August 14, 2016

Five Essentials From Psalm Five

Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Summer in the Psalms Scripture: Psalm 5:1–12


Five Essentials From Psalm Five

Psalm 5:1-12
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Pastor Randy Smith


Have you been enjoying the summer Olympics? It's been exciting to watch the women's gymnastics. And how about the swimming events? Is Michael Phelps incredible or what? We are able to witness the greatest swimmer the world has ever seen.

They say the man's body is built to be a swimmer. Yet what always amazes me is the immense dedication that still he has devoted to the sport. We see the tip of the iceberg during the races, but hidden beneath the water (no pun intended) is the time and energy and commitment he must have put forth on a regular basis. Perhaps most remarkable is that he has done it with great success now in five Olympics!

Yet imagine with me how successful the man would have been if he failed to properly execute the most fundamental and basic skills? Let's says his head position was perfect and fingers cupped and breathing sequenced and body hair removed and goggles rightly fitted, yet he didn't want to move his arms and legs. Obviously he wouldn't be that successful after all. An Olympic champion? Actually, we couldn't even call him a swimmer.

I'm afraid that this very scenario can also happen in the Christian life. We have heard about the essentials, but so often we simply forget or ignore them. We still call ourselves a Christian. We might still heed the details. But the things that are most important could be nearly nonexistent. Then we wonder why our Christians lives are unsuccessful and feel like failures.

This morning I'd like to approach Psalm 5 a little different than my typical exposition. I'd to be direct and candid. I'd like to simply take five principles mentioned in this Psalm and perhaps introduce some of you and remind the rest of you of five non-negotiable necessities for the Christian life. I am calling this sermon, "Five Essentials from Psalm Five."

1. Expect Heartache

Number one, "Expect Heartache." In verse 1 David says, "Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning."

My friends, you need to humbly accept the fact that life will be difficult. Pain is part of living in this fallen world. People will hurt you. Your body will fail you. There are things you want that you will not get. There are things you don't want that you will receive. You will meet various disappointments each day! The Bible repeatedly promises us that this will be the case. Acts 14:22, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."

Therefore we don't invent a heretical theology that promises Christians health, wealth and prosperity. That's called heaven. And we also don't process like an unbeliever as if there is no God regarding the trials we face either.

You see, Scripture promises trials and Scripture also tells us how to respond to our trials. James 1:2, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." Why? The verses continues, "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (Jas. 1:3-4).

God permits trials in our lives so that they may refine us. If the goal of Christian living is Christlikeness in us, trials burn away the impurities whereby the reflection of the Master Goldsmith is more clearly seen within us in time.

Therefore we do all things "without complaint" (1 Pet. 4:9). We are "anxious for nothing" (Phil. 4:6). We have "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension" (Phil. 4:7). We "rejoice always; pray without ceasing; [and] in everything give thanks" (1 Thes. 5:16-18).

The pain we experience is real. We do not deny that. David in Psalm 5 was "groaning." Yet deep down inside we know God is working to make us more like Himself. We trust that He is wise, sovereign and loving with what He has permitted in our lives. We trust His grace is sufficient for our situation. And we trust "that God [is causing] all things to work together for good" (Rom. 8:28).

Like the unbeliever, we experience pain. Unlike the unbeliever, we continue to bear the fruits of the Spirit (such as kindness, joy, self-control and peace) regardless of our circumstances. We persevere. When we suffer we have hope. When we suffer we act like followers of Jesus Christ holding to the great promise in line with our greatest desire that we are being made more like Jesus Christ Himself.

2. Do Devotions

The second essential is the need to "Do Your Daily Devotions." In verses 2-3 David said, "Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." When David was groaning, the first thing he does in verses 1-3 is pray. Is that how we respond to our trials?

Where I want to go with this is the essential need for Christians to be in the Bible and in prayer on a daily basis. So let me just simply ask you the question. How are you doing in this area?

Prayer is us talking to God. The Bible is God talking to us. Without this interaction on a daily basis, you are failing to prioritize and cultivate your relationship with Christ. You will lack spiritual food. You will lack spiritual protection. You will lack direction. You will lack faith. You will lack encouragement. Simply put, you will not succeed as a Christian.

