There's a question that is asked and answered in Psalm 15, and the rhetorical question serves to kind of grab your attention. It wakes you up.
This is a most important question. Verse 1, Oh Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? Psalm 15 asks the most important question there is, who may dwell with God? And that's the title of Pastor Don Green's message today on the truth pulpit.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright. And Don, what's in store for us? Well, Bill, what we're going to look at today is an important section of scripture from Psalm 15 that addresses issues that scripture goes to again and again and again. What kind of man will God accept into His presence? What are the character traits of a true Christian?
And as we consider these things, it is going to lead us straight to Jesus Christ. He is the only one who perfectly meets the standard, and He shares that righteousness with us when we put our faith in Him. Okay, Don, and friend, let's join our teacher in Psalm 15 as he continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit. So what we have here in Psalm 15 is a question of who it is that enjoys fellowship with God. Who is it that enjoys communion with Him? Who is it that has a character that God approves of? What is the mark of that character?
What can we recognize in that character? Who is the man who has fellowship with God, and let's put it this way, who enjoys the providential protection of God? Who is the man that God has His hand upon as opposed to being opposed to the fool that we saw in Psalm 14? Well that's the question that Psalm 15 is answering. Psalm 15 defines the kind of righteousness that God requires of the man who would walk with Him.
Not how he can become right with God, but a man who is right with God, what is the characteristic of his life? And as you read Psalm 15, it opens with a rhetorical question. Look at verse 1 with me now. There's a question that is asked and answered in Psalm 15. And the rhetorical question serves to kind of grab your attention.
It wakes you up. This is a most important question. Verse 1, Oh Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
There's a significant question there. And implied in the question is this, not everyone can. Not everyone does dwell with God. Not everyone is entitled to abide with Him. And so the question of Psalm 15 draws your attention of a thinking person. Who may be with God? Who is it that is, who may have fellowship and communion with Him, whether in a temporary dwelling like a tent, or in a permanent residence on His holy hill in the city of Jerusalem? Who is it that could enter into presence of a holy God in light of what we had just seen in Psalm 14, that there is none righteous, there is not even one? Stated differently, what kind of man will God accept into His presence, whether it's His presence as it was expressed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, or the temple in Jerusalem, or in heaven itself?
No matter where the visible location of God is being manifested at the particular point in the progress of Revelation, the question is the same. Who may approach God? Who may approach a holy God in light of the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Now from a New Testament perspective, we understand that there must be the righteousness of Christ applied to the account of anyone who would approach God. It is by grace we are saved through faith. It is not through works of righteousness that we have done with our hands, but through His mercy, Titus 3.5 says. And it is only because Christ Himself has lived a perfect life, it is only because Christ Himself has died to take away our sins, that the barrier of sin can be removed and we have access to God.
You know that from all of our study together. Now what we have here expressed here is what is the kind of life that is marked by a life that's been transformed by grace? How can you recognize a righteous man?
And what it says and what it gives us are answers to help us evaluate the quality of our lives. Now, Psalm 15 is not intended to be a comprehensive answer to the question. Psalm 15 does not speak against murder or adultery or theft like the Ten Commandments do. It really doesn't say anything about loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind, or your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't speak to the Old Testament sacrificial system as you might expect from an Old Testament book. It doesn't talk about reading scripture, it doesn't talk about prayer, and so it's obviously not intended in its five short verses to be a comprehensive, exhaustive answer of everything that would be required of a man of God who wanted to walk with God during his time on earth. We just need to understand what this Psalm is and what it is not. It is not a road map to how you can earn your salvation through your works. It does not say everything about the godly life that could possibly be said. It's not its intent.
It's too brief for that. So what is it doing? Well, when you understand what it's doing, it makes it a pretty exciting Psalm to study together. Psalm 15 is giving us representative traits that God requires if we want to fellowship with Him.
It's giving us examples. It's illustrating the point, the quality of a godly life, and it gives you enough breadth of the different aspects of a man's life on earth to help you measure this out. If a man's life is straight in these areas that are laid out here, then you can be confident that it's a reflection of a life that is marked by grace. Scripture speaks repeatedly of those who would claim to have faith, but their life is inconsistent with that claim. 1 John 2, 4 says, If we say that we have come to know Him and we do not keep His commandments, we lie and the truth is not within us. Jesus said in Matthew 7 that there will be many who say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not do all of this stuff?
Didn't we do miracles and cast out demons and He'll say, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. It's a very pervasive problem that Scripture addresses of men knowing something in their head that is disconnected from the life that they live. And that is a massive spiritual problem that the church is repeatedly having to call attention to in order to warn people about the state of their souls that they would examine themselves to see whether they're in the faith.
