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Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem November 7, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in David, Jerusalem, Kingdom, Peace, Psalms.
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Psalms 122

I would like for you to imagine with me that we are on our way to the Temple to celebrate our God. As we came out of our houses, though we are surrounded by troubles, we make known to each other through singing Psalm 120 that we know He has heard our prayers. As we approach the walls of Jerusalem, we look to the hills and we remind each other through Psalm 121 that God is our helper.

As we enter into Jerusalem we pull out an old psalm, Psalm 122. It was written by the king who made Jerusalem his capital, King David. As we look at the city and sing this psalm we are reminded that we have a heritage and it is in this city, in Jerusalem. We recognize, however, that the dangers we left outside of the gates are lurking outside, waiting for the chance to destroy Jerusalem’s peace. So we begin to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

A. If we pray for Jerusalem, what are we praying for? Often I have heard conservative, evangelical Christians refer to the Middle East conflict and use these words, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” in order to encourage people to pray that the modern nation of Israel would not be wiped out by its enemies. However, when we compare our vision of the world with God’s, one should soon recognize that our vision is too small. As we study this psalm and compare to Scripture we can come to understand what it is that God would want us to look for when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

1. We are praying for the kingdom of God to remain established on this earth (verses 3-5). “[Bob Pierce, the found of World Vision] was an unlikely man to found and lead such a large organization. He didn’t have much education, he butchered the King’s English, and he lacked many social graces. In fact, he called himself a second-rater. When asked the secret of his life, he said that in his early years as a Christian he had prayed like this, “O God, I give you the right to change my agenda any time you like—and you don’t have to inform me in advance. Amen’” (told by Ray Pritchard, see http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2007-10-26-The-Hardest-Prayer-You-Will-Ever-Pray/). That is one way to pray for the kingdom of God to remain established on this earth.

2. We are praying for people to rejoice in the presence of the Lord (verses 1-2). Notice that verse one does not say “go into the house of the LORD” but rather “go to the house of the LORD.” Even King David himself could never enter into the tabernacle but David had learned long before he became king what it meant to be in the presence of the Lord. In fact he had danced in the presence of the Lord after that God had given His armies great victories. When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem we are praying for God to give the victory over His enemies, which results in our rejoicing.

B. If God is the one who defeats the enemy, if He is the one who established and keeps His kingdom here on earth, if He is the one who makes joy possible; how then should we who pray for Jerusalem put feet on our prayers (verse 9)? In David’s case he purposed in his heart to build a temple but we don’t need a temple anymore. The book of Revelation tells us that in the New Jerusalem there is no temple nor light in that city for Jesus is the temple and light of the city. He provides all, yet there is something we can do to put feet on our prayers.

1. We work to accomplish God’s plan for physical Israel. What is God’s plan for Israel? That they be saved. That they turn to their Messiah, Jesus Christ, who they had crucified under the leadership of the religious rulers of the day. We must not neglect the opportunity to reach any person with the gospel but it is especially true that we should try to reach those who brought to us by God’s plan, Jesus Christ, the righteous.

2. We also work to accomplish God’s plan for spiritual Israel. As for as giving people the gospel, this is identical to the above point except that it is expanded beyond evangelism and missions. God desires us to build each other up as the body of Christ. Ray Pritchard once said, “Some of us need to decide to make the church the social center of our lives. Not the worship center. It’s already that. Not the Bible center. It’s already that. Not the religious center. It’s already that. The social center. The center, the hub around which our life revolves and rotates. That’s what the church was in the beginning. The church was the social center. Things have changed now. Today we center our lives around our work or the schools our children attend. We throw everything we’ve got into work, or we throw everything we’ve got into school activities. I am challenging you to change the focus of your life and to let the church be the center of your social life. If you will do it, it will be strength to you, and to your family, and to your children, and to your children’s children, and to the third and fourth generations. If you will dare to do that, you will never, ever regret it” (http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/1998-10-08-Our-Mutual-Covenant/).

