Monday, February 14, 2011

The Opposite Life

The Opposite Life

As Christians, we are asked to live a life that is oftentimes totally opposite of what the natural man would do.

Offering the other cheek instead of fighting back
Letting God seek vengeance instead of taking matters into our own hands
Instead of seeking to be number 1, being a servant
Instead of trying to amass fame and fortune, seeking first the kingdom of God
Be content instead of always wanting more

Let’s examine Psalms 1 which so clearly shows how opposite two different lives can be.

1 Blessed is the man
         Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
         Nor stands in the path of sinners,
         Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
         And in His law he meditates day and night.
 3 He shall be like a tree
         Planted by the rivers of water,
         That brings forth its fruit in its season,
         Whose leaf also shall not wither;
         And whatever he does shall prosper.

The word used for blessed in verse one can be translated HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable according to the Amplified version.

The first thing to notice about the blessed man is that he is not influenced by the ungodly. He does the opposite of:

Walking in the counsel of the ungodly – If you are walking, you are heading a certain direction.  Don’t go the direction the world does!  Don’t be influenced by horoscopes, talk shows, wrong music, magazines and books that are not based on godly wisdom.  Don’t take worldly advice!

The word translated here for ungodly is the Hebrew word “rasha.”  It means “to be loose or unstable.” According to Kelsey Coleman it means “loose from God, without Him as an anchor or controlling device. It refers to those who are controlled by their own desires, emotions, and flesh rather than by the Word and Holy Spirit.”  Don’t take advice from someone who does not have God as an anchor!

How should we walk?

·        We can ask God how to walk:  Psalm 143:8 says “teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift my soul.”
·        Psalm 86:11 tells us “we should walk in truth.”
·        Paul tells us “to walk in a manner worthy of your calling with which you have been called, with all humility, and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love …’
·        We should walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16

Standing in the path of sinners – After taking advice from the ungodly, we move to identifying with them.  We start to embrace what they have to say, we identify with their position.

The way the word “sinner” is used here it means a person that has deliberately chosen a way of life contrary to God’s will.

Don’t go down a path following someone who clearly lives opposite to what God’s word teaches!

Instead of standing in the path of sinners, we are told how to stand:

·        Psalm 33:8 “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”
·        We should stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13)
·        Phil. 1:27 tells us to stand together in one mind and spirit with other believers.

Sitting in the seat of the scornful – Sitting is a position we take when we want to be comfortable, when we want to rest.  We now feel comfortable sitting with the sinners and we are in agreement with them when they scoff and mock at everything holy.

What does it mean to mock at the Word of God?  Mocking means to ridicule, to reject, to listen to the Word proclaimed, and then ignore it. “We mock the word when we fail to obey it and align our lives accordingly.” [Kelsey Coleman, Psalm 1]

Instead, the blessed man surrounds himself with godly influence.

He delights in the word of God and in His Law he meditates day and night. – A blessed man immerses himself in the word. 

We must desire the word as much as a little baby desires to have his bottle:
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”  1 Peter 2:2,3

When we first got saved, we were on fire, and loved to read God’s word.  We thirsted for knowledge about Him.  But our “appetite for the Lord and His Word will become dull when we have tasted too much of this world.” [Chris Gowen, Making the Most of Your Walk With God] If you notice that your enthusiasm for God and His Word has waned, you need to pray and ask Him to give you a hunger for the Bible.

Not only must we read it, we need to meditate or soak in His word.  We need to do more than just read through the bible, we have to get the Word deep down inside us.  Romans 12:2 tells us to “be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed for the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect, will of God.”   Knowing His Word is the way to know His will.

“God has no plan or program by which you are to grow and develop as a believer apart from His Word.” [Kelsey Coleman]

What will the result be of living godly?

You’ll become like a tree planted by the rivers of water. You will always have nourishment.  When you are feeding on the Word, there is always Living Water.

You’ll be fruitful. I like the way John Piper describes fruitful Christians, “They are refreshing and nourishing to be around. You go away from them fed.  You go away strengthened. You go away with your taste for spiritual things awakened. Their words are healing and convicting and encouraging and deepening and enlightening. Being around them is like a meal.”

You won’t wither away.  You are rooted and grounded in God.  You won’t dry up – you’re here to stay!

Remember, just as it takes time to produce a flourishing tree, it takes time to grow and mature in the Word.

Everything you do will prosper! When you are a fruitful grounded believer, you will only want to do the will of the Father.  He will bless your efforts because you are doing His will. “There is nothing that God cannot do through you!” [Matt Black – Living in the Presence of God]

What is the result of living ungodly?

4 The ungodly are not so,
         But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
         Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
         But the way of the ungodly shall perish. [Psalm 1:4-6]

The opposite of a rooted grounded tree that is flourishing is chaff – dried up, useless, driven by the wind. Chaff is worthless.  Chaff gets burned.

Matt. 3:12 says “His winnowing fork is in His hand and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

In time, everyone’s true nature will be revealed.  Will you be judged ungodly?
Verse 5 says that the ungodly will not stand in the judgment. They won’t be able to stand on any excuses, they can’t stand on their own self-righteousness. Their sin will keep them out of the congregation of the righteous.

In the end there are two ways to be judged.  The way of the righteous; and the opposite – the way of the ungodly.

The way of the righteous is known by the Lord.  He knows His own and He knows their way.  It the way of the narrow path.  It’s the way of those who have chosen to do the opposite of the world.

Then there is the way of ungodly.  The Word plainly tells us that they will perish.  I think of that song that used to be popular, “I Did It My Way.”  The ungodly does what he wants to do.  The way of “if it feels good, do it,” the way of “relative truth” instead of absolute truth, the way of “legalism,” of earning your own salvation.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13, 14

It may look like the ungodly prosper and everything goes their way, but in the end they will come to nothing.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.”

I love this illustration by Chris Gowen: “A certain courthouse in Ohio stands in a unique location.  Raindrops that fall on the north side of the building go into Lake Ontario and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while those falling on the south side go into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.  At precisely the point of the peak of the roof, just a gentle puff of wind can determine the destiny of many raindrops.  It will make a difference of more than 2,000 miles as to their final destination.  The spiritual application is clear. By the smallest deed or choice of words we might set in motion influences that could change the course of others’ lives here and now and could also affect their eternal destiny.”

Destiny is determined by choice.

You are either blessed or condemned on the basis of one choice – the way you’ve chosen to walk. Will you choose to walk the opposite of the world? Or will you walk that “broad way to destruction?”


Karyn said...

Excellent preaching, Jerri!

Loved the John Piper quote, especially.

You've explained the 'walks not in the counsel' and 'stands in the path' and 'sits in the seat' portion of this Psalm in a very clear way that makes it all new to me.

cindy said...

I almost feel guilty I didn't go to church on Sunday but now after your preaching I"m doing not to bad. Besides I was punished, my bread didn't rise yesterday


Wow...all I can say after that is Amen! Good job.