A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"

 

 

June 15, 2024

 

Four-in-the-Lord Commands

(A mini-sermon series on Psalm 37)

 

 “Commit Your Ways To The Lord”

Psalm 37

 

Over the last few weeks, we have been working through Psalm 37.  Let’s do a refresher on the first seven verses.

 

Psalm 37:1-7 (NKJV)

1 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 

 

Today marks the third week of our four week study of this Psalm. 

 

We have previously considered what it means to trust in the Lord as well as to delight yourself in the Lord.  Tonight, we consider the third thing that David directs us to do in or to the Lord:  Commit your ways to the Lord.

 

Did you see the movie, “Saving Private Ryan.”  It’s a very graphic movie, but it’s also a very accurate representation of what our fighting men went through during WWII.  A group of soldiers is dropped onto the beaches of Normandy, France, on D-Day.  Just after D-Day, a group of soldiers is given the task to track down a Private Ryan - to send him home - since all his brothers were killed in action and he was the last surviving son in his family.  The soldiers went through awful things.  A few of the soldiers, even the commander of the group, lost their lives trying to find and rescue this man.  They went through horrific things, but they were totally committed to their task to bring this man home alive.

 

How committed are we to the Lord?  Are we committed to the Lord like the soldiers in “Saving Private Ryan” . . . or do we just show up to church to make ourselves feel better?  I want to talk about three ways that we can be truly committed to the Lord in our lives.  If we commit ourselves to these three things, we can be truly committed to the Lord:

 

1. Commit Yourself to the Church

How much importance do we, as Christians, place on going to church?  A Lot?  Somewhat?  Not much?

 

What example did the early Church set?

 

 

Acts 2:40-47 (NIV)

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”  41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.  42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.  45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Do you go to church every week?  How many of us get “tied up” in other things, on the day we’re to be worshipping the Lord?  What do we allow to take precedence over God’s day / time in our lives?

 

Do you serve in the church?

 

When we serve in the Church, we are serving God.  How can you serve in the Church? 

 

Can you help run the Audio / video equipment? 

 

Could you sing / play an instrument on our worship team(s)?

 

Are you qualified, men, to be an Elder?

 

Are you willing to lead a Bible Study?

 

The Bible warns us NOT to forsake the Church . . .

 

Hebrew 10:24-25 (NIV)

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

What happens when we don’t fully commit ourselves to the Church?  When we forsake God’s Church, we are forsaking the Body of Christ himself!

 

Acts 5:1-11 (NIV)

1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.  2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.  3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”  5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.  And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.  6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.  7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”  “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”  9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?  Listen!  The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”  10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.  Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

 

Notice that Ananias and Saphira weren’t committed to the Lord - they were committed to themselves.  When we are only committed to ourselves & worldly things, God warns us that it will NOT end well!

 

2. Commit Yourself to God’s Word (the Bible)

 

What does it look like to be committed to God’s Word?  Psalm 119:9-16 is what it looks like to be totally committed to God’s Word . . .

 

Psalm 119:9-16 (NIV)

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.  10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.  13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

 

Verse 11 shows us that . . .

 

  • Hiding (committing) God’s Word in one’s heart guards against sin.

 

  • God’s Word identifies what sin is.

 

  • God’s Word shows how much God hates sin.

 

  • God’s Word shows the punishment for sin.

 

  • God’s Word shows that when we sin, we are disappointing God and going against his will.

 

Verse 12 . . . God’s Word teaches us God’s decree that The New Covenant is in Jesus Christ.

 

Verse 13 reminds us that God’s Word shows his judgements on right / wrong.

 

People are quick to tell Christians not to judge . . . but, when we use scripture, we aren’t judging by our own measures, but rather, we are simply repeating the judgement that God has ALREADY MADE.

 

 

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

“All Scripture” means the Old and New Testaments.  So, what is scripture good for?

 

  • Doctrine (theology)

 

  • Rebuking (of our wrong thoughts)

 

  • Correction (of our wrong actions)

 

  • Instruction in righteousness (teaching)

 

Matthew 24:35 (NIV)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

- Jesus -

 

God’s word will outlast all of us.  It is eternal.  Everything will pass away, but the Word of God will not.  God’s ordinances are eternal . . . until God, himself, lifts them.

 

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

God’s Word is completely accurate and completely true.  It is “sharper than any two edged sword” and able to teach us completely the difference between right and wrong.