C. When is the prayer for Jerusalem answered? Spurgeon perhaps gives us a hint when he wrote in his Treasury of David, “If we may not say ‘Peace at any price,’ yet we may certainly cry ‘Peace at the highest price.’” The peace of Jerusalem already exists. It was provided by the Prince of Peace when He died on the cross to reconcile us to God. “He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (Second Corinthians 5). I know that Jesus is coming back and the king will sit on His throne, not in heaven, but in Jerusalem but the victory is already one, joy is already possible, the peace of Jerusalem is a present reality now.

Seeking God’s Favor After Sinning March 12, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Adultery, Confession, David, Depravity, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope, Mercy, Psalms, Religion, Repentance, Second Samuel, Sermons, Sin.

Seeking God’s Favor After Sinning
2 Samuel 12 with Psalms 51 and 32

David was entrusted with God’s people. In His disobedience to God, He betrayed God’s people. What we sometimes forget is the awful cost of betrayal. There is an emotional cost. When you read John’s Gospel carefully, it seems that a huge part of the emotional turmoil exhibited in the Garden of Gethsemane had to do with his knowledge of the betrayal of Judas.

Many of you today feel betrayed. Some of you have so often felt betrayed that you have deep scars on your soul. If you have been betrayed, then understand this sermon touches on those events in which you were betrayed.

There is, however, hope and healing. The path to hope and healing, however, is not an easy path. I do not want to mislead you and tell you that this one sermon will answer all your questions and solve all your problems. What I desire is that we begin our path through the valley of the shadow of death together. It will not be easy. In fact, our path begins with the destruction left behind by sin.

I. Sin is destructive (2 Samuel 12). It starves the malnourished and leaves the helpless unprotected. Sin is like a whirlpool pulling all those close by under the water. Sin leaves its victims with no where to turn. Sin, like Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking who He may devour. Yes, sin is destructive eternally in the lake of fire but it is also destructive physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in this life, right now.

a. One of the reasons sin is so destructive is that when I sin, I do not care about others (2 Samuel 12:1-6). You see sin is manipulative, coercive, controlling, and predatory. Look at David’s sin. David in this case did not care who he harmed.

That is the point of Nathan’s parable. Nathan did not even address the lies David told and the murder David ordered. He simply points out that the sinner, in this case, David, did not care about the welfare of others. He did not care about his kingdom, he did not care about his family, and he did not care about his army. All he cared about was self.

Let me at this point say something very important. When I say these things, I know what I am talking about. I am an experienced sinner. I wish that I could tell you that I would never sin against you but my forty-six years have taught me this much. I sin when I am selfish. Sometimes my sin is acceptable to those around me and sometimes it is not but it is always selfish.

Sin destroys trust because sin uses trust as a weapon. When trust is destroyed, it is then that people begin to lose hope. Without trust, how can you hope in friends, family, and church? Without trust, how can you feel safe? Without trust, how can you hope in justice? Would you trust David as your king, your husband, your father, your commander in chief? No. Yet you need those in whom you can trust. What do you do? Perhaps the one damaged by sin withdraws into a world they feel they can control. Maybe they put up an impenetrable front through which no one can break through. Or perhaps they simply walk away when trust is demanded.

But when I sin, I do not care about that.

b. When I sin, I show a lack of contentment with God’s blessings (2 Samuel 12:7-8). This is the second point of the parable of Nathan but this point is so important that Nathan explicitly emphasizes it.

“In Our Daily Bread, Philip Parham tells the story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat.
“Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked.
“Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman.
“Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?” the rich man asked.
“What would I do with them?”
“You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.”
The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?”
“You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist.
“What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied.

Again, I speak from experience. When I sin, it is often because I am not content with what God has given me. I want more. I am not convinced that what I have is enough. I am not convinced that the resources, whether physical or emotional or spiritual, that God has given me are sufficient. It is in that moment that my heart becomes fertile ground for sin.

c. When I sin, I despise the wisdom of God and His Word (2 Samuel 12:9-10). I will refer to this when we celebrate the Lord’s Table. It is important for you and me as believers to realize that when we sin, it is because we despise God’s wisdom. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that He is God and we are not. When I sin as a believer, it is usually because I feel I know better than God does.

