What The Bible Says About You
By Bobby Blakey on October 10, 2022
What The Bible Says About You
By Bobby Blakey on October 10, 2022
Soon you will get the recognition you deserve. That's what I read in my fortune cookie at Panda Express the other day. Soon you will get the recognition you deserve. Now when I read that right away, and this goes back to my childhood, this goes back to how I grew up, when I read that I was immediately suspicious of that fortune cookie because people are always telling us what we deserve these days. Have you noticed this? Everybody here deserves to spend less money on your insurance. Have you heard that one before? Right? Everyone here deserves a vacation. Right? I was watching TV one day and a guy told me I deserved a Dr. Pepper of all things. Right? So, this idea, hey, you deserve something, that's a common idea. But when I grew up, and when I read this book right here, I found out what I really deserve. And so, when you tell me, soon, you will get the recognition you deserve, that doesn't sound like a fortune cookie. That sounds very bad to me. Because I don't want what I deserve. See. And this is very important, what we're going to study today in the Bible, it might come across very intense, even very harsh. But I want to tell you, this is the story of my whole life. This has been a blessing to me from childhood. And so, I hope you'll hear out what the Bible has to say today in Romans chapter 3. So, I want to invite you open up your Bible and turn with me to Romans chapter 3. And I want to invite even everybody who's home watching online or, or if you're traveling, if you're home sick. I know some of you are watching right now, I want to welcome you open up your Bible to Romans 3 with us. I'm excited to start studying this new chapter together. And out of respect for God's word, let's all stand up for the public reading of Scripture. I'm going to read for us the first 20 verses of Romans 3 that we're going to be looking at over the next few weeks in a series entitled “What the Bible Says about You.” So, start with me in Romans 3:1. Let's give this our full and undivided attention because this is the Word of God.
“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, ‘That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.’ But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. No One Is Righteous. What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.’”
That's the reading of God's Word. Go ahead and have your seat. So, as you can see, the point of these 20 verses of Romans 3 is that what we have in our lives is sin, and what we deserve is judgment, and Romans 3 might be one of the passages in all of Scripture that makes this very clear. This is what God has to say in the Bible about you. And so, I want to take you through these verses and we start in verse 1 here, “what advantage has the Jew because let's just review what we've seen so far in the book of Romans, if you go back to Romans 1:18, we saw that the “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” that men, generally speaking, they out there, they have exchanged the glory of God, and instead of worshiping the Creator, they now are worshiping the creation, they've exchanged the truth of God for a lie. And because they've made this exchange, God then gives them up to sin. That was chapter one. “They” out there they have been given over to sin. But then we got to Romans chapter 2, where it starts to talk about you, and specifically it even called out the Jew here, well, you think you're not going to get judged. But look, you're saying they should get judged, but you are a hypocrite who does the same sins, everyone is going to get judged, whether you're a gentile or a Jew, whether you're one of them out there, or whether you're one of you in here, you're all going to be judged.
And so, you might think, well, then what's the point of being a Jew? What's the point of being one of God's chosen people? What's the point of being his nation, his holy nation that he set apart for his purpose? And so, it's almost like here in chapter 3, we start to get some objections, especially in Romans 3:1-8. It's like Paul's going to answer some of the common objections to his teaching. Well, well, what you're saying you're acting like the Jews aren't God's chosen nation. What's the point of being a Jew? What advantage has the Jew? What value is it to be one of the circumcised, one of God's people? And he answers that in verse 2 much in every way. I'm not trying to say there's nothing “more to being” a Jew. That's the way you could really translate that word “advantage” there. Hey, is there anything more to be in a Jew then? Is there any value to it? Well, verse 2 says, there is much in every way. And really what he is getting into here. The argument about the Jews specifically, he mentioned that briefly here in Romans 3, but he really answers it in Romans 9. Everybody, turn over to Romans 9, because I don't know how long it's going to take us to get there, preaching through the book of Romans. So, let's just look up ahead, because he talks here in Romans 9 about how much he cares about his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Israelites, the Jews. And in verse 4, you can see he starts to list advantages and things that are good about being a Jew. And he gets into what do we think about the Jews and the Gentiles in Romans 9, 10, and 11. And while it's going to be a long time till we're preaching through Romans, 9, 10, and 11— we're actually going to start reading the book of Romans tomorrow on Scripture of the Day, everybody. So, yeah, some people like Scripture of the Day, apparently, that's us reading through the Bible together as a church. And what a great thing while we're preaching verse by verse through Romans, we can now read chapter by chapter and, and in this month of October, get the whole big picture of Romans fresh in our mind, again.
