AUTHORS » Joe Anady

Afternoon Sermon: What Does The Ninth Commandment Forbid?, Baptist Catechism 83, Psalm 15

Baptist Catechism 83

Q. 83. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment forbideth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s good name. (Eph. 4:25; Ps. 15:3; 2 Cor. 8:20,21)

Scripture Reading: Psalm 15

“A PSALM OF DAVID. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15, ESV)

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

*****

The ninth commandment is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Most basically, this commandment forbids lying especially in witness-bearing leading to the unjust treatment of our neighbor. But if we were to reflect more carefully upon this commandment, and if we were to consider all of the ways in which the scriptures tease this commandment out, we would see that this law does, in fact, forbid us from using our tongues in any way that is contrary to the truth. Brothers and sisters, we are to be men and women of the truth. We are to believe what is true, and we are to speak what is true. Anything short of this is sin. 

There is a resource that I would like to introduce you to that might help us to think more deeply about what the ninth commandment forbids, and that is the Westminster Larger Catechism. We use the Baptist Cathechism, well, because we are Baptists. It is the Baptist’s version of another catechism called the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which is beloved by the paedobaptist Presbyterians. The two catechisms — the Baptist Catechism and Westminster Shorter Catechism — are very similar. But there is Presbyterians have another catechism called the Westminster Larger Catechism. It is called by that name because… it is larger. This catechism expands upon the questions and answers of the shorter catechism. To my knowledge, there is no Baptist version of the Larger Catechism, and so I will consult it from time to time for additional insight into our catechism.

I would like to read you the answer to question 145 of Larger Catechism which asks, What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment? The answer is much longer than the one given in the Shorter Catechism, and in the Baptist Catechism, but I find it helpful. As I read it greatly expanded my thoughts concerning what the ninth commandment forbids. 

“The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours, as well as our own, (1 Sam. 17:28, 2 Sam. 16:3, 2 Sam. 1:9,10,15–16) especially in public judicature; (Lev. 19:15, Hab. 1:4) giving false evidence, (Prov. 19:5, Prov. 6:16,19) suborning [bribing] false witnesses, (Acts 6:13) wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, out-facing and overbearing the truth; (Jer. 9:3,5, Acts 24:2,5, Ps. 12:3–4, Ps. 52:1–4) passing unjust sentence, (Prov. 17:15, 1 Kings 21:9–14,10–11,13) calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; (Isa. 5:23) forgery, (Ps. 119:69, Luke19:8, Luke 16:5–7) concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, (Lev. 5:1, Deut. 13:8, Acts 5:3,8–9, 2 Tim. 4:16) and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, (1 Kings1:6, Lev. 19:17) or complaint to others; (Isa. 59:4) speaking the truth unseasonably, (Prov. 29:11) or maliciously to a wrong end, (1 Sam. 22:9–10, Ps. 52:1–5) or perverting it to a wrong meaning, (Ps. 56:5, John 2:19, Matt. 26:60–61) or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice; (Gen. 3:5, Gen. 26:7,9) speaking untruth, (Isa. 59:13) lying, (Lev. 19:11, Col. 3:9) slandering, (Ps. 50:20) backbiting, (James 4:11, Jer. 38:4) talebearing, (Lev. 19:16) whispering, (Rom. 1:29–30) scoffing, (Gen. 21:9, Gal. 4:29) reviling, (1 Cor. 6:10) rash, (Matt. 7:1) harsh, (Acts 28:4) and partial censuring; (Gen. 38:24, Rom. 2:1) misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; (Neh. 6:6–8, Rom. 3:8, Ps. 69:10, 1 Sam. 1:13–15, 2 Sam. 10:3) flattering, (Ps. 12:2–3) vain-glorious boasting; (2 Tim. 3:2) thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; (Luke 18:9,11, Rom. 12:16, 1 Cor. 4:6, Acts 12:22, Exod. 4:10–14) denying the gifts and graces of God; (Job 27:5,6, Job 4:6) aggravating smaller faults; (Matt. 7:3–5) hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; (Prov. 28:13, Prov. 30:20, Gen. 3:12–13, Jer. 2:35, 2 Kings 5:25, Gen. 4:9) unnecessary discovering of infirmities; (Gen. 9:22, Prov. 25:9–10) raising false rumors, (Exod. 23:1) receiving and countenancing evil reports, (Prov. 29:12) and stopping our ears against just defense; (Acts 7:56–57, Job 31:13–14) evil suspicion; (1 Cor. 13:5, 1 Tim. 6:4) envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any, (Numb. 11:29, Matt. 21:15) endeavoring or desiring to impair it, (Ezra 4:12–13) rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; (Jer. 48:27) scornful contempt, (Ps. 35:15–16,21, Matt. 27:28–29) fond admiration; (Jude 16, Acts 12:22) breach of lawful promises; (Rom. 1:31, 2 Tim. 3:3) neglecting such things as are of good report, (1 Sam. 2:24) and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name. (2 Sam. 13:12–13)”

That’s a mouthful. But I think you would agree that it is helpful as we try to comprehend all that the ninth commandment forbids. In brief, the ninth commandment forbids us from using our tongues to promote what is false. And how easy it is for us to stumble in this regard. 

I’m reminded of what James says regarding the tongue: “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (James 3:2–12, ESV)

Those who are in Christ and are growing in godliness will strive to bring their tongues under control. They will labor, with God’s help, to use their tongues for good, and not evil, to build up, and not tear down, and to speak the truth, and never what is false. Lord help us in these things. 

*****

Psalm 15

Psalm 15 calls us to this by asking,  “O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15, ESV)

Who has kept this standard perfectly? Who is the one who is worthy to dwell in God’s presence and on God’s holy hill? Not you or me, for we have violated his law in thought, word, and deed. But Christ is worthy. And we are made worthy in him by faith. Having been made worthy, let us now walk worthy. Let us honor God in all things, and even with our tongues.   

*****

Conclusion 

Q. 83. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment forbideth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s good name. (Eph. 4:25; Ps. 15:3; 2 Cor. 8:20,21)

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Afternoon Sermon: What Does The Ninth Commandment Forbid?, Baptist Catechism 83, Psalm 15

Discussion Questions: Psalm 80

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AT HOME OR IN GOSPEL COMMUNITY GROUPS

Sermon manuscript available at emmausrbc.org

  • What was the situation that most likely prompted the writing of Psalm 80?
  • What is meant by point II of the sermon: “Bring your complaints to him”? What needs to be said as a clarification to this?
  • Though Psalm 80 may teach us how to pray in distressing times, its original message has to do with God’s plan of redemption and the fulfillment of his promises made to David. Discuss. 
  • How do the statements in verses 14-19 concerning “the son whom [God] made strong”, etc., help us to see that the Psalmist appealed to God for mercy on the basis of the covenant God made with David (2 Samuel 7)? 
  • How did God answer the prayer of Psalm 80? Discuss.
Posted in Study Guides, Gospel Community Groups, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Discussion Questions: Psalm 80

Morning Sermon: Psalm 80, Restore Us, O LORD God Of Hosts

New Testament Reading: John 15:1-5

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1–5, ESV)

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 80

“TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO LILIES. A TESTIMONY. OF ASAPH, A PSALM. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it. Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself. They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Psalm 80, ESV)

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

Introduction

In the past, I have noted that the Psalms express the whole range of human emotions. There is a Psalm for every season of life, therefore. And this is one reason why they are so beloved. 

