Texted with Pastor Monroe this morning, he asked to pass along his greetings from the group that are in Israel, I think headed even to Jerusalem today.
Said they're having a great trip. Appreciate your prayers. And Pastor Monroe will be back speaking next week, beginning a great new series on the book of Jeremiah. It's a great privilege for me to be able to share with you today, as always is. Let me take just a moment to thank you for the privilege of serving here in worship every week. Great to serve with all these godly and skilled musicians.
Appreciate these college students coming home and jumping right in and godly and skilled people I get to serve with on the tech team. And I think most of all, just this congregation, thank you so much for being a church that wants to worship God wholeheartedly, worships him in spirit and in truth each and every week. And so I thank you and I praise the Lord for that opportunity. Today is a great day, I think, for our church. We get to worship here together in the morning and then this evening, a unique opportunity for us. I think it's our third annual outdoor worship night.
This kind of came out of the pandemic, one of the years when we couldn't gather together indoors. And so I think one of our worship staff came up with the idea, let's just take it right outside and worship. And it seemed to seem to go well. And so we've been enjoying that for the past couple of years. And it looks like the weather is going to be good tonight and the Lord's going to give us a great night together.
So I encourage you to participate. Wonderful night of fellowship, wonderful night of worship. When Pastor Monroe asked me to preach this morning, you know, I thought I was thinking of this day and the outdoor concert and kind of a unique opportunity that we have as a congregation to get out in creation and worship the Lord together. Also kind of coming to the end of a season here, end of the school year.
Maybe there's some vacation in the months ahead. We get some time at the mountains or the beach and get to appreciate God's creation. So the Psalm came to mind. Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare the glory of God. So I'd ask you to turn there this morning. Psalm 19 is going to be our focus today.
C.S. Lewis says that this is the most beautiful poetry in all of the Psalter. God's truth declared so beautifully. Talks about the beauty, the magnificence of God's creation.
But that's not really the focus. The focus is not creation, but the creator, the heavens declare the glory of God. And so it teaches us that God is speaking to us through the worlds, the heavens that he's created later in the Psalm, through his living and active word that we hold in our hands. And then ultimately through Christ our Redeemer. And the question for us this morning, of course, is God is speaking to us, is are we listening and how are we responding?
So let's begin here. Psalm 19. I'm going to read these first four verses here. God is speaking to us through creation. It says, the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the earth or to the end of the world. Obviously, God is speaking to us as the heavens declare the glory of God. And look at what this teaches us about that.
This is happening at all times. Verse 2 says, day to day and night to night, there is no intermission as God is pouring out and speaking out through his creation. Verse 3, interesting verse, says there's no speech, there are no words whose voice, the heavens are not speaking literal words.
There are no words right here. Those come later, but he is speaking through the heavens that declare his glory. He's speaking at all times and in verse 4, to every one. Says their voice goes out through all the world or through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. As far as the east is from the west, God is speaking to everyone. So he's speaking, he's speaking at all times through creation and he's speaking to everyone.
When I was in college, I was on a missions trip in Mexico and we're out, I think, kind of in the desert helping to build a youth camp. And I will never forget at night, the stars were just brilliant. A picture I could never forget. Maybe some of you have had that same experience of seeing a beautiful night sky and who cannot stand before the mountains or the ocean and give praise and glory to God. Because of his creation. Of course, David, who wrote this Psalm, was a shepherd. And so he had spent his nights out on the hillside looking at the beauty of the night sky. But really, it's just a glimpse of the glory of God. Listen to these words compiled by Matt Redmond.
He says, the writer of Psalm 148 cries out, praise him all you shining stars, Psalm 148. He says, our sun, although it is enormous, in the wider scheme of things is actually just an average sized star. One of at least 100 billion in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Think for a moment about the scope of that. So that 6,000 stars can be seen from Earth by the naked eye. Only 2,000 of those can be seen from any one point. And in a well-lit city, probably no more than 100 stars can be seen. Even at this level, anybody who's ever gazed into the night sky will have recognized the grandeur of it all.
Yet we see only the tiniest glimpse of the true reality of what's out there. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone. And astronomers now believe there are at least 140 billion other galaxies, many of them bigger than in ours.
And this is a little bit dated. I've heard even bigger numbers than that. Those numbers are unfathomable to us. Hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, hundreds of billions of galaxies. How great is our God?
Just to sit and to ponder that even draws us into worship. How magnificent, how powerful He is. Not only did He create it, He knows all the stars by name. How great is our God? The band started off this morning with How Great Thou Art. I see the stars.
