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May 27, 2022 4:00 am
The Bible is not like any other book.
It's not merely an inspirational book full of helpful advice and encouragement. It's a book filled with instruction. It gives life to the soul. The way the sun gives life to the earth today on Truth for Life will learn about the power and perfection of God's word.
Alastair Begg continues his examination of Psalm 19 Psalm 19 to the choirmaster Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and nights tonight reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor are there words whose voice is not hard. Their cry goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. And then 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 it's rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of the and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 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 fine gold sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them as your servant warned in keeping them there is great reward who can discern his adders declare me innocent from hidden faults keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.
Let them not have dominion over me, then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh Lord my rock and my Redeemer. Thanks be to God for his word, we turn to God and ask his help father. Now we comment humbly asked that you will speak to us through the work we realize that the voice of a man is a tiny thing.
It flies away by that your word is all that we have just affirmed in our song, and therefore we look to you and we listen to and we pray in Jesus name, amen well for those of you who were present this morning. You know that we began to look at this time we said that we would consider. First of all, in the opening six versus God's revelation in his works or as we put it under a heading at the majesty of God's works and then that we would turn to the way in which God reveals himself in his words. So if you like from the majesty of God's works to the clarity of God's word or from if you like the eloquence of creation to the straightforward and clear expression of who and all that God is in his word itself.
Now is as as we come to this.
It's perhaps helpful to recognize that in the opening section, God is referred to in his most generic name the heavens declare the glory of God.
LEL when the psalmist moves to the clarity of the word itself. He changes and he refers to God by his revealed name of Yahweh, and he does so. I think some seven times, at least when I counted them before, and it would seem that he is helping is aware to advance things in the very terminology that he uses to make clear the nature of the relationship that the saints of God. Enjoy. In a way that is distinct from routine humanity. If you like, in so far as everybody who exists is capable of seeing the glory of God as revealed in creation even though they may deny that it expresses that that they may choose to suppress that true, but only those the children of God who have been brought into the family of God are then in a covenant relationship with Yahweh and therefore are the ones who are able to affirm the truths concerning God's word itself and what you have here in this section is a classic expression of Hebrew parallelism.
In fact, if for those of you like to draw things out you can you can diagram these these verses very easily and in three columns and you can put the adjectives in the nouns and verbs in three separate columns and you will see both by looking across the column and by looking up and down the columns that God's word is affirm for us in this very important and clear way. So, for example, just allow your eyes to scan the adjectives with me at the law of the Lord is. Here's the first one perfect and then it is the sure testimony of the Lord and then is the precepts of the Lord are right at the commandment of the Lord is pure fear of the Lord is clean of the rules or the ordinances of the Lord are true and what you really have here is a succession of words that are if you like complaining to make one great truth clear for the reader when it says that the law of the Lord is perfect.
This is the same word that is used. For example, of the will of God in Romans chapter 12 what it says and then you can test and approve the will of God, which he says which Paul says is absolutely perfect.
In chapter 18 of the Psalms and find this is on my page if it might be on yours as well disregard his way is perfect.
The word of the Lord proves true. So David is affirming the fight that the will of God in the way of God and the word of God is perfect when he speaks concerning the surety of the testimony of God. The word is simply to remind us of the fact that this is a word that God has confirmed or if you like that. This is a word that God himself has verified the precepts of the Lord proving to be right the word that is used therefore right is a word that is not simply distinguishing between right and left, or even right and wrong, but it has to do with morality and its is making the point that the way in which God has established his world is within the framework of moral cleanliness and then the remainder are simply pure and clean and true is not my purpose to delay on these we could spend we could go through the mall one at a time and be here until late in the evening the point that we need to make sure we understand is that when you take these words and we set them against the background of our world tonight. Then we are setting them in a context that is a dark background because the culture in which we live. And this is not entirely the case, but it is largely the case is a culture that deals in half-truths is a culture that has become adept at false news, a culture that is relativistic a culture that is embracing compromise and so far as to be confronted by words like perfect sure clean pure right through is to immediately realize that the word of God shines then into the darkness of the world in which we live.
