time a new event comes up before God’s people, God is looking for leaders.  He is looking for a people that will have the strength to stand up and the courage to step out in faith.

I hear you asking; “So what does this have to do with me?”

God has given to each of us a promise, a purpose.

What is the promise and our purpose?  God has promised each and every one of us here today the same promise and the same purpose.  Turn with me to John 14:1-4; John 14:15; and then Matthew 28:19 and 20.  We will start with John 14:1-4.  John 14:1-4.

1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.  2 In my Father’s house are many mansions; If it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  3 And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.

God’s promise is that he will build a place for us.  A new home for those that do what?  This was God’s promise, but what is his purpose.

And then Matthew 28:19 and 20.  We know this as the great commission.  19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and of the Holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you: and Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age. Amen.

Joshua had a stated promise and a stated purpose.  I will give you every place you set your foot as I promised Moses.  God states to us today, his true followers, “Do not be troubled, you believe in God believe also in Me.  My Father has created many mansions for you as a reward.  A reward for what. For caring out our purpose.  What is our purpose?  Going forth and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.

John 14:15.  If you love Me, Keep My commandments.

As Joshua was commanded to keep the law ever before him. To meditate upon it day and night.  Jesus says, If you love me, keep my commandments.  If we really truly love God, then we will not turn our eyes to the left or to the right.  But instead keep our eyes firmly fixed on the law giver who is the life giver who is the rewarder of our faith.

And again God gives us comfort with the last part of verse And then we finish 20 in the 28th chapter of Matthew.  Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.

These few words we have just read spoken by Jesus sounds very familiar.  They give us a promise of a reward.  It states that God will come again and receive us to him.  While the children of Israel were to inherit or receive earthly land as their reward for faithful service, God has promised us heavenly reward for faithful service.

As the Israelites of old where to bearers of the Gospel news and keepers of the law, so you and I are to do the same.  Matthew 28:19 and 20 make that perfectly clear.  Everywhere we go we are to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe all things that God has commanded us.

Then he finishes it up with a promise.  Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

God has promised to go before us.  To prepare our way before us.  As God used the Hittite nation and the Miracles that took place in Egypt and at the Red Sea to prepare Both his people and create a power vacuum in which caused the promised land became ripe, ready to be taken by God’s chosen people He will do the same for you and I.  Although the way before us may seem difficult if not impossible to cross, God has a way prepared for us to cross.  Although the obstacles in front of us seem impenetrable, God can cause the walls of Jericho to fall, he can remove any obstacle before us.

But like the Israelites of old he is saying in John 14:15; “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  If our stated purpose for this coming year is to make disciples of all nations.  And there certainly are enough nations represented in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. So if our stated purpose is to make disciples of the people in our district, then we need to keep our eye on the law giver.  Do not turn to the left or to the right, but keep our eyes focused on the one we love and the one who has promised to be with us always.

The title of Todays sermon is One Man with _________ Makes a Majority. 

Strength, Faith, Courage, God

God asked Joshua to be strong and very courageous.  God is asking us this morning to be strong and very courageous. For you see God is preparing the way and He is promising to always be with us. As the New Year is about to begin He is asking for One Child, or One Woman, or One Man, or One entire church with the Courage to step forward and take possession of our district, to make disciples of all the people in our district, teaching them all God’s commanded. Though like the children of Israel we are small in numbers, God will make us a Majority.  He tips the balance of power in our favor.

So today, with God as our leader, no matter how young or how old you are.  As this year comes to a close and we look with promise to a new year. With God before us. Will you be that young person with courage to step forward and make a majority with God.  Will you be that woman to step forward with courage and make a majority with God.  Will you be that man to step forward with courage and make a majority with God.  Will we be that ONE CHURCH WITH COURAGE THAT MAKES A MAJORITY with God. 

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Jos 1:1–9.

A Christmas Sermon

God Meets Man

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 19

1    The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2    Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge.

3    There is no speech or language

where their voice is not heard.

4    Their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5    which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6    It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is hidden from its heat.

7    The law of the LORD is perfect,

reviving the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.

8    The precepts of the LORD are right,

giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant,

giving light to the eyes.

9    The fear of the LORD is pure,

enduring forever.

The ordinances of the LORD are sure

and altogether righteous.

10  They are more precious than gold,

than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey,

than honey from the comb.

