17 July 2016

THE NARROW ROAD OF BLESSING


Psalm 1:1-6

DO YOU REALIZE THAT WE ARE A BLESSED PEOPLE? I think we need to stop and ponder that truth in how blessed we really are!

I’m blessed to have a personal relationship with the living God.
I’m blessed to be able to share and teach His wonderful Gospel.
I’m blessed with the privilege to expound His awesome glory to you.
I’m blessed to have a wonderful Christian wife, who puts up with me in all my perfections…I mean imperfections!  LOL.
I’m blessed to have 6 healthy children who I love with all my heart.
I’m blessed to have you as my family here at Calvary Baptist Church.
I’m blessed to be able to see, hear, touch and smell things that God created for His glory and purposes.
I’m blessed to be just simply alive today.

What about you? What would your list be? As one writer said “Enjoy the blessings of this day…” But sadly our blessings turn into sorrow for many of us. The things of this world drown out those blessing when we turn on the TV or read a newspaper. And worse we allow this world to get us bogged down with all the overwhelming stories of tragedy, loss and so on…..losing focus of Christ and His goodness in our lives. And usually ten times out of ten we miss the blessing that God had for us. Sometime it isn’t the world though; it can be our focus on self! Those other things that interest us and we tend not to see the blessings of this day. But listen to Corrie Ten Boom; she said “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.. We need to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Humble ourselves and understand true happiness and blessing depends on the true riches found in God’s grace, not in earthly pursuits or anything that takes our eyes off of Christ. We come to this Psalm and right out the gates the writer pens these joyful and happy words! “Blessed is the man” (v1a). By definition “blessed” or better translated “blessednesses” is someone who has a deep seated joy, someone who is happy, a contentment that can be only found in the Gospel, the redeeming work of the cross? In fact, in the Hebrew the word actually is plural, which denotes either a multiplicity of blessing or an amplification of them “blessednesses”.

We are a blessed people! This verse literally means “oh, the happiness” or “O the blessedness of that man " Blessed is the man or woman when you are walking in the riches of His grace and mercy….. rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What does that look like! JESUS SAID "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt 5:3-12. As one writer puts itTo love God is the greatest of virtues; to be loved by God is the greatest of blessings.” And though we are extremely blessed we also see a warning to the Christian! Something that we are to be aware of or precede with caution. There are 3 postures that do not lead to blessing but trouble for your soul. Three warnings that a blessed man/woman should always flee from or don’t entertain on a day by day basis as they persevere by faith down the narrow road of His righteousness! So what are they? The answer is found in the remaining words of this verse (v1b)

YOU WILL NOT WALK IN THE COUNSEL OF THE UNGODLY (THE UNREGENERATE MAN OR WOMAN)

“Walking” denotes a choice, a continuance of action! Which means: a genuine Christian doesn’t listen to, or put into practice (associate in their evil doings) or take advice from ungodly people! We are to walk by faith and listen to the counsel of the Living God. Jer 17:7Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.” Why? The counsels of the ungodly are the ones who leave God out of everything. They are the ones who have no fear of God before their eyes. This is a type of person that lives if God doesn’t exist. We are not to walk with such a people, we are to step aside! This doesn’t mean we can’t be around them or associate with them. BUT IT DOES MEAN we are not to follow in their footsteps ungodly living. As Jesus said “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Matt 15:14

YOU WILL NOT STAND IN THE PATH OF SINNERS

“Stand” gives the idea of settled residence as the way of open sinners who wilfully violate God’s commandments. These are the type of people who don’t quit live as they should. They are comfortable in their sin. It’s like the person Peter describes in his letter “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” 2 Peter 2:15. This could be a religious person, a nominal Christian professing but not a possessing Christian. It’s the type of person that knows that they’re sinners and don’t care because they think they have the fire insurance under the blanket of love and grace. They are the kind of person the Bibles speaks of when it says….“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” Prov 14:12
  
Prov 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.”
  
1 John 2:18-19 says “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” We are not to stand with those who take delight in their sin which means in their manner of conversation....or lifestyle and choices.

YOU WILL NOT SIT WITH THE SCORNFUL

“Sit” a planting posture or association or incorporation of themselves with a group of people. Who are the Scoffers?  A person who are not only diseased, but reject, despise, and scorn all remedies and truth. A person who mocks sin and could care less about God’s threatening and judgements against sinners. It’s the “Where is your God” mentalityA person who mocks wholesome correction and counsels and make their business to scoff at goodness and good men and women. We love Lady Gaga, Beyonc√©, Justin Bieber because they are great examples for our culture…..but those Tim Tebows we can’t have them trouble makers. Scoffers….which really are haters of God and anyone associated with Him (the true Church). As Vernon McGee said “the drunkard in the gutter today is not nearly as low as the man who denying God.” See if you’re that kind of person here today! I’m here to plead with you that God is displeased with this kind of behaviour in your life. Why? “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools.” Prov 19:29. The Word of God also says “God will scorn the scornful” Prov 3:34

What does that mean? He will expose you for who you truly are! A fool who is lost and will face the wrath of God one day because you refuse to submit to Him. God’s children are never to associate or accompany these types of people. We are to love them with the Gospel, BUT NEVER walk.....stand...or sit with those who spit in the face of the Living God and His blessed Gospel.

