Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are You a Saint? Part 2, Post 1

This is a sermon, so it is going to be kind of long

Preached 5-21-06 AM service at Northwest Christian Church, McKinney, Texas

David Kautt, Preaching Minister

"Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of
ten strings.
Sin to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
"For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD."
Psalm 33:1-5

"His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God! Selah Psalm 87:1-3
"Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that
is in them;
Who keeps truth forever.
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
"The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and the widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
"The LORD shall reign forever – Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
"Praise the LORD!" Psalm 146:5-10

Are you a saint? Am I? if you remember the thrust of our lesson from just two weeks ago, you’ll realize that what those questions are asking of us – what God’s Word is probing us about is the issue of what we love, and what we worship and obediently serve!
Do you recall how we began that study a couple of weeks ago? We began with this statement: "You can tell a great deal about a person by listening, by watching and by discerning what he or she loves. For what he loves, is what he worships. What he loves is that to which he is committed. And, what he loves is that to which he is enslaved.
What do you love? What do I serve and worship? As I told you last time, my interest in these two sets of seemingly unrelated questions was piqued when I came face-to-face with Psalm 40:16, which states: "Let all those who seek You, rejoice and be glad in You [O LORD]; [and] let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘The LORD be magnified…."

Once again, the verse begins by saying, "Let all those who seek You…." Let all those who seek the LORD…." Seekers of the LORD – how about it? Would you say that quality is at least one of the definitions of a saint found in the Scriptures? Saints are those who seek the LORD! But then, listen to the rest of the verse again with me, and make the connection with me again between my question: "Are you a saint?" and my question: "What do you love and worship?"

Psalm 40:16: "Let all those who seek You [O LORD], rejoice and be glad in you! {And] let such as love your salvation say continually, ‘The LORD be magnified!’"
Beloved, where are we going with this? What am I up to as your teacher?

Here’s where we’re going: I’m not merely interested in a dictionary definition of the word saint – of the phrase child of God. No! Rather, my hope and my prayer is that, through His Word, God will show us what a true saint really is by helping see what true saints – genuine children of God – really love. And then, with that portrait of the things saints love before us, sort of like looking in a mirror, we’ll be able to discern whether or not those things are indicative of and manifested in our lives. We’ll see whether or not the things true saints love are the things we love.

The Things Saints Love
By way of review, let me just remind you that this Book in places like Psalm 40 and Psalm 119 and Psalm 122 and indeed in many other places, make note with me Beloved, that this Book – God’s Word – informs us that saints, true children of God – what do they love? They love, they are committed to the things of God. True saints invest themselves in the things of God. But what things are those?
A minute ago we read Psalm 40:16. Saints love God’s salvation, His rescuing and delivering work in their behalf, accomplished by Jesus Christ at Calvary. They love it.

Secondly, Psalm 26:8 shows us that saints, genuine children of God, love God’s house. They are glad, really really glad, when someone says to them, "Hey! Let’s go to the house of the LORD."
Thirdly, we learned last time that you can tell that saints really are God’s children. How/ By observing their love for God’s Word. By taking note of their love, and their love-inspired obedience to the Word of God.

Are you a saint? Am I? Saints, genuine children of God, love the things of God. They love the things of God. But, that’s just the beginning. We’re just getting started. How else can we tell a saint, an honest-to-goodness child of God, from someone who isn’t?
Once again, like we’ve said before, we’ve got to look at the things a person loves, at what he or she worships and serves. Saints. How do you know they are such? You know it because they love the things of God. That’s number one. But that’s not all. You know it.
By looking in the mirror of God’s Holy Word, you can discern who is and who isn’t a child of God, a true saint, by observing whether or not they love the things God loves. You see, saints – true children of God – what do they love? Point number two: real saints love the things God loves.
Now here’s the $64,000 question. What does God love? What does God love?

You may not have picked up on it as we read the three different passages from the book of Psalms earlier, but the fact of the matter is the Bible is explicit and exceedingly clear in saying, "This is what God loves!" For example, we read Psalm 33 at the outset. The psalmist calls God’s people to praise the LORD. He says, "Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful! Praise the LORD with the harp and make melody to Him with an instrument of ten-strings! Sing to Him a new song and play skillfully with a shout of joy! Praise the LORD."
But why? Read on to find the answer. "For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth." He loves – there it is, my friends – the LORD loves – what does He love? Say it with me. "He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD."

What does God love? From Psalm 33:5 we learn that He loves righteousness. He loves righteousness. He loves what is straight and even and true – what is born out of loyalty and excellence. But why?
Turn just a few pages to Psalm 11:7. The reason God sets His love on righteousness is because He is righteous. The old King James Version says it oh-so-succinctly, "The righteous LORD – the righteous LORD loveth righteousness. In other words, God’s love for righteousness first and foremost is due to the fact that He is, by His very nature, righteous! When He speaks, He speaks what is true. When He acts, His actions are always – as the carpenter puts it – ‘on the level’ – straight and even and true.

But, so what? So what? What difference does it make to you and me that God is righteous and the He loves what is righteous?
Here’s that question again. Are you a saint? Are you? Well, if you are, then listen. Take note. Psalm 23:3 tells us that God is leading you in His righteousness. The One who is the Shepherd and Overseer of every true child of God leads you in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Or how about this one? Psalm 31:1-5. What’s so important about God’s love for righteousness, about His being righteous?

Mark it down, brothers and sisters. God also saves and rescues and delivers His people in righteousness. He does! And so, what can we say? With David the psalmist, with Jesus our Savior, we can exclaim: "You are my rock and my fortress. Yes, You are my strength. Into Your hands [Your strong and righteous hands] I commit my spirit,… O LORD, God of truth."
God loves righteousness. He is righteous. So what does He do? He revives, He renews His people, His saints in righteousness.
Psalm 119:40 reads "Behold, [O LORD], I long for your precepts; please revive me in your righteousness."
Then one more, one that has got to be the most staggering, the most astonishing of all, Psalm 89:14-18. God is righteous. And He loves righteousness. So what does He do? How does He appropriate that righteousness into the lives of His people? Are you listening? Psalm 89. Our righteous God exalts His people, sets them on high, in His righteousness. "Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted."

The LORD loves righteousness. The righteousness God loves righteousness. And what did we say was the case for true saints, for genuine children of God? They love what God loves. They love the things God loves. Keeping that in mind, listen now to these verses from the lips of Jesus, one more time. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness" After what? After righteousness. Blessed. "Oh the abundant joys of those who hunger, who thirst, who yearn for and long for what God loves. Righteousness. For they shall be filled." That’s Matthew 5:6. And then there’s Matthew 6:33. Jesus says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Over and above everything else saints love, saints pursue what God loves – His righteousness – "and all the other things they need will be added to them." Saints. Children of God. Do love what they love? Do we love what the LORD loves?
There’s a second thing that saints love because it’s something that God loves. And it’s something that we need a whole lot more of these days. Do you have any idea what it is? Let’s read Malachi 2:10-16.
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the LORD’s holy institution which He loves. He has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the LORD of Hosts!

(More to Come!)


No comments: