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An Easter Prophecy from the Psalms (Easter Sermon 2009) April 12, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in David, Easter, Jesus, Psalms, Religion, Resurrection, Sermons.


Where Was Jesus After His Death? Did Jesus Really Die and Rise From the Dead?

Often I am asked questions about what happens after death. Not because I have actually been dead. I cannot speak from experience. The Bible, however, does give us answers. When one dies they are either with God or in a place of torment, depending on whether they had faith in Christ. The Bible, however, does not always speak so specifically. It often, both in the Old and New Testament speaks simply of the place of the dead. That is what we have here in this psalm.

This is important because twice after that Jesus had risen from the dead and returned to His Father, His disciples used this psalm to show that David had prophesied the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What this psalm is prophesying is not that Jesus went to Hell during the period between His crucifixion and revelation. In fact, Jesus tells the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus fully expected in death to be with God His Father.

What this psalm prophecies and what Jesus’ disciples taught is that Jesus was truly dead. His death was not faked. Someone else did not replace Him in the tomb. Neither did he simply pass out and through the coolness of the tomb revive and push the giant rock out from in front of his grave and go out of the tomb. Jesus truly was dead. His Spirit was with God but His body was without question, dead.

In this prophetic psalm we can see why this important.

I. The answer to this question determines whether we can trust God to preserve us from danger (verse 1). Although the exact danger is not specified in this psalm, it clearly involves the danger of death and likely involves the loss of the throne of David. To us, who see political change every eight years and frequently more often that does not seem to be a big deal but the throne of David was different. God had promised that the Messiah would come through David’s seed on the throne of Israel. For David and his throne to be overthrown would mean that God is weak and cannot keep His promises. It would mean that there is no hope in this world for the future, that humankind is doomed to the death and destruction that we are constantly bringing on ourselves and each other.

If, however, God’s guarantee goes beyond even death, then who can stand against it. What power on earth can conquer death? None. But if God guarantees that even in death, His promises and His protection are sure, there is no better guarantee than that.

Remember, before David there had never been a resurrection from the dead. There were legends and myths but no verifiable resurrections. David was confident though that the protective power of God reached even beyond the grave. That is total protection.

Today we understand that David was prophesying of Jesus Christ. Today we now know that total protection is available only in Jesus Christ. Only He can deliver from death, sin, and the lake of fire. This protection is available though because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Dr. David Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa: “Some of his friends asked him, ‘Why did you become a Christian?’ He answered, ‘Well, It’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive. Which one would you ask for directions?’” We hear a great deal these days about which religion is the right religion. How do you know which religion has the truth? Here’s a simple way to answer that question. Find the religion whose founder rose from the dead. That’s the one you need to follow. (from Ray Pritchard’s sermon, “A Tale of Two Men”;




II. Was Jesus really dead? Did He really rise from the dead? The answer to this question is not only important because it guarantees total protection but also because it determines who God will keep from danger (verses 2-4).
A. God delights in the saints who God has made good (verses 2-3, 4b). This total protection is not available to everyone. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not good news to everyone but rather to a specific group of people. This psalm tells us who these people are:
These people are made good by God. We are not talking about innate goodness or that everyone has a little goodness in them. The Bible makes it clear that there is none good. If you look back just two psalms to Psalm 14:1-3 we see this same David’s evaluation, of mankind, “There is none who does good, no, not one.” David recognizes that any goodness that He might have must come from God.
Where then does goodness come from? By becoming a saint. You do not become a saint by doing good but rather become good by being a saint. Now the “saint” simply means one who is made holy, someone who is set apart by God to a unique position. In other words, we do not make ourselves to become saints, neither can someone or some organization make us saints. That right is reserved by God alone.
So, if goodness comes from God alone and sainthood comes from God alone, how do we put ourselves in a position to receive this goodness and this sainthood? Do not forget, this question is very important. The answer to this question determines who receives total protection from God in this life and in the life to come. The answer is illustrated for us in the last half of verse four. Those who God protects from death, those whom God promises resurrection and eternal life, those who God makes good, those who God makes saints are those who commit themselves to the one true and living God.
We live in a day when people believe that it does not matter what god you serve as long as it works for you. If it makes you feel better in this world then it must be okay. We might exclude those who commit terrorism for their faith from this all encompassing umbrella but that is clearly illogical. To them, what they are doing is moral and for us to condemn them is to set ourselves up a gods, determining right and wrong. Who are we to take such a lofty position.
In fact, to make ourselves, whether individually or as a society as the final arbiter or judge of good and evil is to forsake the God of the Bible and serve another. God says, follow me and no one else, not even, especially not even yourself.
Jesus Christ made it clear that He is the God of the Old Testament when He proclaimed Himself the Son of God, when He referred to Himself as the LORD. It is faith in Him that makes us good, that makes us saints, that guarantees total protection from death, sin, and the lake of fire.
Multiple sorrows or wounds are for those serving another god (verse 4a). This is the only negative phrase in this psalm but how horrible of a phrase it is. One sin, following another god, not lying, not murder, following another god; but the consequences are painful, sorrowful, multiplied, and by implication in this chapter, eternal.
God’s working in the saints results in good (verses 5-11). The last half of this psalm expresses David’s confidence in God. There are at least three reasons why David has confidence in God.
1. The saint has an abundant inheritance (verse 5-6). We have already mentioned the importance of David’s inheritance. Through his seed comes the promised Messiah. When Jesus Christ was crucified, they put a sign over His head that truthfully said, “Jesus Christ, King of the Jews.” Christianity goes beyond forgiveness of sin but makes the saint an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. His abundant eternal inheritance from His Father is ours also through faith in Him, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. Everything over which Jesus has authority, we share in that authority in Him.
2. The saint has God’s personal care (verses 7-8). Again, David speaks of His personal faith in God and speaks of the assurance that God’s presence never leaves him. God is personally interested in David’s situation. Why? Remember verse 3? God delights in His saints. This is not a promise that there are no hard times. David’s life itself is evidence that this world can be a tough place but David was confident that God would never forsake him nor leave him.
3. The saint has an everlasting hope (verses 9-11). Our hope is eternal. This is the message of Easter. Not even death can destroy our hope because the one in whom we hope, Jesus Christ, conquered death through the power of His Father.
In verse 7 David blesses God for His counsel and instruction in the midst of His troubles. You may bless God also today. Turn to Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God and He will give you counsel, He will instruct you in the ways of righteousness and He will do it according to the last word in this psalm, “forevermore.”
IN TWO WEEKS: Proverbs 4:1-14 – From Father to Father to Son



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