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February 8, 2021 3:00 am
The pursuing happiness can often seem like an exercise in futility.
So is it even worth our effort today on Truth for Life. Alister Ben considers the subject of happiness from two different perspectives is titled today's message happiness revisited these concluding our series called the missing I don't know how many of you possess Constitution of United States. I think a number of you probably do. I have mine with me and want to quote from it from the second paragraph we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness often misquoted, though, to suggest that America is prepared to guarantee happiness as an unalienable right, but it doesn't.
It can't, it guarantees the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right and so it is that in the realm of academics, people with large brains and significant amounts of time analyze from a psychological and psychiatric perspective and from a sociological perspective, the nature of happiness itself and most of that work describes The Pursuit of Happyness in terms of its futility as a reason we're here at happiness revisited. If you like is because this Psalm this point, which is been the focus of our studies is upon us.
A point which is begun with the word happiness itself. Happy is he whose transgressions are forgiven. Happy is the man whose sin. The Lord does not count against him and it is appointment written by a man who would've fitted in quite happily to the chagrin Valley or to the surrounding communities here in a city like Cleveland insofar as he was successful. He was a leader. He was in many senses, the kind of individual who had made he had it all. People would've said, but as is often the case with those who apparently have it all, all, does not satisfy on this particular appointment felt the same way about happiness, apparently because he saw somebody else's wife and he decided that if he could have her then that would be equated to happiness. Whatever gratification he enjoyed in the immediacy of his theft. The events quickly unraveled this tastefully to murder and mayhem and to strengthen sapping sadness of the story of the Psalm is essentially this the writer has broken God's law as a result of breaking God's law. He faces the inescapable consequences when he tries to cover it up.
His predicament becomes worse and worse and worse. It's deeper and his despair is even more bone chilling it is.
By contrast, when he confesses his sin when he discovers forgiveness and cleansing that he is then enabled to sing about happiness. He is if you like, in this particular set looking at life from both sides now and he is looked at it from the side of relentless despair and then he is able to look at it from the perspective of a quite liberating. Happiness now. I hope this is helpful but I'd like to have us think in terms of just two pictures picture number one, then, is entitled, the sorrows of the wicked. If you go in galleries and I do every so often because Susan is more interested than I am and I want to be a good companion in life, but I'm going to like things as well. I suppose and I'm always interested to see what they put on that little card as descriptive of what it is that I'm looking that up here because it is always really obvious when you look at it but here it is pretty straightforward. The picture has a typo in the title is the does verse 10 in the NIV. The woes of the wicked or the pangs of the wicked. So in other words, the picture is a scene is a scene of people. It's a crowded scene, and it's not just any crowd. It is a crowd of the weekend.
I wicked is not a very contemporary world. Therefore, we need to unpack. We already read in Psalm nine description in part of the wicked, the wicked return to the grave. All the nations that forget God's will. Wickedness in the forgetfulness of God go hand in hand and the wickedness that is referenced here is described in terms of the transgression of overstepping the mark verse one, of being a sinner. Verse two.
Failing to attain to the standard that God has said, missing the mark of God's appointing of being iniquitous being marred by iniquity, which is nothing other than an internal balance and internal bias, which is a bias in upon ourselves when we look at this picture is a fairly large picture is a big canvas and it is completely populated again we say who are all these people in this picture and the answer is it is a picture of the wicked that we should expect that these individuals would all be the kind of characters that you would find in the post office on the wall are surely some of the people there would be like that, but the majority wouldn't the majority would be like us fairly well put together. Quite nice there columns or whatever way you do it and looking just as if we come off the pages of any photograph album tall.
The picture of the wicked has no exceptions. It encompasses all for all by nature go our own way all by our natures refuse the truth and all by our natures, our hearts close to God and some very nice, but it's what the Bible says I see what the Bible says and this is a picture of sin is that we are dead in our sins.
And so, unless somehow our deadness can be alleviated by a power outside of ourselves we will remain dead but dead people cannot make themselves alive and wicked people cannot be relieved of their wickedness.
If you look carefully. The picture as well.
You see that there are so there is sorrow in the eyes of many of the faces because as David says Manny on the woes of the wicked, and when he describes his condition. On another occasion, and some hundred and two. It's amazing the emotional and physical impact that sin, that wickedness has had upon so he describes a situation where his body is racked by fever and frailty that he is eating disorders in weight loss and sleeplessness and rejection than melancholy and despair. And the more you look at the picture, no matter how apparently lovely. It appears it's a start picture is a sad picture inside is that kind of picture that makes you almost recoiled from picture number one. The title is there just off to the side.