This Psalm is a community lament. It is a strong expression of grief and sorrow offered up to God by the nation of Israel. It is also a cry to God for help and for deliverance from trouble.

And though the situation that prompted the writing of this Psalm is very far removed from us, there is much for us to learn. This Psalm is useful to the people of God in all times and places. Indeed, it should be dear to our hearts and on our lips, especially in times where the people of God are troubled communally, or corporately. For we know that God’s people will, from time to time, experience trials and tribulations, devastation, disappointment, and despair. This Psalm shows us what we are to do in moments like these. We are run to God, who is our Shepherd. We are to come boldly before him, crying out to him for mercy and grace, appealing to his promises, for his names’ sake. 

So what was the situation that prompted the writing of this Psalm? What was the trouble that Israel experienced that produced this impassioned plea/lament? 

Not all commentators agree, but the majority opinion seems to be that this Psalm was written at the time when the northern kingdom of Israel was carried away into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. This Psalm was written and sung in the southern kingdom, therefore. It is a lament concerning the sad state of Israel as a nation. Israel was divided. And the northern tribes had been overrun. This was a prayer for mercy, deliverance, and restoration offered up by the Israelites who remained in the south. 

I think it would be beneficial for me to briefly rehearse the history of Israel so that we might better understand this Psalm, and more effectively put ourselves in the place of the Psalmist and of the original worshippers. Indeed, these were very dark days for Israel.

Israel’s story begins with the call of Abram in approximately 2,000 B.C. God called Abram out from the nations, promised to bless him and to make his name great. He promised to bring a nation from him and to bless all of the nations of the earth through this nation. This is the beginning of the kingdom of Israel.

Abram’s name would be changed to Abraham. He has many sons. And his descendants would eventually go into captivity in Egypt. There they would suffer for a time, but they also grew very numerous. And in approximately 1,450 B.C. God led his people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm through Moses. God entered into a covenant with Israel. It was a covenant of works that promised blessings in the land of Cannan conditioned upon obedience, and threatened exile from the land should they disobey the terms of the covenant. And of course, God’s grace was with them too. The unconditional promises that were made to Abraham concerning salvation in the Messiah were preserved and promoted in this covenant that God transacted with Israel. 

In approximately 1,400 B.C. It was Joshua who would lead the people of Israel into the promised land. The tribes of Israel were at first ruled by judges. But in approximately 1,000 B.C. God set King David on the throne. Israel was united under David. And Israel flourished as a nation for a time. God did also transact a covenant with David. The promises and conditions of this covenant were not altogether unrelated from the promises and conditions of the covenant transacted with Abraham and with Israel in the days of Moses. But the covenant made with David had to do with kingship. In brief, David would be blessed as King over Israel. Kings would descend from him. If they obeyed, they would be blessed. If they disobeyed, God would discipline them. And the unconditional promise was this: a King would descend from David whose kingdom would never come to an end. 

The kingdom of Israel flourished in the days of David. It reached its apex of power and prosperity in the days of King Solomon, David’s son. But sin soon ravaged the kingdom of Israel. And by the year 950 B.C. the kingdom of Israel Israel was already divided with Israel in the north and Judah in the south. 

Israel and Judah were sometimes at peace, and sometimes they were at war. Good and bad Kings would rise and fall. But for the most part, the kings of Israel were evil. In 722 B.C. the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians. It wouldn’t be until 587 B.C. that the southern kingdom would fall to the Babylonians. Finally, in 538 B.C. some of the captives of Israel began to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple which had been destroyed.  

So this Psalm which we are considering today was likely written by someone living in the southern kingdom of Judah at the time of the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. I would like for you to imagine it? Put yourself there and feel the sorrow along with the fear. Imagine being one of God’s faithful people longing to see the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham, and praying for the flourishing of the nation of Israel. And yet what do you see? You see sin, faithlessness, division, and destruction. Indeed, there would be in your heart a great sadness and a sense of disappointment. And do not forget the fear. If the northern kingdom was overrun, perhaps the southern kingdom would be next!

I’ve asked you to use your imagination to put yourself there in that 722 B.C. setting. But in fact, you may not need to strain too hard with your imagination, for when we look out upon the visible and universal church of God today, we see something very similar — unfaithfulness, division, and devastation. The situations are not identical, of course. Here I am comparing Old Covenant Israel with New Covenant Israel as she appears to our natural eyes. But there are enough similarities that enable us to pick up this Psalm and to sing it as our own in light of the arrival of the Christ and his kingdom. 

Notice that there is a repeated refrain in this Psalm. It is first encountered in verse 3: “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” And it appears again in verse 7 with a slight alteration. There we read, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” Here, God is called “God of hosts”, or God of armies —  a fitting and comforting thought for the people of Israel, given the circumstances. In verses 14 the Psalmist again calls upon the “God of hosts”, but here he says, “Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine…”. And then lastly in verse 19, the Psalm concludes with the refrain: “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!” The difference here is that God is called, the “LORD God of hosts”.  So the name YHWH is used. And we know that this name for God does emphasize his covenant faithfulness. The God of Israel is the self-existent One. He is the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He is faithful. The name YHWH reminds us of this. And so the Psalm concludes with an appeal to the “LORD God of hosts”, the LORD who makes and keeps covenant with his people. 

The repeated phrase “let your face shine” is an echo of the Aaronic blessing found in Numbers 6:24-27. Aaron the priest and his descendants were to bless Israel with these words: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–27, ESV). So here the Psalmist is praying that God would show favor to Israel. Israel had broken the covenant that God made with them. They were beginning to experience the covenant curses. Here in this repeated refrain, the Psalmist is crying out to God for mercy and grace. He is asking the LORD to save them and to bless them despite their sin.  

As I have said, though our situation differs significantly from the original situation, there is much for us to learn from this Psalm. In particular, this Psalm does teach us how to pray in times of disappointment and despair. I know this congregation well enough to know that you have all experienced times of disappointment and despair. Indeed, some of our beloved members are experiencing such circumstances even now. What shall we do? Where shall we go for comfort? How shall we pray? I do believe this Psalm of lament will help us to know. 

 *****

Run To God As Your Shepherd (vs. 1-3)

Taking our cues from the four refrains mentioned a moment ago, we see that this Psalm is naturally divided into four parts. In verses 1 through 3 we find a prayer for deliverance. And here we learn that in times of trouble — in times of disappointment and despair — it is right for God’s people to run to him as their Shepherd. Dear brothers and sisters, we worship and serve God Almighty. But we must remember that he is like a Shepherd to his people. He is tender and he is near.

Verse 1: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Psalm 80:1–3, ESV)

In the title, This Psalm is said to be “Of Asaph”. It was written, then, by a member of the Asaphian division of the temple choir. The author lived in the southern kingdom, therefore, and ministered in the temple in Jerusalem, which at this time still stood. But his concern was for the northern kingdom. He cries out to God on behalf of Joseph. He then mentions the two northern tribes that descended from Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh. 

