(Someday, I’m going to miss correcting the title and this will go out as the SErmon Warp-up like I type it every single week.)
April 21 AM Psalm 3: It's getting bad out
Purpose: Uplift through faith; challenge to rest in faith; invite to participate in the faith
I. Background for David:
A. On the throne
B. Absalom's Revolt (2 Samuel 16)
The Psalm in Three Parts:
I. The Problems:
A. Many Enemies
B. Mocking of the Faith
C. Practical Outworkings:
1. Personal: family, employment, life/health
2. National: security, leadership, morality (Absalom w/concubines)
Then a moment to think about how bad it is and how much worse it can get
II. The Prayers:
A. A declaration of trust: A shield about me
B. A declaration of hope: The lifter of my head
C. A declaration of faith: God answered--
Then, a moment to think about how faith helps
III. The Peace:
A. Not ignorance of the odds: note v. 6
B. Not ignorance of the needs: note v. 5--we need sleep, rest, and it is possible
C. Awareness of God's judgment
D. Awareness of God's salvation
1. Come to the faith
2. Trust in the Lord for rest
3. Celebrate God's provision
If you look in this direction, you see that your pastor has brought more of his books to church this morning. These are not books I am suggesting that you read. In fact, these are books that I have for one basic purpose, and that is to learn about false religions. You see, there are many, many religious groups in the world. There almost always have been: with the notable exceptions of immediately post-Creation in the Garden and immediately post-Deluge with Noah, it would appear that multiple religions have existed practically anywhere there are multiple people.
We live in nation that is open to multiple religions. This has its benefits and its drawbacks, although we ought to fight to allow all people the freedom we desire. It does lead to the question, though, of how we know that we are right and all others are wrong. How do we know whether or not our choice of God is the right one? This is important—for if we are wrong, we are truly wasting our time and effort. Let us take a look at a time in Israel when the same question arose, and turn to 1 Kings 18 to look at this story from the life of Elijah.
I. The Setup:
A. Where are we now?
1. Mt. Carmel
2. Northern Kingdom (Israel)
B. Who is involved?
1. Ahab & Jezebel
2. Obadiah (likely not the writing Obadiah)
3. Prophets of Baal
5. People of Israel
C. When is this?
1. During the ministries of Elijah and the reign of Ahab
2. Three years, at least, into that time
3. Probably around 860 BC
II. The Question:
- Who is God?
- Is there more than one?
- Is one right and another wrong?
- How do we know?
III. The Evidence:
A. A test
1. Does this not contradict Matthew 4:7 (and Deuteronomy 6:16)?
2. Not if it is commanded by God:
B. Can the local god, Baal, bring fire?
C. Can the God of Israel, Yahweh, bring fire?
D. The results: Yahweh, alone, can bring fire.
IV. The Responses:
- Confession: Yahweh alone is God
- Cleansing: Elimination of the prophets of Baal
- Continuation: Return to life, for the rain is coming
- Consecration: A time for prayer
V. The Present Day:
A. Stop dancing between the two choices
B. Commit to discard the false teachings of the culture
1. False idols
2. False moralities
3. False gods
C. Come, for the first time, to the One True God
We see the evidence in this narrative that Yahweh is God alone, that there was only one true God in Israel. We see that He alone is the God to be worshiped, and that the false gods presented by our culture should be abandoned as we focus on Him. How do we do so?
First, we do so by surrendering control of our lives. We may need to come and accept the sacrifice paid for our sins in Jesus or simply come and ask for prayer that God would pull you back to Him. We surrender our problems and our successes and trust Him.
Second, we do so by standing firm against the idolatry of the world. Now, we must allow others the freedom we want and cannot compel others to be Christians. However, we must start within our own homes and force out the idolatry that many times we let slip in uncontested. We strive to push back against the world that would have us embrace an ethic that serves desires and self over serving God and others.
Finally, we do so by striving to express the truth of God’s rule over the world to others. We do so in a manner that allows His truth to shine through and the Holy Spirit to work. To our neighbors, our co-workers, our families, friends, and enemies…all of the above, we must be the example of Christ and the mouth of the Lord God. Join me as we do that.