Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on August 16, 2015
Open your Bibles to Psalm 6. Today we continue or series from the book of Psalms. Before we begin, I want to remind you that these Psalms are worship songs for the nation of Israel. Because of that we can this is God's hymnal, due to these Psalm being the inspired word of God. With this in mind, it is interesting how lament oriented these worship songs are. They are not necessary the upbeat dance mix that some Church's tend to use. Perhaps many of you have already noticed this, but many of these Psalms come from a place of brokenness. They are songs of desperation, and I find it interesting that God uses these times of brokenness to reveal himself. Today is another example of this. With that said, let us read out text, pray, and examine God's Word.
Once again we have before us a Psalm of King David; King David who defeated lions, bears, and Goliath; King David who had songs sung about him of killing ten thousands; King David who led a nation and secured it borders on all sides. King David who ushered in the greatest days of historical Israel. King David who was potentially the most manly man of the Bible, yet in today’s text we see a different picture of David. We see a man who is an emotional wreck. We see a man who says in verse 6, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” The old adage of “real men don’t cry” does not apply to David, for he was a mess. What broke this seemingly powerful, successful leader of a nation down to a puddle of tears? It was the sorrow of his sin.
In verse 1 we see David cry out to the Lord, “rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.” David is acknowledging his wrong doing before the Lord. He knows he deserves God's correction, but is hopeful God's rebuke comes, not from God's anger, but from God's love. His hope was that he would be punished as a child of God, not an enemy of God.
We are not sure what sins were on the mind of David when he wrote these words, but we can all recognize that he was a sinner. As we have said he was an adulterous murderer. In fact it is interesting that he now sheds these tear upon a bed, for it was his bed that was a common venue for the sins of his lustful heart. His actions have now come full circle and his sin has become his sorrow. This Psalm is a window into David’s recognition that he deserves rebuking, that he deserves discipline.
Clarity in Brokenness
How did David get to this point of recognizing his sin? Staying within our text, it appears from verses 7 and 8 it is due to the pursuit of his foes, his enemies, and workers of evil. It is in the midst of this circumstance that he cries out.
Who were these foes, we do not know specifically, but we do know that David’s foes were many. In Psalm 2 David’s foes were the nations. In Psalm 3 it was his third son, Absalom. Perhaps in this situation it was King Saul. For those who are unfamiliar with the stories, King Saul passionately hated David. Saul spent the end of his days attempting to kill David at all costs. Or perhaps the foes David now speaks of are the schemes of Satan, the cosmic powers, the spiritual forces that stood against him and the nation of Israel.
No matter whom these foes were, David’s circumstances caused him to reflect upon his right standing before God. In fact, the brokenness of his life caused him to think about the afterlife. Look at verse 5, “For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” Sheol is the residence of the dead. The New Testament equivalent is the word Hades. Everyone who died prior to Christ’s resurrection went to Sheol. Perhaps the best description of Sheol is by Christ himself in Luke 16 discussing the rich man and Lazarus. Upon Christ victory on the cross, the elect who had already died were taken out of Sheol and ushered into the presence of God. For us today, because we live on the others side of the cross do not go to Sheol, but into the presence of God, where we wait for the day of judgment.
For today, what is important is not the logistics of Sheol, but that David's starts to dwell upon death. I think each of us can relate to this to some degree. I commonly say that in brokenness there is clarity. And by that I mean that when tragedy strikes the insignificant things in this world fade away and you dwell upon things that truly matter, like eternity. We see this in our own lives and in the lives of others. We also see it Biblically.
The first person we tend to think of when thinking about suffering is Job. In the midst of his tragedies that many of us can't even imagine he cried to the Lord. But there are others. For example, Jonah in the belly of the whale said in Jonah 2:7, “When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.“ Then there is the thief on the cross, as he stared death in the face he cried out to Christ in Luke 23:42, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
When difficult time or even death comes knocking, our inner knowledge of God comes to the surface and in those moments we tend to recognize what is important in light of eternity and we cry out to God. Why is this? It is because the brokenness of this world breaks us, and in those moments we are humbled. And despite the pain, this is a good place for each one of us to be, humbled before the Lord.