11  By them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

12  Who can discern his errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

13  Keep your servant also from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then will I be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

14  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

It is that time of year again.  Some love this time of year, while others have grown to dislike it.  For some comes that oh so familiar phrase of Ba-hum-bug, while others sing carols and wish for a kiss under the mistletoe.  It is the time when we expect all stories to turn out well. Whether you are cheering  for Tiny Tim to change the heart of old man Scrooge, or for Jimmy Stewart to realize that his life has not been a waste in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” it is the time of year when we believe all can and will turn out well.  It is that time of year we call Christmas.  It is the time we bring gifts for one another to show one and all that we really truly care for them despite the fact we have treated them like dirt and we in-turn should be receiving a lump of coal for the way we have treated those around us.

But the fact remains, no matter how commercialized this time of year has become, or how far in debt we become giving gifts to those we say truly matter. Or perhaps we just give gifts to others to score a point a two in our favor. No matter what our circumstances might be, it is still a time to remember the God of heaven, who humbled himself, gave up all that he had so that he could become one like us.  To suffer like us, to be tempted like us. To cry like us, and live the life that you and I could never achieve on our own.

Yes, it is Christmas time, and perhaps there is no better way to express our admiration, our gratitude toward the wonderful gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago, when the God of heaven came down and was born as a little baby.  We know the story of how His mother rapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.  Certainly not a great beginning for a King.  Overlooked by many, ignored by more and denied even a roof over his head with the bleating of sheep and the baying of donkey, Christ received his first visitors, humble shepherds, the outcasts of Jewish society. Shepherd that tended sheep on the same hills that His great ancestor King David had also wandered as a boy as he to tended the sheep. The shepherds came and kneeled before their King and Maker then left singing praises to their King. Perhaps one of the songs they sang that early morning was Psalm 19.

Turn with me again to Psalms 19. Psalm 19 is a song that honors Christ as our creator and redeemer. For Christ was our creator before he was our redeemer.  Although the plan of salvation had already been conceived Christ was our creator and Psalms 19 starts by paying tribute, by singing praises the one that created us.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. 

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

Perhaps this best known and most popular of the nature psalms best describes and is a grateful meditation on God’s revelation of Himself in the world of nature.

Who of us on a beautiful clear day marveled at the depth of the sky, the glory of God’s creation?  Who of us hasn’t looked upon the starry heavens and wondered how it all came to be. That with such power and wonder, he spoke and heavens came into being.  The Sun to guide us by day and the moon and stars to guide us by night.  By their very splendor and order the heavens disprove evolution.  They are not the work of chance, but are the work of a creator God.

As each day passes unto the next, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  God could have created a great light switch and said, “Adam, you want it dark, just switch off the switch and it will be dark.” But no, God created the sunrise. With the sun just peeking out from behind the horizon and then slowly and magnificently makes its appointed way across the sky to once again dazzle us with the beauty of a slow sunset painted across the western sky.

The beauty, the arrangement, the order are all arguments for the existence of a God, so that even a heathen may look upon them and wonder about God and his great power.

The Sun to rule the day and the moon to mark the time from one month to another and one year to the next.  All in perfect order beg for an understanding that there is a God that created it all.

All nature sings of the glory of God, yet not with a voice that can be heard by human ears, but with an understanding of the intellect of the great and fearful works of God.

And as all things grow and live by the light and heat of the sun, so all things grow spiritually with the light that shines from the heavenly Son, the Son whose name is Jesus, the Christ, that was born upon the lowliest of conditions, in a manger, with sheep, donkey and outcast shepherds to welcome the King, the creator, as a new born baby.

Psalms 19 continues as the work of the creator and our joy and recognition of his power and glory in creating this earth now turns to his power of redemption.

7 The Law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple 

8 The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

But this song goes beyond creation and the creating power of the Creator, it also goes into the redemptive power of Christ, who is not only our Creator, but is our Redeemer.

While we talked of nature in the first 6 verse and its grandeur, permanence and purpose of the glory to God, to the contemplation of even a clearer revelation of God.  How can there be an even clearer picture of God’s glory. David in grand form turns our attention to an even clearer revelation of God in his law.

Beautiful as the manifestations of God’s glory in the heavens may be; magnificent as the splendor of the sun, moon, and stars may appear; still more beautiful, more magnificent, is the picture of a character directed by God’s law, “The glory of God is most fully seen in a perfect harmonious character.”  The character of our lives that shines forth with heavenly radiance when we follow God’s law.  Not from force but from wanting to because of our great love for He who created us.

“The testimony of the Lord is sure” (Long).  “Converting the soul” (Short).  One is in almost breathless haste, slowing down to a pause as the poem proclaims the joy and sweetness of the law and announces the fact that obedience brings a “great reward.”