What you read in your Bible each day, how long you read your Bible each day and when in the day you read your Bible is up to you. By the way you can see David in this Psalm did it in the morning. If the only time you read is at night it makes little sense to put on your spiritual armor and then go to sleep. Overall the essential and crucial point is this. Are you on a daily basis praying and spending time in the Word? If not, you are failing and will fail as a Christian.

I would never do it, but I would love to randomly call out professing Christians in this church, have you come up to the platform, put a Bible in your hands and have you tell us what the Lord taught you in the past couple days during your daily devotions. I am not talking about a Facebook post you saw or a sermon you heard or a card you read or even a "Grace Quote." I am talking about daily disciplined, concentrated and purposeful reading of the Bible whereby you can articulate to someone else what you just learned.

3. Hate Sin

I am calling the third essential, "Hate Sin." Here is what David said in verses 4-6 and verses 9-10. "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit… There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; by their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against You."

Let me be very clear on this third essential. God hates sin. And lest we water down the verse, it's not that God hates sin, but loves the sinner as so many are quick to say. Look again at verse 5. "You hate all who do inequity." Apart from the forgiveness offered in Christ, all without the Savior are, Romans 1:18, under "the wrath of God." In relation to sin, Paul says in Colossians 3:6 that "the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience."

So why does God hate sin? Because, verse 4, "No evil dwells within [Him]. God is perfectly holy. His commands are a direct reflection of His character. To violate God's commands is as David said at the end of verse 10, direct rebellion against God.

Yet God in His love and mercy sent Christ to take sin upon Himself and bring complete forgiveness to all who receive Him on the basis of faith. Romans 5:9, "We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him [Christ]."

And if you are in Christ Jesus, always remember that He, the perfectly holy one, took on sin and suffered immensely so that the consequence for your sins might be removed. Because of your sin, He faced the wrath that you deserved. So how can you not hate sin while knowing full-well your Father's hatred for it and knowing full-well the cost your Savior paid because of it?

As Jesus told the forgiven adulteress, "Go. From now on sin no more" (Jn. 8:11). The essential goal of our lives is to love God. And when we love God we will love His holiness. And we show a love for His holiness by pursuing holiness, by recognizing, confessing and repenting of our sin.

All too often we see the church no different than the world committing the same sins. And worse, we see the church enjoying the same sins in their conversations, lifestyles and entertainment choices. How can we take pleasure in something that would have sent us to hell? How can we take pleasure in something that nailed our Savior to the cross?

Through prayer, are you asking the Lord to reveal sin in your heart? Is God showing you sin as you study the Bible? Are you grieved over your sin? Are you more grieved over your sin than angered over the sins of others around you? Do you hate your sin? Do you hate your sin not primarily because of the consequences, but because you love God? Are you confessing your sin? Are you turning from your sin with the sufficient grace God provides? This is repentance. This is a Christian essential!

4. Cultivate Relationship

The fourth essential I am calling, "Cultivate Relationship." In other words, is your Christian life just going through the motions or is it ultimately flowing from a genuine, intimate and robust relation with God? Listen to what David said in verses 7 and 8. "But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me."

Did you hear how personal David's prayer was? Are there any relationships you find more satisfying or appreciate more deeply than your relationship with the living God? Are you doing everything you can on your end to cultivate that relationship? God is always doing His part. Are you doing yours?

Consider again the words of David in Psalm 5. His words are spoken with confidence in a relationship that he over time had built and nurtured with God. He didn't just know about God. He really knew God.

Look at what he said in verses 7-8. Can you say the same? Verse 7, How would you speak of God's "abundant lovingkindness"? How do you enter "[God's] house" and come into His presence? How do you "bow in reverence" before Him? Verse 8, How is God presently leading you? How is God "making [His] way straight before [you]? Do you have answers for these simple biblical questions? You see, you need an ongoing relationship with God. A Christian in name only has no answers to these personal questions.

It comes down to the heart. Do you really understand the love that God has for you? Do you really understand how much He wants a personal relationship with you? Do you want that kind of relationship with Him? Do you really love Him? Are you content with Him on the shelf only to save you from hell and come to your aid when you are going through a hairy situation? Or do you want Him? Do you only want the gifts He brings or do you mainly want the Giver Himself?

