Category Archives: Bible Reading

Introduction to the Psalms of Ascent

Title: Psalms of Ascent

Text: Psalm 120-134

Introduction: Ezra (and Nehemiah)

When you read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah you get an understanding of the intense passion these two men had. Their desire was for their heritage. Their passion was for their God and the city he gave them – Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, the Temple. Ezra was responsible for leading the rebuilding of the Temple. Nehemiah was responsible for leading the rebuilding of the wall around the city.

The journey these men took began in Persia. It is believed by some that this is where the small collection of Psalms that we know as the Psalms of Ascent originated. We don’t know this for sure, but it is a very good theory. The idea behind this theory is that the Psalms of Ascent were compiled by Ezra (or priests working with him). The same word is used in Ezra 2.1 (7.9) as in this title telling of how the people “went up”. So, Ezra then compiled these Psalms and the priests then taught them to the people as they journeyed to Jerusalem. At least that’s one theory. I like it. It would have been inspirational and motivational. And so after the people returned from exile, they kept the tradition alive and would sing the Psalms of Ascent whenever they would journey from their homes in Israel to the Temple in Jerusalem for their seasons of feasts and festivals. This is how their children and their children’s children would learn.

There is a 2nd theory and this is the one I learned as a young man. The theory is that the priests would make their way to the Temple and as they ascended the 15 steps to the Temple, they would stop and recite one Psalm for each step. The 1st step would be Psalm 120. The 2nd step would be Psalm 121, and on up we go.

Let me show you some pictures.

I would propose to you that both of these happened: the priests reciting the Psalms as they climbed the stairs to the Temple and the People singing them as they journeyed to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. Theory probably isn’t the right word. There is evidence both happened, it is just that neither one became a prominent tradition practiced through the years.

This leads to a question you might have: Why are we working through them? Why the Psalms of Ascent? Why did we leave Romans? Well, it is hard! Romans 8-11 are probably some of my favorite passages in Romans. Two Reasons: 1. I calendared it this way months ago. But really, the simple answer is Worship; I want to focus on worship for a season – that is the reason I put it on the calendar. Consider our three areas of focus as a church:

  • Worship: One Passion
  • Discipleship: One Mission – the Great Commission
  • Mission/Ministry: One Body serving in ministry and mission.

So, for this season, we’ll keep an eye on this task of worship.

Let’s approach it from the same standpoint as Ezra and Nehemiah. Consider their lives; where they were and what they were going through:

  1. Israel has been in exile for the past 70 years or so. So, these guys were born in exile. They’ve never known a Temple. All they know is what they’ve been told. There is much of their past they don’t know about or they don’t understand.
  2. They are in exile because of their sin and their rebellion; Daniel 9.3-19; Wow, what a prayer, an acknowledgment of why they were where they were. Consider this: God’s actions were so real, so evident and so very effective, that the Israelites never again had trouble with worshipping idols.

Let me ask you as you consider the prayer of Daniel: Do you want God’s blessing on Calvary? Do you desire for God to pour out his blessing on this Body of Believers? Do we deserve for God to bless us? No, and we must remember that we cannot appeal to God because of our righteousness, but only because of his mercy. Let us keep this in mind and ask God to draw us closer to him in the coming weeks as we focus on him, as we experience his mercy and forgiveness, and as we are moved to worship.

The plan is to sing the Psalms, study the Psalms and hopefully be moved in our worship.

A Word about the whole book: The Book of Psalms used to be understood as a random collection of Songs. But, today, more and more scholars are seeing the organization of these Songs.

  1. Outline of Psalms – 5 books
    1. Book 1: 1-41 tell of David’s reign
    2. Book 2: 42-72 is more of David’s reign and the transition to Solomon’s reign.
    3. Book 3: 73-89 is about the divided kingdom and the eventual conquering of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria and the Southern Kingdom by Babylon and being carried into exile.
    4. Book 4: 90-106 covers the years Israel was in exile.
    5. Book 5: 107-150 is post-exilic in nature.
  2. You could break that down even further with an Introduction (1-2) and a conclusion (146-150)
    1. Psalm 1 is about the torah and Psalm 2 is about the King of Israel. So the idea is of delighting oneself in the Law of God and following God as their King.

