The Biblical Doctrine of God’s Absolute Sovereignty

I used to have some serious authority issues, I was in rebellion against everything. So basically I was in rebellion against God…as I came to realize. Once God brought me to Biblical Salvation @ 35 there was a lot of rebellion to undo. It was a process but I came to understand that if I was surrendering to the authority of Jesus Christ / God The Father / The Holy Spirit, then I had to surrender to all authority that the Triune God has willed.

I also came to understand that if it happens, The Triune God has willed it. This means that if any kind of authority that exists, God has willed it… HARD REALITY!

Where we left off last week…

12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

  • Pete is going to give us some specifics about ‘Living Properly’ (James-like)
  • Living as Christ calls us to will bring Honor to God: PRIORITY # 1

Ch 2:13-25 NLT

13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

  • Peter says: Christ is THE REASON to do what I am about to tell you to do..
  • Submit to ALL Authority, this is everything.
  • Government / Education / Military / Family / Occupation / Sports / Associations
  • Even Jesus Christ’s Church!
  • Top of the food chain of earthly authority: KING… For us it is the president…
  • Rulers (in theory) are enforcers of God’s morality / justice (sin corrupted 2 Max)

15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

  • God wants the truth of your life to disprove accusations against your character
  • Satan is ‘The accuser of the brethren’ BUT… God knows the truth
  • You don’t defend yourself, you let your life speak for you against accusers
  • You have freedom from accusation, but don’t get proud… (serious prob 4 me)
  • Never forget that you are owned, bought and paid for, so remember who’s boss
  • Don’t abuse God’s grace (Romans 6:1-2)
  • Respect all and LOVE God’s family
  • Respect and Love are not the same thing
  • Fear (as used here) is the ultimate level of respect

18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.

  • “All Respect’ same word used in the verse 17 pertaining to God (reverent fear)
  • If you are under authority where you don’t have full freedom…STILL Submit
  • Followers of Christ are to submit to authority regardless of it’s righteousness
  • Conscious of His will means: ‘It is happening so It is God’s will’
  • God’s Spirit teaches us God’s is pleased when we surrender to His sovereignty
  • Not conditional sovereignty… ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY

20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

  • God saying: Like V. 16; God will handle your PR when you obey HIM
  • Don’t look for accolades ‘suffering 4 Christ’ when you did wrong!
  • Don’t abuse God’s Grace! (Taking forgiveness for granted) spiritual entitlement
  • As Christ’s followers we are to ‘do good’ even if it causes us to suffer
  • We are to suffer because HE suffered
  • Follow in His Steps…be covered by the dust of your Rabbi

22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.[Isaiah 53:9] 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

  • Here are specifics of the example Christ is to us:
  • Perfect Holiness & Perfect Integrity: Difficult Goal! (Don’t lower the standard)
  • He had the ability to retaliate… He certainly could have enacted revenge..
  • Why? Because HE Submitted 100% to God the Father… left ALL in His hands
  • Christ surrendered completely to His Father’s will, showing us how to do it!

24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

  • God (Christ) submitted as a person bearing the weight of all sin on the cross
  • Dying for OUR sin in OUR place so we could live for the opposite of SIN
  • His death brings about our eternal life (gratitude prevents grace abuse)
  • Those called by Christ were once far from God, but that is no longer the case
  • Shepherd & Guardian = Leading and Protecting


Our entire lives are to be ‘For Christ’s Sake’.

Surrender to Christ = Submission to ALL authority structures.

Living as Christ’s slaves means not abusing God’s grace exercising our freedom.

Submission goes all the way to oppression, and even then trusting God is in charge.

Don’t confuse suffering for your bad choices / sin with suffering on behalf of God.

Christ is our example of fully submitting to God’s sovereign authority structures.


What is something you are going to change in your life ‘For The Lord’s Sake’?

Are you aware of ‘Grace Abuse’ in your life? How do you react when you discover it?

What keeps you from living as though all authority structures are there because God has put them there?

What circumstances cause you to rebel against authority instead of following Christ’s example?




Christ’s Followers are Called to an Eternal Building Project

Great Passage today, the focus is on some of my ‘Obsessions’: Christ’s Centrality in Life / Discipleship / Unity / Scripture / Identity ‘IN Christ”. This is kind of a recruitment letter for ‘The eternal building project’

Peter, ‘The Stone’ is going to talk about buildings made of living stones that are all being built on the perfect foundation / cornerstone. Key idea is that we are always to be building, the structure is never completed. Christ’s Kingdom (God can mean anything in our world) is always being built. That building is the transforming of lives. Every day people are transformed by God. He makes us into suitable materials. Strong, yet malleable.

You are the building material that God is building the structure of HIS kingdom with. Do you see your self as a Kingdom builder? I believe every believer is called to build. It is much easier to maintain than to build. Jesus never said: maintain my kingdom. In this letter Peter says: build, because christ told him the HE was going to build. Peter is describing this building project. What he is going to call Christ’s followers to:

We are called to live apart from evil behavior, and instead we are to passionately pursue a lifestyle of spiritual growth. God wants to build us into a sacrificial community, a temple of ‘Living Stones’ AKA Christ’s Body! We are to live in obedience to the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, recognizing Him as ‘Lord of All’. We are to be transformed into God’s own possession and make that our identity. In this transformed life we are outsiders in this world, we don’t embracing it’s values because this is not our home

Where we left off… Ch 1:23-25

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living Word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.

