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Friday, 15 December 2006

Psalm 11: Seeing the face of God

Psalm 7

Verse 7 tells us that the upright will see the face of God. In the Psalms we often see how the writer was trying to come to terms with life around him. This Psalm was in written by King David to whom God had promised a descendant who would be an even greater King than David. The Lord Jesus fulfilled that promise but David's own understanding as to how this would all work out clouded his understanding of the promise. I am sure that when the Holy Spirit inspired him to write these words David did not fully realise that it would be one of his descendants that would be the human face of God that the righteous would see.

Our purpose is to see how this works out through the person of Jesus and why He came to earth as He did.

Who is Jesus?

The New Testament tells us that:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The statement raises the question: who can be the same in the past, present and future? There is only one answer to this; it is God that is the only One who is present, past and future. God never changes and so He is the same now and will remain the same always and will be the same on into eternity. Verse 7 therefore teaches us that Jesus is God which then logically begs another question which needs to be asked: 

“Why did Jesus come to earth?”

A broken code:

The answer to this is simple really. God created the world and created man in order that He might have a close friendship with mankind. The only problem is that God is perfectly holy and as long as man remained as he was created then fellowship was possible but man broke God’s moral code. When Adam and Eve took the forbidden fruit; sin entered into the world. 

Today man has problem with what sin is!

A question of perspective:

We need to look from God’s perspective as to what sin is and not from human understanding. Human understanding tells that sin is all of the worst of evils things that mankind has done. Therefore murderers and child abusers are sinners but we are just ordinary people and are not really sinful.  We are not so bad that we would be classed as sinners. That is reserved for the Hitler’s etc. of this world!

The punishment should fit the crime:

There is much truth in the statement that the punishment should fit the crime. As humans we have to judge good from evil in society. Some people are so bad that they deserve severe punishment for their wrongdoing! God has covered this in His law as found in the Old Testament which if adhered to would deal fairly with those who both commit crime and also those who are the victims of crime. (The whole subject of Godly punishment needs to be considered in another study.)

What is often referred to as sin by modern man is a sterile understanding of what sin truly is. Man will always have an anaemic view as to what sin really is because he does not naturally want to admit that he belongs to the company of sinners.

Sin from God’s perspective:

So therefore what is sin? It is simply disobedience to God’s requirements of humanity. To us that might seem rather petty and we might wonder whether God really will reject those who are basically good in our estimation.

Lessons from the character of God:

We need to go back to the very beginning in order to understand what sin really is. As we have already said "God has always been, He is and He always will be." He is perfect in every way and He has clear and just standards that cannot be changed. Try to imagine a laboratory that makes drugs for the cure of a specific illness. It has to be scrupulously clean and free from contamination. If just one molecule of contaminant enters into that process all of the resulting drugs are rejected and destroyed even though they are 99.99% pure. They are unfit for use because of a small amount of contaminant. We might reason that it would be quite improper to destroy the whole batch due to such a small quantity of impurity but in reality that small amount ruins the whole batch. If there is no way to purify it then it is only fit for rejection. This is just what it is like with God.

The purity of God:

He is 100% pure, there is no hint of sin in Him and so if He was to admit into His presence even one person who is less than perfect God Himself  would be contaminated by their sin. As with a contaminated drug there is no natural way of purification from sin and so there is no hope for sinners. 

But

There is a way of purification:

The good new is that there is a way of purification. The amazing thing about God is that He made man in order that He might have fellowship with Him. It was God who was hurt when man chose to go His own way. Man became impure and was therefore not able to approach God as he had before. The evidence for this is seen when Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden. It was God who approached them, it was He who judged them for their wrongdoing but it was also He who promised that there would be a way of purification in the future. Just as a drug cannot purify itself; so man cannot remove the contamination of sin. In the same way that a contaminated drug needs a chemist to purify it or even to reject it if it is beyond hope then so it is with man. 

Man needs God to purify him. 

God alone can purify the sinful heart. In order to purify a drug for the chemist it will take a long and laborious process sing various cleansing reagents. 

God’s purification reagent is blood. 

Abel understood this when he offered a sacrificed lamb as his worship to God. God was pleased and Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. The point was that blood sacrifice atoned for the sins of man. The animal sacrifice was merely a picture of the ultimate sacrifice that was necessary for the forgiveness of man’s sin. There was none good enough to pay the price of sin and so God’s plan was that He should send His Son to become a man and die as a perfect sacrifice in order that sinful man might be restored to fellowship with God.

It is God's own blood which is the purifying reagent for sinful man. It is His blood that washes away sin and cleans up the life of man and thus restoring him to fellowship with God.

A lesson from a paintbrush:

When we clean a paintbrush from some highly coloured paint it takes a lot of solvent to rid the brush of all traces of the paint. The first thing that we must do is choose what solvent will dissolve the paint. No other solvent will do! The right solvent for sin is blood. The only blood that is capable of doing the job is the sacrificial blood of Jesus. Many other systems might claim to do the job but they are bogus and do not clean the heart and make it acceptable to God.

There needs to be a sufficient amount solvent to do the job. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse the sins of all who repent.

A paintbrush needs to be cleansed by an external body; it cannot clean itself! God alone can do the job of cleansing the heart. We cannot devise a scheme to substitute God’s work!

If left too long a paintbrush becomes hard and hopeless. Whatever manufacturers might say there is no product that will restore a dried up brush to pristine condition. It is useless and can only be thrown away. So it is with sinners, if they are not cleansed before it is too late then they also will be found to be useless in God’s sight. There is a day when it will be too late even for the blood of Christ to be effective. 

Do not leave it too late! 

Come to Jesus for forgiveness of sin in faith that His blood is sufficient for the forgiveness of your sin and trust in Him alone to make you presentable to God.


How do we come?

  • Recognizing our personal sin.
  • Recognizing God’s holiness.
  • Seeing God’s kind provision in the person of Jesus His Son.
  • Trusting in God alone for purification form sin.
When all of this is true David’s words will be true for you. Why not consider this over this TODAY?
Is 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Is 53
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The Birth of Jesus Christ
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Psalm 10: The distance of God.

OBSEC
3rd December 2006
Sunday Morning
P.A.Thatcher
Psalm 10: The distance of God.
The distance of God.
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
The arrogance of man.
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble." His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees."
A plea from the heart.
Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, "He won't call me to account"?
God’s perfect judgement.
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.


Psalms 9 and 10 may have been originally a single acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Septuagint they constitute one psalm.