The mention of Benjamin has puzzled some. Benjamin was one of the two southern tribes alongside Judah. And some have wondered if this Psalm was indeed written in response to the conquest of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians, why is the southern tribe of Benjamin listed? But I think there is a good reason for it, and it has to do with unity. Yes, Israel was divided north and south. But the Psalmist longs for unity. The Psalmist longs to see Israel united and flourishing. When we consider the twelve sons that descended from Jacob who would become the twelve tribes of Israel, we see that Benjamin was the other son of Rachael besides Joseph. And so, when the Psalmist cries out to God on behalf of Joseph (or, Ephraim and Manasseh as Joseph’s sons) and Benjamin, the unity of Israel is emphasized. In other words, the faithful of God living in the southern kingdom did not rejoice in the division, nor celebrate the destruction of the northern kingdom, but lamented it, and longed to see restoration, revival, and reform.

APPLICATION: I might ask you by way of application, do you have the same concern for God’s kingdom today? Do you long to see the church united and flourishing? Does your heart break to see the sin, faithlessness, division, and devastation of the visible and universal church of Christ? It is right for us to call out to God and to plead with him that he would make his church strong, true, and pure. Indeed, this we are to do daily when we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. 

We are to run to God as our Shepherd, for that is what he is. And now that the Christ has come we can see with even greater clarity that it is so. God is our shepherd, and he has provided salvation for us through the Messiah, who said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:11–15, ESV)

Do not forget, brothers and sisters, that God in Christ is our Shepherd. We are to run into his loving arms, especially in times of disappointment and despair, for he is tender and kind. But we must not forget that he is also strong. And this is why the Psalmist says in verse 2, “stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” Here we are reminded that our God is strong and mighty and able to save. We are to run to him in days of difficulty. 

 *****

Bring Your Complaints To Him (vs. 4-7)

Secondly, in verses 4 through 7 we find the Psalmists complaint. And here we learn that in times of difficulty and despair we are invited to bring our complaints to the Lord. 

Now, that word “complaint” might seem inappropriate to some. Truthfully, I hesitated to use it. By no means do I think we have the right to grumble against God. To whine, gripe, and protest against him. That is not what I mean by “complaint”. Rather, by using the word “complaint” I wish to encourage you to come to God in prayer with boldness and honesty concerning your affliction. In times of devastation, disappointment, and despair, God’s people are certainly permitted to moan before God and to plead with for mercy. 

Notice how bold the Psalmist is in verses 4 through 7. “O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Psalm 80:4–7, ESV). 

After reading these verses the word “complaint” does not seem too strong, does it? The Psalmist was bold in prayer. And he does complain, doesn’t he? “O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?”, etc. 

Notice, however, that he does not charge God wrong. Nowhere does he suggest that God has acted unjustly towards the people of Israel. In fact, God was perfectly just and right to judge Israel for their sins. Do not forget the terms of the Mosaic covenant. If the people obeyed God’s law they would be blessed in the land. If the people disobeyed, they would be vomited out of the land. Truly, Israel’s sin was very great. Both King and people walked in wicked ways. God was just to judge them. The Psalmist knew this. Never did he charge God with wrong. But he did bring his complaint to the Lord. He did bring his sorrow. He cried out to the Lord for mercy. And I do believe we are invited to do the same.

In fact, I do think the word “complaint” is appropriate, for it describes the honesty and the boldness that we see in this Psalm. The Psalmist’s prayer is both honest and bold. And we must remember that this prayer is a Spirit-inspired song for God’s people to sing. We too are invited by the Lord to be honest and bold in prayer. But an adjective might help. What we see here is a reverent complaint. The Psalmist approaches God with deep and solemn respect as he pours out his heart before him. 

APPLICATION: Brothers and sisters, do you approach God in prayer with this kind of boldness and honesty? Do you run to him as your Shepherd in times of trouble bringing your complaint to him? Do you lay the truth concerning your afflictions at his feet? Be careful as you do! You must come with reverential fear, remembering who it is that you approach. But in Christ Jesus you are invited to ”with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that [you] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)

Allow me to make two more observations about the Psalmist’s complaint before moving on. One, the Psalmist’s concern is not only the peace and prosperity of the people of God but the glory of God amongst the nations. In verse 6 we read, “You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves.” Instead of Israel being a blessing to the nations, they were a source of strife for their neighbors. And instead of Israel being honored amongst the nations, and thus bringing glory to God, they were the laughing stock of their enemies. Certainly, this brought shame to the name of the God of Israel, and not glory. And so the Psalmist appeals to God on this basis. Two, this Psalm is not only a complaint but a plea to God for deliverance and restoration. Have mercy on us, Lord. By your grace, restore the covenant. Bless us in your presence. Save us from the just consequences of our sins. That was the Psalmist’s prayer. 

*****

Do Not Forget The Mercies Of The Lord In Times Past (vs. 8-13)

So, in times of despair, I have encouraged you to run to God as your Shepherd and to bring your complaints before him with reverential fear. And now I say, do not forget the mercies of the Lord in times past. 

Look with me at verses 8-13. The Psalmist speaks to God, saying, “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.” (Psalm 80:8–13, ESV)

In the third point of this sermon, I have urged you to not forget the mercies of the Lord in times past when difficult days come upon you. And that application is drawn from the fact that the Psalmist remembered the mercy and grace that God has shown to Israel even as the northern tribes were being conquered. 

Here God is portrayed, not as a shepherd, and Israel as a flock, but as the vinedresser, and Israel the vine. “You brought a vine out of Egypt”, he says. This is a reference to the exodus event when God redeemed Israel from Egyptian bondage. He then says, “you drove out the nations and planted it”. This refers to the conquest of Cannan in the days of Joshua. It was the LORD who gave Israel the victory. The words, “You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River”, refer to the establishment of the nation of Israel, and to the flourishing of Israel under David and Solomon. 

Here the Psalmist reminds God of the mercy and grace that he had shown to Israel in times past. Doesn’t that sound strange to say that the Psalmist reminds God of these things? We know that God does not need to be reminded of anything, for he knows all things, past, present, and future. But that is what the Psalmist does in prayer. He reminds God. Or to put it another way, he appeals to God to show Israel favor now on the basis of the kindness he has shown to him in the past. It is as if the Psalmist said,  LORD, do not forget how gracious and kind you were to us in past generations. You redeemed us from Egypt. You entered into a covenant with us. You established us and made us fruitful. Do not throw it all away, Lord. Have mercy on us again.  

But the complaint returns in verse 12: “Why then have you broken down its walls..?” The image is that of an established vineyard with walls built up strong and true to keep thieves from stealing, and wild beasts from trampling the precious vines.  Lord, you planted this vineyard and you built it up to maturity. “Why then have you broken down its walls?”, the Psalmist complains, “so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it” (Psalm 80:12–13, ESV). 

The Psalmist was not ignorant as to why. He knew the terms of the covenant that God made with Israel in the days of Moses. And he knew very well that Israel had violated the terms of this covenant and was deserving of this punishment. He was well aware of Israel’s sin and God’s justice. These are not so much straightforward questions as they are appeals for mercy. God, think of all that you have done for this nation. Think of the mercy you have shown to them in generations past. Yes, we have sinned O LORD, but have mercy on us again. Do not throw it all away. 