Although the first 6 verses have a parallelism to it, it is difficult to find a more nearly perfect example of Hebrew parallelism than those in verses 7 – 10.

What is Hebrew Parallelism?  Well in a kind of simplified way of looking at it is as in a: “This for that” this statement, brings this result, and the effects are this.  Kind of an X+Y=Z things.  Let’s take a look.

Name for the law       its nature        its effect

            Law                            Perfect            Converting

            Testimony                  Sure                Making Wise

            Statutes                       Right               Rejoicing

            Commandment          Pure                Enlightening

            Fear                            Clean              Enduring

            Judgments                  True                Righteous

 

Our word Law is from the Hebrew word Torah, which means, “teaching, instruction, direction.”  This concept is outlined in Deuteronomy 31:9 and Proverbs 3:1.  As the sun illuminates and gives life to the material earth, so the law lights and energizes the spiritual world. Psalm 1:2.

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.  The law is perfect and converts the soul.

And Converting is from the Hebrew word Shub, which means to restore or to refresh and invigorates.

How many times have we seen a new believer come into the church after discovering Gods law and what it can do for them?  They find the law perfect and it converts or refreshes and invigorates their lives.

The Testimony as used in Exodus 25:16, 21, and 22. Means to bear witness. The revelation of God is God’s witness or testimony.  God law is a testimony, His own affirmation concerning His nature, attributes and consequent commands.

God’s law is sure. Meaning everlasting, to be firmly established. We often use the word Amen, which has the same meaning. We end our prayers with Amen meaning we firmly establish this to be our will, our testimony of what we are asking or praising God for.

God’s law is his amen to us, the testimony of his will for us.  And In it, it will make us wise.  We will grow up in the law.  Each of us in order to find the blessing of the law will take on a childlike spirit. The type of spirit that is essential to gaining wisdom.  Matthew 11:25  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, an hast revealed them unto babes.  

It is only when we cast off our pride and gain the teachable spirit of a baby that we can be made wise in the law.

There is more, several more but let’s look at just one more.  Statues. Piqqudim means orders, or another name of orders is precept and the word precepts occurs 24 times in the old testament and is translated as in marching orders or guidelines in every instances with the exception of 3 times.  How much easier it is to accomplish a task when we have our marching orders.  Our guideline to follow.  It keeps us from falling off the path or wondering off task.

Isn’t that what God’s law is supposed to do.  Guide us.  As the sun gives light to world, so God’s commandments light man’s pathway in the search for truth.  Because his law is right and just, his should set our hearts to rejoicing and praising God for what he has done for us.

You see, no matter what trials come upon our life.  How people may misuse and abuse you.  When we follow God’s law, it is more valuable than pure gold.  Gold is regarded as an article of great value among men, but spiritual riches gained through following God’s precepts are far superior to material wealth.  And it leave a sweet taste in your mouth, sweeter than honey or the honeycomb.

Christ came to fulfil the law. John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but that world through Him might be saved. God sent his Son to do for us what we ourselves were unable to do, and that is to live a life dependent on God.

So David in verse 11 says.  Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is a reward.

Our salvation is not dependent upon our keeping the law. Our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace which we accept on Faith. Our keeping of the law is an outward expression of our acceptance of that gift of grace.  And our reward will be everlasting life and wearing the crown of victory.

Verse 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.

No matter how well you or I live our life, we are going to make mistakes.  We will not live up to the letter of the law.  We do this daily in many ways without even knowing we have fallen short.  So it should be our daily prayer that we seek forgiveness from God for these faults that are secret, even from ourselves.

Verse 13:  Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me

You see, over 2000 years ago, Christ was born a baby, without kingly honor and glory.  He was born a baby so that the victory over sin could be won.  And because He came, was born, lived the life you and I could not live.  He died on a tree and rose again on the third day that you and I can gain the victory over sin. We can pray to God and ask him to send his angels to camp round about us and to keep us from sin.  And if sin has power over you in any way what-so-ever, he will give us the power to overcome that sin.

David’s words and ours should be this each and every day.  Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

What a beautiful prayer and song by David.  Our every word, our every thought should be to sing praises to Christ for the great gift he gave us, when he was born as a little baby.

And where else should our strength come from.  But the one who created us with his own hands and allowed himself to be born into the humblest of settings and then willingly spilt his blood for us so that we won’t die the second death, but instead live with Him forever.  Who else but Christ can give us the victory over sin?  That is why we celebrate his birth each year.  It is to draw our attention back to Him, to Him who created us and then redeemed us.

Oh great and merciful God in heaven.  Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, for you are my strength, and my redeemer.  Amen

Shall we pray.

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