I hear the rolling thunder. God's power throughout the universe displayed how great He is, how great Thou art. We sang this morning Psalm 8. When we look at the heavens, consider the moon and the stars and all that God has made. Yet what is man that He is mindful of us?
God's great grace. But God uses the heavens to proclaim His glory. And that's carried into the New Testament as well. Romans 1 19-20, and I think we have these verses, listen as I read, reflect on these verses. For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse. Now important in these verses, who is them at the beginning and who is they at the end? Ella, when she was baptized, quoted Romans 1 16 for us, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It's the power of God, everyone who believes unto salvation. And the verses in between that and verses 19 talk about the righteous and the unrighteous, saying that the righteous will live by faith, but the unrighteous even suppress the truth.
And so these verses are talking about the unrighteous, the one who looks at the skies and does not respond as a creator, but those are left without excuse. Anyone can see, or anyone can see the power of God in salvation, or in creation. These verses tell us too that we see, what do we see? We see God's power and His divine nature revealed through what He has created. His power and His divine nature. We see His power by just the magnificence and the greatness of His creation. But we also see His gentleness, His kindness, His grace in creation.
Think of the beauty of a newborn child, you know, who's not held a newborn child and acknowledged the incredible humility of that or such a sacred moment. God's grace, His divine nature revealed in what He has created. And these attributes, His power, His divine nature are obvious to everyone, to the believer and to the unbeliever alike, to the righteous and to the unrighteous. And to the follower of Christ, to the believer, this is all a great source of delight. Look back in Psalm, or look in Psalm 19 as we continue on in verses 5 and 6, and we'll start in verse 4. He says, In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom, leaving His chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing that's hidden from its heat. So God, speaking of creation, now He's speaking of the sun specifically, and it repeats these same themes, that the sun comes out and makes its circuit.
I was in this morning, I saw the beautiful sunrise, as we have, we anticipate hopefully a beautiful sunset tonight as we worship together outdoors, God the sun making its circuit. And it's a reminder that, you know, God's power is displayed as creation over everyone at all times as the sun continues. And also in these verses too, notice the joy, which I think is significant.
What are the examples He uses for the sun? He says, like a groom, a bridegroom, great picture of joy, like a strong man that champions some translation, who runs its course with joy. So God delights to paint the skies with His majesty and His beauty. God is speaking to each of us through the majesty, through the beauty, through the grandeur of His creation.
Of course, He doesn't stop there, there's more. God speaks to us not only in a general way through the world, but in a specific and an even greater way through His word. I think it was Benjamin that when baptized, he quoted Isaiah 48, heaven and earth will fade. God's word will abide forever.
Grass withers, the flower fades. God's word abides with us forever. God is speaking to us through His living and active word. Let's read these verses here in Psalm 19, verses 7 through 11. And notice these pictures, these descriptions of the word and also the impact of the word.
Several of each are given here. Of course, David as a Psalmist, he's referring literally to the law, the law of the Lord. But now obviously it applies to what we hold in our hands, the entirety of God's word. Verse 7, the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold. Even much find gold sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned and in keeping them there is great reward.
So look at these descriptions of the word, that it is, the law is perfect. The testimony of the Lord is sure, it's right, it's pure, it's clean, absolute, pure, holy truth that God has revealed to us, that he has spoken and is speaking to us through his word. And then of course the effects that it has on us. It says in verse 7 that it revives the soul. It makes wise the simple. It rejoices the heart. It enlightens the eyes, all values of the word of God, perhaps summarized and that gives us everything we need to strengthen our hearts for decisions, for wisdom, for walking as we would with the Lord. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It gives wisdom to us. It rejoices our heart, revives our soul. Dane Ortlund in his book, Deeper, writes this description, he draws the analogy of the word of God as breathing in. He has a chapter in that book on breathing in the word, breathing out in prayer, constant dialogue with the Lord.
Listen to what he says. What is the Bible? It is our greatest earthly treasure. We see that in these verses here. You will stand in strength and grow in Christ and walk in joy and bless this world no further than you know this book. Scripture is not an ancillary benefit for a life otherwise well ordered, in need of a little extra boost. Scripture is shaping and fueling. Get that? It's not just a, it's not icing on the cake.