Speaking of organization, there are even smaller segments with different types of focus. Let me show you some famous segments.

  1. Segments
    1. Hallel (113-118)
    2. The Law (Psalm 119, Psalm 19)
    3. Psalms of Ascent (120-134)
    4. 103-107

Let’s talk about this particular segment, the Psalms of Ascent, for just a moment, as we prepare to study them in the coming weeks. I want you to see there is flow here, too. There are smaller segments that demonstrate cohesion.

  1. It appears that these songs were selected with their theme of the Temple:
    1. 7 of the 15 Psalms mention Zion. 125, 126, 128, 129, 132, 133, 134
    2. Psalm 122 mentions Jerusalem.
    3. Psalm 121, 123, 124 use formulations related to Zion.
    4. Psalm 127 mentions the ‘city’ and 130 and 131 mention the faith community of Israel gathered in the Temple complex.
    5. Only the 1st Psalm (120) doesn’t mention the Temple in any fashion. So, what does that mean?
  2. From the Jewish viewpoint, the Psalms of Ascent begin with the Jews at war and ends with the priest’s blessing them in the Temple. So, the flow appears to be a journey. The people are in a foreign land (120.5), Meshech and Kedar as the Psalms of ascent begin in 120 and they are in the Temple worshipping in Psalm 134. Read those passages.
  3. The high points: popularity and familiarity
    1. Psalm 121: 1-2
    2. Psalm 122:1
    3. Psalm 127:1, 3-5a
    4. Psalm 130: 1-4
    5. Psalm 133: 1

Conclusion: So, what am I hoping to accomplish here?

Well, I mentioned earlier the purpose of this study is worship. But where does worship come from? How does it well up within and boil over? I mentioned earlier that the introduction to the book of Psalms in Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are about delighting in the Law of God and following God as their king. But, I think it is deeper than that. I think that both of these two themes are all about Jesus and He’s the one I want us to see as we make our way through the Psalms of Ascent.

Look at Psalm 1 with me. rd v 1; Blessed is the man who… rd 2. …Blessed are all who take refuge in him. So, you see these already go together with these bookends. Go back to Ps. 1: read v 1; Really, who is that? Anyone here do that perfectly? Anyone you know of? Only Jesus. Look at v 5-6; who is the only one who can stand on his own in the judgment? Only Jesus, the perfect man.

Look at Psalm 2 with me. rd Ps 2.1-9; This is about the King – The Lord’s King, who according to v 7 is – His Son. Blessed is everyone who takes refuge in Jesus.

I propose to you that the Psalms of Ascent, as with all of the Psalms, point us to Jesus – God’s Anointed One. He is the theme, the purpose, the reason for those songs. It is Him we will see and it is Him we will be inspired to worship. In the Psalms of Ascent, you’ll see themes of:

  • Peace
  • Unity
  • Mercy
  • Protection
  • Rest and Restoration
  • Family and Community and how they impact each other
  • Discipline
  • Redemption
  • Faithfulness
  • Blessing

Application:

  1. Read through the POA
    1. You can read through them in one easy sitting.
    2. Read half on one day and the other half on the manãna.
  2. See how they go together. Is there a familiar theme in the previous Psalm or in the next Psalm? Is there a flow here? See if there are bookends to different Psalms, like I showed you in Psalm 1 and 2.
  3. Be praying about your worship.
    1. As an individual
    2. As a family
    3. As a community

Ask: Do I come in here Sunday after Sunday without having prepared my heart for worship? What is your Sunday morning routine like? Does it include yelling? Scrambling to get here in a fashionable time? Be praying about your worship and how you contribute to this time on Sunday. Also, pray about what God might be doing in your life concerning worship. Where does he want to take you? What does he want you to see? Is there anything about your worship he doesn’t like – that he wants to refine?