*****

Appeal To The Lord To Show Mercy And Grace In The Future (vs. 14-19)

We see clearly that this is the meaning in verses 14 through 19. Here the Psalmist explicitly appeals to the Lord for mercy and grace. And dear brethren, this is what we must do in times of trouble when we are tempted to despair. Having remembered past mercies, we must appeal to the Lord to show us mercy and grace in the future.

Verse 14: “Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself” (Psalm 80:14–15, ESV).

God sees all. This we know. But the Psalmist calls out to God who sits enthroned in heaven in the midst of his army of angels and says, “look down from heaven, and see…” Notice how freely the Psalmist uses anthropomorphic language in prayer. He speaks to God as if he were human, though he knows he is not. “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel”, he says. “Stir up your might”. “Come to save us”. “You brought a vine… planted it… cleared the ground for it.” “Turn again… look down and see… have regard…” These are things that humans must do, and not God, properly speaking. And yet God invites us to pray to him in this way. He invites us to speak to him according to our perception of things so that we might approach him freely and from the heart. He condescends to our weakness. 

Stated differently, when we approach God in prayer as the Psalmist did, saying, “look down from heaven, and see…”, God does not belittle us and reject us, saying, don’t you know that I am omnipresent and omniscient! No, he brings himself low for us and he receives our weak and feeble prayers, knowing that to us it sometimes seems as if he does not see, or as if he has forgotten. 

When the Psalmist reminds God of his past mercies, or calls upon him to look, see, and remember, he does not reveal a poor understanding of the doctrine of God but speaks instead as a man severely burdened with grief. 

“Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself” (Psalm 80:14–15, ESV). What does this mean? Who is this “son” that the Psalmist refers to? 

He is mentioned again in verse 17. Let’s read verse 16 first: “They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down [referring to the destruction of  Lord’s vineyard, Israel, at the hand of the Assyrians]; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!” (Psalm 80:16–17, ESV). Again I ask, who is this “man of your right hand” and “the son of man” that God made strong for himself. 

In brief, he is King David. He is the Kings of Israel who descended from him. And above all, he is Christ. 

Listen very carefully to this, please: these references to the “son whom [God] made strong for [himself]”, “the man of [God’s] right hand”, and “the son of man [Adam] whom [God]” made strong for himself, reveal something very important. These references to God’s son and the son of man reveal that the Psalmist has appeal to God for mercy and grace, not according to the terms of the covenant of works transacted with Israel in the days of Moses, but on the basis of the promises of God delivered to King David concerning an everlasting King and an everlasting Kingdom, and to the promise made to Adam concerning a savior that would one day descend for him. 

Think of it. What right did the Mosaic covenant give to the Psalmist to appeal to God for mercy and grace? None at all. The terms of that Covenant were, obey and live, disobey and perish. Israel broke the covenant. God was right to vomit them out of the land. That covenant — the Mosaic Covenant — provided no grounds at all for the Psalmist to appeal for grace.

But God did also promise to provide a Savior who would descend from Adam and from Abraham. And to King David God said, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–13, ESV). This is the “son” that the Psalmist appeals to. This is the “man of [God’s] right hand”. He is the promised son of David, Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Stated differently, the Psalmist appealed to God for mercy saying, “Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine….”, preserve us and restore us for the sake of the promise you made to David regarding his son, and regarding his everlasting kingdom.

In fact, I do believe that there is a significant connection between Psalm 80 and the covenant that God transacted with King David as recorded in 2 Samuel 7. As I began to flesh these connections out in this sermon I realized that I was running out of space, and so I relented. Perhaps you can read 2 Samuel 7 later today. And if you do I would encourage you to look for the themes of shepherding and vine planting. The judges of Israel and King David were called by God to shepherd God’s people. But in Psalm 80 it is God who is called the Shepherd of Israel. Why? Because the kings of Israel had failed the people. Now the Psalmist looks only to God. And in 2 Samuel 7:10 God says, “And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly…” (2 Samuel 7:10, ESV). In Psalm 80 the Psalmist picks up on this promise and appeals to God to restore this vineyard whose walls were broken down. 

And so the point is this: Psalm 80 appeals to God for mercy and grace, not on the basis of the covenant that God transacted with Israel in the days of Moses, but on the basis of the promises that God made to King David. And shared themes of shepherds, vineyards, and promised a son in Psalm 80 and 2 Samuel 7 do help us to see this.

Dear brothers and sisters, do you see that God has answered the prayer of Psalm 80?

The northern kingdom of Israel was carried away, and never did they return. The southern kingdom would eventually fall too. But God preserved a remnant in Babylon. Some would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that had been destroyed. And so  Israel was spared in this way. A remnant was preserved. And at just the right time the Christ was born into the world through them. God preserved his vineyard for the sake of his beloved Son and for the establishment of his eternal kingdom. And the New Testament opens with these words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1, ESV)

“Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!”, was the prayer of the Psalmist and of faithful Israel along with him. And this is indeed what God has accomplished. By mercy and grace, he preserved Israel his vine. The LORD YHWH kept his covenant promises. He blessed Israel, despite their sin. And he has provided salvation for them and for all the nations of the earth through the Messiah, the son of God, the son man, the son of Adam, who has descended from them. He is the true Son, and we are sons of God in him. He is the true vine, and we are the branches. He is the good shepherd, and we are the sheep of his pasture.

*****

Conclusion 

Brothers and sisters, I have encouraged you to learn from this Psalm so that we might know how to pray in distressing times. I have encouraged you to run to God as your shepherd, to bring your complaints to him with reverence, to remember the mercies of the Lord in times past, and to appeal to the Lord to show you mercy and grace in the future. I think it is right that I have encouraged you to pray in this way concerning the discouraging situations that you face in your personal lives. It is right for us to follow the pattern of the Psalmist in this Psalm of lament.

But we must be careful to see that Psalm 80 is not about personal trials and tribulations. No, it is about the devastation that came upon the kingdom of Israel under the Old Covenant and the desire to see the purpose and promises of God concerning the establishment of his eternal kingdom fulfilled. We must recognize this and see that God has answered this prayer in Jesus the Christ.

And so I must exhort you finally in this way: let us not lose sight of the big picture purposes and promises of God when facing trials and tribulations of various kinds. Yes, we may run to God with our sorrows, for he is our Shepherd in Christ Jesus. But let us keep this as our leading concern: not our own comfort and prosperity, but the flourishing of God’s kingdom on earth through the church until Christ returns to make all things new.

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Morning Sermon: Psalm 80, Restore Us, O LORD God Of Hosts

Afternoon Sermon: What Is The Ninth Commandment And What Does It Require?, Baptist Catechism 81-82, Zechariah 8:14–17

Baptist Catechism 81-82

Q. 81. Which is the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)

Q. 82. What is required in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing. (Zech. 8:16; Acts 25:10; Eccles. 7:1; 3 John 12; Prov. 14:5,25)

Scripture Reading: Zechariah 8:14–17

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the LORD of hosts, so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.’” (Zechariah 8:14–17, ESV)

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

*****

We have developed this tradition at Emmaus over the years to answer the question, “have you kept this law (that is God’s moral) perfectly?” with the answer, “no, we have violated this law in thought, word, and deed.” 