Ch 2:1-12
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

  • We have eternal life in Christ, SO… We live differently…
  • What this looks like is the intentional, active rejection of all such behavior
  • This large group of evil behaviors has the same source: Rebellion against God!
  • We all participate in one or more of these behaviors (behavior modification)
  • Getting rid of evil behavior is an ongoing process (attitude adjustment)

2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

  • THIS is how you get rid of the sin: FOCUS ON DISCIPLESHIP
  • Newborns are single minded: THEY WANT MILK!
  • We have to grow into what God wants us to be, we need fuel (discipleship)
  • Spiritual Milk is the application of scripture
  • When you grow spiritually it makes you want to grow more

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple.

  • Are coming…being built on.
  • When we come to Christ HE is what our life is built on
  • Mankind rejected Jesus while He was on earth, God instead exalted Him!
  • Each believer is part of the structure God is building (YOU are essential)
  • TOGETHER We become a Temple / Body… Only happens in unity

What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

  • God is building us into ‘Set Apart Servants’
  • Empowered by Christ to live sacrificially in ways that please God (scripture led)

6 As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

  • Peter quoting Isaiah 28:16 from the greek O.T. (Septuagint Version)

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” NIV

  • Peter here is building on the authority of previous revelation / scripture
  • In Jerusalem is where Christ died (Christ dying for sin: a foundation of our faith)
  • When a foundation is trusted you build upon it. The cornerstone is key
  • Biblical Salvation is trusting Christ to build your entire life upon
  • If we do this we are rightly related to God (as HE has commanded)

7 Yes, you who trust Him… (You) recognize the honor God has given Him.

  • To know Christ is to trust Christ…to trust Christ is to know Christ
  • He is saying: ‘You get it!” (God enabled faith = Biblical Faith)
  • True Christians recognize Jesus as God by how they live!

But for those who reject Him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

Psalm 118:19-23 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord. These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

  • Peter is guiding us to understand who Christ is (rejected death was planned)
  • The builders rejected the the very foundation of what was being built
  • You have to build on the cornerstone! HIS Kingdom built on HIS cornerstone

‘But for those who reject Him’: 2nd scripture reference (tying OT & Christ together)
8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

  • Isaiah 8:14 God’s warning to HIS people to recognize God and not go along with ‘this people’
  • The incarnation of Yahweh would not be recognized by the ‘ruling authorities’
  • Same as then; it applies to each person who is confronted with Christ
  • Obeying God’s Word = Believing in the Messiah who is Jesus, who is God
  • Disobeying Christ call to surrender your life to Him is ‘The Ultimate Stumble’
  • It is a stumble into an eternal separation of the ONE SOURCE of all good
  • The fate: eternal separation from The Creator of everything

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

  • This letter written to ‘God’s Chose People’ 1st Peter 1:1 God’s Sovereignty
  • We have been invited into an active building project; we have a role to play!
  • (Royal Priests) This is a one of a kind fellowship of making sacrifices
  • (Holy Nation) A people group God sets apart as HIS
  • (God’s Own) Inclusion into something that is beyond our understanding
  • And because we are HIS we get the privilege of reflecting Christ’s goodness
  • Our testimony, what we wittiness to is HIS calling us to come from death to life
  • We all come from darkness, if you don’t acknowledge that you are still there…

10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

  • Quoting the Book of Hosea 1: 9-2:23 (Peter is obsessed with Scripture)
  • With Christ as the Cornerstone of your life God declares you as HIS
  • You are who He says you are: HIS CHILD!
  • Hosea 2:23 End of story God: called Israel ‘Not my People’ because of sin…
  • The ultimate mercy is God’s mercy, there is nothing better in all creation!

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

  • In light of THIS MERCY… How shall we live?
  • It begins with the attitude of ‘This is not my Home’ so I don’t embrace ‘the world’
  • We are to fight against desires to consume & embrace the things of this world!
  • Various souls are at stake!

12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

  • What is live properly? (many examples in this letter)
  • To ‘Live Properly’ for Christ’s followers has always meant: Based on Scripture

What Jesus Christ’s Church is to do…

We are to reject evil behavior and instead pursue a lifestyle of spiritual growth!

We are being built into a sacrificial community, a living monument: Christ’s Body!

We are to continue in obedience to Christ’s Lordship based on Scripture!

We are to live out the identity of being God’s own possession and let it transform us!

We are to live without embracing the desires of this world, this is not our home!

Application Questions:

What are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to promote spiritual growth?
Are you part of your church like a stone is part of a wall? How can you change that?
What’s the relationship between obedience to God’s Word & your identity in Christ?
How do you live like this world is your home?

How do you live like Heaven is your home?

The call to live ‘Set Apart’ by Christ

Peter began this God Breathed letter with priority #1: Salvation In Christ Jesus… Last week we heard the basics of the Gospel cited as the crucial thing all followers of Christ need to make central in their lives. It’s a massive, colossal deal!

Christ’s Body is called to live everyday in light of that Amazing Grace, the Good News of God’s mercy through Christ’s sacrifice. Living daily in light of what Jesus has done means that we are to pursue holiness. I am defining this as the Biblical record of standards God has put forth for His people since Moses. Things we are called to do and things we are called not to do.

Christ calls those who trust Him for eternity to live by HIS absolute standards. He is Holy, pure, set apart, without sin… we are called to imitate God! Part of surrendering your life to Christ is a surrender to live as God calls us to live. He has made us holy by giving Himself for us and indwelling us with God’s Holy Spirit. By HIS Spirit we are able to pursue the holiness he calls us to in HIS Word.

The challenge is to yield to God’s Spirit based on what you have put your faith in. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit want to teach us the why and the how of Holiness.

The ‘WHY’ is step one because if you don’t have a good enough reason to do something there is no sense in talking about how you might do it. For example: I have no desire to be a dog catcher, so I spend zero time thinking about how to catch dogs. If you do not have a reason to pursue Holiness you will have no desire to execute a lifestyle that reflects holiness…The ‘HOW’ is a combination of training, discipline, self control and loving others, as we follow Christ’s example of sacrifice.