Broken and Contrite
In perhaps one of David's most well know Psalms, Psalm 51, which is the Psalm he wrote regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, he writes this in verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
As we stated last week, God is a Holy, Holy, Holy and his power and his worth and his wisdom and his majesty is beyond our comprehension. Yet we so often approach him with arrogance our our breath, and when we do so we approach with great risk for Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” God desires us to approach him with a humble hearts. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
One way that God does this is through our circumstances. In fact, the apostle Paul knew this reality very well. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul says this about the circumstances of his life, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.“ So just like David, God allow the circumstances of Paul's life to put him in a proper relationship with the Lord.
In fact, many times I pray for brokenness in people's life, not because I desire to people to suffer, but because I want them to have their eyes open to the realities of God. I want God to rip the things of this world out of their hands so that they dwell upon eternity, so that they dwell upon Him. I want them to walk in the valley of the shadow of death, so that they would feel the rod and staff of the Lord our Shepherd.
For David, this is exactly what happened. His circumstances that caused him to feel the weight of God's hand for his sin, also caused him to cry out to God in the midst of his pain. The proper posture before God was in fact achieved, and God was glorified through David's pleas. And we are told in verse 8 that God heard the sound of David's cries.
Now it should be noted that this does not always happen. Not everyone who stares death in the face repents and cries out to God. Some do and some don't. For example, two figures who dealt with brokenness wrongly were Pharaoh and Judas. Pharaoh, upon losing his first born son initially let Israel leave Egypt, but his decision was short term, for he pursued them to his death at the bottom of the red sea. Likewise, Judas, upon feel grief after betraying Jesus returned the money, but did not flea to Jesus, but instead fled to the grave by taking his own life. Why is this? Why does David cry out to God and find peace, but others do not? The answers lies in what type of grief you have.
However a Godly sorrow has a different effect upon the heart of man. First of all, Godly sorrow is not a product of circumstances, as I said earlier, it is a product of God. God is the one who places his hand upon your heart so that you feel the weight of your sins before a Holy God. There are several verses that express this reality. One example is when Peter is preaching to the Sanhedrin, a group that did not appear to feel any grief for their actions
Having said that, we must recognize that this gift, at times, comes through the instruments of his servants. When evil is on display, the role of the servant of the Lord is to gently correct, not to ignore the sin. It is through this correction that God's spirit may or may not blow into the person's life.
Servant's of the Lord
One fantastic example of this involves David himself in 2 Samuel 12, when the Prophet Nathan confronts David of his sin with Bathsheba.
Cornerstone, we are Nathan. We have been sent into this world to cry out repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. In the midst of evil and sin that so greatly surrounds us, we must not ignore it, but with gentleness correct the sinner, in hopes that God would give them a heart of repentance.
Without Godly grief, no one will find life. Repentance must occur before the truth of Christ can be received. So often Christians, due to their timidity, or lack of Biblical knowledge leave out the need for repentance when sharing the gospel. They leave out the wrath and judgment of God that hangs above the sinner. When you do this, disciples are not made, Judases are.
Let us be like John the Baptist who was sent to preach repentance, not the health and wealth Gospel. Let us heed the call and preach the true Gospel, let us be like Nathan who loved God and loved David enough to tell him the truth.
The Sufficiency of Christ
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on April 5, 2015.
As everyone knows, today is Easter. Easter is the celebration of the singular greatest day in all of history. No day compares to what took place 2000 years ago when Jesus’ disciples went to the Garden were they had laid his body and found the stone rolled away, and they heard from the lips of Angels, “He is not here, but has risen.” In those words lie all hope.
Some of you who sit here today, have “celebrated” Easter in your entire life, however you have never CELEBRATED Easter. Your celebration up to this point has been vanity, for you have not been struck in your heart by the words “He is not here, but has risen.” You have yet to experience the full and complete weight of that reality as it relates to you eternity.
To grasp the hope found in the resurrection, we must understand death. Death exists because sin exists. This is crucial to understand. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” Therefore, when kids ask, why do people die? The answer is because it is God’s punishment for our sin. It is the penalty for our rebellion. It is the consequence for rejecting the Author of Life.
The next question is where did this sin come from? It came into the world through the first man, Adam.
What is interesting is that the first thing that physically died on this planet was not Adam or Eve. Yes, they died eventually, but not immediately. The first creature that died is found in Genesis 3:21.
From that point on we begin to see a pattern of animal sacrifices begin.
Why is this important? Why should you care about the animal sacrifice in garden , the lamb sacrifice of Abel, the ram sacrifice of Abraham, the Passover lamb sacrifice for Egypt, the consecration sacrifice of the Priest, and the yearly sacrifice on the Day of Atonement? The reason is because of Hebrews 10:1.