This is a pervasive problem. And James chapter 2 addresses this in familiar language, verse 14, James says, What use is it, my brethren, if someone says that he has faith but he has no works, can that faith save him? Verse 15, If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead being by itself. Now, understand, the theological reason that that is true, the theological reason that a truly converted life will bear fruit is due to the doctrine of regeneration. When a man is born again, when a man is truly saved, God changes his nature and places the principle of the divine nature itself within that man. The Holy Spirit comes and dwells within him. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old things have passed away, behold, new things have come. And so, when a man is truly converted, which is different than him simply claiming the name of Jesus on his lips, there is a change that takes place in that man that inevitably produces itself in real life. The man who only speaks about Christ without a change in life is an imposter.
He is someone who is deluded about the reality of his salvation. Stated differently, stated one more way, Psalm 15 in a positive way sets forth the marks of real spiritual life. And in the process, therefore, it exposes what a hypocrite is. And the problem of hypocrisy, the problem of false professions of faith, is that which Psalm 15 helps us with, and is therefore very, very helpful for those of you who come from Christian families, those of you who are young people in Christian families trying to sort out where your life is really at, whether you really know the Lord or not. Psalm 15 helps us with all of that. It gives us representative traits that God requires of a righteous man. And one writer says this, and I quote, Psalm 15 insists that worship is meaningless unless it goes hand in hand with an inner moral integrity which expresses itself in responsible living, end quote. There is an interchange that we're going to see, and it expresses itself in real life. That is the mark of the one who may dwell on the holy hill with the Lord himself.
There is an interchange that works itself out in real life. There is no such thing as someone who is a Christian who lives like the world in unbroken fashion. We're going to see five of these traits here in the way that we've structured the message here. And first of all, we're going to see that the righteous man can be recognized by his character. The righteous man can be recognized by his character, or if you want to do this in a more profitable way, and you want to make this sermon more profitable for yourself, use the first person pronoun, my character. View this from the perspective of addressing my character, not third person, his character.
And that will be most helpful to you. Well look at Psalm 15 verse 2. We've seen the question, who may abide with God, who may dwell with him and have fellowship with him. Well now in verse 2 we start to get the answer unpacked for us. And here in verse 2 we see a description of the character, the inward character of that kind of man. Look at verse 2 with me. It says, he who walks with integrity and works righteousness and speaks truth in his heart.
Notice the inner dimension there, in his heart. And verse 2 is a summary statement of everything else that follows in the rest of the Psalm. David is speaking here of one whose life that has integrity. His Christian life is consistent. He applies the entire word of God to his entire life.
He's the same on Tuesday as he was on Sunday. There isn't this black and white difference between when he's inside the walls of the church and when he's outside the walls of the church. David is emphasizing here in verse 2, the internal dynamic of the righteous heart.
Look at it with me again there in verse 2. All of these are Hebrew participles that are expressing the habitual nature, the continual ongoing aspect of the man's life. He walks with integrity. That walks, not referring to a physical step-by-step physical gate, but rather the manner of his life is one of integrity and consistency. He works righteousness out in his life. And even in the inner recesses of his heart, there is an element of truth.
He speaks truth within his heart. Jesus said that the words that come out of our mouth are a reflection of what's going on inside of our hearts. Here in Psalm 15, verse 2, we see the same principle being expressed. Those of us that value communion with God.
Those of us that take seriously the call to love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Those of us who are eager to be conformed to what He would have us to be, need to remember, as this Psalm reminds us, that there is an inner dynamic to the spiritual life. There is an inner dynamic to righteousness that cannot be overlooked. You can't harbor sin in your heart and manifest the external aspects of righteousness. No, you see, the righteous man, and I know this is true of so many of you here, you want to be right inside.
You want your thought life to be what it should be. Not simply that what man sees on the outside. The righteous man is mindful of the fact that the Lord looks on the heart, and he wants his inner man to be pleasing to God. And this is a repeated theme in the Psalms.
This just occurred to me. Turn over to Psalm 19, which we'll see a few weeks down the road. But you need to see this in Psalm 19 as well.
Psalm 19, the very last verse of that Psalm says, Psalm 19 verse 14, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. We would all do well to ponder the question, what's been going on in our heart? Is there a preoccupation with the word, with worship of God, with love toward others? Or is there selfishness and envy and lust and hatred that is bubbling up just below the surface? You see, the righteous man, those of you that are here in this room that are Christians, what you want to remind yourself of is that you need to not only attack the external sins that men see, but even more, you need to go after the sins of your heart because it is there in the inner core, in the character of your very being that righteousness is expressed. What is your thought life like? What is the inner man like? The one who dwells with the Lord is one who is manifesting integrity and truth and righteousness inside where no one sees.
Pretty convicting, isn't it? It reminds us of our need for a Savior. We realize we fall short here, and yet if you're a true Christian, you should see inside your heart a desire that aspires after this kind of consistency. I despise my inner inconsistency, the inconsistency of my inner man. I detest that about it, and you do too if you're a Christian. It's not my inner inconsistency, you hate your inner inconsistency, just to be clear.