So, go back to chapter three with me, and you'll see that, hey, well, are you acting like there's no value in being a Jew? There's nothing more to being a Jew. No, there is much to it. And then he says, this phrase there in verse 2, he says, “To begin with,” or you could translate it “first,” that's what they translated it in Romans 1:8. But you know how Paul is, he's like, I’ve got so much to say to you first, and then he starts going, and he never gets to a second. So, this is the second time now that he's going to do that in the book of Romans. Oh, it's awesome to be a Jew. Let me tell you, first of all, and then we never get to number two, at least not till chapter nine do we get to the full list, but he's going to highlight here. But first, the chief thing that is the advantage or is the more to being a Jew is he says, the Jews were entrusted with the “oracles of God.” The Jews have the law of Moses, the Jews were given the written revelation of God. What's great about being a Jew is you've got the Word of God, see, so that we've compared the situation of the Jews and the Gentiles, the “us” and the “they”. We've compared that to those of us who have grown up going to church, who here, like me, grew up going to church from your earliest memories. Where are the other church kids? Anybody here a pastor's kid like me as well? One of those sketchy people? Anybody? anybody? Anybody here? So, I mean, I've been going to church all my life. And the question we want to ask is what advantage is there in growing up going to church. I mean, we try to create sometimes… some parents are trying to create a whole Christian experience for kids where it's like the kids, they live in a Christian family because they got Christian parents, and then they go to Christian school or, or they do homeschool there with their family, and then we take them to church. We go to a Christian church, and it's almost like we're trying to keep our kids in a Christian bubble, kind of like the Jews might have thought, well, you're going to be okay because you're a Jew. Well, you might be okay, kid, because you're growing up Christian. Well, let's just make it very clear here today that kids don't get saved because they grow up in a Christian bubble. Kids get saved because they know the Bible, which makes them wise for salvation. So, this whole idea… we’ve got to be careful, because sometimes we might think, well, we're church-going people, we're a Christian people. And that's what makes us different. No, the advantage of being a Jew, the advantage of going to church is we have God's Word. That's our advantage. Okay? My parents, they go to this church. Now, my parents are great people. I didn't get saved because my parents are great people, I got saved because I knew the Bible. That's how God saved me. And does everybody understand what I'm saying? Like, it's not because we're around Christians that we get saved. It's because we hear what God says in the Word. That's what convicts us of our sin and shows us the gospel of Jesus. And so it is in the Scripture, or this, this phrase that it says here, the oracles of God. And maybe something different comes to your mind when you hear the word Oracles, but this word is just a unique way to talk about the words of God, the fact that God actually spoke, and it was written down, and we now have the very thoughts of God.
If you're a parent, and you care about your young child, and you don't want them to be a part of this statistic, because most kids who grow up going to church these days, don't stay Christians after they leave the home. They were never really Christians to begin with! Most kids that grow up in church in America fall away from the faith. So, parents, if you want your kids to really live for Jesus, teach them what this book says; let them know the oracles of God. This is the advantage that we have. What do we have? That's more than what anybody else has down the street? Or in your workplace? Or what do you have that's more? You've got the Word. And there's only four different passages in all of the Greek New Testament, where the “oracles of God” is mentioned; I want to take you to all of them.
Turn with me to Acts chapter 7. And let's just look at this idea of the oracles of God. Because the Jews did not do a good job of listening to what God said. And Stephen points that out here in Acts chapter 7, when he's on trial in front of the Jewish religious leaders. The whole point of his message is God's always trying to speak to you and you're always rejecting the message of God. You're not seeing what God really gave us was his Word. You're not listening. And he describes Moses receiving the law here in Acts 7:38. And he says about Moses, this is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. And he, Moses, received the living Oracles to give to us, and what we got from God was a written Word, we got the living Oracles, the very words of God were written down. And then look what he says right there in Acts 7:39. “And our fathers refuse to obey him.” Now what we need to understand and learn it from the Jews of old and apply it to being in the Christian community today is just going to church and going to a Christian school or homeschooling your kids or just because you're a Christian, and your kids live in your house, does not make them Christians. They have to hear what God is saying in the living oracles. And the Jews, even though they had God's Word, they did not hear what God had to say in here. Stephen, calling them out here, Steven, speaking to them on behalf of God, and what do they do in response to him? They kill him. So, it's very possible for people who grow up in the church to take for granted the advantage that we have, the more that we have in the Bible. It's very possible to be a person who goes to church and doesn't really read the Bible, doesn't really study it, doesn't really teach it to other people.
Let's get this down for point number one, if you're going to take some notes. We’ve got a handout there in your bulletin if you want to pull it out. And this is our point from verses 1-2 of Romans 3: “Stop taking Scripture for granted.” Stop taking scripture for granted. That's what we’ve got to ask ourselves, are we reading God's Word, hearing from God, not just once a week when we gather together at church? I mean, hopefully we're paying attention when we hear God's Word preached at church, but are we in God's Word on a daily basis in our homes, for our own hearts? And then do we have God's Word on our heart to teach to our children, to speak the truth in love to one another? Are we really seeing that what we have that makes us different from everybody else is we have the living oracles of God.
Go to Hebrews 5:12. And this verse is so applicable to the church in Southern California in the year 2022 that we're living in right now. And we've looked at Hebrews 5 so many times together as a church, because the people have become dull of hearing God's Word. Whoever writes Hebrews is having a hard time teaching the Jews, because they're acting like we already know what God says, and they're not really listening. They're not paying closer attention. They're not trying to get more out of the more that we have; they've started to take the Scripture for granted. And he calls them out here in Hebrews 5:12 when he says, “For though, by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.” Like, you've had the Bible in your house so long, you should know it so well, that you could teach it to other people. But instead, you're not really paying attention to it, you're not really hearing it. And it's like, we need to reteach you the basics of the Bible, when you should be at expert level, teaching others. That's the call out here in Hebrews 5. So, the Jews had a great advantage, an advantage they did not make the most of, an advantage that they took for granted. That's what's happening among church-going people in America today. We are making the same mistake that the Jews made, where we have the Bible, but we're not making that the central focal point of our life at our homes and our kids, by and large. If you look at the church in America as a whole, our kids are not growing up in the faith. They are falling away from the faith because we are not really giving our kids the truth of God's Word. Parents, a lot of them, aren't teaching their kids at home, they're hoping somebody else is going to teach their kids the Bible. Every parent, Dad and Mom, you are called according to the Shema and Deuteronomy 6. You need to have God's Word on your heart, and you need to teach it to your kids. You need to teach it to your kids when you wake up in the morning, when you go to bed at night, when you're leaving the home, when you're coming back home. The parents have God's Word on your heart and give it to your kids. And the Jewish people, who had the law of Moses, they had the prophecies of the Messiah, now they should be teaching it. But they're not teaching it; they've become dull of hearing. Look at what it says in 1 Peter 4:11, the fourth and final time this idea of the oracles like we have the very words of God recorded for us. Just a few pages over to the right, 1 Peter 4:11. It says here that “whoever speaks like I'm speaking right now, whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God.” See, we don't need the pastors telling a bunch of stories. We don't need pastors telling people a bunch of jokes. We're not here to try to entertain people. No, we need to speak the very words of God. We need to speak what God has written for us and those who serve. Will you serve by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ? “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
See, we need people to know who God is. And the only way you can know who God is is you've got to hear the oracles of God. So, if you're going to speak to somebody and you want it to matter, if you're going to say something that's actually going to make a difference in somebody else's life, you’ve got to speak to them the very oracles of God. So yeah, the Jewish people, they had a great advantage. And then they had the Scriptures. And in my life, I grew up knowing that I was a sinner that I deserve judgment. That has been a great advantage for me in my life, because I heard God's Word that is, the more that we have. And I'm here to ask you today, are you getting more out of the more that you have? Or are you like becoming dull of hearing? And are you thinking that you're just going to teach your kids manners? Or you're just going to make sure your kids are in the best school? No, none of that is going to save your kid's soul. Only the truth of God's Word will make them wise for salvation. Can I get an Amen at the nine o'clock service from anybody on this?
Like, this is what we've got if you think you're special, because you're a Christian, like the Jews thought they were special. There is nothing special about being a Christian. Here's our first and foremost advantage. We have the Word of God just because you grew up going to church, you grew up in a Christian family, even if you went to Christian education. I know many people who went to Christian college, they aren’t walking with Jesus Christ today. Okay, so this idea of growing up Christian should equal growing up with the Scripture. That is the advantage that we have in our Christian schools, our homeschool program, and your house with your free time with your family: are we opening up and teaching the Bible? That's what's going to make a difference. And we've got people right now— there's a whole team of them trying to teach the Bible to our kids. In fact, our whole strategy here in kids’ ministry at Compass HB is we are going to teach the Bible to kids of every age. In fact, we're not going to teach them something that we think is easy for kids to get. We're going to teach the kids right now, the same exact passage, Romans 3:1-8 that everybody here is being taught. Why? So when you go home, you can really start teaching your kids. That's what we're thinking. We're thinking that there's nobody that God has equipped more to teach children the Bible than their parents and if you teach your kid that they are a sinner, and that God is a judge, you will be doing them a favor for the rest of their life if your kid could know what Romans 3 says.
Go back to Romans 3 with me, and you'll see here that after he's answering this objection about the Jew while there's more questions that come up really. Verses 3 and 4 question verses 5 and 6, or question verse 7 and 8 are really an accusation given against Paul. And then how Paul's going to answer this is he's going to quote some of the greatest hits of the Hebrew Bible, and by hits, I mean, he's going to quote verses that slap you in the face is what these verses are. And we're going to go through every single one of these quotes when he says, “It is written.” So, look with me in verse 3, he says, “What if some were unfaithful?” And all the commentators pointed out, that's a very generous way to say it, because it seems like the majority of the Jewish people did not really hear what God said in his Word. And they did not do what God said to them in the Law. And so has the unfaithfulness of the Jews, has that nullified the faithfulness of God? By no means, he says. And we'll get two “by no means” in a minute, but he says God is true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written, and then what he quotes here. The first of many quotes in Romans three is Psalm 51, verse four, and so that you may be justified in your words and prevail when you are judged. Or the idea that you will be judged as a person.
