Book of Psalms Psalm 15

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1 Book of Psalms Psalm 15 Living in God s Presence Psalm 14 describes the worldly man. Psalm 15 describes the godly man. The worldly man wants nothing to do with God and he is rejected by God. On the other hand, the godly man wants to have godly character and is accepted into God s fellowship. The counterpart of these verses in the New Testament is found in 1 John 1:6-7 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1. A Searching Question (vs. 1) This psalm follows a question and answer format. It deals with the ultimate question: who can enjoy true fellowship with God? David asks a simple question. It is a searching, penetrating question about who is eligible to enter God s presence. A. Fellowship with God is possible - The tabernacle (tent) was the place of worship where God said He would live on earth. This was not the tabernacle that Moses and Israel had in the wilderness, but a tabernacle built by King David. For background, see 2 Samuel 6: David constructed the tabernacle for the ark in Jerusalem. David returned the ark to Jerusalem on the second attempt. It was kept here until David s son, Solomon, built the temple. The tabernacle represented God s home on earth. The second part of the question is about God s holy hill. This was the location in Jerusalem where the tabernacle was placed. It also represented God s home on earth. The word holy means dedicated, set apart, sacred. That which is holy is set over against that which is common, as in Leviticus 10:10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean. Anyone who wants to be in God s presence must realize that He is holy. This is what Isaiah revealed in Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. It was only after Isaiah saw the holiness of God that he was aware of his own sinful condition. A view of God in His holiness will cause a person to confess his sin. True confession is to see our sin as God sees it and to hate it as He hates it. When a believer sees and confesses his sin, only then is he ready to enter God s presence. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. B. Fellowship with God is desirable This is the greatest privilege we could ever have. Living in God s presence was David s great goal in life. Psalms 27:4-5 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Paul s great desire in life was to have close fellowship with God and to be in God s presence. Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. C. Fellowship with God is special Nothing could ever compare to being in God s

2 presence. Living in God s presence is a privilege reserved only for believers. The Bible describes unbelievers as being far off from God. Sin separates people from God. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Since all have sinned, the only way we can have fellowship with God is through the shed blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Jesus made a way for us to enter in God s holy presence. Hebrews 10: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. In the Old Testament, only the priests could enter the tabernacle or temple, and only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies where God lived. But through Jesus Christ all believers are now priests and we all have access into the presence of God. 2. A Serious Answer (vs. 2-5a) David longed to be in God s presence, but did he qualify? Does anybody qualify? What are the requirements of having close fellowship with God? David s two-part question calls for the reader to think deeply about his spiritual condition. A. We must live uprightly The word uprightly means blamelessly (sound character). The person who lives in God s presence must be holy even as God is holy. Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. The first qualification is a person s walk or way of life. The Bible uses the term walk to mean our conduct or lifestyle. Christians are to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), walk worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1), walk in love (Eph. 5:2), walk carefully (Eph. 5:15), and walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). B. We must practice righteousness Righteousness is simply doing the right thing in God s eyes. Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly (do what is right), and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Our actions should conform to the Word of God. The second quality has to do with a person s work. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. C. We must speak the truth from our heart We must be consistent in what we say. We must not be like a hypocrite who says one thing and means another. The Lord demands truth in our heart. Psalms 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. He wants us to love the truth and protect it. The first three qualities of a person who has fellowship with God are blameless character, righteous conduct, and truthful conversation. The Lord is blameless in what He is, righteous in what He does, and truthful in what He says, and He expects the same of those who fellowship with Him. D. We must not say hurtful things about others We must not attack or slander someone. The word devil means slanderer, and a person is never more like the devil when he attacks or accuses another person. The phrase with the tongue is a powerful image that represents a poisonous snake ready to strike and inject deadly venom into its prey.