We didn’t come up with this tradition. The Reformed have been saying this for a long time. But it is a very helpful saying, and so we have adopted it as our own. By it we are reminded that we are violators of God’s law. Left to ourselves, we stand guilty before God. True, we are no longer guilty if we are in Christ! But we stood guilty before we placed our faith in him. And that is the point! We need Christ! And we are reminded of that fact everytime we hear God’s law and say this saying. 

And this saying is also helpful because it reminds us that God’s law is to be kept, not only externally, but also in the mind and with our words. “Thou shalt not murder”, the law says. And most men would probably think that they have kept this law… that is, until they remember what Christ said about it. He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21–22, ESV)

Let that sink in for a moment.

The law, “thou shalt not murder”, also forbids unrighteous anger in the heart, and all insulting. And the same sort of thing is true of the sins of idolatry and adultery, etc. So these moral laws forbid and require certain actions, but they also forbid and require certain thoughts and words.

The thing that I would like you to notice about the ninth commandment is that it has to do with our words, and not our actions. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”, it says. And what does this require of us? Answer “the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing.” The Christian — indeed, all people — are to use their tongues to promote truth. 

*****

Baptist Catechism 82

Clearly, this forbids lying. Don’t lie, brothers and sisters, but rather speak the truth. This is especially important in witness bearing, our catechism says. If ever you are called to testify in a court of law, or if ever you are called upon to serve as a witness in some other civil or churchly matter, it is especially important that you tell the truth. For what you say will affect the judgments  that are reached, and these judgments will likely have a significant impact on other people’s lives and reputations. 

Our catechism says that we are to tell the truth so as to promote and maintain our own and our neighbors good name. Perhaps you have noticed how common it is in our day for men and women to tell lies about others, or to twist the truth regarding others, so as to damage their reputations, and thus gain some advantage over them. This is particularly common in politics today, and this is vile. We should have nothing to do with this. 

And notice that our catechism does not here deal with what is forbidden — namly, lying — but with what is required. The ninth commandment requires that we promote the truth between man and man. Not lying and promoting the truth are related things, but they are not the same things. It is one thing to not tell a lie. It is another thing to promote the truth. Not telling a lie may involve refraining from speaking, but promoting the truth will require speaking the truth whenever it is our responsibility to do so. 

To illustrate, if a person has wrongly been accused of a crime, and you know they are innocent and can provide information to demonstrate that they are innocent, then it would be a violation of the ninth commandment to refrain from speaking. Again, “the ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing.”

So do not only not lie, but be resolved to use your words to promote the truth. 

*****

Zechariah 8:14–17

Think of how happy our families, churches, and societies would be if men and women promoted the truth with their lips. 

This is what the LORD commanded Old Covenant Israel to do in that Zechariah 8 passage that I read earlier: “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”

As we have been studying these Ten Commandments I have often been struck by the thought of how wicked our society is. When Christians think of the evils of our society they often think of the great evil of abortion and how it violates the sixth of the Ten Commandmnet, though shalt not murder. But if we were to consider our society with eyes wide upon I think we would see that sin is truly rampant. Men and women do often tell lies, and fail to promote the truth with their tongues. This happens in the media, in politics, in law, and in day to day life. 

And where we will learn to speak the truth in love except in our families and in our churches. Parents, we must teach our children to not lie, but rather to speak what is true. And this we must also do in the church. I’m afraid that many within the church break the ninth commandment, not by lying, but by failing to tell the truth.  Sometimes Pastors are guilty of this, for sometimes it is easier and safer to withhold the truth — speaking the truth is sometimes risky and scary. But do not forget what Chrst said: “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, ESV). 

The truth is very powerful, friends. The truth brings life, whereas falsehood brings death. And so we must be committed to promote the truth with our tongues. We must learn to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15, ESV). And do not forget what James said regarding the tongue. It is most unruly. But those who are mature in Christ will learn to control their tongues, to use their words to build up, and not tear, by speaking the truth lovingly and skilfully, for the glory of God, and for the good of others.

*****

Conclusion 

Q. 82. What is required in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing. (Zech. 8:16; Acts 25:10; Eccles. 7:1; 3 John 12; Prov. 14:5,25)

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Afternoon Sermon: What Is The Ninth Commandment And What Does It Require?, Baptist Catechism 81-82, Zechariah 8:14–17

Discussion Questions: Psalm 67

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AT HOME OR IN GOSPEL COMMUNITY GROUPS

Sermon manuscript available at emmausrbc.org

  • How does the Calvinistic belief in the sovereignty of God over salvation (the doctrines of predestination, effectual calling, etc.) motivate evangelism?
  • If it is true that God will certainly save his elect, then why preach the gospel? Why pray? Why exhort men and women to persevere in the faith?
  • When Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God decided to take the gospel to the Gentiles. What is wrong with this view?
  • What should our attitude be towards the “Great Commission” (Matthews 28:18-20) today? What actions should we take in response to it?
Posted in Study Guides, Gospel Community Groups, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Discussion Questions: Psalm 67

Morning Sermon: Psalm 67, Let The Nations Be Glad

New Testament Reading: Acts 1:1-11

“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:1–11, ESV).

Old Testament  Reading: Psalm 67

“TO THE CHOIRMASTER: WITH STRINGED INSTRUMENTS. A PSALM. A SONG. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!” (Psalm 67, ESV).

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

Introduction

Please be patient with me this morning, brothers and sisters. It will take me a little while to get back to the text of Psalm 67, but I assure you, everything will tie together in the end. 

I wish to begin this sermon by addressing a terrible misconception that some have of those of us who are Calvinistic and Reformed, and that is the misconception that Calvinists do not believe in evangelism or world missions. 

Have you ever encountered this claim? I know that many of you have! This charge was slanderously leveled against us when we planted this church nearly ten years ago, and I have heard that some of you have been asked this question even recently. So is it true that Calvinists do not believe in evangelism or world missions? The short answer is, no, of course it is not true.

So where does this misconception come from, then? Please allow me to make three brief remarks about this: 

One, it may be true that some within the Calvinistic and Reformed tradition have neglected evangelism and world missions. I do not doubt that for a second. But listen carefully. Their neglect is not the result of our beliefs, but of sin. These, for one reason or another, have failed to do what they know in their minds the scriptures call them to do — that is, to go and make disciples of all nations through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, if there has been neglect amongst the Reformed, it is not the product of our theology, but of spiritual lethargy. And, if our critics were to be honest they would admit that this same spiritual lethargy does sometimes appear in other traditions besides the Reformed tradition. 

Two, there are some who would call themselves “Calvinists” who hold erroneous views on this subject. We would call them hyper-Calvinists. And these do in fact error in their doctrine by downplaying the role of human responsibility in the Christian life in general, and in the salvation of sinners in particular. But these hyper-Calvinists are badly out of step with the Reformed faith, that is to say, with biblical Christianity. As we will see in just a moment, the Reformed believe that God is sovereign over all things, including salvation, and that man is also responsible to do what God has called him to do. And one thing God has called his church to do is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. So please do not confuse us with the hyper-Calvinists.

Three, it is ultimately the ignorance of our critics that produces the misconception. They are ignorant of our beliefs, and they are also ignorant of the scriptures. When our critics hear us say that God has chosen some for salvation (which is what the scriptures clearly teach) they assume that means there is no need for evangelism or world missions. It is truly an absurd notion. Our critics are guilty of jumping to this conclusion. 