And so, everybody, grab your Bible and turn with me to Psalm 51. And let's go look up. We're going to look up many different passages as we go through Romans 3. This is just the first one that Paul is quoting. And it's a famous song, that Psalm you might even be familiar with, because this is a Psalm of King David. And here's the description of the psalm: To the choirmaster a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him after he had gone into Bathsheba. So maybe you know that even King David, a man after God's own heart fell into sin in his life, where he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then he covered up his adultery by having her husband Uriah, the Hittite, killed in battle. I mean, you want to talk about some real sin, adultery and murder. And Nathan the prophet had to come and confront David about his sin and say, “You are the man.” And so, this is the psalm that David wrote in response to being confronted when God spoke to David through his prophet and said, “You have sinned, you are the man you've done wrong.” And here's David's response. Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”
So, “mercy,” if you want to write down a definition of mercy is “not getting what you deserve.” That is the definition of mercy. Mercy is when you realize that your sin deserves consequences, punishment, judgment, and you don't want to face what you deserve, then you are begging God for mercy. That's what David is doing right here. Please don't give me what I deserve. According to your abundant mercy, please blot out my transgressions. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin.” I need you to clean me up. I need you to forgive me. And so, verse 3, look at what he says, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Do you see what David is seeing? After Nathan came to him, his eyes have been opened, and it's very clear to him now that I have sinned, and before God, and if God was going to judge me for my sin, God would be right to do so. If God was to come and say, here's what you've done, and God was to accuse us or rebuke us for our sin, well, you would be justified, you wouldn't be blameless. I mean, here's David saying to God, if you judge me right now, you would be right to do so. But please, please be merciful to me
Let's get this down for point number two: “You need to see your sin before God.” See, this is something that the Bible says about you. This is a mirror that you can look into. This is a coat rack that you can put your coat on right here. This is something that you can know is true about you, when your fortune cookie is lying to you, and the commercials are trying to sell you something, when somebody is flattering you and they're trying to say, here's true about you, you deserve this. You deserve that. No, according to the Scripture, what you really deserve is I deserve to be judged by a holy God because I have sinned before him. And he sees my sin and he knows who I am. That's how David responds to being confronted to hearing the Word of God about his sin. I hear a lot of people today say, well, you know, we all sin, just like David did. Well, the question we should ask ourselves is, yeah, do we all confess our sin and repent of our sin like David did? Because he owned it before God. And he said, God, I'm wrong before you. And in that he did find mercy. Anyone who comes to God and confesses their sin, God will not despise, he will not cast them away. If you are sorry about your sin, and you own it before God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, God will not despise you. He will forgive you for your sin. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that?
So, you're like, oh, that's intense. You're telling people, they're a bunch of sinners from Romans 3, maybe I'll take a few weeks off of church. And I'm telling you, when I grew up as a boy going to church and I found out I was a sinner, that's like one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life. Because then I could see myself for who I really was. And I could see what God was right to think about me. And when you're a boy growing up in church, and you realize that you are evil, that you do wrong things. And then you realize that God is holy, and he's a judge. It puts the fear of God into your heart, into your soul, and you begin to see some things. Look what he says in Psalm 51:5-6, two things that David sees, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
So, as I was preparing to preach this sermon this week, I asked my, my parents to send me some pictures of me when I was a little boy that they have up in their house, like when I was learning these things. Oh, well, you know, reminding myself what did I look like? And they decided to throw in some pictures of my mom when she was a little girl and look how much we look alike! Here's my mom. Here's me. I got some things from my mom. Well, the Scripture saying one of the things we get from our moms, from our dads, from our parents, is we are all born in sin. This goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. This goes all the way back to the fall that everyone is born in iniquity. David says, I can see it, I can see that not only did I do something wrong with Bathsheba or do something wrong with Uriah that actually I did those wrong things because that's who I am. This is the real me. See, I grew up as a kid, and I got to understand the Lord through his Word. It taught me that I didn't need to be afraid of the big bad wolf coming and huffing and puffing and blowing my house down. I needed to be afraid that I would become the big bad wolf. That's what the Lord taught me, that I am the biggest problem I'm going to have in my entire life. And we can try to keep our kids in a bubble away from the world. But how are we going to keep our kids from our kids? Because we are the problem. I've met the enemy. I looked at him in the mirror this morning. There he is. That's what David said: I’ve got a big problem, and it goes back to how I was born. It goes back to who I am. In fact, this problem... Look at another thing David can see in verse 6, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