 

3. Commit Yourself to the Great Commission

 

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

 

These words of Jesus lists three things that we are supposed to do:

 

1) Make Disciples

 

We’re not just to make “believers” but “disciples.”  There is a BIG difference between a believer and a disciple.  A believer simply believes that the Bible is correct and that Jesus is the Son of God.  Do you know who are examples of being just “believers?”  Satan . . . and his demons!

 

A disciple is one who molds his or her life based on the Bible.  He or she changes, turns away from the way of the world, and FOLLOWS Jesus.

2) Baptize Believers

 

Acts 2:38 (NIV)

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Baptism is paired with repentance in forgiveness of sin and the gift / the presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

3) Teach others to observe Jesus’ teachings

 

After one believes, and is willing to make the change in their lives and be baptized, it’s time to help them mature spiritually and grow in their walk with Christ.  This step NEVER ENDS.  If it does, something is very wrong!

 

WHEN are we supposed to follow the Great Commission?

 

Well, the world tells us that we should only do this within the confines of our church building.  And, that we aren’t supposed to spread the Word of Jesus in school, malls, grocery stores, or anywhere that someone might be “offended.”

 

God’s Word says that we are to follow the Great Commission, even in the face of great adversity.

 

Acts 5:40-42 (NIV)

40 His speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

 

Notice what the Apostles reaction was, to being beaten for the sake of Jesus Christ . . . they were filled with joy that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord!

 

They didn’t just stop when times got hard; they kept preaching and teaching and would not stop!

 

Are we willing to suffer for the Lord like the Apostles?  Are we willing to go to the grave / to die for the name of Jesus, like the Apostles did?

 

I want to close by offering you an invitation.  I simply want you to take time this week to examine your commitment to God.  How committed to the Lord are you?  Are you committed to the Church?  Are you committed to God’s Word?  Are you committed to the Great Commission?  I think we all can, myself included, work on something.  That’s just the way life goes.  If you aren’t improving, you’re going downhill. 

 

So with that said, I invite you this week to resolve to, more than ever before, commit YOUR WAYS TO THE LORD!

June 15, 2024

 

Four-in-the-Lord Commands

(A mini-sermon series on Psalm 37)

 

 “Commit Your Ways To The Lord”

Psalm 37

 

Over the last few weeks, we have been working through Psalm 37.  Let’s do a refresher on the first seven verses.

 

Psalm 37:1-7 (NKJV)

1 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 

 

Today marks the third week of our four week study of this Psalm. 

 

We have previously considered what it means to trust in the Lord as well as to delight yourself in the Lord.  Tonight, we consider the third thing that David directs us to do in or to the Lord:  Commit your ways to the Lord.

 

Did you see the movie, “Saving Private Ryan.”  It’s a very graphic movie, but it’s also a very accurate representation of what our fighting men went through during WWII.  A group of soldiers is dropped onto the beaches of Normandy, France, on D-Day.  Just after D-Day, a group of soldiers is given the task to track down a Private Ryan - to send him home - since all his brothers were killed in action and he was the last surviving son in his family.  The soldiers went through awful things.  A few of the soldiers, even the commander of the group, lost their lives trying to find and rescue this man.  They went through horrific things, but they were totally committed to their task to bring this man home alive.

 

How committed are we to the Lord?  Are we committed to the Lord like the soldiers in “Saving Private Ryan” . . . or do we just show up to church to make ourselves feel better?  I want to talk about three ways that we can be truly committed to the Lord in our lives.  If we commit ourselves to these three things, we can be truly committed to the Lord:

 

1. Commit Yourself to the Church

How much importance do we, as Christians, place on going to church?  A Lot?  Somewhat?  Not much?

 

What example did the early Church set?

 

 

Acts 2:40-47 (NIV)

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”  41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.  42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.  45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Do you go to church every week?  How many of us get “tied up” in other things, on the day we’re to be worshipping the Lord?  What do we allow to take precedence over God’s day / time in our lives?

 

Do you serve in the church?

 

When we serve in the Church, we are serving God.  How can you serve in the Church? 

 

Can you help run the Audio / video equipment? 

 

Could you sing / play an instrument on our worship team(s)?

 

Are you qualified, men, to be an Elder?

 

Are you willing to lead a Bible Study?

 

The Bible warns us NOT to forsake the Church . . .