The end of last week’s message: 1st Peter 1:12b

And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

Ch. 1:13-25

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

  • Discipline, training, and yielding to God’s Spirit inside you for self control
  • ALL hope in God’s mercy means putting ZERO hope in the things of this world
  • We are to hope entirely in something we have to wait for (delayed gratification)

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

  • The call on every believer is to ‘live’, not just agree intellectually (big difference)
  • Obedient Children are humble & unquestioning
  • True obedience is immediate and complete
  • Going back to old ways must have been a problem…it is a problem for us
  • But now…now that Christ has given you His Spirit… Be Holy like God!
  • Peter quotes Leviticus 11, 19 & 20 (This is Foundational Doctrine)

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

  • This is a reminder that God treats us all the same, His standards apply to all
  • The judgement is based on one thing: Did you surrender your life to Christ?
  • If you truly did ,then live this life in awe of that mercy, because this is temporary
  • What we do with this life determines our eternity

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days He has been revealed for your sake.

  • Ransom = Christ dying on the cross 4 U!
  • The empty life of living for our own desires and trying to appease some deity
  • The price of the ransom was as high as possible: the life of God Himself
  • The Holy Spirit declares the predestined nature of Christ’s role as Savior
  • The reality of our salvation in Christ has now been fully revealed
  • The revelation of our salvation is a cause for jubilation…and habitual action!
  • What is the value of Christ’s sacrifice in your life?

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

  • Christ made it happen, not you or I…we trust Him because He enables us to
  • We respond to God’s call by placing all hope and trust in HIM because of Christ
  • Christ’s resurrection is crucial… God made clear His power over life & death
  • Christ’s glorification is crucial… God made clear Jesus is God Incarnate
  • When we obey the truth (that Jesus is worthy of surrendering our life to)
  • We are forgiven our sin at that point; so now we have to pay it forward
  • We do that by living in ways that display deep love & care (Holiness)
  • Our response to being forgiven our sin is to love others this same way
  • Holiness is about what you do (love), not just about what you don’t do

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living Word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.

  • Peter uses Jesus’ term ‘born again’
  • Eternal life begin here and now… and it goes on forever
  • The Living Word of God is The Biblical Jesus Christ (why it must be defined)
  • The only source of eternal life is the Biblical message about Christ (OT & NT)
  • This life is finite, God’s eternal Word leads us to infinite life in Christ
  • We have all been blessed to have it presented to us, thank you God!


The Biblical Gospel includes an intentional pursuit of holiness requiring obedience and discipline.

Christ’s followers make choices that flows from our faith. Christ provides the Why & the How. This includes things we do as well as things we don’t do.

This is not legalism, this is shared accountability to Biblical standards with large amounts of grace and love.

This Body will always pursue holiness based on God’s Word, by The Spirit’s power, to Christ’s glory!

If talk of holiness, accountability, obedience, absolute standards and discipline resonates with you regarding following Christ…. you are in the right church.


Are you convinced that as a Biblical follower of Jesus Christ you are to pursue holiness?
In what ways does the reality of Christ’s sacrificial ransom impact your pursuit of holiness? (Living in light of the Gospel, daily reality of relationship)
Can you see the effect of lifestyle choices regarding holiness on your relationship with God?(HE stays the same… you either move away or draw near)
Ask God to lead you by HIS Word & HIS Spirit to making lifestyle choices that reflect God’s holiness.

Intentionally research the standards The God of Scripture calls HIS people to live by. What they do and what they do not do.
Ask those you look up to AND your peers their views on Biblical Holiness.

The Amazing Wonder of This Salvation!

1st & 2nd Peter are foundational books for the new testament church. Peter’s Story gives His letters great weight and authority. God used Peter for important reasons, his complexity helps us understand faith.

Who was Peter? We have few trusted sources, basically Scripture. In Scripture, Peter is depicted as hasty & violent and also as kind and caring. He could be resolute at times and in the case of the church at Antioch, vacillating. He is pictured as gentle yet firm, he speaks clearly about who Jesus is. Peter was unschooled, yet he is always depicted as the leader of the 12.

Peter presents a broad study of human nature, all by himself. He was complex man of passion & weakness who was transformed by ‘The Christ’. One moment he’s doing the right things, and then his flesh and sin would take over. Peter experienced the wonder of walking on water…and then overthought it and sank. Peter insisted, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (not so much). Peter was deeply ashamed of his betrayal of Jesus…’he wept bitterly’

Then after the Resurrection we start to see the transformation. 1st we see the restoring of Peter…do you love me? Then the Pentecost sermon. Then his vision & mission to the non Jews. Then his leadership of the Jerusalem Church and ultimately the Roman Church.

Peter was flawed & poor bad decisions but through that God made him a new creation. He grew in humility, he was faithful, and he was obedient. He was able to admit when he was wrong, and he was able to change. Peter’s absolute surrender to Christ was used by God to make Peter a servant leader of the early Church.

He became a prophet of God = writer of Scripture (speaking for God). He is believed to have written the Gospel of Mark (dictated it to Mark). In writing this letter to the scatted Jews in Asia Minor he starts with the basics

The original Audience. How does that relate to this body as the audience? We do well to read this letter as a refresher course in the fundamentals of our faith. We do well to approach this letter with childlike humility, not thinking this is too basic

CHAPTER 1:1-12

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

  • Peter, not ‘Simeon Peter’
  • Apostle = ‘A Sent One’…’One Sent on Behalf of Someone with their message’
  • God’s Chosen = Jewish by ethnicity (mission to Jews / transition to church)
  • Jewish Christians fled from the area surrounding Jerusalem 35-40 AD

2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.