See, it doesn't matter what I do on the outside, it doesn't matter if I look like a Christian, if it doesn't matter if I know the right answers. At church, it matters. What does God see when he looks at the real me in the hidden place of the heart? Who I am in my soul? See, I was born in sin, and inside of me is evil. This is one of the things that Jesus said. He said, it's not what you eat, that defiles a man. It's what comes out of the heart of a man that defiles him. And Jesus said, there's so many evil thoughts, there's so many sins that are inside of us. And out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks out. Out of the abundance of the heart, the eyes look. Out of the abundance of the heart, the feet run, and they run to evil. Why? Because we are evil in our core of who we are. David is really seeing things now. When you see yourself as a sinner before a God, you understand how life really works, that you have always been a sinner, and the problem is really what's going on inside of you. And you don't have to blame everybody else. And you don't have to get angry with all that's going wrong in the world. You can just focus on the wrong that's within you. And that's something that you can see about yourself. That's what David is saying here. I want to know when did you go before God and beg God for mercy? Because you saw that you were a sinner, and you were wrong before him. And that's who you really were, to your core. See, I had the blessing of seeing that as a child, as a boy, and it's directed my entire life. Have you had this understanding? Has somebody taught you from the Word who you really are, because every single one of us that got convicted about our sin, and the Spirit showed us from the Scripture that we were a sinner before God. And you have that moment of terror, you have that moment of being a sinner who realizes that God would be right to judge you. That, as a kid, I knew there's a place called a lake of fire, and I didn't want to go there. But I would go there because I was a sinner. And in that moment of sheer terror, in that moment of fear, as a child, that moment became the most beautiful moment of my entire life. Because there he was on the cross, being judged for my sin. That's when the good news of Jesus made sense to me, that God would judge Jesus for my sin so that I could be made right through the blood sacrifice of Jesus. What a beautiful thing to see! But you can only see how awesome it is when you know you're a sinner before God who's going to judge you, then the cross of Jesus is awesome to you, then it's good news to you. Teach your kids that they're sinners, teach your friends and your family that they are evil to the core, because then they'll see that they needed someone to get judged in their place and they needed someone to die for their sin, and his name is Jesus, and he's worth living your whole life for. See, because he actually died for a sinner like you, so you wouldn't have to get judged. You can't be saved by Jesus unless you're a sinner. Unless you see you're a sinner to the core of your soul. Unless you see that God would be right to judge you. See, that's what it means to confess. A confession is when you agree with God. A confession is when you say to God what God has already said.
Aren't you that you would be blameless to judge me, you would be justified to hold me accountable for my sin because I have sinned, and I've sinned against you. See, that's what David says. And this is the advantage that we can know this from the Scripture. And at first, it seems well, this is really intense. I'm not sure I like this message. No, this is a beautiful message because it leads you to the good news, that Jesus loved you so much he died for you, when you were a sinner, to bring you into a right relationship with God.
Go back to Romans 3. And after this quote, he keeps going with the objections. So, this quote from Psalm 51 is in the middle of these objections here, and he gives two “by no means.” So, this is a strong, negative statement. So, he's raising a question that people, particularly Jews, might be asking, Well, if the Jews haven't been faithful, does that mean God's not faithful? By no means. God is faithful. Then another objection? Well, if our unrighteousness, if the Jews sinning, is actually an example of the righteousness of God, because then we see him come in judgment. So, if the Jews, not listening to God and continuing in sin, if that actually showed us how God is righteous, and God will judge, well, isn't then God unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? By no means. And then he says something for them. How could God judge the world? Okay, so, that's going to sound confusing to us there because in the Jewish mindset, like if you ask the Jews, well, what's something that stands out to you right away about God? One thing they would say is God's going to judge the nations. Because like, when the Jews were under the rule of the Babylonians, or, at the time that Paul's writing, the Jews are under the rule of the Romans. See, the Jews had a promise, through the line of King David: there's going to come a king who will reign on the throne forever. So, the Jews, like they knew something was true about God is God's going to judge the other nations that oppress us? It's kind of like today, if you went around, and you asked people like, what's the number one thing people in America know about God. They would say that God is what, everybody? God is love. That's like the common thought about God where we live? Well, the common thought about God among the Jews is, no, God is going to judge the world. He's going to judge the other nations. That's something they know to be true.