Watch how they jump. They hear us say what the scriptures say — that God has chosen some for salvation (see Ephesians 1:3ff, for example), and that God is sovereign over salvation, meaning that he will certainly bring those whom he has chosen to faith (see Ephesians 2:1ff, for example) — and they jump to the conclusion that there is no place for evangelism in our theological system. But they have connected dots that do not necessarily connect.   

Think of it. If it is true that God has chosen some for salvation from before the foundation of the world (see John 17, and Romans 8:28ff), and if it is true that God will certainly save these (see again the texts cited above along with John 6:35ff), the question must still be asked, how will God bring his elect to faith and to salvation in Jesus Christ? How will he do it? What means will he use? How will he move these elect of his from unbelief to belief, from death to life, from wrath to grace? Will he simply act upon them immediately and supernaturally without any human intermediary? Will God simply zap his elect from on high and cause them to believe upon Jesus the Messiah? No, that is not what the scriptures teach, nor is it what we believe. 

So, how will God bring his elect to faith in Christ and thus to salvation? Answer: through the proclamation of the gospel, and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This will be the means. Yes, the Spirit of God must work. The Spirit must open blind eyes, unstop deaf ears, and breathe spiritual life into those who are spiritually dead. God must do that work. And if he does not, then none will ever believe (see John 3:3ff and 6:44ff). But the gospel must also be proclaimed by us, for this is the way that God has determined to bring his elect to salvation — through the preaching of his word and the working of his Spirit. 

This is why Christ told his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18ff). And this is why he sent them out as his “witnesses” (Acts 1:1ff). And when they went out from Jerusalem to go to the nations, what did they do? They proclaimed Christ crucified and risen. And why were they confident that anyone would believe in their message? Their confidence was in God, in the knowledge that he had his elect scattered throughout the nations, and that as they went and preached the gospel of the kingdom, those chosen by God and appointed to salvation would in fact believe. Stated differently, their confidence was in the sovereignty of God over all things, and over the salvation of souls in particular. So no, their belief in the sovereignty of God over salvation did not produce lethargy in them, but rather it propelled them to “go” with boldness in obedience to Christ’s command, knowing that God would surely accomplish all of his purposes through them.

This mindset  — that God is sovereign over the salvation of his elect, and that we must be responsible to go and proclaim the gospel, for this is the means by which all will be saved — is clearly seen in the book of Acts. For example, in Acts 13:13ff we read of Paul and Barnabus’ gospel ministry in Antioch. As the story unfolds we learn that many of the Gentiles in that place were receptive to the gospel message. And listen carefully to how Luke describes what happened. He says in verse 48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48, ESV). Did you hear that? The gospel was preached by Paul and Barnabus, and many believed. And how did Luke interpret this? He says, it was those “appointed” or “assigned” to eternal life who believed the message of the gospel. In other words, the elect of God believed. Those chosen by God believed. And this was the understanding of Christ and all of his Apostles — the gospel would be preached, and the elect would respond in faith as the Spirit of God worked upon their hearts. This is exactly what Christ taught when he concluded that parable regarding the invitation to the wedding feast with the words, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14, ESV). He was teaching his disciples that many would hear the external call of the gospel with their natural ears, but it would only be those chosen of the Lord, and are therefore called of God inwardly and effectively, who will respond in faith to the invitation. 

So no, the biblical doctrines of predestination and effectual calling, which the Reformed are faithful to teach, do not nullify the need for evangelism, for it is through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that the elect will be drawn to faith and salvation. Stated most bluntly: no gospel, no salvation (with the exception, perhaps, of “elect infants dying in infancy… and [other] elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word”. See 10.3. of our Confession of Faith). But in general, no gospel, no salvation. For the Lord has determined to bring salvation to his elect by the means of gospel proclamation.

And this is why Paul — yes, the same Paul who so clearly teaches the doctrine of election or predestination in all of his letters — says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16, ESV). And a little later in the same letter, he says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ [Now listen to this] How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.’” (Romans 10:9–17, ESV)

So please hear me. The Reformed agree with Paul and with the rest of the scriptures that there is no conflict between the biblical doctrine of election and the need for evangelism, for this is how the elect will come to saving faith. To call on the Lord, they must first hear about him. And to hear about him, someone must preach. And to preach, someone must be sent. 

Far from being a hindrance to evangelism, the doctrine of election does in fact motivate it. For it is the doctrine of election that says, God has his chosen ones scattered throughout the world and he will certainly bring them to faith in Christ. So we must go and prayerfully preach the word, and watch as the Lord does his work. Stated differently, it is the doctrine of election that reassures us that the fields are indeed ripe for harvest (John 4:35). God has his elect scattered throughout the world. He will prepare them. He will draw them inwardly. We must simply go and harvest them with the gospel message freely offered. 

And this was exactly what motivated Paul to persevere in his missionary work, despite all of the suffering. He says so in 2 Timothy 2:10, where he writes, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10, ESV). Paul knew that all of the sufferings he endured in his gospel ministry were for “the sake of the elect” of God. His mission was to go and harvest those whom God had chosen. He did not know who they were, but he would find out as preached, and as men and women responded in faith. 

So, this idea that those who believe and teach the doctrine of predestination, effectual calling, limited atonement (and all the rest), do not believe in evangelism is ridiculous. This is not what we believe. This is not what we teach. For this is not what the scriptures say. Also, it is not difficult to see that this is not the case when one considers church history. 

And if you would only take a moment to study the history of the so-called modern missions movement, you would see that it was sparked by men with Reformed and Calvinistic convictions. Perhaps you have heard of William Carry? He is called the “father of modern missions.” Did you know that he was a Particular (or Reformed) Baptist? And did you know that he was sent out to do his work by Particular (Reformed) Baptists? Adoniram Judson was also a Particular Baptist. So too was Luther Rice. These leaders in the modern missionary movement were all Calvinists. They believed just as we believe. Brothers and sisters, Reformed theology properly understood does not hinder missions. No, it propels it. Why? Because Reformed theology simply tells the truth regarding God’s plans for the salvation of sinners, his accomplishment of that plan in Christ, and the means by which he will apply it to his elect in every time and place, that is, through the preaching of his word and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

So, what does all of this have to do with Psalm 67? 

Well, here is the point that I wish to make from this Psalm: while it is true that our doctrine of salvation does not hinder evangelism, but rather encourages and propels it, it is also true that our understanding of the history of redemption  — that is, our understanding of what is called covenant theology — does not stifle our zeal for world missions, but should propel us to take the gospel of the kingdom to all nations, knowing for certain that this has always been God’s plan. 

The dispensationalists (at least the radical ones) miss this. In their minds, the great commission that Christ gave to his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” was “plan B” in the mind of God. Not all dispensationalists will talk in this extreme way, but some do. To them “plan A” was for God’s kingdom to be established with ethnic and Old Covenant Israel, but when Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah, then the gospel was to be proclaimed to the Gentiles as “plan B”. A greater misunderstanding of the overarching story of the Bible can hardly be imagined. We reject this view in all of its various forms and insist that God’s plan has always been the same (How could it not be? For our God does not change?). His plan has always been to save people from every tongue, tribe, and nation through faith in the crucified and risen Christ.