Some years ago when we were down having table talk downturn in the old stone church. We had three talks I remember on a succession of Wednesday's one was purity in a dirty world. The other was integrity in a shady world and the other one was stability in an uncertain or in a shaky world and most of that was grounded in what we find here in this particular section. The contrast and I put to you is unmistakable. But let's just pause for a moment on this opening statement in verse seven, the law of the Lord is perfect. The law of the Lord is perfect possible to immediately wrong by this word law. If you immediately start to think in terms of the 10 Commandments.
If you immediately start to think in terms of legislation then you need to be corrected in your thinking.
The word that is used here is Toyota and it is a comprehensive term for the will of God as revealed in the word of God.
It is if you like.
A comprehensive term for God's revealed will and its root meaning is instruction. So what he's saying is that the essential instruction that God has given to us has revealed to us is that which converts revives the soul. In fact, Jim Boyce, the Legion boy says if you want to consider our best equivalent. It would be the Scriptures or the word of God. Okay, so instead of his immediately think about laws and rules and regulations. Think in terms of a comprehensive statement concerning the nature of God and the revealing of his mind and office will it has to do with everything that God has revealed to us and he says this instruction is absolutely perfect and it revives the soul.
If you use a King James version. An authorized version or if you remember memorizing this as I do, then you will know that the word that is used.
There is a word conversing that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul Plummer lived in the 19th century, I think, in New England, says in his commentary. There is no good reason for limiting the meaning of the word conversing to anything short of a saving change of heart, so that not all reviving's are conversions, but all conversions are reviving's and that it is this word which God provides for us, that gives life and it is a very important music we think about it this morning.
We said the sun, which at which it penetrates the entire globe is is actually the source of life on earth.
Now he moves on it. He says now only come to the instruction of God's law to his word, then this in the way that the sun provides for us physically. This is the source of life spiritually on the hymn writer, I know not deny cortisol at times when my favorite songs like I know not how the spirit moves convincing man of sin, revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in him and what he's describing here is Truth for Life, Truth for Life.
In other words, he's not saying the law of the Lord is perfect and will make you a very skillful theologian in us in the law of the Lord is perfect and is full of a lot of terrific ideas for how to live your family life know he said in the law of the Lord is perfect and it revives it converts the soul. It is a reminder again before we want to happen. What we expect may happen. What we pray will happen when we study and teach the Bible. At the late Mark Ashton from St Andrews and Cambridge rights very helpful in a little book that was done before he passed away is just a young man, and here's what he says in preaching the primary aim is not to achieve increased biblical understanding, along with a few practical ideas for applying it to life. Rather, the aim is that after the text is proclaimed, we will encounter God himself in a life changing way, i.e., that the word will make a difference will produce change as is me that that is perfectly in accord with this opening statement here in verse seven and it's certainly in accord with what we read in the rest of the Bible and one of the great tests of the Old Testament is when you go into the New Testament and you see whether these truths and themes are carried forward, whether they are reinforced and reapplied, and so on. And of course you wouldn't have to search very hard and those of you who have an inkling of the Bible would be able immediately to affirm what I'm saying to here we go. This is Peter now and he speaking to the scattered believers of his day and he's describing in part what has happened to them and he says there's what he says you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.
So the word of God was the agent applied by the Holy Spirit to these people when they hear the Bible being taught that you see that is why you see we want to encourage people again and again to come in here the Bible being taught in a when the pastor see that it can sound very much as if what they're trying to do is raise a crowd know what we were saying is if this is worth hearing is worth telling is worth sharing. Why, because of who share it know because it was being shared because we actually believe that the law of the Lord is perfect and it converts souls. Therefore, if it converts souls, and if the hearing of God's word brings light into darkness than the more darkness you can bring into the context of light, the greater the opportunity there is for people's lives being radically transformed. It really does make perfect sense. You have been brought to faith through the living abiding word of God and this is in accord with the song with your son.
For all flesh is like grass all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.
And then he says and this word is the good news that was preached to you, James.
He actually says the same thing doesn't it, and in his opening chapter in his most practical of the letter of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, or in the NIV, he chose to give us birth through the word of truth.
Some hundred 90, which is another Torah sounds as if someone. Incidentally, some hundred 19 says the unfolding of your word gives light or the entry of your word gives light to this kind of Luther day for me and so I just give you another quote from Luther as it fits with this this thought here is Luther in the bondage of the will, at page 73, and James Clark publishers, London, 1957. For those of you want to go and look for, this is Luther nobody who has not the spirit of God sees her jot off what is in the Scriptures, the people can comment same exact data Bible and look at the Bible and might will be written in Chinese or they could read it upside down.