So, then there's another accusation really in Psalm 51:7-8, where they say, well, since Paul's not saying that you can be saved by keeping the Law, Paul is promoting lawlessness. And Paul is saying, you can just do evil, you can just keep sinning; it doesn't matter what you do. And he says, no, that's slanderous! That's not what I'm teaching. He's not teaching lawlessness, just because he's not saying the law saves you. Just because he's not a legalist doesn't mean he's lawless. So, he's going to get to that in Romans 6, when he says, Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? And then he says to that question, “By no means”! so he doesn't give us a third “by no means” there. He's saving that one for later. But there are two “by no means” that he gives. One is “Could God not be faithful to do what he says? By no means? The second is, Could God possibly not judge? by no means? See, the beautiful thing about having the advantage of the Scripture is not only does it show us who we are, but also it's like the clouds part, and it shows us who God is. That's a great thing about knowing the Bible is you can know definitive truths about the character of our God. Because so many people, they just know a little bit of God. It's like a buffet. And they've just taken a few things on their plate that like about God, but they don't have the full meal. They don't have the full course. If you really read the Bible, you will be accurately informed on who our God is, and our God is faithful and our God is a judge.
Turn with me to Psalm 89. Let's just talk about the faithfulness first, and then we'll talk about how God is going to judge. Let's look at these two “by no means” that we have. So, this is Psalm 89. You may not be familiar with this psalm, it's not one of the famous ones. It's a maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. You may not know Ethan the Ezrahite, but he writes a very long Psalm. It's the last psalm in Book Three before Moses has a psalm to start book four in Psalm 90 And this psalm is all about the faithfulness of God. Now the question I want to ask is, what is Gods going to be faithful to? That's the question because I think that some Christians would answer, well, God is going to be faithful to me, maybe that's what you think of when you think of the faithfulness of God, that God is going to be faithful to me. Well, if you actually study what the Scripture says, the truth is God is going to be faithful to himself. And in fact, God is going to be faithful. Everything that God says, that is what God is going to do. That is what has happened with the Jews, whether they listened to God or not. God told them what would happen to them, he actually told them their future and exactly what God said is what happens every single time. And so, God is faithful to himself, he's faithful to do what he says, that’s why these are the living oracles of God. Because they're true. They're true words like they're telling us tomorrow; they're telling us the future. If God says something in his Word, you can live your whole life on it. It's a solid foundation that will never lead you astray. Whatever God says is going to happen. How about an Amen for that one? And that's what Ethan is fired up about. All right?
Eight different times in Psalm 89, he's going to mention the faithfulness of God. In fact, just look at the first two verses, he says, “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever.” Well, that sounds like us, we like singing about the love of the Lord. But then he says, also “with my mouth, I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, ‘Steadfast love will be built up forever in the heavens, you will establish your faithfulness.’” So, notice how the first two verses, he speaks of them like they go together. In the first part of the verse he says, steadfast love and the second part of the verse, he says, faithfulness. Now, this is something you should think of that this is something God wants you to know about himself. And hopefully, when I'm even saying that God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness, if you've been at our church for a while, hopefully a passage is coming to your mind right now. Exodus 34:6-7, when God introduces himself to Moses, when Moses cries out to God, show me your glory, and God lets Moses see his glory. And he says, here's who I am. He says, I am a God who is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, no comma in between, like they come together as one thing that we should know about God. God has steadfast love. God has mercy where he will not give you what you deserve. God has Grace where he will give you good things instead of what you deserve. And God is ready to forgive the sin of anybody who comes if you're ready to say, you're a sinner, and you go before God, and you confess your sins, he will forgive you for your sins. But God is also faithful. And God is true to whatever he has said. And if you're a sinner, and you don't confess your sins, God will by no means clear the guilty, and God will judge people according to what they have done. He is a God who is full of steadfast love and faithfulness. In fact, when Jesus comes to reveal to us who God is, to show us who God is, and when it says that we'd beheld the glory of the Father, when the glory put on flesh, and we beheld the glory of the Father. The way we knew it was Jesus really came from God is that he was full of what is it say about Jesus full of what? Grace and truth. See, this is something we should all know about God? Next time somebody says to you, God is love. Well, you could say to them, yeah, and he's so faithful isn't he to do what he said, because that's how it goes in the Bible. They go together. See, that's how God wants to be known. And that's how Ethan is going to sing about him. That's how Ethan's going to tell the next generation about him. Like everybody should know how great God is because he'll forgive you for your sin. But everybody also needs to know that God's going to do what he said. And he said, he's coming to judge sin. And so, if you stay in your sin, and you don't turn to him, he's going to be faithful. Either way, he's faithful to forgive, and he's faithful to judge because that's what he said. He's faithful to himself. See it? We'll go to verse 30 here. Look down at verse 30. There's, you could read through this whole Psalm and get inspired by the faithfulness of our God, that he's true to his word, he's true to his character. But in verse 30, it talks about what if the Jews forsake my law, what if they don't really listen to it? What if they go their own way, “they do not walk according to my rules,” verse 31, “if they violate my statutes, and do not keep my commandments, and then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes.” see God's made great promises to the Jews. I mean, really, the theme of this chapter is he made a promise to David, King David, that there's a covenant that there's going to be a king on the throne of Israel and a king will reign forever. But if you don't do what God said, well, there's also going to be consequences, there's going to be punishment, there's going to be stripes, “but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness, I will not violate my covenant, or alter the word that went forth from my lips.” Like there's a great verse 34. That's a great statement from God right there. God will not alter the word that went forth from his lips. Okay. I mean, this is what I'm telling you. what this book says, is what's going to happen tomorrow, like everybody here who regularly reads and studies the Bible, you know, the future better than anybody else living on planet Earth.