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2 Corinthians 11.1-15

Title: Instinctual Leadership

Text: 2 Corinthians 11.1-15

CIT: Paul’s boasting is with good reason. He is led to it by

Introduction: Pastor Joe Wright had been invited to serve as the House’s guest chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who was also a member of Wright’s church. Accordingly, Pastor Wright composed a prayer, read it at the opening of the legislature on January 23,and departed, unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church secretary called him on his car phone to ask him what he had done.

Reportedly, one Democrat walked out in protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright’s prayer, and another blasted Wright’s “message of intolerance.” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer “reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year.” Rep. Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright “made everyone mad.” But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place, claimed that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with their criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer. What did he pray that was so bad?

Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. Lord, we know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. 

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism. 

We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism. 

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. 

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. 

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. 

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. 

We have killed our unborn and called it choice. 

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. 

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem. 

We have abused power and called it political savvy. 

We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition. 

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. 

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment. 

Search us oh God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. 

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Amen.

R Kent Hughes tells a similar story in his commentary on 2 Corinthians. He writes: Many years ago a number of government officials in The Hague, who were more fashionable than religious, invited Van Courtonne, the famous court preacher of Paris who was of Dutch descent, to preach in their State Church chapel. But because Van Courtonne considered their interest more social than spiritual, more a curiosity than a zeal for truth, he declined to come. When the invitation was repeated several times, he agreed to accept—on the condition that all the government officials would be present. They agreed.

The famous Van Courtonne appeared and preached on “The Ethiopian” from Acts 8. His sermon had four points:

1) A government official who read his Bible—something rare.

2) A government official who acknowledged his ignorance—something rarer still.

3) A government official who asked a lesser person for instruction—something extremely rare.

4) A government official who was converted—the rarest thing of all!

Van Courtonne never received a second invitiation.

What is it about the Truth that makes people so mad? … especially those in leadership? Are we really so righteous and holy that we have a right to be angry when confronted with the truth? that is not what ‘above reproach means?” If anyone here thinks that he has obtained perfection, let me say: Get over yourself! Good! Nobody got up and walked out!

Yes, it is true that being confronted with our sin is painful. But as it says in Proverbs 12.15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Paul is hoping these Corinthians will listen to him. Look at 2 Corinthians. In chapter 10, He has just explained that boasting has limits – the limits of the work of God through the Apostle. After this passage that we’ll look at today, Paul will begin his boasting in v 22. But, only in his weaknesses! For today, he’ll explain where this boasting is coming from and just why he is driven to boasting. Namely, he describes three instincts:

  1. The Paternal Instinct of an Apostle
  2. The Pastoral Instinct of an Apostle
  3. The Prophetic Instinct of an Apostle

Transition: Let’s begin with the 1st instinct, the paternal instinct…

1.     Paternal Instincts (1-6)

exp.: it is interesting how many times we see the personal pronoun “I”; rd v 1-6 w/ emphasis; Parents don’t usually have to explain ourselves to our children; but, sometimes we do – especially if we think it’s going to help them; if we think it’s for their good; Paul is really hard on himself here;

  • I wish
  • I feel a divine jealousy is zealous;
  • I betrothed
  • I am afraid –
  • Even if I am unskilled: idiot; I told you Paul was being hard on himself! It simply means, Untrained or unskilled – not professional;
  • I am knowledgeable!

Paul’s use of parental terminology and illustrations is rather common; to make his point from time to time in the letters he compares his feelings and emotion to that of a parent;

  • to the Corinthians themselves, in 1 Cor 4.15; 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church
  • Phil 2.22 of his relationship to Timothy again; But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
  • Turn to 1 Thess. 2. He tells them of his parental instincts using both the father and the mother; Turn there:
    • Dare to share (2.1-7) – facing strong opposition
    • Care to share (2.8-9) – being affectionately desirous of you – to share our very selves. Like a mother
    • Go out there to share (2.9-12) – like a father; a hard worker; is not a burden to his children but is holy and righteous before them; exhorting and encouraging and charging his children to live in a manner worthy of the name we bear.