The sorrows of the wicked. They did well to put that in the north side of the gallery was a little chilly now. Our guide takes us through into the south side of the gallery where the sun comes in through the skylight windows and it's really quite attractive and pleasant. And it's no surprise that picture number two is found there. This picture has a title as well in the title at the site of this picture is the songs of the righteous and once again is a group scene people crowd, albeit a smaller crowd and this crowd comprises those who, according to verse 11 are right in heart in the same way that we don't make much reference to wickedness.
Not sure anybody has said to anyone this morning. Now come along. Fred I wish you a little more upright in heart but are you upright and hard on my upright in heart and if I were to be upright in heart. What would that mean, what would that look like that mean that I was a perfect person that I was a man of impeccable character. No, the right in heart are those who trust in him.
Verse 10 the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man or the woman who trusts in him then rejoice in the Lord.
Be glad you righteous the righteous the ones who trust in him, saying, all you were upright in heart. Who are the upright and are the ones who trust in him. The righteous this righteousness coming as a result of the confessing of his sin. Verse three when I kept silent. I was a waste verse five when I acknowledge my sin and didn't cover up my iniquity confess my transgressions.
Then you forgave my sin and the songs of the upright the songs of the redeemed are songs of God's wonderful faithfulness of his covenant love the Lord's unfailing love surrounds such individuals nice on TV the other day in the advertisements as seen with little children and they were sitting on what looked like a sort of plastic blanket and it had a variety of scenes on the blanket and then if they press the scene. It made a noise. The response of the children, albeit an active response was quite dramatic know that some may think you press president made that noise and then you press over there and he made another noise I want you to stretch your imagination here, but I want I want to suggest that if you walk up to the canvas in picture number one impression to make some noise and the noise that you hear when you press canvas number one is the noise of self assertive, boasting audit is the noise of self-inflicted groaning when you press the canvas of number two. Picture number two then you find that if you go up and press the tell me of somebody who appears in the canvas. Then it comes out as songs of deliverance standby from the pictures and some wireless saying that, why are they saying that, why would they be saying that considerate then end in relationship to David when he writes of the woes of the wicked there in verse 10 picture number one. Many of the woes of the wicked.
This is not some arm's-length description on the part of my fellow standing on a balcony looking down and seeing the mass of certain people's lives. This is a description of someone who has been there done that got the T-shirt he stands is aware in between the pictures, saying, testifying to the fact no matter how appealing the inducements to sinful deeds. The pathway is strewn with regret pathway that leads to a dungeon of unrelenting torment. He was a tormented soul and you may be here this morning and you are a tormented soul but were not. We must stay with David. How is it then that he walked the path or if you like what is the path from the north side and all of its gloom and groaning to the south side and all of its light and love and laughter and liberty while he tells us exactly what the path is. He says I acknowledge my sin. I confessed my transgression. I came clean. Finally, what about picture one and picture to relationship to ourselves.
We exist in picture number one we exchange the glory of God. Paul says in Romans one we falling short of the glory of God. Here in Romans chapter 3 will then how would a man or woman ever get their face erased from picture one and replaced in picture to.
While the exact same way the David number. What he did. I acknowledge my transgressions. I confessed my sin. I didn't try and cover up my self assertiveness easy in many ways the whole of life is just one gigantic cover and we by nature cover things up from God, and we think that if we can continue to do that and immune ourselves against the ravishing searching.
Actually, I have the Bible then will actually be happy only to discover the more we hide and cover it up, the more unhappy we become.
The more the prospect of being discovered or uncovered is a dreadful thought, but it was as David stepped down in repentance and in confession and and trusting in God's promise that he discovered that God is a God who keeps his promise. He's the God of Isaiah 43 I even I and he who blots out your transgression for my own sake. Note that me and in Romans three. That's why I read from because the story of the gospel. The story of the good news. The story of the transformation that is described in Psalm 32 answers, a fundamental question that any thoughtful person needs to ask which is if it is, as has been described so far on what basis cannot righteous God justify the ungodly. How can God let wicked people into heaven without spoiling heaven. The answer is that it is entirely and all of grace. It is entirely and all in Christ.