 *****

Believing Israel Knew They Were Blessed To Be A Blessing To The Nations (vs. 1-2)

Psalm 67 proves the point. Here we have a Psalm (or song) written and sung by Old Covenant Israel. And what is its central concern? That salvation would come to all of the nations of the earth! 

Yes, it is certainly true that from the days of Abraham up to the day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the gospel of the kingdom was largely confined to the Hebrew people and to the nation of Israel. They were blessed to have the word of God, to worship God, and to know and preserve his very great promises concerning the Messiah who would come from them. But hear this: they were blessed to be a blessing! And they knew this (or at least some of them did). [SLIDE] Believing Israel knew that they were blessed to be a blessing to the nations. Listen to what they sang: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1–2, ESV)

The first line of this Psalm is drawn from the blessing that Aaron the priest and his sons were commanded to pronounce upon Israel, as recorded in Numbers 6:22ff. There we read, “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’ So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:22–27, ESV).

In Psalm 67 the people of Israel cry out to God for this blessing. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…”, they sing. But in verse 2 the purpose for this blessing is acknowledged beginning with the word “that”. “That…”, or might say, so that “your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations” (Psalm 67:2, ESV). As I have said, Israel knew that they were blessed by God so that they might be a blessing to the nations. They were chosen by God so that through them salvation might come to the Gentiles. This was always God’s plan. And this plan was clearly revealed to them from the beginning. 

Do not forget what the LORD said to father Abraham when he called him to leave his country and promised to make him into a great nation. He said, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great…” Abraham did not live to see the fulfillment of these promises, but we know the story. We know that Abraham became Israel. But that is not all that God said. He added these words of purpose “so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1–3, ESV). So, from the beginning, God revealed to Abraham and his descendants that they were uniquely blessed by God… so as to be a blessing to the nations. 

Yes, many within Israel had lost sight of this in the days when Jesus walked the earth. And yes, many from amongst the Jews were offended by the news that the Christ died for all the peoples of the earth, that this gospel of the kingdom was to go to the nations, and that the Gentiles who believed would be grafted into the true Israel of God. But they were surprised, not because this truth hadn’t been revealed before, but because they either misunderstood or willingly ignored, the scriptures.  

From the start, Israel was blessed to be a blessing to the nations. And this is why they were to sing, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us… that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1–2, ESV) 

 *****

Believing Israel’s Desire Was To See the Nations Give Praise To God  (vs. 3-4)

Secondly, we see in this Psalm that believing Israel’s desire was for the nations to give praise to God. Look at verses 3 and 4. They sang, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah” (Psalm 67:3–4, ESV)

Read the New Testament and see the difference between believing and unbelieving Israel. One key difference is that while unbelieving Israel was enraged at the thought that the kingdom of God would extend to the nations, believing Israel rejoiced greatly in this. Considered from the vantage point of Psalm 67, unbelieving Israel could not bring themselves to sing this Psalm, whereas believing Israel sang this Psalm heartily. 

To illustrate, in the book of Acts there is a large portion of the text devoted to the story of the Apostle Peter (an Israelite) proclaiming the gospel to a man named Cornelious (a Gentile). The story runs from 10 all the way to Acts 11:18. Apparently, this was a very significant moment given the amount of space devoted to this story. In brief, Peter was faithful to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to Cornelious and his household, they believed, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Peter reported this to the church in Jerusalem, he concluded by saying, “If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” And listen to the response  of believing Israel: “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:17–18, ESV)

This was always to be the disposition of Israel. They were to be eager to see the Gentiles believe in the Messiah, and give praise to the one true God, who “[judges] the peoples with equity and [guides] the nations upon earth.”

Why should the Hebrew people be so eager to see the Gentile people give praise to their God? Well, beyond what has already been said regarding the Covenant transacted with Abraham, and the observation that Israel was blessed to be a blessing, we must also say that the Gentile nations should give glory to the God of Israel for he is also God of the nations. 

Yes, the LORD was Israel’s God in a special way from the days of Abraham to the resurrection of Christ — that is to say, under the Old Covenant. The LORD was Israel’s God, and they were his special people. But never did this mean that God was not also Lord of the nations. For we know there is only one God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth. He is Lord Most High. And he is the judge, not of Israel only, but of all peoples. And so that is one reason why Israel was so concerned to see the nations turn to God in praise — “[judges] the peoples with equity and [guides] the nations upon earth.”

To state the matter most succinctly, when God set Israel apart as his peculiar people, he did not at that moment cease to be God of the nations also. Or to say it another way, when the LORD set Abram and his offspring apart from the nations, he did not forget about the rest of the offspring of Adam. No, in setting Abraham apart, his purpose was to bring salvation to the other children of Adam through his, for the God of Israel is the one and only. 

*****

Believing Israel Knew That God Preserved Them So As To Bear Fruit Through Them, And They Gave God Thanks (vs. 5-7)

Lastly, in verses 5 through 7 we see that believing Israel knew that God preserved them so as to bear fruit through them, and they gave God thanks. 

In verse 5 we find a repeat of the exhortation of verse 3: “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” But in verse 6 the emphasis is not on God as Lord and judge of all the earth 

(as it was in verse 4), but on God’s provision for Israel. In verse 6 we read, “The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.” 

Here Israel gives thanks to God for his provision. “The earth has yielded its increase” means, the Lord has blessed us with a good harvest. The Lord has provided food for his people to eat so that we might live. And the words, “God, our God, shall bless us”, are words of confidence and hope concerning the future. In other words, Israel was to testify to the Lord’s past provision when they sang this Psalm, and they were also to confess their faith and hope in God concerning future provision. 

By the way, where did they get this confidence that the Lord would bless them? How did they know that the Lord would provide? Answer: from the unconditional promises given to them in the Covenant that God transacted with their Abraham.

I do love how simple, raw, and down-to-earth this portion of the Psalm is (pun intended). God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants so that they would be a blessing to the nations by bringing Christ into the world. And how did God bless them? Among other things, by causing vegetables and grain to grow from the earth so that they and their animals might have food to eat. 

When we consider the promises that God made to Abraham and their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ from a high level, big picture perspective, we can lose sight of the fact that God kept these awesome promises concerning the Messiah, by preserving his people in very ordinary ways from day to day, and from season to season, as his chosen people gave glory to him while planting seeds and reaping the harvest for hundreds of years.

We can learn from this, I think. I just a moment I will exhort you to not lose sight of the mission that God has given to us. But here I will take the opportunity to say, don’t neglect the little things. And don’t forget to give glory to God for his daily provision. 

But again, we return to the theme. Israel gave thanks to God for his provision. They knew that God would be faithful to bless them in the future. But they were never to forget their purpose. They were to bear fruit in bringing salvation to the nations. 

Verse 6: “The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

*****

Conclusion 

I began this sermon by insisting that Reformed and Calvinistic theology does not hinder evangelistic zeal, but propels it. God has his elect in the world. Let to themselves they would never come to faith in Christ, and so God will surely call them to the faith. How will he do it? By calling them externally through the ministry of the word, that is, through the proclamation of the gospel, and inwardly by the power of the Holy Spirit. The doctrines of grace, or the five points of Calvinism as they are commonly called, do not stifle evangelistic zeal. To the contrary, they stoke the flame. They insure us that the fields are white for harvest and that God will make our labors effective. It is the Calvinist who has reason to be confident in God when proclaiming the Gospel. The Arminian, if they are true to their system, must trust only in themselves, and in the goodness and light they imagine resides within the heart of every man. 