The Day of Atonement is just a symbol, it is an outline of the true object. This is also true for the Passover Lamb, the ram of Abraham, the lamb of Abel and the sacrifice in the Garden of Eden. Each of these things are a form of a greater reality. What is this greater reality? What is this good thing to come?
Single Offering of the Body
It is the good news of Jesus Christ. Look at verse 5, “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me.” The good thing, the true substance, the object that cast the shadow is the body of Jesus Christ. This is why John the Baptist says in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus is object that cast the shadow that we see in the Garden, with Abel, with Abraham, with Moses, and with Israel. All of these shadows point to the substance of the single offering of the body of Jesus Christ.
This is the reason why Jesus came to earth...to die. He did not come to be a good moral teacher, or to lead a conservative political party. The Son of the Living God left the glory in Heaven to be the single sacrifice for all of humanity, to have his flesh torn apart and to bleed out so as to cover the shame of wretchedness, to die in our place, to cause death to Passover you, to atone for our sins.
And the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross is not like the shadow that was cast before it. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God has power. Jesus accomplished what no sacrifice accomplished before. The sacrifices of the shadow could not perfect those who draw near. This is why year after year after year these sacrifices of Israel continued, because they didn’t work. Look at verse 4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.“ This was not their purpose. Their purpose is to point to Christ, for it is only the blood of Jesus that can take away our sins.
Perfected for All Time
Look with me at verse 12-14, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Let’s read it one more time and let these words sink in.
Once again, we see a single sacrifice. The death of Jesus happened one time and one time only. It is blasphemy to say that Jesus is sacrificed over and over again. What did Jesus do after he offered his body for sin? He sat down. Now compare this to verse 11, “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” But when Christ offers his body, instead of continueing to stand, what does he do? He sits down. Why?
Because when Jesus offered himself the work was completed. It was done. There was nothing left to do to pay for your sins. The blood of Christ was sufficient to pay your debt to God. This is why Jesus cries out “It is finished” right before he dies on the cross. He had accomplished what he set out to do.
Which is what? To perfect you. Verse 14, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” It is by the single offering of the body of Christ that you go from sinner to sinless. 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” It is not our blood and sweat that takes away sin. It is only the blood of Jesus that has this power. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” It is the blood of Christ that provides redemption, that provides forgiveness. It is grace alone. Romans 3:23, “or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The one and only way that you are justified before God is through redemption that is found in the blood of Jesus. There is no other way to deal with your sin issue. The body of Christ is the only solution, He is your only hope, and his body is sufficient to pay for all your sins.
Why is this important? It is important because some of you have been taught by false teachers. Some of you have sat in a religion that does not preach and teach Hebrews 10, 1 John 1, Ephesians 1, Romans 3. You have been wrongly taught that Jesus sacrifice was necessary, but that it was not sufficient.
Do you hear the difference? Necessary and sufficient are not the same words. There difference makes all the difference. You have been wrongly taught that you have to atone for some of your own sins; you have been wrongly taught that Jesus’ blood didn’t perfect you for all time; you were wrongly taught that you have not been justified by grace. Instead you were told that you have to perform some penance to absolve you from your sins, whether that be hail Mary’s, the Lord’s Prayer, communion, confession, church attendance, etc. The Bible speaks of none of these things having the power to pay for your sin. No sacrifice that you perform can pay the debt that you owe God. The bible is abundantly clear that it is Christ alone; so stop attempting to earn your forgiveness, for you can’t. Instead find refuge in the single sacrifice of Christ
The Resurrection is the Proof
So what does this have to do with the resurrection? How is the empty tomb connected to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ on the cross? Everything.
No legitimate scholar debates the life of Jesus. It is almost universally excepted that Jesus existed. It is not a question of his existence. The question is, “Is He the Lamb of god who comes to take away the sin of the world.” That is what each one of you have to determine. Who do you say that Jesus is?
If his bones lie in a tomb, then eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, but if he has risen, and He has overcome our greatest problem, death, then I encourage you to listen to what he has to say.
The Lord’s Supper
Today we will celebrate the sufficiency of the body of Christ by remembering what he has done for us by eating bread and drinking juice.
This table is open to every follower of Christ. However, if you have not turned and placed your faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, then this table is not for you. However, I pray that by the Grace of God someday it will be.