Friday, June 24, 2011

A REAL Man

Psalm 1

“A Real Man”

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; [2] but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. [3] He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. [4] The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. [5] Therefore the wicked will 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 wicked will perish.” [Psalm 1:1 – 6]

We live in a day when our world is very opinionated about men. Men have been told to sit down and shut up by a “politically correct” movement in America. We are told our opinions are not valid (unless they match the overbearing opinion of the minority that is running the country at the moment).

We are told “go for all the gusto” and “you only live once.” The sinful nature in us makes us selfish, our selfish attitudes isolate us, and we have withdrawn from society, the church, and our families.

We are around, but we don’t make a difference.

In Psalm 1, God introduces us to a real man. One that is able to stand on his own feet and think for himself. This is a man the devil is afraid of… it is the one people speak against, society pressures, and Congress writes off.

It is a man who is “blessed.” The word “blessed” literally means “truly happy.” Theologically the one who is “blessed” is “favored by God.” How does this happen? Other than God wanting to favor us, there are certain choices we must make to stay on track.

Let’s start with some basic questions:

I. What is your “moral orientation?” [v 1] (Expression from ESV Study Bible)

*****Notice the moral progression downward and the loss of energy that goes with it. *****

A. “Walks NOT in the counsel of the ungodly.”

1. Here is an image of someone who is losing energy by simply not thinking (being thoughtless).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” [Hebrews 12:1]

2. The “ungodly” are theologically “worthless.” (ESV Study Bible)

Adam Clarke defines the “ungodly” as “to be unjust; rendering to none his due; withholding from God, society, and himself, what belongs to each. Ungodly - He who has not God in him; who is without God in the world.”

3. Listening to the counsel of those without God means to “act on the principles” of the ungodly. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown)

B. “Nor stands in the way of sinners.”

1. The next step down is seriously considering the ways of this world as a way to live life. (Standing takes more deliberation.)

2. While the “ungodly” do no good (worthless) the “sinner” does evil. (Clarke)

3. What is happening is that once we begin to thoughtlessly drift from God, we begin to put our attention on the things of this world.

4. We start to cultivate the habits that lead us away from God’s favor.

C. “Nor sit in the seat of scoffers.”

1. The final and probably fatal (hardest to escape) lost energy is to “sit.”

Wesley – (To sit) notes a constant and resolved perseverance in their wicked courses.

2. “Scorners” are showing open content and hostility toward the things of God. They refuse to live in right relationship with God (and possibly others).

3. In a very real sense, they have “shut down” their willingness (possibility ability) to consider the things of God. They have become “simple.” (ESV Study Bible)

The progression:

Run with endurance….

Drifting into not thinking and being uninfluenced by God…

Departing from known right and wrong into a godless moral orientation…

Diving “all in” to sin by holding God and the things of God in contempt.

II. Are you pursuing God? [v 2]

God’s favor comes from moving in God’s direction.

A. Are you pursuing God emotionally?

1. We tend to think of emotions as a “woman’s thing.”

2. The Bible tells us here to engage God’s word with delight!

B. Are you pursuing God intellectually?

1. We tend to think we must accomplish or do something. (Thinking not required.)

2. The Bible tells us here to engage God’s word day and night. (NOT occasionally, NOT casually, NOT lightly) We are to be serious students.

3. Meditate… “Actively ponder and pursue insight for the purpose of pleasing God by knowing and following.” (ESV Study Bible)

III. Are you connected to your purpose? [v 3]

A. Who/What is the living stream in your life?

1. What is it that gives you energy and life?

“Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, [14] but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:23 – 24]

2. Jesus is the living water… Jesus is that sustaining “streams of water” in our lives.

3. That water gives you life and makes you resistant to the dry climate. (The world is spiritually dry and would suck the life out of us if we were not connected to Jesus.)

B. Notice the fruit.

1. The fruit was the purpose of a fruit tree… it was expected and natural.

2. Fruit is NEVER for the tree that produces it… it is for others.

a. Fruit feeds others.

b. Fruit reproduces the original tree…

3. “Prospers” means that we will be the kind of person that “makes everyone else better.”

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” [Ephesians 5:25]

a. Theory: the reason God had to tell men to do this is because it does NOT come naturally to the sinful nature. We are not wired to give ourselves up for others. (Women tend to get this right.)

b. We make excuses but find that when we store up things for ourselves rather than invest in others… our life becomes drier and drier.

IV. REALITY: You chose your consequences.

A. If life stinks, that is the consequence of your behavior and attitude that you have chosen.

1. Moral orientation: the determined direction you are moving.

2. Pursuit of God: Your active choice to put effort into knowing and following God rather than dropping out.

3. Connection to purpose: the deliberate focus on making others better.

B. If life is “blessed,” that is the result of your behavior and attitude that you have chosen.

1. Deliberate rejection of the moral orientation of those without God.

2. Deliberate pursuit of God through the Bible.

3. Deliberate connection to Jesus our living streams of water.

4. Deliberate service to producing fruit in others.

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