  • Clear communication of Biblical doctrines of ‘Election’ and ‘Predestination’
  • We are known and chosen as Jesus’s Christ’s Body (set apart = Holy)
  • Obeyed = surrendered to His Lordship / Cleansed by His Sacrificial death
  • THIS IS AMAZING GRACE… yet Peter asks God to give us more

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

  • The Biblical doctrine of God being the sole focus of ALL our worship & praise
  • Expression of HIS mercy / WE get Resurrection life because God raised Christ
  • Now Jesus Christ’s Church gets to live expecting an eternity of priceless value
  • ‘Non-Fungible Eternity’

5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

  • Peter assumes his readers have ‘faith’… (their lives have displayed it)
  • Our faith is how God’s power acts as protection for the rest of this life…
  • When we are in heaven we will no longer need protection!
  • On the last day God will reveal to everyone that eternal salvation is in Him

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

  • The basis for Christ’s church to be truly glad is our inheritance
  • What is coming is worth whatever you may have to endure to get there
  • The struggles are going to reveal true faith & purify it, increasing it’s value
  • Nothing is as important as faith in Christ (It should be the center of our lives)

So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

  • There is an emphases on our faith remaining strong in the midst of trials
  • How we live during the hard stuff says everything about what we have faith in

(No matter what I go though nothing changes my faith in Christ for eternity)

  • Trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate reward in itself

8 You love him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.

  • We can know and love Christ without seeing Him (Scripture)
  • Trusting in what you cannot see is difficult
  • God gives us assurance by His Spirit living in us
  • This is how that ‘Faith’ thing works (Peter knows what faith is)
  • When we know we are bound for eternity with Christ is is a source of great joy
  • The joy comes from know that our faith will be rewarded with Heaven

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

  • Biblical Salvation is the point of all God’s revelation, all through the OT
  • God works through ‘Progressive Revelation’…information on information
  • Prophets were given bits of info & told more would be revealed in the future
  • This is how our faith walk works, (learn & apply…repeat)

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

  • God’s people (prophets) have always been asked to live for others…by God
  • God’s Spirit is the author of all Scripture, of the Gospel message
  • Angelic beings are watching to see how us human respond to God’s love

How amazing this salvation!

How we need to be reminded and encouraged to focus on it!

How we can live in ways that honors what God has done for us!

Might we live each day, each moment in light of the eternity Christ gives us!

He died for us, let’s live for HIM!

A Preview Of The Gospels

“The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi (My messenger)” (1:1)

“I have loved you, says the LORD. But you say, how have you loved us?” (1:2a)

“Where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, how have we despised your name?” (1:6a)

“By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, how have we polluted you? By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.” (1:7-8)

“For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.But you profane it…” (1:11b-12a)

-They contradicted everything their LORD told them.

-They argued with Him.

-They hated His way of salvation (by sacrifice).

-They set aside His word and set themselves up as critics of His word.

“For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth….but you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi…” (2:7-8)

“the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless” (2:14)

“You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, how have we wearied him? By saying, everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” (2:17)

“I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.” (3:5)

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, how have we robbed you? in your tithes and contributions. (3:8)

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.” (4:4)

“….lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction (curse). (4:6)

Summary Points:

-In a mad, mad, mad, mad world, do not set aside your Bible.

-Submit to the Word and experience its wisdom. Don’t become its critic.

-Cling to God’s way of redemption (Christ’s sacrifice by His blood). Proclaim it. Defend it

-Salvation by sincerity is a false doctrine. Sincerely, eternally wrong.

-In your work, witness, companions, generosity, beware the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

-Never ask or demand God to leave you alone.

Biblical Church Culture

Since we began Midtown Midtown church our goal was to be as biblical as possible Over the past 6 months we have taken a journey to assess how Biblical our culture was, and then make improvements.

Our Vision
We desire to be The body of Jesus Christ, functioning under His Lordship, intentional discipleship, active relationship building, worshiping, serving and giving based on Scripture.

Our Values

Scripture / Family / Prayer / Generosity

Our Cultural Imperatives Based on Scripture
Intentional Discipleship / Family Shepherding / Empowered Prayer

Humble Servanthood / Collective Generosity / Authentic Worship

Gospel Partnerships.

The vision of Midtown Church begins and ends with Jesus the Christ. We believe He is GOD: the resurrected Incarnation, who claimed specifically to fulfill all the old testament scriptures….Christ Jesus defines Biblical Culture.

What did Jesus say HIS followers should focus on?

Intentional Discipleship:

#1 Priority… if we do this well , everything else flow from it!

INTRO: Jesus is addressing those who did not believe He was from the Father…”for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they demanded. I am who I have said I am, sent from The One… Once you have lifted the Son of man on a cross then you will know that I am He and I say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me…

Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. So He said to them:

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

  • This standard is only for believers
  • Real deal disciples of Christ are faithful to HIS teaching…(this includes the O.T)
  • You have to do things to be faithful… applying Christ’s teaching to your life
  • This should be the most important thing in our lives as Christians!
  • A life living out Christ’s teaching will lead you to the truth, and true freedom

Application: We must now Christ’s teachings and live them out (practice)

Family Shepherding:

INTRO: Jesus predicts his betrayal & basically identifies Judas as the one who will do it… He speaks of how He is going to glorify the Father & be glorified by the Father… Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.”