II. But repentance is possible (Psalm 51). The consequences of David’s sin were long-lasting. A daughter abused. A son murdered. Another son, Absalom leads a rebellion against his father in which not only is he killed but thousands of others die in a civil war. Those were some of the special consequences God visited on David and Israel. Yet there was repentance on David’s part and this repentance resulted in God’s blessing on God’s people.

a. No excuses are allowed (Psalm 51:1-6). David made it clear where his sin came from. He was born a sinner. Environmental factors played no role. He was the source of his own sin. That is why he begged for mercy. He could not wipe away the consequences. Neither could he eliminate an already done deed. He needed God to intervene. For God to intervene, David realized that there could be no excuses.

It is essential that we be honest with ourselves. We must acknowledge the destructiveness of our sin. It is only when we are honest with ourselves that we can truly repent.

b. A return to dependence on God’s mercy is demanded (Psalm 51:7-12). There used to be a saying, “The Devil is no friend of grace.” We forget so easily that healing is only to be found in God’s grace and mercy. We, each of us, are in the midst of spiritual warfare. We are defenseless against Satan, against the world, and most of all, against our own evil flesh unless we depend on God’s grace.

c. Repentance unlike penance focuses on loving God and others (Psalm 51:13-17).

One of the big dangers is that one admits to guilt but there is not change. Repentance demands a change. David repentance drives him away from his selfishness. John the Baptist tried to explain this when he preached on repentance in Luke 3:7-14. Penance simply says I am guilty and I will start doing good works. Repentance says, there is no excuse, I am sinful to the core but I will throw myself own God’s mercy and begin to live as He commands, “To love the Lord my God with all my heart and my neighbor as myself.”

d. Repentance of the individual brings healing to the congregation (Psalm 51:18-19). You see, each one of us is negatively affected by the sin of the other. That is clear. First Corinthians 12:26 says, “…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” This psalm also makes it clear that true repentance in one of us, positively affects each one of us. Last week, Dale preached on forgiveness from Matthew 18:21-35. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus warns against the consequences of sin in verses 1-10. Yet there is hope in verses 11-14. Jesus wants to save the lost, protect the weak, revive those without hope, and nourish the starving. He does that regardless of whether the offender repents or not.

But what about the sinner? Not every sinner repents and Jesus threatens that one with punishment. But if he repents, Jesus will not cast him out and according to Matthew 18:15, we have gained a brother. It is of profit to each of you when I repent of my sin. How? Because then we are viewed as acceptable before God.

What is your sin? It is destructive to yourself and to all those around you. You need to quit making excuses and repent. You may need help being honest with yourself. You may need help on the road of repentance. God’s mercy is available and we extend our hand to help you.

I have spoken primarily to believers who have already trusted Christ. If you have not trusted Christ, you need to recognize that He paid the penalty for your sin on the cross. He died for you. You need to be honest also. You need to admit that you are a sinner and that you cannot save yourself. You need the mercy available through faith in Christ. Will you trust him today?

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

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

Thoughts while preparing tomorrow’s study on Psalm 5 September 5, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in David, Joy, Martin Luther, Psalms, Religion, Spurgeon.
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 From Spurgeon’s “Treasury of David” Ver. 12. As with a shield. Luther, when making his way into the presence of Cardinal Cajetan, who had summoned him to answer for his heretical opinions at Augsburg, was asked by one of the Cardinal’s minions, where he should find a shelter, if his patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert him? “Under the shield of heaven!” was the reply. The silenced minion turned round, and went his way.

In verse 11 there are three different words translated with a form of the word joy. They mean “gladness”, “a joyful shout”, and a “victorious exulting joy”. This was David’s reality. I’m afraid we know little of the type of joy he experienced.

David and the Giant Pickle in Sunday School August 29, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in David, Religion.
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We are beginning to study David in Sunday School and I thought you might enjoy a post from one of the Weaver boys. I posted on of Steve’s sermons several weeks ago. Here is something good from the “other” Weaver.


THE PREGNANT NEIGHBOR MAN (a “Terrible Parable”) June 12, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in David, Forgiveness, Terrible Parables.
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This one from Carolyn Houghton should get your attention!