Friday, September 13, 2013

Psalm 116 - Purpose and Thanksgiving

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray that you are having a blessed week, and are looking forward to sharing God’s amazing message of grace this weekend.  Our suggested reading for this week is Psalm 116, which is a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance.  It’s an encouragement for me, because even though understanding of the law and bringing people to conviction over their sins is vital, it’s too easy, for me at least, to swing to far in that direction and to forget to praise and thank God for His grace toward me.  Legalism is always a danger, and leads us to an idolatrous attitude where we see ourselves in control and our obedience as the deciding factor in our salvation.  I believe that the way to avoid going down that path is to rejoice in the grace we have been given, and to spend time praising God, first for our salvation, and secondly for the changing of our hearts and minds that demonstrates that our salvation in secure.

In our outline, we will be talking about the source of comfort and peace for the unbeliever.  In truth, there is no peace for them, since true peace only comes from a right relationship with God, and that’s what we want to point out.  In our hearts we know we have sinned and deserve judgment, but those outside Christ try to fill space with everything other than Him.  We want to call them to abandon those worldly pursuits and come to Christ instead.  Then they will be able to give God praise for the gift of salvation, as the Psalm writer did.

I pray this is an encouragement, and that through your faithfulness to God’s call, that many will hear His word proclaimed today.

All for His glory,



I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful

You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling

Our gracious God is the source of our salvation and comfort, and true peace is only found in Him

Is He your source of comfort?  Or is He a source of fear, or hatred or loathing?

What are you trying to find comfort in?

Are you searching for comfort in Money?  Fame?  Education?  Success?  Physical pleasure?  Entertainment?

None of these will ever satisfy you, because they are not what you were designed for.

Your existence is not an accident.  You were beautifully designed with a purpose.

You were designed to glorify and have fellowship with God (Ephesians 1, 1 Corinthians 10:31)

But we often search for comfort, peace, and fulfillment outside God, to maintain our own autonomy.

We want to be free, free to make our own choices and chart our own path.  We want to be our own gods.

We rebel against God, even against His goodness, because we think we know ourselves better than He does.

But God is our creator.  He knows our design and our purpose.

When we break His law and deny His rule over our lives, we rebel against our design and purpose.

We will never find true peace in rebellion against God, only His righteous judgment.

We all deserve God’s judgment for our sins.  Sins are moral crimes, acts of rebellion against who He is, and what He has told us to do.

God will judge us for our lying, because He is a God of truth.

He will judge us for stealing or coveting, because God has graciously given us all we need, and we have no right to demand more.

God will judge for lust and adultery, because He is a faithful God, and our relationships are meant to mirror His faithfulness.

He will judge those who murder, whether in deed or in hateful thoughts, because all life belongs to Him, and we have no right, outside of His righteous laws, to take that life.

And in all these things we set ourselves up as higher than Him, and wiser than Him, and commit idolatry by trying to make ourselves god in His place.

We are all, by nature, rebels against our king.  We are all, by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2).

But our king is merciful.  Though we deserve death for our rebellion, He will deliver our souls from death, if we will humble ourselves and trust in Him.

2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God in human form, came to earth to suffer, die, and rose again so our souls could be delivered.

Jesus willingly went to a Roman Cross to that justice could be satisfied (Colossians 2)

Our God is a just and righteous God, who told us that He would not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34)

So Jesus took that guilt, our guilt, and bore it.

Isaiah 53 tells us:
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6, ESV)

God provided a payment for sin.  Through repentance toward sin and trust in Christ alone, we can be made right with Him.

Through Jesus sacrifice, we can find true peace, and a restored relationship with our creator.

What will you do with that truth?

Will you turn to Christ and live?  Or will you remain in your sins and receive the judgment you deserve in hell.

There is no second chance, and there is no alternate plan.  All other God’s are false, and all other means of reconciliation are lies from Satan.

Turn to Christ today, and you, like the Psalm writer, will be able to come before your God, not in fear, but in worship and praise, lifting up His name in thanksgiving.

What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord

I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord

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