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ Jesus @ John 13:34-35

  • This is directed to ‘Dear Children’ / Disciples…
  • Love (Agape) is understood to be displayed through action (not feeling, deeds)
  • The example Jesus has given and will give them is to love sacrificially
  • Jesus’ followers loving each other as Christ loves us, will prove our allegiance

Application: We are to love and care for each other sacrificially

Empowered Prayer:

INTRO: Jesus that same night…walking through the valley…doing His vine & branches talk…The branches need to stay connected to the vine to produce fruit (kingdom stuff)

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” ~ Jesus @ John 15:7-8

  • To remain it is assumed you are already there (disciples)
  • ‘Pray’ basically means to ask… When we direct our requests to God = Prayer
  • Jesus says that constant connection is needed in order to get what you ask for
  • Remain in me = Connection (H.S.) My words remain in you = Bible Application
  • It is the idea that the closer to God we get the more we want what HE wants

Take delight in the Lord, and HE will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4

  • Producing ‘fruit’ that God desires proves who our master is & brings HIM glory
  • A basic purpose of the New Testament Church is Glorifying God to the max!

Application: Our Prayer life must flow from our intimacy with Christ

Humble Servanthood:

INTRO: Jesus had just predicted how He would die and rise again…Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. What is your request?” he asked. She asks: “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

Jesus tells them they don’t know what they ask… yes they will share in His sufferings (as all of His followers will) but the right and left hand thing is not His to decide…When the others heard this they were indignant…

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Jesus @ Matthew 20:25-28

  • Among you = among my true followers
  • The World’s Way: Those in charge selfishly oppress those under their authority
  • Jesus’ Way: Those in charge humbly serve those under their authority
  • Jesus says among HIS disciples (The Church) Leader = Servant
  • He Says among HIS disciples (The Church) Top Dog = Slave
  • Being a servant or slave to Christ means that you’re those things to His Body
  • Christ set the example of servanthood going to the cross
  • He gave His life to ransom many..
  • Those of us who have been ransomed are servants and slaves of HIS Body

Application: We are to practice servanthood and aspire to be slaves of Christ

Collective Generosity:

INTRO: Jesus was teaching in the temple courts after arriving to Jerusalem (holy week). Jesus had just talked about how the Jewish Religious leaders were hypocrites… Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” ~ Jesus @ Mark 12:41-44

  • Because Jesus addressed this insight to His disciples it is for the church
  • Our giving to the local church is to be compared with giving to the ‘Temple’
  • Jesus says she gave more! (As God sees it) because of what it cost her
  • Jesus says it’s not the amount but rather the sacrifice made that matters
  • We are to be God dependent in our giving, walking by faith, not sight

Application: Giving to Christ’s body should cost us something

Authentic Worship:

INTRO: Jesus and the disciples are traveling through Samaria (not usually done). Alone sitting by a well, Jesus meets this woman… After Jesus offers her water that will permanently quench her thirst, He asks her to go bring her husband… She says: ‘I have no husband’ (implying that she is a widow). Jesus says: you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You told the truth!” (kind of a backhanded compliment), She says, “you must be a prophet… so tell me what is the deal with worship places? Jesus tells her the problem is not where you worship but what you know about who you worship, and that salvation comes from the Jews… (as in Jesus of Nazareth)

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ Jesus @ John 4:23-24

  • Jesus says: in the future, starting now… here is what is going to matter…
  • 1st Jesus say: ‘True Worshipers’… that must mean there are ‘untrue worshipers’
  • Jesus says the authenticity of our worship of God / Christ is based on 2 things
  • Understandable Knowledge & Unfathomable Mystery (Spirit & Truth)
  • There are definable, explainable facts about God (Truth)
  • And at the same time God is amorphous, intangible and metaphysical (Spirit)
  • As ‘True Worshipers’ we worship God because His Spirit is indwelling us
  • And because we belief in the truth we have about Him

Application: Our Worship should express what we know and mystery as well

Gospel Partnerships:

INTRO: So when the apostles were with Jesus, (AFTER THE RESURECTION) they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know…. BUT…

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Jesus @ Acts 1:8

  • Every person who God brings to ‘Biblical Salvation’ is indwelt with the H. S.
  • One of the things the indwelling Spirit does is to empower our witness
  • To be a witness is to provide information about what you know
  • As Christ’s followers we are to provide information to others about Jesus
  • We do that in our own spheres of influence and help others do it in theirs
  • Jesus says we are to be part of witnessing to who He is everywhere…
  • Jerusalem is where they were = Atlanta (Jerusalem = Atlanta Care Center)
  • Judea is the surrounding area = Georgia (Sumeria = GABN & WDA)
  • Ends of the earth = City of Grace in the D.R. / Stokes Family in Turkey / WDA

Application: We are to support the spread of the Gospel where ever we can

Everything in our church culture flows from the Scriptures, read as Jesus Christ’s followers have read them for 2000 years!

We read & pray the psalms knowing Christ. We are His church, the gathering of God’s called out ones…The Nation of Israel was called and gathered around God’s presence in the Tabernacle & Temple. As Christ’s Church, called by His love and indwelt with His Spirit, we gather around the presence of the living Christ and are His body.

There is incredible richness of seeing how the whole story weaves together. Reading these Psalms as fellow Christians have for getting on 2000 years we can join in the longing for the next life as we pass through this life… Because we believe Christ has fulfilled the hope that is breathed through these psalms, WE can pray for the future knowing who we are and what we are doing, now and forever!

We will look at two Psalms about being God’s people and then what Jesus Christ said about HIS church: Three Things Regarding Jesus Christ’s Church. Who we are…What we have been Given…What our focus is.

Who We Are: Chosen in Grace. What We Have Been Given: Eternity. What We Do: Focus on The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Identity / Blessing / Purpose.