They don't know jot of what they see in the Scriptures. All men have their hearts darkened so that even when they can discuss." All that is in the Scripture. They do not understand or really know any of the do not believe in God, nor do they believe that they are God's creatures, nor anything else. The full has said in his heart the spirit is needed for the understanding of all Scripture and every part of Scripture is even when something to say and I hope we will prayers the pastor is teaching the Bible. Why would you need to pray while pray for clarity.
Pray for fluency. Pray for brevity, perhaps, but also pray that the spirit of God will use the agency of the word of God to penetrate the darkness of people's hearts who have come into the context of this and they regarded as the strangest thing that ever happened to them in their life and they walk out the door and the go. There's a strange thing that happened to me today. Some of that has begun to make sense. We see it is his word that is absolutely perfect and then the sun in the synonyms that follow down. This is one of the other columns now that the year your nouns law testimony precepts commandment fear rules as a safe you want to just the diagram that you can you can make sense of it on your own. The testimony of the Lord is absolutely sure someone in a court of law says and is that your testimony, the person says yes that is my test may appear to swear to that is I am so another was he saying that this testimony this truth is affirmed by God himself.
If you like, in his word God appears as his own witness to the truth and to righteousness in the same way, the precepts and the commandments of the Lord speak again to the way in which God has purposefully and clearly delineated all that he desires with an authority which addresses the reader as we bow to end the fear of the Lord is clean, fear actually doesn't quite fit does it. As you look at it because it's not a synonym for law or for preceptor for testimony or for ordinances or for rule and isn't strictly so what is actually what it is is a description of the effect of the law of God the effect that it has on the life of the believer will come to that, the fear of the Lord is clean and the rules or the ordinances or the judgments or the verdicts of God are entirely righteous again you have the same thing in the previous SIM Psalm 18 verse 22.
For all his rules were before me and his statutes.
I did not put away from me.
This refers to decisions if you like, already rendered by God where he has made a decision.
If, as opposed to the attorneys.
You might call it caselaw if you like, and so the application of caselaw.
Here is a previous judgment has been rendered a decision has been made, and in the light of that, it is now applied and the psalmist says.
And these judgments of God.
These rules of God.
You can take it to the bank that are absolutely true and they are completely righteous. Now with all that said, you still have to come to the verse.
If these adjectives describe these nouns. What an actual fight these verbs and making clear to us in terms of the effect of the law of God, or the impact of the word of God.
While they are there written for us here on that not only do they revive the soul, but he also make the simple wise they make the simple wise now when in Proverbs chapter 9 you have that sort of personification of wisdom and and Solomon is speaking to his son and he says leave your simple ways and live and walk on the path of insight that is not of the person is a simpleton intellectually here, but rather it is that they are morally susceptible to the bypass meadow, and so on and so here are the psalmist says you know how the testimony of the Lord actually makes wise the simple so that God teaches to form his word lessons that are appropriate to our weakness so that he might reach down to where we are. It is through the faithful teaching of God's word that men and women are converted listing to Truth for Life with Alister Bragg your Truth for Life. We believe God's word is infallible and eternal. Its instructions are of the guideposts for life. That's why we teach the Bible every day, with the expectation God will work through his word to convert unbelievers to establish believers in their faith and to strengthen local churches. We hope this is been your experience as you listen each day along with Alister's messages we choose books with great care and with our mission in mind to recommend to you probably heard me talk about the current title were recommending called mirror evangelism. 10 insights from CS Lewis to help you share your faith when you read this book you'll find out what made CS Lewis so effective at compelling others to seriously consider the truth of the Bible. Mirror evangelism explores how Lewis responded to questions how he broke down objections and how we appealed the people's love of imagery you can refresh your own approach to evangelism by looking at 10 specific ways Lewis approach gospel conversations draw from Lewis's strategies to become more confident about sharing the gospel with others. Request your copy of mirror evangelism. When you give a donation to support the teaching of this, just click the picture in the air or visit Truth for Life.org/about Lapine.
Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy the weekend and are able to worship with your local church on Monday will look at why it's not enough to read through the Bible just once, even if you read it slowly and take notes will see why we need to continually return to God and to his word Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life for the Learning is for Living