This is what our missionaries are enduring even now in Montenegro. This is what our missionaries will endure when they head out overseas.

  • And likewise, in Philemon 10 of his relationship to Onesimus; I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.

ill.: I have two fathers in the ministry; One who was a part of my conversion and growth (And, has kept up with me through the years) and another who invested heavily in my ministry.

  • 3 John 4 – John says: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. And often calls those he’s writing to my little children.

ill.: This is something we can relate to, as we consider what Paul is saying. We as fathers wish to present our daughters to their future husbands – pure and prepared. We have a divine jealousy for them. We want to protect them from those who would take advantage of them. I think of some dads who will do this sooner than later. You’re thinking, man I got years before that happens to me! Listen, the years pass so fast! David – to Ellie; Lee to Audry; Bob – to Abbey! And mothers feel no less toward their daughters: Dawn to Kristin; Melissa to Allie, Jennifer and her girls and the list goes on –

app.: you understand what he means – you get this illustration of a parent’s instinctual concern.

t.s.: Paul demonstrates his parental instincts through his concern for this church, his baby, if you will. Next, he shows us his…

2.     Pastoral Instincts (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7; a pastor knows he’s called to preach, at whatever expense he can; for Paul, he didn’t want the Corinthian church to be burdened; rd v 8;

ill.: Teen Mania has been in the news for the last few years because of their financial woes. In an article I read in World magazine, they were spending money in wasteful ways. One such report was that Ron Luce paid TD Jakes $100,000 to speak in New York at their BattleCry event in 2008. Jacob Morales (Luce’s executive assistant) says Teen Mania chartered a $21,000 private jet and spent more than $4,000 on a two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton for Jakes, whom Luce wanted as a Teen Mania partner. Morales says he had discretion over $10,000 in cash to buy imported flowers, chocolates, rare bread, candy, iPods, and other gifts for the Jakes family to find in their hotel suite, green room, and two Cadillac Escalade limousines.

app.: Now, I don’t want to disparage Jakes or Luce. I’m sure there are fans of these ministers here in this room. From what I understand, Jakes didn’t accept Luce’s offer to speak at first – it was only after much prodding and pressure to get him that he gave in to Luce’s advances. My point is that this isn’t anything new: the super apostles were an expense to the Corinthians. My guess is that Jakes had no idea of the financial struggles Teen Mania was experiencing.

What I do see is a man here who loves the people he’s trying to reach so much, that he took a hit financially to bring them the gospel. He even accepted gifts from others who saw his work as missionary and wanted to contribute so that he could forego making tents to spend time in ministry. And, that appears not to be the case with these so-called super-apostles.

exp.: and Paul declares this in the next verse: rd v 9; And the effect has been tremendous, rd v 10; But the Corinthians might not see this…they might see his refusal to accept payment as spite; rd v 11;

app.: a pastor loves his congregation. Just how to describe it? I’m not sure it can be put into words. Maybe love isn’t supposed to be expressed in words; maybe love is simply shown through the sacrifices made and the actions one takes to protect and care for others – like a father or mother, like a pastor and his church.

t.s.: finally, Paul displays his…

3.     Prophetic Instincts (12-15)

exp.: The role of a pastor is to wear many hats; gratefully, I’m blessed with many around me who help keep the ministry going. There is the pastoral role already mentioned, but there is also the prophetic role – the job of declaring thus saith the Lord. It involves the spiritual side of what we do. The prophetic instinct is to smell out unhealthy, unsound doctrine and those who lead the church astray.

rd v 12-15; he calls them false, lit.: pseudo apostles; he says they’re disguising themselves: is the word μετασχηματίζω; So you have this small schematic of a larger one; These false apostles are like the one they imulate, the one who disguises himself as a angel of light. Their end will correspond to their deeds. Like Satan, they’re fooled into thinking they’re something.