 

Hebrew 10:24-25 (NIV)

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

What happens when we don’t fully commit ourselves to the Church?  When we forsake God’s Church, we are forsaking the Body of Christ himself!

 

Acts 5:1-11 (NIV)

1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.  2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.  3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”  5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.  And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.  6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.  7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”  “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”  9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?  Listen!  The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”  10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.  Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

 

Notice that Ananias and Saphira weren’t committed to the Lord - they were committed to themselves.  When we are only committed to ourselves & worldly things, God warns us that it will NOT end well!

 

2. Commit Yourself to God’s Word (the Bible)

 

What does it look like to be committed to God’s Word?  Psalm 119:9-16 is what it looks like to be totally committed to God’s Word . . .

 

Psalm 119:9-16 (NIV)

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.  10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.  13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

 

Verse 11 shows us that . . .

 

  • Hiding (committing) God’s Word in one’s heart guards against sin.

 

  • God’s Word identifies what sin is.

 

  • God’s Word shows how much God hates sin.

 

  • God’s Word shows the punishment for sin.

 

  • God’s Word shows that when we sin, we are disappointing God and going against his will.

 

Verse 12 . . . God’s Word teaches us God’s decree that The New Covenant is in Jesus Christ.

 

Verse 13 reminds us that God’s Word shows his judgements on right / wrong.

 

People are quick to tell Christians not to judge . . . but, when we use scripture, we aren’t judging by our own measures, but rather, we are simply repeating the judgement that God has ALREADY MADE.

 

 

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

“All Scripture” means the Old and New Testaments.  So, what is scripture good for?

 

  • Doctrine (theology)

 

  • Rebuking (of our wrong thoughts)

 

  • Correction (of our wrong actions)

 

  • Instruction in righteousness (teaching)

 

Matthew 24:35 (NIV)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

- Jesus -

 

God’s word will outlast all of us.  It is eternal.  Everything will pass away, but the Word of God will not.  God’s ordinances are eternal . . . until God, himself, lifts them.

 

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

God’s Word is completely accurate and completely true.  It is “sharper than any two edged sword” and able to teach us completely the difference between right and wrong.

 

3. Commit Yourself to the Great Commission

 

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

 

These words of Jesus lists three things that we are supposed to do:

 

1) Make Disciples

 

We’re not just to make “believers” but “disciples.”  There is a BIG difference between a believer and a disciple.  A believer simply believes that the Bible is correct and that Jesus is the Son of God.  Do you know who are examples of being just “believers?”  Satan . . . and his demons!

 

A disciple is one who molds his or her life based on the Bible.  He or she changes, turns away from the way of the world, and FOLLOWS Jesus.

2) Baptize Believers

 

Acts 2:38 (NIV)

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Baptism is paired with repentance in forgiveness of sin and the gift / the presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

3) Teach others to observe Jesus’ teachings

 

After one believes, and is willing to make the change in their lives and be baptized, it’s time to help them mature spiritually and grow in their walk with Christ.  This step NEVER ENDS.  If it does, something is very wrong!

 

WHEN are we supposed to follow the Great Commission?

 

Well, the world tells us that we should only do this within the confines of our church building.  And, that we aren’t supposed to spread the Word of Jesus in school, malls, grocery stores, or anywhere that someone might be “offended.”

 

God’s Word says that we are to follow the Great Commission, even in the face of great adversity.

 

Acts 5:40-42 (NIV)

40 His speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

 

Notice what the Apostles reaction was, to being beaten for the sake of Jesus Christ . . . they were filled with joy that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord!

 

They didn’t just stop when times got hard; they kept preaching and teaching and would not stop!

 

Are we willing to suffer for the Lord like the Apostles?  Are we willing to go to the grave / to die for the name of Jesus, like the Apostles did?

 

I want to close by offering you an invitation.  I simply want you to take time this week to examine your commitment to God.  How committed to the Lord are you?  Are you committed to the Church?  Are you committed to God’s Word?  Are you committed to the Great Commission?  I think we all can, myself included, work on something.  That’s just the way life goes.  If you aren’t improving, you’re going downhill. 

 

So with that said, I invite you this week to resolve to, more than ever before, commit YOUR WAYS TO THE LORD!

 

 

June 8, 2024

 

Four-in-the-Lord Commands

(A mini-sermon series on Psalm 37)

 

“Delight Yourself in the Lord”

Psalm 37

 

This is a mini-sermon series inspired from the Psalm writer, David.  In Psalm 37, we are given 4 specific directives - things we are “to do in the Lord” . . . all in the first 7 verses!