It's not an add-on. Because the Bible corrects us, but the Bible not only corrects us, it also oxygenates us. We need a Bible not only because we're wrong in our natural minds, but also because we are empty in our souls. This is why I like the metaphor of breathing. Taking a big breath in our lungs fills us with fresh air, gives us oxygen, calms us, provides focus, and brings clarity. But inhaling does for us physically, Bible reading does for us spiritually. And so he's not, this example is not reducing the word just to take in a deep breath, but it is using it. It raises, it reminds us of the importance of the word that we can't live without the word. It oxygenates us. When Satan came to tempt Christ, he quotes the Old Testament.
What's he saying? Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Father. So a word is very oxygen to us. It is food for our soul.
He says the Bible is unfailingly steady. Through it, God himself draws near to you. So God has given us, his living, an active word as our food for our soul. And of course we have, what's our response here that we, we must value it. Verse 10, more to be desired than gold, even much gold, sweeter than the honey or the drippings of the honeycomb. And you know, think in our own lives, you know, where, where is our time and our value?
You know, where's the word positioned for us? Is it central in our lives, or is it, as he says, ancillary, where we call on a time of need or maybe special times or occasionally? It's been so encouraging, you know, Pastor Monroe challenged us at the beginning of the year to spend 15 minutes a day in the word.
I think that's been very impactful for so many. I've heard so many great reports of that, and we continue that reminder, the daily intake of God's word, his living and active word. So God is speaking to us in a general way to everyone through his creation. We see his power, his divine nature. He speaks to us in a specific way through his living and active word, but of course he doesn't stop there either.
There's more. God's spoken to us, not just through his written spoken word, but through the word incarnate, Christ our Savior. God has spoken and is speaking to us through Christ, through his Son. Let's jump down in Psalm 19 and look at verse 14. It says, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Look at those personal pronouns. We begin this Psalm with the incomprehensible grandeur of creation, but he's a personal God. We have our Redeemer. Christ is our Redeemer.
The book of John, of course, begins, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God, and all things that were made were made by him, Christ. And then, of course, in verse 14, and the word became flesh, and we beheld his glory. We beheld his glory. The heavens declare the glory, Christ, and is the glory, declares the glory of God. God is speaking to us through his Son.
Hebrews 1, 1 through 3, verses that speak of this, too, and let's read this. So it's long ago at many times, the very beginning, the book of Hebrews, and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, because he spoke through creation specifically. We know in the Old Testament, he spoke through his prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
After making purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. So who is Christ? We see from these verses, it says that he is the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature. Christ, of course, doesn't just reflect God. He is God, the very essence.
It says the heavens declare the glory, Christ is the radiance of the glory of God. Romans says that we know his divine nature by creation. Christ is the exact imprint of his nature. He is God. Christ is our Redeemer.
What has he done? Here in Hebrews 1, he is the radiance of the glory of God, the imprint of his nature. He upholds the universe. He's sovereign, and after making purification for our sins, Christ, our Redeemer, he came to seek and to save that which was lost. He makes purification for our sin.
Creation points us to God. Christ brings us to God. First Peter 3.18, for Christ also has suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God. He is our Redeemer, my rock, my Redeemer, Psalm 19, 14. What does it mean that he is our Redeemer, our redemption? He's paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. John MacArthur says, our redemption is that he has freed us from the slavery of sin and the sentence of death. He's freed us from the slavery of sin and the sentence of death. Christ has made purification for our sins.
He has paid the penalty. Of course, in Hebrews 1 continues on, once he had paid, he's risen, then it says that he ascended to heaven, where he is now seated at the right hand of the Father, showing that he upholds the universe. He is sovereign, that his work on the cross is finished, his atoning work is done. He's making intercession for us, speaking words of intercession, and of course we know the Father has then sent the Holy Spirit, who indwells each who believe at salvation and we know the role, some of the roles of the Holy Spirit that he regenerates our hearts, that he illuminates the word. It's like turning the light on of our hearts to read God's word. He is our helper, our comforter, and he is our guide. He will guide us into all truth.
The Spirit helps us as we walk with Christ and gives us wisdom in applying his word to our lives. So God has spoken through his creation, through his word, through our Redeemer, and what is our response? Let's look at Psalm 19, these last three verses here.
Verse 12, who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins, letting them not have dominion over me.
Then I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer, what is our response today? Well, first of all, it is to receive Christ, to enter into a personal relationship with him. He is my Redeemer, the psalmist says. Creation points us to redemption. Christ brings us to God. Christ has made purification for our sins.
John 1, 9 through 12 says, the true light who enlightens everyone has come in the world. His own people didn't receive him, but to those who have received him, he gave the right to become the children of God. To all those who received Christ, he gave the right to be the children of God.