The prophet, using the Word of God as his standard, works to see that believers are being transformed into the image of Christ. There is a huge difference between the two. Note: There is a difference between a change that takes place with the believer vs. the non-believer. In Romans 12.2 Paul says: Do not be conformed (schematic) to this world, but be transformed (metamorphosis) by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

app.: Wow! Paul puts it so clearly: these super apostles were simply smaller diagrams, schematics, patterning themselves after the devil – and they probably didn’t even know it! Acting out of pride, selfishness and greed, they acted like the one they were following. That isn’t what we do as believers. It is God who works in us, transforming us, as we work out our salvation – with fear and trembling.

And isn’t that the goal of the parent, the goal of the pastor, the goal of the prophet who speaks the Word of God to you? – that you would be renewed, that you would discern the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Conclusion: Paul’s message has been much like Van Courtonne’s and Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer to the Senate. What would have happened if the leadership in Paris or in Kansas would have bowed their heads before God and asked for wisdom to see … what did he pray?… see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Application:

  1. A Heart of Humility: The church and its leadership must humble itself before the Lord. There is no place to stand before the Lord.
  2. A Zeal for Honesty: The church and its leadership must deal honestly with God’s Word. What does God’s word say? What does it mean? And what does it mean for me? What is God calling me to do in light of what I’ve just heard?
  3. A Spirit of Wisdom: The false apostles of today, who proclaim another Jesus and present a different gospel, must be identified. They are slick and smart. This calls for wisdom on the part of the believer.
  4. A Physical Boldness: We must confront false doctrine. We must speak out against the sin that is becoming commonplace in our society and culture. The days of being quiet about sin are behind us.

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Genesis 35.1-29

Title: A Time of Renewal

Text: Genesis 35.1-29

Introduction:

There are 4 units marked by moved, set out and came to, entered:

1.     Preparation for Bethel: (1-5)

  1. The Call of God; rd v 1:
  2. The Call of Jacob; rd v 2:
    1. Orders:
      1. Preparation: Put Away; Purify; Change your clothes! V 2 – Theme; Thesis
      2. Preparation: Let’s Go Worship; rd v 3; bld an altar; Acknowledge God’s guidance and protection
    2. Obedience:
      1. Destruction of gods; rd v 4;
      2. Destination Bethel; rd v 5; why would he need to protect them? Maybe, Shechem?

Transition:

2.     Worship at Bethel: (6-15)

  1. Building an Altar of Remembrance; rd v 6-7; I love that he does this to remember;

Q.: What are some major milestones in your life where God ‘revealed’ himself to you?

  1. Death of Deborah; Oak of weeping; Gen 24.59; this lady met Abraham! Close of the past? Her 180 years bridged Abraham to Isaac to Jacob;
  2. God Appears, again; rd v 9; 4 Parallels:
    1. Name change: Abram to Abraham; Deceiver to Fights with God;
    2. El Shaddai – 17.1; God Almighty
    3. The Blessings and Promises: fruitfulness; Nations & Kings, Land; in 1,000 years David would be King; in 2000, Jesus;
    4. God went up from him;rd v 13
  3. A Pillar is placed: rd v 13-15; Bethel: the house of God.

Ill.: Jacob’s experience of expanded understanding is common to all of us. As new, inexperienced Christians we learned some new truth, and it did us much good. Then years later, after the ups and downs of spiritual life, we reflect on the same truth—but with a far deeper level of application and understanding.

3.     Transition: Life and Death (16-20)

  1. Rachel Delivers Benjamin in sorrow (pain); rd v 16; For all that Jacob possessed, Rachel had been the unchallenged love of his life. From the very beginning, when he single-handedly moved the stone away to water her sheep, he had been wild about her. Volunteering to work seven years for her hand—and then laboring seven more years, he demonstrated how much he loved her! He had shared the pain of watching the others conceive and her remain barren, year after year.

Now, he she was pregnant again! This child would be the only child actually born in the Promised Land!

