Thursday, August 17, 2017

Beautiful Bride

Psalm 45 is full of rejoicing over the bridegroom and the bride. The wedding is upon us, the guests have arrived, the groom is waiting and the bride enters with her attendants. The guests marvel at the beauty of the bride and the groom beams in approval. The father of the bride is not sad but rejoices to give her to such an honorable groom.

         This pictures what is going on here at worship every Lord’s Day. The bride of  Christ is His Church. He looks upon us as the beloved. His Father is the High King and we have been privileged to become members of His family. As children of the High King, we become a kingdom full of princes and princesses, heirs to the throne of the Most High.

Chief Seats

The Pharisees loved the chief seats because it made them look important. Jesus taught us humility, rather, to take the lower seat. It is the Christian way to grant honor, not to seek out honor.
         It is also the Christian way that things turn out far different than we expect. When we take the lowly route, the route of humility, of service, of deferring to others, then the Lord looks upon this with favor.

         "Come sit up here," Jesus says to us, "up here in these special seats reserved for my lowly and humble guests." And here we are, deserving of the lowly seats, and invited by Jesus to the chief seats, the seats of honor, privilege, and blessing, seated here by Jesus, Himself. We wouldn’t have guessed it would turn out this way, and our only appropriate response is thankfulness.

Psalm 45 Sermon Notes

Psalm 45
Sermon Notes
Princes in All the Earth
August 13, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         As we make our way through the 40’s, Psalm 45 is beautiful and encouraging, exalting the glories of the Messiah and His bride. This joy over the groom and over the bride is very fitting for us as we come to worship.
         We are the gathered people of God. The Church is the bride of Christ. Our Covenant Renewal Worship is this wedding dance. The groom awaits the bride to arrive. He receives her as His spouse, forgiving her any and all past sins. He speaks words of love to her, washing her in the water of the word. The bride and groom speak to one another of forgiving each other of sins and assuring one another of complete forgiveness.
         They sing together and to one another. The wedding dance concludes with the reception meal, where the bride and groom and attendants are all seated together at the Table of the High King.
         There are sometimes hard words said in church. We make our way through the Bible and we intend to hear all that it has to say and make particular application of it to us. That means, we encourage where the Bible encourages and we also address our sins where the Bible tells us to do so.
         But we need to understand that both the encouragement and the addressing of sins is to the same end, to bring us to union with God and man. The Lord Jesus is washing us with His Word so that we can have fellowship with Him and His Spirit. And if our fellowship with Him is good, then we can also have fellowship with God’s people.
         That is what is happening here each Lord’s Day. So, as we make our way through this Psalm, we should think about how we come to worship on the Lord’s Day. Do we anticipate glory? Fellowship? Closeness with God and men? That our Lord Jesus would be pleased with us? That as we sit at the Table, we are in the place of peace and joy? This day is a wedding celebration. It is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 43 Sermon Notes

Psalm 43
My Salvation
Sermon Notes
July 30, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The Psalmist continues to call upon God. This Psalm is rightly called a lament. This Psalm is closely connected to Psalm 42 and the concluding verse here in Psalm 43 is exactly the same as the concluding verse in Psalm 42. It may be that this was at one time one Psalm and these two repeated verses were part of the one Psalm.
         Be that as it may, God in His Providence, has delivered us this text in two psalms. We receive the text as the inspired Word. So, it is good that we spend some more time on a similar Psalm.

Psalm 42 Sermon Notes

Psalm 42  
Down But Not Out
Sermon Notes
July 23, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         In this Psalm, we see a godly man with a tormented soul. Does that seem contradictory to you? Is the Christian life all about peace and happiness and joy? If so, then what do we make of a cast down soul that is calling upon God? Do we judge rightly? Do we answer him or her as we should?
         There are clear answers in this Psalm. There is good counsel for the cast down soul. But the answer must come from the Lord. It is important for us to think correctly but we are not merely creatures of thought. We are humans with emotions and feelings. God made us that we and it is very good. But these very good emotions and feelings ought not to be the rudder that guides us. We must pursue what we know to govern how we feel. This is not easy. Sometimes, we are unable to even get there.
         When that is true, we must call upon God and ask Him and expect Him to act. If your soul is cast down, then God must lift you up through the power of His Holy Spirit. He can do this and He will do this. Hope in God that you might again praise Him with rejoicing.

Psalm 41 Sermon Notes

Psalm 41 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
Sermon Notes
His Death, Our Triumph
Lynchburg, Virginia

The man who delivers the poor is the man who is considered in this psalm. The Lord delivers such a man in times of trouble, preserves him, keeps him alive, blesses him on the earth and delivers him from his enemies.
Who is such a man? And who are the poor?
Well, the poor come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes even in the shape of kings. When a king or ruler is afflicted, it wise and prudent not take advantage of such a one.
Perhaps David means this phrase and this Psalm to be taken two ways. He is asking God to vindicate him. He has wisely considered the plight of the poor and sought to help them. He has not passed judgment upon them as evildoers. But his own enemies are not wise or prudent. They do not show mercy. They pounce.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Psalm 44 Sermon Notes

Psalm 44 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil.
Sermon Notes
We Have Not Forgotten
August 6, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         We continue on our studies through the book of Psalms. This Psalm is very interesting. It is one that argues for these Psalms coming to us in a series. As a stand alone Psalm it might even be distressing. So, keep the following Psalms, 45-50, in mind as you read and meditate upon this one.
         In verses 1-6, the Psalmist praises God. He recounts the former glories of Israel and glorifies the Lord for His mighty acts. He is remembering the Lord. Keep this remembering in mind, as he later speaks to the Lord as having forgotten His people.
         In verses 9-16, the Psalmist records his lament to the Lord, Saying “Why have You cast us off and put us to shame.”
         In verses 17-22, the Psalmist vindicates himself and his people. All this has come on us, yet we have not forgotten, thee neither have we dealt falsely in Thy Covenant.
         Finally, in the last few verses, 23-26, the Psalmist calls upon God to act, Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake.

         His argument is this:

Neither Sleep Nor Slumber

Sometimes you may feel like the Lord has fallen asleep on you. The Psalmist called the Lord to arise from slumber, so we know this is a human thought. But the Bible tells us that the Lord neither sleeps nor slumbers. He is always awake, always vigilant.
         That is so that He can watch out for you, like the Prodigal Father, who lavished His returning son with precious things. He killed the fatted calf, gave him a signet ring, put a robe on him and sent out the special guest invitations. Time for a feast.

         Our Lord is not sleeping. He has been preparing a feast for you. Come and eat.