This unfathomably great God and his creation comes to us, desires a relationship through Christ can be his children. This great term of intimacy, our response today, if we're not a follower of Christ, there's not been a time when we've received him, we've confessed our sins, we've repented, put our trust in Christ for salvation, implore you to do that today. Number one, receive Christ. All of these verses, all three right here at the end, they're a prayer, they're a prayer of the psalmist, and all demonstrating the humility of the psalmist. And so I think, or so our next application from this is to seek God in his word and to pray fervently.
Seek God in his word and to pray fervently. We've stressed the emphasis so vivid in this psalm and the value of God's word. Notice here the psalmist, who can discern his heirs?
Declare me innocent. You know, the Old Testament makes a distinction between the high-handed, presumptuous sins and the sins we're not aware of. He's saying keep your servant back from sins I'm not even aware of or from presumptuous sins.
Psalm 139 talks about the spirit where the psalmist says, search me, O God, and try me and see if there's any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting, that element of humility and a bowing before the Lord. Again, that attitude of submission before him, not putting us at the center of our worlds and kind of calling on his word when we might need it, but bowing before him complete trust and complete humility. And again, that breathing in, breathing out of the word and prayer at least are 15 minutes a day in God's word and making sure that we're faithful in prayer as well.
Receiving Christ, seeking him in his word. James 1 talks about looking in the mirror, you know, we don't look in the mirror and then just kind of forget what we see and go our own way. We want to change. We don't want to be just hearers of the word.
We want to be doers. We want to receive with meekness the implanted word it says in James 1. And then finally, verse 14, honor God in our thoughts and actions and our words. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable.
You know, anytime we see that word acceptable, it kind of brings up the importance of sacrifice, right? You see that throughout the Bible that the sacrifices of God are broken in contrite heart, the psalmist says. So speaking, again, of humility and of sacrifice, you know, may I, in a way, may I lay my very words and my thoughts on the altar for the Lord. Yeah, we know in the back of our mind that God knows what we're thinking and others don't all the time, but God does. But this aspect that struck me this week of taking my very thoughts as an offering to the Lord and my very words, that's what it's saying here, that my words, my meditation would be acceptable in his sight. Meditation, a word that we can't just let slip by us, especially in our day where we're getting so much or processing so much information all the time, scrolling through, everything coming in at us, we're getting shorter and shorter, hyperventilating, as it were, just on information.
So it takes discipline to stop and to meditate. Creation gives us an example of that, you know, when we look at the skies, we see the handiwork of God, that we would reflect on that, give glory to the Creator, much more so in his word, that we would, we see this in Scripture so many times to meditate on his word, Psalm 1, so many times, then we'll have success, Joshua says, if we will take God's word and meditate on it. May the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart, biblical thoughts and our thoughts surrendered to him be acceptable. Close with these verses that summarize, Romans, familiar verses if you've been in church, been following Christ, Romans 12, verses 1 and 2, Romans 12, verses 1 and 2, we close with this, I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what's good, what's acceptable, what's perfect.
What do we have here? First of all, to present our bodies, our very selves as a living sacrifice, the words of our mouth, the meditation of our heart, the work of our hands, all presented to the Lord for his glory. Not conformed, not squeezed into the mold of the world, not deafened by the voice of the world, which is so loud, but listening for the voice of God, transformed from within by the renewing of our mind. We go back to Psalm 19 and we think of the effects of the word of God, that it revives our soul, that it makes wise the simple, that it rejoices the heart, that it enlightens our path. This is all aspects of being renewed in our minds by the word of God. We meditate, obey his word, we'll walk according to his word, so hallelujah. God is speaking to us. He's spoken through the magnificence of his creation.
Let's look at creation and give thanks and praise to him. He's spoken to us through his living word that speaks to us. He's spoken to us through Christ, our Redeemer. May we respond and give him glory. May we trust in our rock and our Redeemer, Christ. May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in his sight. Let's pray together. Father, we thank you for your word. We bow in utter amazement at creation.
We can't even comprehend these numbers and the grandeur, how great you are. Yet, Father, how gracious you are. What are we that you are mindful of us, that you care for us?
Yet you do. The very hairs of our head are numbered, and we thank you for Christ and his sacrifice for us. And as we remember his sacrifice here at the communion table, God, we pray that you would search our hearts, point out any offensive way, lead us in the way everlasting. May our words and our mouth, may our words and our thoughts and our very lives honor you. Amen. In Christ's name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 12:10:04 / 2023-05-22 12:21:43 / 12