Ill.: Listen to Hughes: Though she was well along in her pregnancy, neither she nor Jacob expected any trouble when they pulled up stakes to travel south to Hebron where Jacob’s father Isaac lived. But somewhere, just a few miles north of Jerusalem, tragedy fell. Rd v 16-18; She’s dying and her midwife attempts to console her, comfort her with the news that the baby is indeed a boy! Rd 30.1; irony?

  1. Rachel Dies and is Buried; Rd v 19-21; She dies and is buried. Being the Romantic and Sentimental person I am, I wondered if Jacob lived with this pain. Rd 48.1-7;

4.     A Closing to this section: The Ripple Affects of Sin (21-29)

Exp.: Rd 21-22;

  1. The Sin of Rueben; inexplicable; the practice of taking your father’s place; you’re now the authority! David and Absalom;
  2. The Sons of Jacob: Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun; Joseph & Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher
  3. The Death of Isaac; rd v 27-29;

Observations: Per Shawn: Repentance is valued over a good life. Jacob wasn’t necessarily a good man and he doesn’t come off as even being better than Esau. And yet, his repentant attitude goes so much further. We see this with so many men who were not necessarily good, and yet they were repentant (i.e.: David)

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2 Corinthians 4.13-18

Title: Don’t Get Comfortable

Text: 2 Corinthians 4.13-18

CIT: …knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

CIS: We are confident in this Message because we have lived it and know we’ll reap the rewards in the end.

Introduction: When Lisa and I were in Colorado, we went to Ridgeway. Ridgeway is the place where True Grit was filmed. We actually saw a couple of places where John Wayne walked and rode. We looked for the ranch where the film opens up as we drove along Last Dollar Road. We saw the steps where John Wayne walked his prisoners into the Court House. We stood at the meadow where Rooster Cogburn put the reins in his mouth and charged the 4 outlaws firing his weapons from both hands.

Of course we then rented the video and watched it. Often times when we watch old movies like that, I’ll say: most of those people are dead now. She’ll say: You’re so morbid! I am, I guess. But I’m continually reminded that this life is but a vapor.

We’re finishing up our series on Paul’s confidence in the message of hope. Next week, I’m having surgery tomorrow and will be down this next week, so I’m asking Andrew O’Kelley to fill in for me. Let me tell you what’s coming up:

  • During the Holidays, I had planned to preach in Luke, the 1st two chapters.
  • After the new year, I am planning to preach a five to six sermons series on Evangelism with the basis found in Isaiah 6.
  • Then, I’ll return to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 – Paul’s Confidence in the Future and the Gospel.

That’s the plan. I might not follow it. If the Lord directs otherwise, I’ll make those adjustments.

Today, we’re in the last message from Paul to the 2 Corinthians explaining his confidence in the message he’s received from the Lord. In Chapter 4, Paul has expressed his Confidence in the message being displayed in its proclamation; its power; and its purpose – the glory of God. He said in v. 1 and again in v 16: We do not lose heart. We don’t lose heart because our message of hope, when it is communicated brings, Glory to God.

Now, I’ve outlined this passage into three parts: Paul states that our message of hope brings Glory to God

  • When we live it;
  • When we share it; and,
  • When we suffer for it.

Transition: Let’s begin with this 1st part: Our message of hope brings Glory to God

1.     Live it (13)

exp.: We are where we are because God has brought us here. And that establishes and grows our Faith in Him. I’ll show you what I mean; rd v 13; the 1st part of this verse is self-explanatory; we share the same faith; but notice then he quotes a passage; footnote or cross reference identifies this quote as coming from Psalm 116; Now, you and I are probably not as well versed in the Psalms as most Jews were; So, let’s head over to Psalm 116; 113-116 are The Psalms of the Hallel; Sang/chanted during the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.

