Sermons

Sun, Sep 02, 2018

The Way of Abundant Living

As I was studying for today I came across a video I wanted to play for you that stresses the point I believe the Psalm is wanting us to glean from it. The video I wanted to play this morning is called Clayton’s Story. What an amazing testimony. I don’t know about you but I have found it interesting in studying through the Psalms that “Suffering is a key aspect of abundant living not the absence of it.”
Duration:47 mins 15 secs

Series: The Psalms of Summer

Text: Psalm 66

Title: The Way of Abundant Living

 

1  Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

2  Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.

3  Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.

4  All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name." Selah

5  Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.

6  He turned the sea into dry land; They went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him.

7  He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations; Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8  Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard,

9  Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved.

10  For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.

11  You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs.

12  You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

13  I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows,

14  Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.

15  I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

16  Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

17  I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.

18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

19  But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20  Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!

 

Prayer: Isaiah 40:8  “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." And Lord we ask You today to cause us to be people who stand on Your Word. In Jesus name, amen!

 

Psalm 66

 

As I was studying for today I came across a video I wanted to play for you that stresses the point I believe the Psalm is wanting us to glean from it.

 

The video I wanted to play this morning is called Clayton’s Story. (Play Video)

 

What an amazing testimony. I don’t know about you but I have found it interesting in studying through the Psalms that “Suffering is a key aspect of abundant living not the absence of it.”



That is what the writer of Psalm 66 concludes. This is the first Pslam since Psalm 50 that isn’t attributed to David. The singer praises God for bringing him into a place of blessedness. But this was through many trials.

 

In verses 10 to 12, we read that God took Psalmist through sickness, fire and water and human oppression before bringing him to a place of spiritual prosperity. The word translated "place of abundance" here is used in only one other place in Scripture - in Psalm 23:5 - where it is translated as "overflows". Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

 

If we read Psalm 66 correctly then, the way to an overflowing life, to a life of blessing is through trial and suffering.

 

I received a couple of emails this past week from pastors who are experiencing tremendous trials in their lives. For time sake I will only share one with you. The pastors name is Sam…

 

I, and my family, need prayer. But, for those who join us in prayer, I believe there is a great opportunity here for the body to minister to the body. Hang with me...

 

Two years ago I took over pastoring a small Calvary Chapel. The transition went well. My wife and I, and our three young kids (now we have four) made the move, bought a house and settled in.

 

When we moved here, our daughter Hannah was 3 years old. She had some very significant delays -speech, motor, cognitive, etc. - but, at that time, no big medical problems. We knew that these delays were going to be life-long. Yet she was a sweet, affectionate, helpful, active, funny, cute and spunky little girl. She was talking a bit and things seemed to be going in a positive direction. Ironically, the previous pastor here stepped out of ministry to better serve his disabled 14 year old daughter. Also, our worship leader (and assistant pastor in all but title) has a disabled 7 year old daughter. These two families have been great resources to us!

 

Our little girl is five and a half now - she's really struggling. She has been diagnosed with epilepsy and is intellectually disabled; doctors believe this is all due to a genetic disorder/syndrome not yet (and maybe that never will be) known. She started having seizures last year, but they have been difficult to control and her condition seems to be worsening. She's got great doctors, so I'm good there.

 

Hannah is on her fifth seizure medication (many more to trial). Now, some of the medications didn't help, and some have prevented the seizures, but the side effects have been devastating to her and to us...our daughter is gone. The sweet, chatty girl is gone...and I'm just being blunt here...Hannah has become very aggressive, dangerously violent, intentionally running into the road, hitting, biting, kicking, choking. Her words are incredibly few. She staggers around. She screams at us. She's miserable. We can't immediately change her medications because she just had a very serious seizure that wouldn't stop.

 

Please pray for us to have God's perfect love that expects NOTHING in return from our daughter. Pray for endurance, and that if her condition is degenerative that I would honor the Lord in the way I serve her and my family. Pray for her healing and our medical decisions and her medications. We're hurting and grieving right now.

 

Through these past couple of weeks, I've began to ask the Lord how I can be of better service to Him. As Jon Courson once put it, passing from "POOR me!" to "POUR ME - OUT!" I believe there are tremendous opportunities within our churches to minister to the parents of special needs kids/adults. Don't overlook these families! Understand that many of them could never physically attend your churches...so...how do we reach them, love them, serve them?

 

But more, I've found myself wondering about how many other pastors and leaders in our movement (and beyond) are facing similar circumstances? There must be many! How are they doing? How can we strengthen them and come alongside them? Please pray for vision here.

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thanks guys!

 

- Sam



As I read Sam’s story the Jon Courson quote he shared got my attention as I have a tendency when I am going through trials to cry out to God “POOR ME instead of praying POOR MR OUT!”



Most commentators believe that Psalm 66 was penned by Hezekiah, king of Judah, after the Lord delivered the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the attack of the Assyrian army. Although the city was surrounded by 185,000 Assyrians, Isaiah had prophesied that not a single arrow from an Assyrian bow would make its way into Jerusalem. Isaiah 37:33-37 (NKJV)

33 "Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it.

34 By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD.

35 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.' "

36 Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead.

37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.

 

It seems Hezekiah wrote this psalm in celebration of the night that an angel of the Lord came and slaughtered the entire army. We first read of the event in (2 Kings 19:35).

 

Psalm 66 is divided into two parts. The first half, verses 1 through 12, would be sung by a choir. The second half, verses 13 through 20, would be sung by a soloist, perhaps by Hezekiah himself.