You can hate mine too, but that's a different point. Your inner man, your character is what Psalm 15 drives your attention to. Now, David takes that general statement about a character and applies it and illustrates it in some other things that are more outward in his characterization of the righteous life. And secondly, we're going to take a look at your conversations.
Your conversations. We've seen the aspect of character in verse 2, and now we see the righteous man being identified in verse 3 by his speech, by what he says, how the worshiper uses his tongue. And David states it here with three negatives. Here in verse 3, notice this, he says, he does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.
This word for slander pictures someone who is going around, walking around, spying things out in order to spread stories to other people, about other people. And David has made, if you'll remember, David has made a point of the speech of wicked men repeatedly in the Psalms that led up to Psalm 15. Look over at Psalm 12 verse 2 for a moment. Psalm 12, let's pick it up in verse 1 because the negative contrast is helpful. David says, help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak falsehood to one another with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. And so he had just, in Psalm 12, had just been expressing disillusionment with the flattering false tongues of the wicked. And now as we come to Psalm 15, we see the righteous man is separated from that kind of devious tongue.
The man whom God approves. If you want to have fellowship with God, you're a person who watches your tongue. You're mindful of what comes out of your mouth. And what I want you to see in this, this is very interesting to me, it's not just that we refuse to speak the evil. It's not just that we won't say it. Notice in verse 3 he says, he says, nor will he take up a reproach against his friend.
He's talking about what we listen to as well. Will you take up, will you listen, will you receive an evil report about someone who is your friend? Someone whom you know, will you welcome that, will you receive it, or will you rebuke the one who has made that known? Charles Spurgeon said it this way on this verse. He said, in slander as well as robbery, the receiver is as bad as the thief. If there were no gratified hearers of ill reports, there would be an end of the trade of spreading them.
Call for a policeman, we say, if we see a thief at his business. Should we feel no indignation when we hear a gossip at her work? End quote. What comes out of our mouth and what we are willing to receive into our ears. And think about it not only of the personal conversations that you have, but, you know, included in this would be the idea of what you're willing to fill your mind with from media and entertainment as well.
You know, there's just, we not only keep the garbage from coming out, we keep it from going in in the first place. Our conversations are a reflection of whether we are living righteously or not. And what we hear has a reflection on that. And so we see in character, in conversations. In verse 4 we're going to see now your companions and who it is that you associate with.
It's often said that you can know a man by the company he keeps. Well this is reflected in Psalm 15 as well. Look at verse 4 with me. So we've seen the character in verse 2, verse 3, the conversations, verse 4, the companions. He says in verse 4, in whose eyes a reprobate is despised. But who honors those who fear the Lord.
And we'll stop there, we'll pick up the rest of the verse in the next point. What David is saying here is that the righteous man, the righteous heart is not attracted to the company of the ungodly. He isn't attracted to fame or fortune of a person who rejects Christ. He follows godly men, he defends godly men from criticism. Look at verse 4 with me again. In whose eyes a reprobate or a vile person, a wicked person is despised. But he honors those who fear the Lord. And I just can't help but think of how this helps identify hypocrites within the church.
Where is it that you find your company? Where is it that you find your common spirit? Once you step outside of the church, are you drawn and attracted to the company of Christians? Or are you drawn and attracted to the company and the entertainment and the role models of those who despise the Lord? That kind of hypocrisy is exposed in what we're saying here. People who have vile lives are reprehensible. We want to separate ourselves from them if we are truly the righteous people who are enjoying fellowship with the Lord.
Beloved, search your hearts and ask yourself, what is it that you're attracted to? Verse 4 says that he honors those who fear the Lord. Now, listen to me. The question is, when you hear that kind of criticism, do you defend that Christian leader or do you join in the criticism? Do you receive the report and say, oh, tell me more? Or do you step to the defense of the godly man? It doesn't have to be someone in leadership necessarily.
It's simply someone that you know that they have lived a life of integrity and suddenly someone picks up criticism against them. Today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green has begun a message titled, Who May Dwell With God? Don will bring you the conclusion on our next broadcast, so plan now to join us.
Right now, though, Don's back here in studio with a special resource offer. Well, my friend, I am committed to the dynamic of verbal preaching. I love to preach and speak. I think there's a dynamic when a preacher opens the Word of God to hearers that the audio component of that is a means that God uses greatly in the lives of those who hear.
But I also understand that sometimes you want to go back and study what was said more closely. We have transcripts of all of my full-length sermons available on our website. And I would encourage you to go there to find them and to be able to study the messages more closely through the written word, as you've also enjoyed it through the spoken word. Thanks, Don. And friend, to find those and all our resources, just visit thetruthpulpit.com. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 04:49:40 / 2023-05-25 04:58:30 / 9