December 20, 2020 10:30 AM — Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford
Smyrna (NY) Baptist Church
TODAY’S SPECIAL: A RUDOLPH FUNNY
Santa: What do you want for Christmas this year?
Little Johnny: Rudolph
Santa: You can’t have my favorite reindeer. Why would you want Rudolph anyway?
Little Johnny: Cause I love venison!
INTRODUCTION What do you believe?” I believe what the church believes, and the church believes what I believe, and we get along just fine.
About 7 times in Scripture [our KJV], we are invited to see turning points in several people’s theologies.
Such turning points are introduced with a simple phrase, “but as for me”. And all should help us answer the question, “what do I believe?
I. A LIFETIME OF LOYALTY Joshua 24:15
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
- V. 29. Joshua is 110 years old. Since he was 30, he was leaning from Moses how to live.
- Vs. 1-14 He rehearses God’s handiwork on Israel’s life in the wilderness. CAN YOU REHEARSE GOD’S GRACES IN YOUR LIFE
- Vs. 16-18 The people declare their allegiance to the Lord CAN YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU LEARNED SUCH ALLEGIANCE?
- Vs. 19-20 Joshua reminds them of their true heart, true allegiance DO YOU REMEMBER THE TRUE BATTLES WITH SIN? (Jer. 17:9)
- Vs. 21 The people declare again (Jer. 17:10) The Lord knows! The heart’s desire is to God’s allegiance!
- Vs. 22-27 A covenant (v. 25) and the written Word (v. 26)
Point: For 80 years, Joshua demonstrated for him AND his house that living in allegiance to the true God is worth it all!
HOW ABOUT YOU? HAVE YOU MADE THAT ALLEGIANCE?
II. A LIFETIME OF LOVE Psalm 5:7
“But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.”
* Every verse is God-centered
* V. 9 is quoted in Romans 3:13 showing the unsaved’s non-worship
Point: The worship of Jesus is not just for Sunday alone
HOW ABOUT YOU? IS GOD’S FEAR YOUR LIFETIME FEAR?
III. A LIFETIME OF WALKING Psalm 26:11
“But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.”
* Note that David sees the Christian life – even in the OT – as a walk. iLLUSTRATION: that means discipline, because it is easier to sit in one’s recliner than to take a stroll around the block!
But it also means vision: seeing the goal of Christlikeness!
* Note the “I have”s of this psalm!
Point: The walk of the Christian is an accumulation of lessons!
HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT LESSONS IS GOD TEACHING YOU NOW?
IV. A LIFETIME OF SUPERNATURAL WARMTH Psalm 35:13
“But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”
* Note the context: vs. 1ff shows a court scene; vs. 7-8 show a battle; vs. 9-10 show God’s uniqueness.
* Note vs. 11-12. This is a Christ-sighting, where an OT reference has NT implications. In all His trials, the Savior had false witnesses – initially inconsistent – who rose up against Him. He ultimately was accused of blasphemy (Jews) and treason (Rome)
- V. 13 is a contrast, the enemy’s hatred vs. David’s supernatural mercy. Each of us should be able to remember those times when special kindness was shown toward those who don’t have the same foundation as we do. HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU LOVE THE UNLOVELY?
JESUS LOVED YOU!!! SHOULDN’T WE LOVE OTHERS?
There are 3 more. Let me read 2 of them:
“But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.”
“But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.”
But it is Psalm 73:2 that should get our attention as we close. I call this “a lifetime of supernatural wrestling”. What? Listen to what it says:
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.”
Have your feet almost gone? Have your steps well night slipped? Huh?
Look at verse 3: “ For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”.
This psalm is written by Asaph, one of the singers of the temple. He would compose songs for the use of those leading worship in the temple.
But in this psalm he talks about a supernatural wrestling match that he is in. AND YOU HAVE BEEN IN IT IT, TOO! Asaph LOOKED at people. He saw their wealth, their prosperity, their success – all with NO USE for the Lord!
A supernatural wrestling match…v. 17 “until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”
When the Lord reminded Asaph of the eternal lostness of the unbeliever, he understood that this world is full of people going in one of 2 directions: toward the Lord and heaven, or toward Satan and hell.
In NT terms, what should we do? How does this affect us entering into 2021? How does this affect Smyrna Baptist Church?
GREATLY! Because God is inviting us to see people as God sees them: with or without hope. With faith in Jesus, or without them.
Remember when YOU first came to trust Jesus? Don’t you wish everyone did? Let’s pray that in 2021 the Lord turns Smyrna upside down for Him, turns Smyrna upside down for Him, turns you and me upside down for Him! Close in prayer.