113: His Amazing Condescension

114: His Awesome Presence

115: His Exalted Glory

116: His Great Deliverance

117: His Universal Appeal

118: His Enduring Mercy

ill.: Focus:

116: His Great Deliverance

  • His Distress – v. 1-7
  • His Deliverance – v. 8-11
  • His Devotion – v. 12-19

app.: Paul was declaring His great love and faith in the one who had delivered him. And, that this faith lives, or should I say lived in them, too. Furthermore, as we read this today, that same faith lives in us – that is, those of us who have noted our distress and relied on the deliverance from death from our Savior. His action in our lives drives our devotion to him.

t.s.: Paul states that our message of hope brings Glory to God when we live it; and 2ndly, when we share it

2.     Share it (14-15)

exp.: Our Message is quite simple. Paul gives it three components here; note the 1st component: rd v 13-14a;

– Resurrection

  1. Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead; I love Paul’s defense against the Sanhedrin and before the governors Festus and Felix was about the Resurrection. He said: basically, I’m on trial today because I believe in the resurrection. Man, that set the Sanhedrin off on each other. It divided the Sanhedrin because the Sadducees didn’t agree with it, but Pharisees did. Listen here, so much of what we hold to as Christians is built upon this idea that Christ was raised from the dead. Paul says:

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

t.s.: The 1st component of our message is the resurrection of Christ. The 2nd component is

  1. Our Future Resurrection; rd v 14a-b; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also; The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead has quickened our spirits and brought life to our spirits and will also raise us with Him on that final day. Should Jesus tarry, brothers and sister in Christ, you and I have this hope, this knowledge that when we die, our bodies shall be resurrected – in the same manner that he was raised. And the 3rd component here is that we’ll be ushered…
  2. Into His Presence; rd v 14; for me, that’s heaven; I’m not so into the streets of Gold and the Pearly Gates. No, heaven for me will be the powerful presence of God. As the folks read today, God’s throne is central. Everything moves out in circles from there. But when we see the people there are myriads and myriads, thousands upon thousands surrounding the throne. There are people from every tribe, tongue, people, nation, and language.

Transition: Our message contains the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection into his very presence. Now, if the first section contains the resurrection, this second section contains the results of this message being preached and believed:

– Results; read v 15; I don’t like the way this verse is translated. It’s not wrong, I’d just change a few things if this were my job; in doing so, I think it is easier to see these three results: rd 15a; I’d change it to: for all these things are (on account) because of you; The thought is that these people have been faithful to share the story with others; 2ndly and probably better communicated in a 2nd sentence: Noun: Grace; Verb: might increase; D.O.: Thanksgiving; In order that Grace, having been multiplied (having super-abounded to more and more people), may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God;

How cool and how timely is that? Thanksgiving. Isn’t that what this holiday is all about? A time to bow our hearts before God and thank him for the grace he has poured out on us. And the more faithful we are – in sharing, in living out this gospel – the more thanksgiving flows from the many.

I think Paul is sharing three results of this sharing and living:

  1. The advancement of the gospel: having been multiplied to more and more people.
  2. The deep gratitude of the believers: increases Thanksgiving
  3. The Glory of God; soli deo Gloria;

app.: So, in v 16 – we are confident – we do not lose heart!

t.s.: We are confident as we live it, as we share it and thirdly, our message of hope brings Glory to God when we suffer for it.

3.     Suffer for it (16-18)

exp.: rd v 16a-b; Do you know how to endure? He’s told us before, he’s only repeating it: perspective.

  1. Body vs. Spirit; the outer man vs. the inner man; rd v 17;
  2. This light momentary experience vs. The Weight of Glory; this verse reminds me of the great verse in Romans 8.18 – 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. And the third example of comparison: rd v 18
  3. His Perspective: Transient vs. Eternal

t.s.:

Conclusion: I think that’s what the Psalmist meant when he said: Teach me to number my days. You know, there is another verse in the Psalm we looked at earlier. It’s found in v 15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Maybe we need to look at this life like He does. I think if we did, we wouldn’t be trying to get so comfortable down here.

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, Bible Reading, Sermons

Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading List

This system is a great way to read through Scripture. I’ve used it before and highly recommend it. I’ve read two chapters in the two longer sections and can read through Scripture in roughly 150 days…

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June 11, 2014 · 8:54 pm