Verse 22 this righteousness from God. This provision which God makes from God comes in Jesus Christ. Verse 22. It is entirely all the it comes in Jesus Christ through faith and it is entirely all of God. Note that substance for another for a series of sermons on their own, but I think you can get all of that kind you you can understand that you can you can fasten on that for a moment on what basis cannot righteous God justify the ungodly answer is all of grace.
It is all in Christ. It is all of faith and it is all of God.
So where is where your face. I tell you where it is if is not in picture to still in picture one, and if by God's grace and it makes you marvel because he said yourself, knowing what I know about myself and what I like. It is an amazing thing that I might I could even have my picture-in-picture to and if your picture is in picture 210 Weigel Knoll is because the people you love most in care about most. You will long to have them in the picture with you and if you and I don't want to see the faces of those who are in picture one joint is in picture to the something really wrong.
Molly Weir was a journalist and an actress in Scotland in the 20th century. In the second of the two groups of broken title best foot forward. She describes her religious environment, and she describes how she went to the church of Scotland, which is the Presbyterian Church and then she supplemented that by going to various Bible classes. When friends invited her and she discovered a man who was in the big interdenominational mission hole in the center of Glasgow: true and he used to come and preach around the neighborhood and outside and they would saying and have musicians and then he would preach and she describes how he could make heaven seemed so appealing you just want to run right in and he could make hell seem so alarming that you wanted to get as far from it as you possibly could and she describes going home to her house where she lives not only with her parents, but also with her grandmother and grandmother never left the house except one day in the year.
Hogmanay is the last day of the year all the time.
She stayed indoors. So when Molly came home from these evangelistic ventures, this story of grace. She urged her grandmother. You must call.
You must come and hear this wonderful story.
Granny, please come with you and leave the house to go to the Salvation Army and here is here is one of my the one most poignant quotes in the book after the outdoor service you March we marched up spring burn Road behind the band and went into their hall to listen to another short service and discover how many sinners felt they now wanted to be saved.
There was a long bench in the front call the penitents bench where those wishing to be saved, knelt. I found this all very moving and was saved twice, once for myself and once for Granny since she wouldn't budge outside the house to make sure of her salvation in person. Pauline is Paul said broke his heart to think of his fellow Jews being downed and he said I would be prepared to be accursed. If they buy my cursing would be saved and Molly attempts to do what is impossible to do for we will never be brought into picture to on the tail of our dad, our mom, our sister are our brother. We are placed there by God's grace personally, purposefully and permanently. I wonder, do you get this to go from a state to a place of newfound freedom is an impossible task.
Apart from God's grace. That's today's message title happiness revisited on Truth for Life with Alister bag. Keep listening. Alister will be back in just a minute to close us with prayer. We just learned how King David experienced true happiness after he was forgiven by God and in the weeks that lead up to Easter. That's the perfect time for each of us to think about the forgiveness that Jesus sacrifice on the cross provides for us that's a reason we selected a book called an ocean of grace for you to read during the Lenten season an ocean of grace is a six week devotional prepared by Tim Chester for each day. Tim has selected writings or prayers from key figures in Christian history on the topic of Jesus death and resurrection. You will benefit from the insights of faithful believers. People like John Bunyan on Martin Luther, but also from the time the Tim has invested in updating the older sounding language so that the writing today can be easily understood.
Requester copy of an ocean of grace today when you support the ministry of Truth for Life you'll find the book on the mobile app or you can visit Truth for Life.org/donate also call us at 888-588-7884 or if you prefer to mail your donation right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio, or ZIP Code is 44139.
Always great for us to learn from Christians from past generations. It's also great to learn from Christians today to form new friendships with fellow believers, and there's an opportunity for you to do that in the near future this summer.
Alister will be teaching the Bible on board a cruise ship going to Alaska will spend time in God's word every day there's daily worship being led by Grammy winner Laura story, this is gonna be an amazing experience. The journey will take place on board a beautiful Holland America cruise liner. Now here's Alister close with father, look upon is in your mercy, we pray. Thank you that you are a God of immense faithfulness and compelling love grant that your kindness may show us the futility of our wickedness. The perversity of, and may woo us and win us as we acknowledge our transgressions and confess our sins and do not seek to cover up our iniquitous hearts accomplish your purposes.
We pray may we sing songs of the upright for your son's sake on then Bob Payne thanks for listing. Join us tomorrow for a new series from first Corinthians 13 title love in the local church. The Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living