The greatestcommand? Matthew 22:37, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart." We initially that by coming to Christ. That means we surrender everything to Him. It's living no longer for yourself, but totally for His glory. It's wanting to please Him in all things. It's cheerful obedience. It's committed discipleship. It's acknowledging Christ's lordship. It's childlike faith in a heavenly Father that cares for you. And it's maintaining that relationship by staying in union with Him through the spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, serving and evangelism.

Right now as we speak, how deep is your relationship with God?

5. Disciple Children

Let me provide one more essential of the Christian life. As parents, we need to make sure that we are discipling our children. Let me be as clear as I possibly can. Nothing is more important in the life of your child than to be sure that his or her soul is with the Lord. Can you even imagine the thought for a second, parent, that your child could be separated from you one day eternally in hell? So much energy is devoted to college choices and career pursuits and athletic, artistic and academic accomplishments and wedding plans and the list continues. And all of this is important, but nothing is more important than the spiritual soul of your child.

So parents, where are your children with the Lord? I am not asking if they come to church or even profess Jesus. The demons believe in Jesus and thousands of unbelievers will be attending churches all over America this morning. I am asking you where is there heart with the Lord? Do they have an interest to read their Bibles? Are they engaged in a ministry at the church? Are they reading any Christian literature or listening to any Christian music? Are they posting anything about their faith on social media? Have they memorized Scripture lately? Do they enjoy being with other Christian kids? Would they come to church without your prodding? Are they telling any of their friends about the Savior? As Jesus said, the fruit reveals the nature of the tree. Based on the fruit, is Jesus Christ really number one in their lives?

If not, parents, you need to be trembling. There is a crisis going on in your homes that needs immediate and prioritized attention. You need to be on your knees in prayer. You need to be an example for Christ. You need to possibly reevaluate the priorities your family has established.

The evil one is aiming both barrels at your child. Protect them all you want. Many of his attacks are unavoidable. And the day will come when you won't be able to protect them any longer. Parents, it is not the Youth Group; it is your primary responsibility to disciple your children. You must have a strong faith yourself and then you must pass it on to them.

That means that God is more than Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. That means there is an organized family time around the Word. That means you are living as a good example of Christ. That means you are committed to spending quantity time with them instructing and disciplining as commanded in Scripture both in the formal and informal situations that repeatedly come your way. That means you are adorning the Gospel by showing them love and forgiveness and joy and a strong marriage with your spouse. That means that you are listening to them more than you are speaking to them to hear what they are hearing and process what they are processing about life in an effort to help them to see everything from a biblical worldview.

Let me change some pronouns and personalize what David said in verses 11-12. I want our children to be able to sing like this. "[I] take refuge in You [and will] be glad, [I will] ever sing for joy; may You shelter [me], [I] love Your name [and will] exult in You. For it is You who blesses [me], O LORD, You surround [me] with favor as with a shield." If my children can sing that, everything else, as important as it may be is only icing on the cake. I want to sing that and I want all of you to sing like that as well!

So we could list others, but there are five essentials of the Christian life. If we are failing in these, it's like trying to swim without using our arms or legs.

I know many of you know much of what I said this morning. But my question to you is this, are you doing these essentials? We need periodic check-ups. One, are you dealing with trials in a biblical way that honors Christ wanting more than anything else to be more like Jesus? Two, are you in prayer and reading your Bible daily whereby you can specifically tell someone else what you are learning? Three, do you love God and hate sin whereby you acknowledge, confess and repent of sin? Four, are you cultivating your relationship with God whereby it is personal, intimate and deep? Five, are you loving your children enough to disciple them that they might find their ultimate joy in Christ.

It is God's will for all of you in Christ to succeed in these areas. Aim for the gold because God's grace is sufficient to make all of you winners!


other sermons in this series

Aug 28


When God Seems Distant

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Psalm 6:1–10 Series: Summer in the Psalms

Aug 7


Benefits For The Godly

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Psalm 4:1–8 Series: Summer in the Psalms

Jul 31


Confused And Assured

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Psalm 3:1–8 Series: Summer in the Psalms