Psalm 66:1, “1  Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!

 

A joyful shout or noise doesn’t require skill—only desire. Even I can do that! So can you.

 

Psalm 66:2–4 , 2  Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.

3  Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.

4  All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name." Selah



This first stanza deals with the God of all peoples. The second stanza deals with the God of Israel…

 

Psalm 66:5, 5  Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.



Those who, like the Assyrians, have the audacity to oppose God’s people will see how powerful the God of Israel is.

 

Psalm 66:6, (a)He turned the sea into dry land;”  

As Moses led the people out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, the Red Sea parted before them (Exodus 14).

 

Psalm 66:6 (b) …They went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him.

 

After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites made their way to the Jordan to enter into the Promised Land. Again, God miraculously parted the waters and they walked across on dry land (Joshua 3).

 

Psalm 66:7  “He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations; Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah”

 

Be they Assyrians, Canaanites, or Egyptians, let them be forewarned.

 

Psalm 66:8–12 8  Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard,

9  Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved.

10  For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.

11  You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs.

12  You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

 

It was George Mueller who once said, “If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened.”

 

The purest ore is produced in the hottest furnace. The brightest thunderbolts come from the darkest clouds. The Jewish people have indeed been through the furnace and through stormy days. But there’s a purity and a wonder that will be produced in them as they make their way through the coming storm of the Tribulation.

 

The invitation is this: See how God has preserved us. See how He has brought us through. And now the soloist begins to sing…

 

I love verse 12. It reminds me of the children of Israel in the Exodus there at the Red Sea. The Egyptians pursuing them and mountains on both sides and the sea in front of them. (Have you ever felt trapped, boxed in). They had no where to go and Moses cries out to God. Exodus story…(Exodus 14)

 

We tend to focus on the “what” happens in lives where God focuses on the “why”. We only ask “why” when we don’t like the “what” happened.

 

In Exodus 14 the children of Israel ran into the water which became dry land as slaves and came out as sons…

 

Think about what God did and what would have happened had He not done it the way He did.

 

If God didnt judge the Egyptian army the children of Israel would have always been slaves on the run…always looking back over their shoulder. Thats how the enemy wants us to live. Always looking back, always living in fear that we are one step away from being over taken.

 

We need to run to the water… Run through the fire!

 

God’s desire is to bring you out on the other side to “rich fulfillment”. To the abundant life that is only found in God.

 

But its how God does it that trips us up…

 

1 Peter 4:1-2

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

 

The conquering of sin requires suffering

 

If you refuse to suffer you will never conquer sin in your life

 

The conquering of sin involves suffering…

 

No longer for human passions but for the will of God

 

People whine… God take away the desire…

 

We ask God to take away the opportunity for suffering. We want the easy way out…

 

You cannot defeat sin without suffering…

 

That we would live for the will of God.

 

Where did sin take you in this life? What did it get you? 1 Peter 4:3-4, “3  For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4  In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.”

 

I’m willing to suffer because I want this… I want Jesus and all He wants for me

 

Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.”

A dog will always return to his vomit because a dog will always be a dog… We don’t have to live like dogs… We can be Born Again

 

Jesus can change our nature…

 

We can become a new creation in Christ…2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”



Whatever I did in the past didnt bring me life…

 

Give your life to Jesus and people will be surprised that you aren’t into what you were into in your old life… We don’t sanctify the old life. We were called to new life.



Psalm 66:13–15 13  I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows,

14  Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.

15  I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

 

If Hezekiah is the author, he no doubt felt the pressure, and he was troubled by the Assyrians. Here, he says he will carry through with what he had promised. We are told to be careful about making vows lightly Ecclesiastes 5:4-5  “4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed-- 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”

 

Yet,  something wonderful can happen when we are inspired to make a heartfelt commitment or vow. Consider Hanna in 1 Samuel 1:2. “Lord, if You bless me with a child, I will give him to You,” she prayed. The Lord heard her vow and blessed Hannah with Samuel, one of the greatest of the prophets.  Baptism is another vow we make. We say, “Lord, I believe in You. I give my life to You. I want to live for You.” The Lord honors that kind of commitment from us.  

 

Psalm 66:16 16  Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

 

If our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for what the Lord has done for us in rescuing us from destruction and from the attack of the enemy, let us be those who continue to praise His name.

 

Psalm 66:17, 18 17  I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.

18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

 

In his day of adversity, when the Assyrians surrounded the city, Hezekiah cried to the Lord, knowing if he harbored sin in his heart, the Lord wouldn’t hear him. If your prayers don’t seem to get through, it may be due to unconfessed sin. It’s not that God is mad at you. Rather, He loves you so much that if you’re walking contrary to His will, He will be strangely silent in order that you might ask Him to search your heart and to show you what is amiss

 

Psalm 139:23-24,

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

24  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.



Verses 17-18, How many married couples here this morning know that silence is an indicator somethings wrong, somethings not right. In the silence we ask the one we love… is something wrong as there is an awareness, the silence is deafening you might say.

 

Silence is Deafening



1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

 

James 4:2-3,

2  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

3  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

 

When you don’t see results in your prayer, come before the Lord and ask Him why.

 

Psalm 66:19, 20 19  But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20  Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!

 

The psalmist acknowledges that it was not due to the devotion of his prayer or the purity of his heart that his prayer was heard. His prayers, like ours are heard simply due to God’s mercy.

 

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