 

Psalm 37:1-7(NKJV)

1 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  

 

 

This is week two of examining the four directives that David gives us.  Last week, we discussed trusting in the Lord.  Now we move on to the second point that David makes.  In verse 4, he writes . . .

 

Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. 

 

What do you think of when you think of delight?  Is it something that you feel; something you do; or something that just happens?  What can get in the place of delighting in the Lord?

 

And, what is there about the Lord to delight in?  These are the questions I want us to look at tonight.

 

1. Defining DELIGHT

 

The first thing that we need to do when we are discussing how to “delight ourselves in the Lord” is to define what the word delight means.  I think the word delight gets mixed up with other words, too often.  According to the dictionary, delight means “to have great pleasure; to take pleasure.”

 

This definition has a few major implications.  The first being that delight is not an emotion.  Emotions are something completely different.  Emotions are things that you feel inwardly.  When something is going right, you feel happy. 

 

When something is going wrong, you may feel sad or angry.  You may feel uneasy about certain things or you may feel excited about other things.  These things are controlled by the situation that you are in. You don’t necessarily play a role in the split second emotions that you feel.

To take delight in something is a conscious choice that you have to make.  It isn’t an emotion - like happy, sad, angry, or confused.  YOU are the one that makes the choice as to whether or not you delight in something.  To delight in something takes effort.  It is something you have to work for.  You have to learn how to appreciate something before you can take pleasure from it.

 

If you receive a flower from someone, it makes you happy.  But, it isn’t something that you necessarily delight in.  However, when you plant a seed, you put effort into making it grow.  You may fertilize it, you water it, you nurture it.  Some people actually talk to their plants, because they believe that it helps them to grow . . . when you go through effort like that, it makes you appreciate the flower!  You appreciate the effort it took to grow it.  You appreciate the process that the flower has gone through, starting as a seed until now as the beautiful mature plant sits before you.  You see that flower in a different light than you do the one given to you.  You take delight in this flower.

 

In order to delight in the Lord, we must work on our relationship with him.  We must tend to it.  We must communicate with the Lord daily.  We must put work and effort into it.  If we don’t do that, we cannot possibly take delight in the Lord.  We will not appreciate and have deep pleasure in God.

 

2. We cannot delight in the Lord, if we love the world

 

Now that we have defined delight . . . we need to understand something what makes it impossible to delight in the Lord.  You cannot delight in the Lord if you love the world. These two things do not go together.  It’s like trying to mix oil and water.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever tried to mix oil and water.  They separate and refuse to combine.  The same is true of delight in the Lord and love of the world.  They cannot be mixed!

 

In 1 John, there John is discussing how to know the Lord and our spiritual state.  He then takes some space in his letter to talk about loving the world . . .

 

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world.  17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 

John saw the difference between the things of the world and the things of God.  He knew that loving one makes it impossible to truly love the other.  How many times do we compromise our love of God for the love of worldly things?  It’s very tempting, isn’t it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Well, yeah, I know the Bible says that, but . . . ”

 

It breaks my heart when I hear things like that.  The person knows what God says.  They know what God desires, but instead of choosing those things, they choose the things of the world.  Can this person truly delight in the Lord, or do they just to pretend to feel safe?  Like I said before, it takes work in order to delight in the Lord.  If we are always working for worldly things instead of the things of God, which do we really love? 

I heard of a man who loved stuff.  He always wanted the latest and greatest of everything.  New cars, new phones, new computer; you name it, he had it.  He worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, in order to be able to get all this stuff.  He only took Tuesdays off, since it tended to be a pretty slow day where he worked.  He didn’t go to church, didn’t spend time with other believers, never read his Bible - but he thought he and God are “on good terms.”  The sad fact is that he didn’t really love God.  He loved stuff.  He loved stuff so much that he fooled himself into believing that his relationship with God was good . . . even though he did nothing the Lord expected of him.  He worked for, and therefore delighted in, the world not in God.

 

Bob Dylan was right, when he sang:  You're gonna have to serve somebody; yes indeed, you're gonna have to serve somebody; well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord; but you're gonna have to serve somebody.

 

3. What can we delight in, “in the Lord”?

 

Now we must make a choice and make the effort to delight in the Lord!  “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”  choose to serve the Lord!  When we choose to serve the Lord, there are many different things about God we can delight in.