Let's get this down for number three: “Know what God will do tomorrow.” If you really believe that God is faithful, that he will not alter the word that went forth from his lips, that these are the living oracles of God, then you will read this Bible like it's telling you how to live today because of what's coming tomorrow. That's what Ethan is getting at. He's saying, hey, we do all of this. We could have told you that if we didn't obey God's covenant, if we didn't keep his law, then we would be judged, but even in the midst of this judgment, and look what he is it look what he says in verse 46. Just go to the end of the psalm and verse 46. He says, “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?” Because right now, when Ethan the Ezrahite is writing this, we're in the middle of some level of judgment. Or we've got somebody oppressing over us. There's not a king on the throne, reigning forever. The promise to David hasn't been fulfilled. In fact, the other promise that we’ll be judged according to our sins is a judge, even the nation of Israel being judged, because they didn't keep the law, that part of the promise is happening. But look at the confidence that Ethan can have, even as he goes through this trial. “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man! What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults[f] of all the many nations, with which your enemies mock, O Lord, with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”
See, here's a guy and some other nation is reigning over him, somebody else is oppressing him. People are mocking him. They're saying, where is your God? Why doesn't your God come and rescue you? And he's crying out to God saying, where are you, but look what he knows. He knows that God will establish a king on the throne. He knows that God is always going to be abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. So even though right now God is being faithful to judge us, because we were against him, God will also be faithful to put a king on the throne who will reign forever. And we know that his name is Jesus, and he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. See, Ethan, he can see through the current events of his day, and he can see what is going to happen even when he's having a very difficult time. He knows that God is faithful to do what he said.
Do we know this faithfulness? This is the blessing of having the Bible as we get to know who our God is. Has God stopped being faithful? By no means! He's telling us what he's going to do in his living oracles? What about, since we're born in sin, and since our sin reveals the righteousness of God, God's probably not going to judge us. Right? Well, let's talk about that. By no means! Go back to Psalm 50 here, everybody. Turn back to Psalm 50 and let's talk about how God is a judge. This is something the Bible teaches us over and over again. In fact, the only way you can really learn that God is a judge is through the Scripture. This is something you have to learn by wisdom. This is a reason we discipline our kids because we're trying to teach them that if they continue in their sin, if they keep having that rebellious attitude, if they don't listen and obey, they will be judged. And so, we want our kids, we want them to learn that there is judgment for sin because we don't want anybody to learn judgment by experience. They need to learn it by wisdom. And that's what Psalm 50 is all about, a Psalm of Asaph . And he says, “The Mighty One God, the Lord speaks, and summons the earth.” So, this is a great psalm, because it's like God is speaking to us. from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: ‘Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’ The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!” Next time somebody's like, well, who's God? Well, God is love. Well, another one of those great “God is” statements in the Bible is “God is a consuming fire.” Can I get an Amen from anybody on that?
You don't see that bumper sticker very much these days. Right? How would you describe God in a word? Fire? Right? You're not hearing that answer very much. Asaph is giving it to us. Asaph is saying, oh, here it comes. Everybody, brace yourselves. Here he comes. Wow. He's coming to judge. And in fact, when it says there in verse 4 that he calls the heavens above. And he says to the earth, that he may judge his people. That's a reference to Deuteronomy 4:26, where God brought heaven and earth as witnesses against his people. And he said, I'm going to tell my people exactly what to do. And I'm going to tell my people exactly what will happen to them. If they do it, there'll be blessed. And if they don't do it, there will be curses, there will be consequences. So, I want heaven and earth to see this is what I'm telling my people to do. And I'm already telling them what will happen to them, they get to know the end, from the beginning, they get to know. For the Israelites, for the Jews, if you keep the covenant blessings, if you disobey curses, for everybody who wants to read the Bible, you get to know that there's a new Jerusalem with streets of gold, and there's a lake of fire where it never stops burning. And there's the future right there. From the beginning, God is calling heaven and earth as witnesses, here's how this is all going to work. And in the end, you guys will be the witnesses when I come to judge. So one thing you need to know about God, if you're really going to know the true and living God and not a God of your own understanding, if you want to know God, as he's actually meant to be understood in the Bible, God is going to judge all sin. There will not be one sin that someone did, nothing that someone said or thought or did, will ever go unpunished. All sin will be judged. It's either judged on Jesus on the cross, or you will be judged for your sin. God himself is a judge. That's what Asaph is saying. And God then wants to speak to those who are wicked, to those who are in their sin. Here's what God would have to say, Hey, look at verse 16. “But to the wicked, God says,” so this is like we are hearing straight from God at this point. “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline.” God's trying to correct, God's trying to teach, but you hate it, “you cast my words behind you.” You're not paying attention to the