Who We Are / Identity: Psalm 87 (NIV)

1 He has founded his city on the holy mountain. 2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are said of you, city of God. (Selah)

  • This is a vision of Heaven / Symbolized by The city of Jerusalem
  • HE founded it on ‘The Holy Mountain’ (Jerusalem is symbolic & literal)
  • Entering this place represents the apex of God’s love
  • The city of God can only be described in glorious terms
  • The writer & The Author want us to take a moment to contemplate (selah)

4 “I will record Egypt and Babylon among those who acknowledge Me— Philistia too, and Tyre , along with Cush — and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” 5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High Himself will establish her.” 6 The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” (Selah)

  • God will redeem & has redeemed some from amongst nations hostile to Israel
  • God predestines people from ALL ethnic and language groups
  • He is the lone actor in the salvation of human beings (we do NO THING)
  • God alone is responsible for salvation

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. ~ Eph. 2:8-9

  • Our eternal life was birthed by what Jesus Christ did in Zion on the cross
  • Compares to the ‘Book of Life’ in revelation (6 times; ch. 3, 13, 17, 20, 20, 21)
  • Being ‘Born in Zion’ equates with being ‘Born Again’ (Jesus @ John 3:3-8)
  • Being born in Zion is a marking. It identifies you as belonging to God

You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. ~ Eph. 1:13-14

Again we are invited to pause and contemplate these amazing truths…then this…

7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in You.”

  • Recognition of God’s Grace results in true worship, it is a given
  • The natural reaction of God’s Chosen People is to give Him ALL the Glory!

How this happens is by surrender to The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That is the means by which God moves people from spiritual death to eternal life.

What We Have Been Given / Eternity: Psalm 84 (NIV)

Our life in Christ is a pilgrimage, What He is calling us to: Eternity! This is what Christ Has given us: The hope of Eternal Life with God!

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty. 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

  • Nothing more lovely than where God is…(His Dwelling Place)
  • The enlivening of the soul for it’s true home: eternity in God’s presence
  • When we understand what we have been given, it ignites our desire for God
  • When we understand we are as deserving as a sparrow, yet we get a place
  • When God is All in All…HE IS:
  • Almighty Lord=Absolute Control
  • King= Absolute Protection
  • God…Absolute Worship

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

  • This speaks of the ‘eternally blessed’ occupants of the Kingdom of Heaven
  • The response to that blessing: praise!
  • Receiving this eternal gift is to let God be your strength
  • We are given the grace to take the journey, to seek HIM
  • Part of every pilgrimage is suffering (Valley of Baka means ‘Valley of Tears’)
  • Living now in Christ and trusting in eternity with Christ we pass through ‘sorrow’
  • Knowing God (dwelling in His house) we are refreshed & strengthened until…

This present world is to us this valley of weeping; in our passage through it we are refreshed by the streams of divine grace, flowing down from the great fountain of consolation.” ~ Bishop George Horne

What is our consolation? Heaven…but until then. We get to communicate with God through His Spirit He puts in us!

8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. 9 Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.

  • Christ’s Body can expect God to hear our prayers, by HIS Spirit indwelling us!
  • The church can ask God to look not at us but look at Christ
  • Scripture says God looks at those He has given His Spirit to and see His Son

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. ~ Eph. 1:4

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation. ~ Col. 1:22

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. ~ Col. 3:3

The hope the members of Jesus’ church have: We are without fault in God’s eyes!

10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

  • One day in heaven would be better than ANYTHING!
  • The lowest place in the Kingdom is better than the best place anywhere else.
  • To His Church, Jesus Christ is the Light, the protection, the giver of grace
  • To His Church HE gives every good thing because HE makes them blameless
  • This is eternity & now: we trust now and get all good things (Heaven) eternally

Our identity as members of Jesus Body: He chose us, we belong to Christ. Our hope and future as His: Eternity in His Presence. So what do we do here and now? Let’s See what Jesus said we should do (Big Picture).

Jesus only used the term Church twice and only once did he call it ‘my church’. The one time He said ‘my church’ was to give His followers the overarching purpose of His ‘called Out Ones’.

What We Do: PURPOSE: Matthew 16:13-19 (MOUNCE)

13 Now when Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

  • He asked what the word on the street was… How does the world see me?

15 Then Jesus asked them, “And who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  • Do the disciples see Jesus differently than the rest of the world? Should we?
  • Peter, in his role as spokesman, says what they have all agreed upon: Messiah

17 Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am. 18 So I tell you, you are Peter. On this rock I will build my church, and the power of death will not be able to defeat it.”

  • Jesus used blessed the same way Psalmists did: to express eternal blessing
  • The answer and the blessing that comes with it does not have human origins
  • What the ‘THIS’ is in this passage is very important and often misunderstood
  • God the Father showed the disciples, and Peter specifically, who Jesus is
  • The church is built on the confession by it’s members that Jesus is ‘The Christ’
  • ‘THIS ROCK’ is Peter’s wholehearted belief that Jesus was God!!!
  • Jesus had already changed Simeon’s name to Peter, (Matthew 10)
  • Jesus says: The foundation / Rock my church will be built on is ‘I AM GOD’
  • The church is built solely on the reality that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate
  • That is who we are at the most basic level: We know who Jesus is
  • Biblical based faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to defeat death
  • It is the purpose of the church: to defeat death by spreading the Gospel

19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.”

  • Jesus is addressing ALL DISCIPLES, the keys are given to the church
  • The key represent stewardship what matters to God
  • Binding and loosing is representative of allowing and disallowing
  • Notice the verb tenses, the action comes from Heaven
  • As the church we are to do what heaven dictates (Scripture’s Importance)
  • Our purposes come from God and God only
  • Our primary function is focused on eternity

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the things you don’t allow on earth will be the things that God does not allow, and the things you allow on earth will be the things that God allows.” (NCV)

Everything we do should serve the purpose of people getting Saved! And Jesus defines getting saved: ‘Give up your life for Me and the Gospel’!


