************ Sermon on Psalm 19:7-14 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on October 18, 2015
Psalm 19:7-14; Romans 1:18-22
Before I go on a trip I always load up my Kindle with books by logging on to Amazon.com. A couple of months ago Amazon suggested a book by John Grisham: "Theodore Boone - kid lawyer." This is a children's book. Because a well-written children's book should be able to keep the interest of adults I thought I would give it a try. After reading it, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any of our early teens. But as I was reading it, some things were not making sense. I went back to Amazon and learned I had started with Book 2 in a series of 6 books. So I down-loaded Book 1.
Like Grisham, God has also written a series. Last night we looked at Book 1. This morning we look at Book 2. I want to begin with the Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 2. If you can turn to the hand-out:
How do we come to know God?
We know him by two means:
First, by the creation, preservation, and government
of the universe,
since that universe is before our eyes
like a beautiful book
in which all creatures,
great and small,
are as letters
to make us ponder
the invisible things of God:
his eternal power
and his divinity,
as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.
All these things are enough to convict men
and to leave them without excuse.
Second, he makes himself known to us more openly
by his holy and divine Word,
as much as we need in this life,
for his glory
and for the salvation of his own.
Do you see the two books written by God? The first book is creation revelation. The second book is the Bible. The point is this: God has revealed Himself. We need this revelation of God. Why? Because as the eternal Creator, God is beyond our understanding. Why? Because as Spirit we cannot see Him or touch Him or feel Him. If it wasn't for His self-revelation we wouldn't know Him.
With this in mind let's read Psalm 19 responsively as you see it in the handout ...
I No Innocent People
A We often hear the question, "What happens to the poor, innocent native in Africa or Asia or Australia or South America, who has never had the opportunity to respond to the gospel?" My first answer sometimes shocks people, but it is still true: "Nothing happens to the poor innocent native who has never heard the gospel." You heard me right: Nothing happens to the poor innocent native who has never heard the gospel.
B However, there is another question we should also ask: Is anyone innocent? Is there anyone anywhere in the world who is truly innocent? You know the answer to that -- an answer we find throughout the Bible. There are no innocent people! Ordinary people recognize this when they say, "No one is perfect," and "To err is human." The New Testament puts it this way: "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom 3:10).
C So, everyone is guilty. And, according to Paul, Book 1 leaves them without excuse. No one has an excuse on the last and final day, on the Day of Judgment. No one can say, "I didn't know about you, God." No one can say, "No one told me about you, God." For God has revealed Himself to everyone by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe. Because there is no place where the witness of Book 1 is not heard. Because there is no place where the heavens do not declare the glory of God. Because there is no place where the skies do not proclaim the work of His hands. Because there is no place where God's eternal power and divine nature has not been seen (cf Rom 1:20).
All men know God. Thus all men are without excuse when they reject Him. Thus, God’s wrath is against them. God is not angry with innocent people, but "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Rom 1:18).
Think about this. All men know God. All men are without excuse before God. All men face the wrath of God. Do you see the urgency of telling people about the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you see the urgency of telling family and friends and coworkers the message of redemption? Because without Christ there is no salvation. Without Christ there can only be judgment. So pray; pray that God will use you today to help others see their need for the Savior.
But what about those who don't ever hear about Jesus? What about those who are not confronted with the Gospel? Surely they aren't judged, are they? Surely they have an excuse, don't they? Someone asked me this on a bike ride. The cyclist who asked me has a daughter who knows a young man. The young man is a Muslim. He is the nicest guy you can possibly meet. Surely a nice guy like him is not going to hell, is he?
What does the Bible say about nice guys, and everyone else for that matter? The Bible says "no one seeks for God" (Rom 3:11). And, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom 3:10). Everyone knows there is a God but they don't seek and worship the one only true God Who has revealed Himself by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe. Instead, they suppress the truth and exchange it for a lie (Rom 1:18,25). General revelation is enough to leave them "without excuse" (Rom 1:20).
II The Need for Book Two
A Do you notice the limits of general revelation? It does not tell us that God is Redeemer. It does not tell us the Gospel. There is no revelation of grace and mercy in general revelation.
I like how John Calvin states this. The knowledge of God in general revelation is law, not gospel. It leaves no excuse, but it does not save; it convicts, but does not convert. For this, we need book two -- God's special revelation, the Gospel.
B In talking about God's creation revelation, the psalm uses the general name, El, for God in verse 1. In celebrating God's self-revelation in His Word the psalm uses God's covenant name, Yahweh. It then explores the blessings of what Yahweh has revealed in His Word.
The psalmist mentions God's laws, God's statues, God's precepts, God's commands, and God's ordinances. Notice, all of these are words for commandments. Telling us what? Telling us God does not give us advice. He tells us and our society what He demands.
Let me emphasize that last point: God tells our society what He demands. I need to emphasize this because of what is said by two kingdom theology. Two kingdom theology says God's Word is only for believers. Do you see what this does to the church's witness to our culture? We have nothing to say about the social evils of the day. We have nothing to say about abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, AIDS, divorce, and so on.
C So what does book two say to us? Or, what does book two do for us? It revives the soul (vs 7). The book of nature is not able to do this. But, by the Spirit of God, the Word of God is able to restore or convert the soul.
The Word of God makes wise the simple (vs 7b). We say with Proverbs 1:7 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But natural man foolishly ignores and suppresses the truth about God.
The Word of God gives joy to the heart (vs 8a). In mind here is the joy of knowing the Savior. In mind here is the joy of forgiveness and the joy of salvation. In mind here is the joy of being released from our bondage to sin, death, and Satan.
The Word of God gives light to the eyes (vs 8b). God blurs no issues. He doesn't waffle and waver. He doesn't change. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. We don't have to make guesses about His will. By way of contrast, the revelation given in most other religions is not dependable. For instance, there are many passages in the Koran suggesting that Islam's Allah is not finally knowable -- that he can choose whatever characteristics he wants to have and therefore no one can have a true knowledge of his character and his ways.
The Word of God leads to righteousness and purity (vs 9). When we read this in the Hebrew we see a connection to the message of Leviticus and its call to be clean and holy like God Himself.
God has revealed Himself. He doesn't leave us in darkness. He doesn't leave us guessing. He has revealed as much as we need in this life, for His glory and for the salvation of his own.
So what? What should happen? What should be the result? Like David, we should turn to the living God in confession, dedication, and trust.
"Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from wilful sins; may they not rule over me." That's what David says in verses 12 & 13. It is critical that we ask God to use His Word to reveal our hidden faults so that we may live righteously before Him. This should be the all encompassing desire of each and every one of us. Contrast this with what I saw in the paper this past week:
In New Hartford, New York, two teenage brothers were brutally beaten in church -- one of them fatally -- in an effort by their parents, sister and other members of the congregation to force them to confess their sins and seek forgiveness.We don't beat confessions out of anyone. We leave that up to the Word and Spirit.
The two boys, ages 19 and 17, were pounded with fists at the Word of Life Church when a "counseling session" turned violent. Both brothers were subjected to physical punishment over the course of several hours, in hopes that each would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness.
The parents were charged with manslaughter.
Neighbors said the congregation's secretive ways made them suspicious.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." This is how David ends the psalm. Remember this prayer. Like David, seek to make all the words of your mouth and all the thoughts of your mind pleasing in the sight of God. Not some of your words. Not some of your thoughts. People who have been revived and restored and converted by the Word and Spirit seek to make every thought and every word captive to Christ (cf 2 Cor 10:5).
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