oracles of God, God's warning you what's coming. God's telling you the future, but you're casting his words behind you. “If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers.” You're okay with the sin that's going on. “You give your mouth free reign for evil, and your tongue frames to see you sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son, these things you have done, and I have been silent. You thought that I was one like yourself, but now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.” See, people think they won't be judged for their sin, just because they've never been judged for their sin so far. See, we have this thing that we do as sinners, because that's who we are. That we’ll sin and then we'll just try to move on. We'll just try to cover it up. We'll just try to forget about it. Well, I sinned. Yeah, I probably shouldn't have done that. But let's just put it behind me. Let's just forget about it. Let's just move on. And God is saying, you thought that I was like you. See, I'm not a sinner, who's trying to avoid judgment, trying to forget what I've done. No. I'm not like you. And now I'm going to come and rebuke you. And now I'm going to come and lay the charge of your sin at your feet. See, God doesn't forget sin, God has to judge sin. And the only way he's going to forget your sin is when you look with faith to Jesus Christ, who already paid for your sin. But if you don't look to Jesus, God, he won't forget. That's what he's saying. I'm not like you, I'm not going to put it in there. We're not just going to look over it and act like it's no big deal, and it's okay. That God's not like us; God's not okay with sin. And so, then he says this, verse 22, this is the warning, this is the end here, mark this, then you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there'll be none to deliver. Hey, “Mark, this,” listen to this, get this, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God.” See, he ends this intense psalm with the strong warning that Judgment Day is coming and God himself knows your sin. And God himself will not forget it but judge you for it. He ends that with, hey, wouldn't it be awesome if right now you as a sinner would say here today, that God would be right to judge you. And even now you turn to God and confess your sin, even now you made yourself right with God, by confessing and agreeing, God, you would be right to judge me. And I do act like my sin is just going to be forgotten. And you would be right to judge me if you judged me today. And so, I beg you for mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, please forgive me for my sins. And God who does not want to judge you says, if you turn to him, he will show you his salvation; he will save your soul. See, the reason that the Bible is such an advantage, the reason we have something more in the Scripture is our kids could realize that they're sinners, and they're going to be judged, and they could turn to God before that day comes. In fact, they could turn to him at a young age, and they could be saved out of all that sin. And they could never have to live in fear of judgment. Again, see, that's what happened to me. That's why I'm not ashamed to tell anybody, they're a sinner, or I'm not ashamed to tell anybody that God is going to judge them. Because that's how I saw the salvation of our God. When I cried out to him as a scared little boy and begged him for mercy, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. And you realize that you're a sinner, and crying out to God, and saying, I don't want you to judge me, I want you to save me, that's the best thing that will ever happen to you; some of you, that has happened to you. And we should worship the Lord here today, that we can build our life on the truth of who we are, and on the truth of who he is, that we have a God, everything he says in here, that's exactly what he's going to do. And we have a God who is coming to judge, and we already know him right now. What a blessing that we don't have to wait till the end of the story to find out what's really going on behind the scenes. But we have been told, and we can live our whole life, knowing God, knowing whatever God promised, he's going to do it. And when God comes to judge the world, one of the people who will not be judged, is me, because I already told him he was right to judge me.
Soon, you will get the recognition you deserve. That's not a fortune. That's a warning. And we need to take heed to what the scripture is saying. Let me pray.
Father in heaven, we want to just beg you that we will never face what we deserve for our sin. And we want to thank you that Jesus faced what we deserved for our sin in our place, that Jesus took your justice and your wrath, so that we would never have to. But Father, I pray that we will have this foundation that Romans 3 is giving to us, this foundation that Paul is then going to preach the gospel upon the foundation that we are not good. And you are the one who is good. And because of that you will always do what you tell us. And you tell us that you are going to judge us. So, Father, let everybody in this room at this nine o'clock service, let everybody be able to behold, let everybody be able to hear what the Bible has to say about us here today. That we are sinners before you and that you would be right to judge us. But instead, out of your steadfast love and your faithfulness, you judged your one and only Son Jesus in our place. Father, we want to build our life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, we want to live the rest of our days, however many more days you give us. We want to know that we were sinners, and you were the judge. And Jesus saved us. So, we want to teach it to our kids. We want to teach it to our neighbors. We want to let them see that we have something more, we have an advantage. We know the oracles of God that tell us the truth about our lives. So, Father, let us build our lives, build our families, build this church, on the truth of who you are, on the truth of who we are, and on the truth that Jesus is our Savior, who died to take our judgment and paid for all of our sins. So let the name of Jesus be made known. Let it be lifted high. Let it be glorified, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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