Pray for God to establish the identity of each member of His Body.

Pray that you and others know that God has chosen them for eternal life with Him.

Pray in ways that acknowledge the grace of God in granting eternal life.

Pray for life that emanates from the hope of eternity Christ offers.

Pray for our Body to gather around Christ in Word & Sacrament.

Pray that we make the confession of Jesus Christ as as God the center of all we do.

Pray that we never lose focus of the eternal things God would have us do.

Pray that our purposes flow from knowing our Identity and knowing Jesus’ identity.

I had no Idea how valuable the Bible was, GOD HAD TO TEACH ME. The more time I spent learning from and learning about God’s Word the more I understood what a valuable gift it is. The more I valued it the more I made it the standard for how I looked at EVERYTHING! I came to realize that eternity with my Creator was worth EVERYTHING. TO BELONG TO CHRIST IS WORTH EVERYTHING!

And the Bible carries that information to us. Our Lord explained to His followers how valuable Eternity as His possession is in Matthew 13:44-46.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

  • How did the man know the value of what he had found?
  • What standards did he use to decide that the value of the treasure was greater than everything else he ‘owned’?
  • Why not just take the treasure? (God’s Way: Thou shall not steal…)
  • How did the merchant know what made some pearls more valuable than others?
  • What made the merchant so sure about the value of that ONE pearl being more than everything else he had?

The Treasure and The Pearl represent ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ AKA ‘Eternal Life’…Biblical Salvation, Christ’s Church, a redeemed relationship with God

Where is The Treasure located?

How do you know the ‘Pearl of Great Value’ when you see it?

How do you discover & learn about the value of a redeemed relationship with God?

What standards do you use to determine what THIS relationship requires of you?

The place to find the answers to these questions is: Scripture / Holy Writ / The Bible / God’s Word

God’s Word, illuminated by God’s Holy Spirit…at 1st leading you THEN indwelling you. The all powerful creator / ruler of the Universe has given us these writing to: teach us & lead us & admonish us & focus us & convict us & set us apart.

One of the things God teaches us with Scripture is how to pray. True prayer is a must for a Christ follower. We are to learn to pray by God’s Word, praying to Him in agreement with HIS Word, making The Scriptures our standard of what The Kingdom of Heaven entails and how it’s inhabitants live.

Portions of Psalm 119

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!

2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart.

  • When God / Jesus talks about blessed, it is in regard to eternity
  • Walking in the ‘Law of the Lord’ means daily life application (not talk or ‘Hobby’)
  • Keeping Testimonies: Placing High Value on what HE say!
  • The blessing of eternity require whole hearted seeking of Him (How?)

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. 16 I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

  • Young people, not just men
  • Using God’s word as a standard for your thoughts & actions
  • Repetition of being wholehearted regarding God / relying on HIS grace
  • Our part is to know HIS view on things (store it up) so we don’t miss HIS mark!
  • The focusing of our attention on HIS will, HIS way…by knowing His Word

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law. 19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not Your commandments from me!

27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. 29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

  • ‘Spiritual Illumination’ accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit
  • We need God to enable us to understand how awesome His Word is
  • We have only so long in this life…we are dependent on God to teach us
  • We can sit under His teaching…just by opening The Bible
  • As we learn we can discern what is His way and that everything else is wrong

36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

  • The reality of what God does makes His people focus on Him, not themselves
  • Life is in God’s way, we have a guide to that wisdom
  • We need God to turn us from the things we want to what HE want for us

57 The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep Your words. 58 I entreat Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise. 59 When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies 60 I hasten and do not delay to keep Your commandments.

  • As His child, God is all we need and the realization of that inspires obedience
  • The more we know Him the more we need His Grace
  • The recognition of my sin (Conviction) leads me to God…deeper and deeper

81 My soul longs for Your salvation; I hope in Your word. 82 My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?”

93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. 94 I am yours; save me, for I have sought Your precepts.

  • Salvation is defined by God’s Word, it is the standard of our hope for eternity
  • His Word is who HE is…our hope in HIM is defined by His Word
  • His Word is our source of life
  • The submission to God’s will & belonging to Him flow from Him by His Word

101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep Your word. 102 I do not turn aside from Your rules, for You have taught me.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

  • The keeping of God’s Word requires us to deny our natural impulses (flesh)
  • God’s Word teaches us to not compromise HIS Standards
  • HIS standards are the guidance we need to become and grow as His kids

71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes.

124 Deal with Your servant according to Your steadfast love, and teach me Your statutes. 156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to Your rules.

  • According to Scripture, submitting to God’s will involves being disciplined
  • Making the most of being teachable we trust God knows what is best for us
  • Because His mercy is so great we trust that Real Life is found obeying HIM

174 I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. 175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let Your rules help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

  • God’s Spirit builds the connection between delight in God’s Word and Salvation
  • The total embrace of all that is found in Scripture is how we find our help
  • Humbled by our need, we figure out how to do our best (study)

Prayer Guidance From Psalm 119:

Ask God to show you how to walk in the ways of His Word.

Ask God to guard your purity through seeking and focusing on His Law.

Ask God to lead you to memorize, meditate and look to HIS Word with wholehearted delight.

Ask God to illuminate His Word by HIS Spirit.

Ask God to build understanding upon understanding.

Ask God to expose falsehood regarding HIS Word as He teaches you with grace.

Ask God to draw you to HIM and away from selfishness, worthless things.