3 E. We must not do evil things to others The word evil means wicked, corrupt. It is used of evil words, evil thoughts, and evil actions. We do not harm others in any way. F. We must not discredit others There is a story told of three preachers that gathered to form a support group. After several weeks of building confidence in one another, they began to share the burdens of their hearts and darkest secrets. One preacher confessed he had a problem with greed and would lose his concentration on his message when he would look down at the offering plates full of money. The second preacher admitted that he was an alcoholic and dreaded being found out by his church family and how it would hurt the church. The third preacher quickly spoke up and said, "My problem is gossiping and I can't wait to get out of here!" Many are like this man. The motto of some folks is "If you can't say anything good about a person, then let's hear it!" G. We must reject a wicked person The word vile means worthless, polluted, dirty, or utterly sinful. A godly person rejects this kind of person in the sense of rejecting his fellowship and influence. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications (companions) corrupt good manners. The person who stays in close fellowship with God knows that some people have a desirable influence and others have a degrading influence, and he stays clear of that group. H. We must respect a godly person We associate with others who have reverence God live by faith and obedience. Psalms 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. The days of Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet, were dark days. The spiritual life of the nation was at a low ebb, but even then there was a group that remained faithful and honored God. Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. It is true that birds of a feather flock together. I. We must keep our promises at all costs We must not compromise or back down even when it hurts to keep a commitment. J. We must not take advantage of others Some greedy people in Bible times would charge outrageous interest rates as high as 50 percent. The godly person does not take advantage of borrowers. God commanded His people to loan money without charging interest to a fellow Jew. Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. An ungodly person loves money and uses people, but a godly person uses money and loves people. K. We must do what is right for others A godly person can t be bought or influenced by money. He is only interested in principle, not profit. He cannot be corrupted. In summary, we must have integrity, honesty, and godly character if we are going to have close fellowship with God. Our words, works, and ways must please the Lord. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? The Bible said that Enoch walked with God (Gen. 5:24). Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 3. A Sure Promise (vs. 5b) This is God s way to describe constant blessing, stability, and protection. The godly person

4 will never be moved from close fellowship in the Lord s presence. This expression of not being moved is found in other places. Psalms 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalms 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalms 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. This image of a righteous person is found in Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper, and in Jesus words, Matthew 7: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. God used Martin Luther, the great church reformer, to change the course of history in AD 1517, when he protested against the Roman Catholic Church by his Ninety-Five Theses. Two books of the Bible were the key to shaping Luther s character and ministry: Romans and Psalms. In Romans he found the truth of the Gospel and in Psalms he found the encouragement he needed to take a bold stand for the Lord and His truth. At times, Luther felt like the whole world was against him. But in those dark days, he would turn to his beloved partner, Philip Melanchthon and say, Come, Philip, let us sing the psalms. Luther lived in close fellowship with God and he was not moved by anybody or anything. He demonstrated the integrity and commitment of Paul, Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. A mother visited her son at his college dorm room. She noticed the walls were decorated with some very revealing pictures of beautiful women. Her heart was grieved by what she saw, but she didn t say a word. A few days later, the college student received a gift from his mother, a beautiful framed print of Psalm 15:1-2. The young man hung the scripture on the wall, and the more he looked at the verses, the more he was convicted about the pictures on the walls. He started taking down some of the pictures, and each day he took a few more down, until only one thing remained, the framed print of Psalm 15. The key to a holy life is a life filled with Scripture. When God s Word dominates, sin diminishes. God s Word is like a powerful searchlight that exposes sin and then drives it away. Only by the outliving of the indwelling Christ can our walk, our work, and our words receive the commendation of heaven. - Stephen Olford

5 Book of Psalms Psalm 15 Living in God s Presence Psalm 14 describes the worldly man. Psalm 15 describes the godly man. The worldly man wants nothing to do with God and he is rejected by God. On the other hand, the godly man wants to have godly character and is accepted into God s fellowship. The New Testament counterpart to Psalm 15 is found in 1 John 1:6-7 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1. (vs. 1) A. Fellowship with God B. Fellowship with God Psalms 27:4-5 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. C. Fellowship with God Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 10: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 2. (vs. 2-5a) A. We must Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. The first qualification is a person s walk or way of life. The Bible uses the term walk to mean our conduct or lifestyle. Christians are to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), walk worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1), walk in love (Eph. 5:2), walk carefully (Eph. 5:15), and walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). B. We must Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. C. We must Psalms 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. D. We must E. We must F. We must

6 G. We must 1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications (companions) corrupt good manners. H. We must Psalms 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. I. We must J. We must Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. K. We must In summary, we must have integrity, honesty, and godly character if we are going to enjoy close fellowship with God. Our words, works, and ways must please the Lord. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? The Bible said that Enoch walked with God (Gen. 5:24). Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 3. (vs. 5b) This is God s way to describe constant blessing, stability, and protection. The godly person will never be moved from close fellowship in the Lord s presence. This expression of not being moved is found in other scriptures. Psalms 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalms 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalms 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper Matthew 7: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Only by the outliving of the indwelling Christ can our walk, our work, and our words receive the commendation of heaven. Stephen Olford

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