 

The first thing that we can delight in is God’s love.  We can take great pleasure just from the simple idea that God loves each and every one of us.  Jesus proved that love for us on the Cross.  Do you want to know how much Jesus loves you?  Look to the Cross and you’ll see!  The prophet Isaiah told all about the love of God in sending Jesus to die for us.

 

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV)

4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

Jesus loved us enough to do that for us! 

 

Surely we can take pleasure (delight) in that love!

 

The next thing about the Lord that we can delight in is his faithfulness.  God is completely faithful to us all the time.  I just want to mention different scriptures that show the faithfulness of God:

 

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

 

2 Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny himself.

 

In scripture, we can see many different ways that God is faithful.  These scriptures just give us a taste of the faithfulness of God.  Just these four scriptures show that God is faithful to call us into fellowship with Jesus, cleanse us from sin, to establish us, to guard us from evil, and to never give up on us . . . even when we may fail.  This is something we can take great delight in!

 

The next thing that we can take delight in are the laws of God.  I’m not talking about the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses), although we can all appreciate the fact that we no longer live under that.  I am talking about the NEW covenant in Jesus.  Paul said  . . .

 

Romans 7:22

For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

 

Up to that point Paul was talking about being captive to sin.  But here he notes that the “law” (the commands of Jesus Christ and what he did for us) set him free from that sin and death.  We can delight in that, too!  

 

Finally, we can take great delight in God’s plan.  From the very beginning, in Genesis, we can see God’s plan for salvation of humankind.  He shows the coming of the Messiah in Genesis 3, where he tells the devil that while he may “bruise the heel” of the Messiah, the Messiah will crush the devil’s head.  We see God’s plan when he brought the Israelites out of Egypt.  We see it when he sent numerous prophets in the Old Testament to warn Israel about its wandering from God. 

We see God’s plan when we see Jesus on the Cross, dying a horrific death to take away the sins of the world.  We see God’s plan in the Great Commission in Matthew 28 where Jesus tells us to preach, baptize, and teach the world about him.  If we look closely and we make the effort to serve God, we will see his plan in our lives today!

 

In conclusion, I urge you to delight in the Lord.  Forget the things of the world, and take great appreciation, pleasure, and delight in the things of God.  Someone once said, “This world can never satisfy our deepest longings, but if we choose to delight in God’s way, he will always provide above and beyond our expectations.”   

 

Let’s live, delighting in the Lord!

 

 

June 1, 2024

 

Four-in-the-Lord Commands

(A mini-sermon series on Psalm 37)

 

“TRUST IN THE LORD”

Psalm 37

 

This is a mini-sermon series inspired from the Psalm writer, David.  In Psalm 37, we are specifically given 4 directives - things we are “to do in the Lord” - in the first 7 verses.  Tonight, we’ll unpack the first directive:  TRUST IN THE LORD.

 

If you have your Bibles, open them to Psalm 37.  I strongly encourage you to add this Psalm to your daily Bible reading, during the month of June!  This is a Psalm of David that starts off by offering encouragement to believers.  He also gives us some instructions on how to live our lives “in the Lord” . . .

 

Psalm 37:1-40 (NKJV)

1 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.  6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.  7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret - it only causes harm.  9 For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.  11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  12 The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth.  13 The Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day is coming.  14 The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct.  15 Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.  16 A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.  17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.  18 The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.  19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.  20 But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the  Lord,  like  the  splendor  of  the  meadows,  shall vanish.  Into smoke they shall vanish away.  21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives.  22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off.  23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.  25 I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.  26 He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.  27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore.  28 For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.  29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.  30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice.  31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.  32 The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him.  33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
nor condemn him when he is judged.  34 Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.  35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree.  36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.  37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.  38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.  39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.  40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.

 

Did you see the four things that David tells us to do, either “in the Lord” or “to the Lord?”  There are other directives for us in this Psalm, and all throughout God’s Word, but these four directives (vs. 3-7) are what I call the 4-in-the-Lord commands!  They are:  1) Trust, 2) Delight, 3) Commit, and 4) Rest.  Over the next four weeks, we are going to examine each of these commands one-by-one.  I want to give you some examples of people who really lived out / illustrated these four statements of things to do “in the Lord” . . . and also see how we can fulfill these directives today.  These are great for e

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