Ask God to enable you to live by His Word, in humility and trust in Him not yourself.

Ask God to speak to your soul by HIS Word, bringing assurance that you are HIS.

Ask God to keep you from evil and instead guide you based on HIS Word.

Ask God to help you learn from the ownership of your mistakes, trust HIS discipline is for your eternal best!

Ask God to connect the value of HIS Word with the value of eternity with HIM.

Ask God to keep you mindful of your acknowledged need to be shepherded by HIS Word.

Pray that we increase how we value Scripture. That we would value it as much as Jesus The Christ did! Pray that we make Scripture, as it has been interpreted for 2000 years by Christ’s Church, our Standard for every aspect of life!

Psalm 139

Omniscience: O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (v.1-6)

Omnipresence: Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (v.7-10)

Omnipotence: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (v.13-14)

David’s first request: Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. (v.19-20)

David’s second request: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (v.23-24)

Summary points:

-David knew there were evils, secret lusts, lurking in his own heart.

-He did not want to hide his thoughts from God. He opened them up for God’s inspection.

-He prayed the Lord would lead his inward thought life and his outward public life. That both would please the Lord.

-He could not escape the Lord; he had no desire to escape the Lord.

-What a great time now to approach the Lord’s table.

At The End there are two groups of people…

The Treasure is The Gospel, The Field is Scripture!

The span of our life is seventy years, or if we are strong, eighty; yet at best it is toil and sorrow, over in a moment, and then we are gone. Who grasps the power of your anger and wrath to the degree that the fear due you should inspire? So teach us to count our days, so that we will become wise. ~ Psalm 90:10-12

When these prayers were written and collected the revelation of God to His people was yet to reach the ultimate revelation of God: Jesus Christ! And with the revelation of Christ came clarity on ‘The End’. What we know is that the end comes when Jesus returns.

Beginning with the writing of Moses all the way trough the Book of Revelation we get pictures of the end. And consistent in all the Scripture about the end is one thing: At the end there is only two groups of people. There is a clear division of all humanity into two groups at the end of this world. Over and over again in Scripture we see that there is always only two groups: God’s People and His Enemies. There is no other group!

Jesus Christ only spoke of two groups:Sheep & Goats / Wheat & Tares / Those I know and those who never knew Me. Jesus repeatedly in his teaching and preaching spoke of how all humanity would be in one of two groups. Scripture is clear: You either belong to God or you are against Him. THERE IS NO 3rd Group!

Psalms as prayers: This Psalm will only be prayed by those who God has placed His Eternal Spirit into, only they can truly desire this day to come.

Psalm 9 (103 Cross References in 20 verses)

1 I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High.

  • The beginnings of Psalms can serve as a call to worship & a declaration of faith
  • Can you thank God with all of your heart?
  • Do you see your life as what you have done or what HE has done?
  • Do you rejoice in God or the things God has given you?
  • ‘Sing The Praises’ & ‘Your Name’
  • Does your life ‘Testify to what The Eternal God of Scripture stands for?

3 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before You. 4 For You have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. 5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name for ever and ever. 6 Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, You have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.

  • Why would God be taking on my enemies? Upholding my cause?
  • The only way this is possible is if my cause is HIS cause!
  • God calls and we surrender to the call
  • Echoing throughout Scripture is the message that there are only two sides…
  • The Wicked VS God & His People
  • We get a view of the fate that is in store for those opposed to God
  • With HIM or against HIM

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy!’ ~ Deuteronomy 33:27

7 The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. 8 He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. 9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.

  • This is a vision of eternity…this is not the fallen world we live in
  • This is the beginning of revelation of what the end will be like
  • Here we see the second of two groups mentioned in scripture at the end
  • Here we see the refuge of those who know and trust in Christ…who seek GOD

This is part of the beginnings of what we learn about the end from Scripture… And now we know that at the end all humanity will we be judged, by God’s standard

I saw a large, white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence, but no place was found for them. I saw the dead, both important and unimportant people, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened, including the Book of Life. The dead were judged on the basis of what they had done, as recorded in the books. ~ Revelation 20:11-12

Psalm 9:11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what He has done. 12 For He who avenges blood remembers; He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted. 13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may declare Your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in Your salvation.

  • This continues to describe the relationship between God & His chosen people
  • Knowing God will decide your eternity, THE response to sing HIS praises
  • The affliction we share as humans is the affliction of sin.
  • Persecution by 3 enemies (God’s Enemies): My flesh, The World, The Devil
  • Only God can save us from eternal death
  • Daughter Zion is messianic imagery
  • Salvation was won for us at the Gates of Daughter Zion by the Son of God
  • How does the reality of what Christ did on the cross impact your day to day?

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. 16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. 17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God.

  • People from every ethnic group are included in God’s enemies (Redeemed too)
  • Absolute agreement with God’s justice
  • Those who belong to God trust and believe in HIS judgment
  • The evidence against the wicked is what they do, what they value
  • The fate of all who ‘forget’ God
  • In order to forget something you must be exposed to that thing
  • All people have the chance to know God:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~ Romans 1:20

Psalm 9:18 But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. 19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. 20 Strike them with terror, Lord; let the nations know they are only mortal.

  • Needy here is compatible with those Jesus called the ‘poor in Spirit’ who are BLESSED!
  • We each have to become needy of God: in our need we have hope
  • Are you good to say: ‘Go ahead God you know where I stand, judge away!’
  • Are you ready for the end of this life? Good to either die or have Jesus return?

When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. ~ Matthew 24:37-41


There is an end to this age / world coming. It could be today…

You are either in a redeemed relationship for eternity or you are in an enemy relationship for eternity With The Eternal God of all Creation.

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. ~ Romans 14:10b-12