SEE A BLESSED MAN OR WOMAN IS SOMEONE WHO IS DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH CHRIST AND HIS WORD! (v2)

It’s impossible to visualize a happy man or woman who is not a man or a woman of God’s word. It’s that deep rooted hunger and thirst for the word of God ...they love the bible and the God of it. They love it so much they can’t put it down! “It’s his delight” to them not a duty. Delight means: something that is a desire, a pleasure, something you do willingly. Not only does he delights  in God’s Word but he “meditates  day and night” Meditates implies a deep and serious thoughtfulness about something. That why it says “day and night” Something to ponder and think about! A great picture of this is the cow! Mediate is a very figurative word.....It pictures a cow chewing it cud. A cow has several compartments in their tummy. A cow can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass they had in the morning back up and she masticates it, she goes over it again.
  
THAT’S WHAT WE ARE TO DO WHEN WE READ THE WORD OF GOD. We are to read it, ponder it, think about it and live it daily. When you read God’s word ask ourselves these questions. Questions that I found might help you by DesiringGod.org

What did I learn about God?
How do these verses help me fight my sin?
How was my heart stirred for Jesus?

Let me ask you something that only you can answer! Do you hold the word of God that way in your life as a treasure or delight to pick up and meditate on? As Job did? “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12. Parents do your children see God’s word as a blessing to you or a burden to bear? If you can’t answer that question then look to your kids and see what they say about your devotion to this book. Church family what is consuming the most of your time on a day to day basis? Is it God and His precious word or is it consumed with your fleshly desires and passions, stubbornness, outward religion that leads a person down the broad road to HELL?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GRIPPED BY THE GLORY OF GOD?

To have the privilege to hold the spoken words of God in our sinful hands and say “this is my greatest delight!” This is a book for us to read as we wait until He calls us home. This is a book that speaks about the glory of God and awesomeness that He is. This book is something that brings us closer and into a deeper relationship with Him. Do you realize you can serve the church all your life........attend all the meetings......come to all the prayer nights and bible studies and still be lost? If you’re not picking up the Bible and reading His God breathed words for yourself, then you’re only hurting yourself. The same hurt that Jesus warned the Pharisee’s, because He knows the heart of each and every one of us here in this sanctuary as He did them.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life...........” John 5:39. See, God doesn’t want your head knowledge; He wants your heart and your devotion. D.L Moody said "The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”. God wants our devotion be towards to Him out of love not duty. God wants to see you find blessing as you read His words........without huffing and puffing! God wants you to be blessed by falling deeper in love with Him.........not resentful and bitter because you have to sacrifice some of your precious time for Him. God demands and deserves more than an hour a week or 10 minutes at best every day of your time. Why? A. W Tozer said "I did not go through the Book. The Book went through me."
  
SO WHAT DOES A PERSON WHO DELIGHTS AND MEDITATES ON GOD’S WORD DAY AND NIGHT LOOK LIKE?

The answer is found in (v3) The Psalmist gives us a great picture of what that looks like! A tree that is deeply rooted and planted in the ground in the Word of God.The word of God is…… our river....our food....or lifeline that leads to righteous and ultimately our home. Isaiah wrote “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isa 55:10-11. (v3) is a beautiful picture of our salvation! A tree doesn’t plant itself.....it needs someone to plant it. That’s the Gospel! God justifies you and saves and secures you and sanctifies (sets you apart) for Himself as you walk the narrow road to glory. That‘s what draws us to His word and to our knees everyday........ The saving grace found in the Gospel. THERE ARE TWO THINGS THE WORD OF GOD DOES TO A PERSON! The word of God will always transform and cause you to grow deeper in love. Or it will cause you to be angry, resentful and hater of God. Why? Because you love your sin.
  
THERE ARE TWO ROADS THAT A PERSON CAN WALK ON IN THIS LIFE!

There is one road

that leads to destruction which is God’s wrath for your sin for all eternity.......separated from the One who gives you air to breath and a chance to be saved by the Gospel (v5-v6)

The second road

is narrow that can be very hard at times (because you will stumble) but you will always get up and move forward down that narrow road that leads you to glory. (v1-v2) The narrow road is the person who desires the things of God, despite what happening… in or around us. The narrow road is a person who seeks God’s counsel not this world. The narrow road person doesn’t walk, stand or sit with sinners as they await judgement from a holy and just God. The narrow road that delights and mediates on His word; because He is the most important person in the entire universe. My prayer for us is that we will be strong trees feeding on His goodness, grounded in the written word, as we walk this narrow road into glory.

How? By….
Embrace Him
Love Him
Delight in Him
Walk......stand...and sit in Him
Be content and happy in Him
Believe in Him and live for Him as you’re pearl of great price.
As MasterCard commercial would say “priceless” Because “He’s priceless”

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