April 19, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church April 19, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: Psalm 33
This morning we are going to look at what the Lord has in store for us in His Word in Psalm 33. In verse 1, we see the call to rejoice in the Lord. Christians, I want to encourage you to be thankful for all the blessings God has given to you. We can be thankful for God’s blessings, even in difficult times like the current circumstances. We can count our many blessings. When I think of our church family, I am reminded of people who have survived cancer. I am reminded of great friends. I am reminded of many answered prayers. We can always be thankful for our salvation. We can be thankful for God’s great love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We can be thankful for the future God has for us. Even when times are hard, we can be thankful!
In verses 2 and 3, we are called to praise the Lord and sing. I want to encourage you to make sure YOU sing when we are able to return to the meeting together. Many people choose not to sing in church because they may be worried about others hearing them and how they sound. If you look at the verses, you will see that although there is a command to play instruments skillfully, there is no such command to sing skillfully. I would encourage you to make your joyful noise to the Lord and let Him hear the voice He gave you.
In verse 4, we see the Word of the Lord is right, and God works in truth. It is a great comfort to know that the Lord over us all is righteous and operates in truth. These descriptions of God’s character are continued in verse 5, where God is noted to love righteousness and judgement. It is great to know that the God who is in control of our lives is perfect and holy. He cannot be bought, corrupted, or tempted to do evil things toward us. Earthly judges can be bought or tempted or may rule unjustly for different reasons but our God is true, holy, and righteous. We will be judged in His justice. Verse 5 continues by acknowledging that the earth is full of God’s goodness. This is a wonderful truth for us that even in the midst of a virus outbreak, our world has God’s goodness in it, and we will never be apart from God’s goodness on this earth.
Verses 6 and 7 depict God as the creator of all things. This transitions into verse 8, where we are told to stand in awe of the Lord and to fear our God. I want to ask you, when was the last time you felt a reverence and awe for the Lord? We need to take time to slow down, focus on God, look to Him, seek Him, hear from Him, and be humble before the Lord. The next several verses continue describing the greatness of our God. We see that God has victory over the plans of evil. Where people desire to work evil, our Lord intervenes to accomplish His will. Nothing happens outside of God’s will.
In verse 11, we see this wonderful phrase that tells us that God’s heart is for all generations. From this verse we know that God loves us just as much as He loved Abraham, David, Joshua, the disciples, Paul, and all the people we read about in the Scriptures. God loves you today, and He’s going to love you always.
Verse 12 tells us the nation is blessed whose God is the Lord. We also see that the people God has chosen for His inheritance are blessed. It is my personal opinion that the first part of this verse about the nation refers to the nation of Israel, as God’s chosen nation at that time. In the second part of the verse, I believe the people God has chosen for His inheritance refers to us today. We are co-heirs with Jesus Christ, and we are blessed today.
Verses 13-17 discuss God’s greatness in comparison to people. We see where God looks at humanity from above in Heaven. There is nothing beyond God’s reach. God is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-present. Nothing escapes God’s knowledge. God is at work in the affairs of people, and people will not overcome the Lord. We are provided examples of kings with large armies, people of great strength, and those with the fastest horses. None of those perceived strengths can compare to the power of our Lord. The power of our God is comforting to me, and it gives us assurance regarding the future. Many times we wonder why we endure certain trials—things such as virus outbreaks, cancer diagnoses, broken families, and other troubling things that come our way. These verses remind us nothing happens outside of God’s control. We must put our faith in God to get us through these things. If we put our trust in people, they will let us down. It is God we need to rely on, and He will see us through the trials.
The Psalm closes with verses 18-22, which contain wonderful words of hope. It tells us that God’s eye is on us, if we are abiding in the Lord. God will deliver our souls and keep us alive. He is our help and our shield. Our God is a God of mercy. I want to encourage you today to abide in the Lord. Seek Him in your families. Pray to Him. Read His Scriptures, and rest in His strength.
Scripture: James 4:1-6
In James 4, we will transition from learning about wisdom to looking at applying wisdom. James details for us different circumstances of life and how we can live through them and overcome some of the struggles we may bring upon ourselves. The first thing James addresses is conflict. In verse 1, James tells us that conflict arises when we have jealousy. When we desire something we do not have, it leads to conflict. We see in verse 2, that if our jealousy is unchecked it leads to killing and wars to get what we want.
In verse 4, James addresses why some of us have prayed for the things we want but have not received them. The issue is that we have prayed amiss. We have prayed selfishly for our own gain rather than praying to seek God’s will. Our prayer life needs to be seeking to understand God’s will and strengthening our faith to obey God’s will. Too often we pray to bend heaven’s will to our own. Many of us treat God as a genie who makes our wishes come try. Our God is much more than this and does not exist to simply make life easier and more comfortable to us.
In verses 4-6, James addresses an obvious truth, which is our standing with the Lord. James tells us if we are going to continue in sinful aspects of our lives, it puts us in opposition to the Lord. We need to make sure we understand that James is writing to believers. He is not speaking to those who do not have a relationship with God but to Christian people. He does not say we can lose our salvation, but he says if we choose to continue in sin, we are in opposition to the Lord. If we remain in opposition to the Lord, we bring troubles into our lives. If we think back to the prayer life James was talking about earlier, too many Christians’ prayer lives consist of prayers to get out of troubles we have brought on ourselves. If we truly want the Lord’s blessing in our lives, we need to be obedient to and abide in His truth. The Lord tells us to abide in Him. When we choose to repent and abide in Him, we receive blessings, such as grace. Grace consists of the many gifts the Lord gives us which we do not deserve.
To summarize these verses, we have two takeaways to apply. The first application deals with conflict. We have learned that conflict originates with someone wanting something they do not have. If you have conflict in your life, I want you to ask the following question: Who is wanting what? If the answer is you are wanting something you do not have, then I encourage you to seek contentment in all that God has given you. If we look at Philippians 4:11-13 and 1 Timothy 6:6-10, we find the admonition to learn how to be content in God. As Christians, we have got to learn to live in contentment. By doing so, we will avoid many conflicts. If the answer to the question is not you wanting something but the other person involved in the conflict wanting something, we must consider if we can provide what the other person wants. Acts 20:35 tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive. What is the thing so dear to the person that we are not allowing them to have? Is it truly something we must hang on to? Is it something that will be stored up where the moth destroys and the thief steals? Can we allow them to have it? A lot of conflict is centered around selfish greed, and we could avoid a lot of conflict if we learned to just let go of things.
The second takeaway from these verses is to draw near to God. We all want to experience God’s blessing in our lives. If we are going to do that, we need to learn to repent from sin and abide in the Lord. God desires a full relationship with us. God wants us to seek Him. I encourage you to draw near to the Lord with prayer, worship, and study of His Word.
In Christ’s Love,