And I wish to conclude this sermon by saying that is the Reformed understanding of God’s working in the history of redemption which propels our zeal for world missions. Here I may contrast our covenant theology with the dispensationalism that is so prevalent in Arminian churches today. 

When we go to the nations with the gospel, brothers and sisters, we are not wasting our time with God’s “plan B”. God does not have a plan B. God only has plan A. This is what we confess in 2LBC 3.1, which speaks the truth when it says, “God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass…” 

And what is God’s will regarding salvation? He has decreed to redeem a people for himself, through faith in Christ, not from the Hebrews only, but from every tongue, tribe, and nation. What a glorious plan it is! 

We must remember brothers and sisters that this plan of redemption was not revealed first to Abraham, but to Adam. God promised to provide a Savior for Adam and his offspring (Genesis 3:15). And when this gospel was clarified and entrusted to Abraham and his descendants, it was always with the nations in view.  Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to the nations.

Brothers and sisters, you and I are the nations. Don’t ever forget it. Think of how gracious and kind God has been to us to bring us the gospel of his Son. It truly is marvelous and mindblowing to consider how this gospel of the kingdom has been preserved and has come here to this place!  And think of how blessed we are to have been grafted into the Israel of God by faith. 

But here is one other thing that we must never forget. Like our Father Abraham, and like Israel which descended from his loins, we, the Israel of God by faith, are blessed to be a blessing. Our mission is still to take the gospel of the kingdom to the nations. Our heartfelt song must be “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy…”

Never can we allow ourselves to lose sight of the mission that Christ has given us. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20, ESV)

May we be found faithful to the end of the age. 

Let me conclude with a few very brief suggestions for application. 

One, let us be faithful to proclaim the gospel of Jesus in this place — in our homes, to our children, in our churches, and in our communities. Being mindful of the nations does not require us to neglect the fields that are white for harvest locally. And so we must know the gospel, believe the gospel, and share the gospel here, praying and trusting that God will make it effective according to his will. 

Two, let us pray that the Lord would raise up ministers of the word of God to be used by him locally and to the ends of the earth as he wills. Christ taught his disciples saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38, ESV). We must pray for this, and we must also work towards this. 

Three, let us be sure to never lose sight of the nations. Yes, we are the nations. And yes, this culture is very dark and in need of the gospel and biblical churches. But even still, there are places where the gospel has not been preached, and where the church is in an even worse condition than it is here! We must not forget about world missions. Instead, we must be constant in prayer, and eager to support gospel ministers even to the far-out corners of the earth.  

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Psalm 67, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Morning Sermon: Psalm 67, Let The Nations Be Glad

Afternoon Sermon: What Does The Eight Commandment Forbid?, Baptist Catechism 80, Proverbs 6:6-11

Baptist Catechism 80

Q. 80. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?

A. The eighth commandment forbideth whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward state. (1 Tim. 5:8; Prov. 28:19; 23:20,21; Eph. 4:28)

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 6:6–11

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6–11, ESV)

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

*****

The eighth commandment is, “you shall not steal”. It is rather obvious what that means. Don’t take what is not yours. But that very simple principle is just begging to be fleshed out. For example, we should ask, how then should I provide for myself? How should I increase my wealth and my possessions?  

Stealing is forbidden. 

Yes, it is true that someone may give you a gift. That is fine. 

And making wise investments is also encouraged in the scriptures. 

But in general, we must confess that the way to provide for yourself and your family and to increase your wealth and possessions, is to work. You are to provide a service for someone else and be compensated for it, or you must work the land with the hopes of reaping a harvest. Either way, the principle is the same. We must provide for ourselves by working. As Paul says,  “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (Ephesians 4:28, ESV)

There are so many questions associated with this topic. I’ll name a few to show you that I am not oblivious to them. Must a person work with his hand? No, some work involves the mind more than the hands. And what about the wife and mother who does not go to work but remains at home? That is a great blessing, but the scriptures do warn against idleness at home. The wife and mother should be diligent to manage the home, and she is also free to engage in industry on top of that (see Proverb 31, for example). And what about retirement? Is there a place for that? Of course, there is. Hard work in the younger years does sometimes lead to retirement. But even in retirement men and women should serve the Lord. They should be diligent in prayer in their old age. And what about those who are independently wealthy, who come into great wealth by way of inheritance? That is a great blessing. But the scriptures do warn the rich not to trust in the riches, but to trust in God. And those who are rich should use what they have been given for the furtherance of God’s kingdom, and the relief of the poor. They should be generous. Again, idleness is forbidden. 

In general, I wish to say this: Christians should be diligent and hard-working. That takes so many different forms. I am aware of that. Yes, things will look different from person to person, and the circumstances will change as the seasons of life come and go. But in general, Christians should be hard-working. Stated negatively, Christians are not to be sluggards. No, we are to use our time and energies for the glory of God, for our good, and for the good of others.

*****

Proverbs 6

The Proverbs have a lot to say about this. They constantly urge men and women to be diligent in hard work and wise with their money. They show how men and women generally come to be both rich and poor. And the text that we read from Proverbs 6 is most instructive. 

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”, the text says. 

Have you ever watched ants? And no, we are not talking about your Aunt — your mother or father’s sister — but ants — the little bugs that crawl on the ground. Have you ever watched them? They are very hard-working and diligent little creatures. They never stop. They just move and move along, working constantly to provide for themselves and others. Proverbs 6 tells us that we are to  “go to the ant” and “consider her ways…”

And no, the point is not that we are to never rest. That would contradict other scriptures, wouldn’t it? The scriptures teach that sleep is a gift from God. The scriptures warn against the vanity and folly of overworking. And the scriptures command that we cease from our labor one day out of seven to worship to God. That day is called the Sabbath Day, or the Lord’s Day. So we are not to imitate ants by working tirelessly and unceasingly seven days a week (in fact, ants do sleep. Worker ants take about 250 little power naps a day, totaling about 4 ½ hours of sleep a day. The Proverbs do not speak scientifically, but from the appearance of things).  

But what are we to learn from the ants who seem to work so diligently? Well, notice that the lesson is for the sluggard. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” A “sluggard is a lazy person. It is the lazy person who is encouraged to go to the ant and to consider her ways to become wise. 

And what exactly is the sluggard to notice? Two things: 

One, the ant works very diligently “without having any chief, officer, or ruler”. Yes, scientifically we know that in an ant colony there is a queen. And there are even other kinds of ants so that there is a kind of hierarchy in the ant world. But the point is this: when you watch ants you see that they work very hard and very diligently and no one is cracking a whip, as it were. Ants seem to be self-motivated. It seems to be a part of their nature to work hard and consistently. The sluggard should learn from this. The sluggard may work hard for a time…. if someone forces him to, and then back to the couch he goes. 

Two, this proverb urges us to notice this about ants: they seem to understand the seasons. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” The ant is diligent to work and to save in times of plenty knowing that times of want or lack may soon come. The sluggard needs to learn this lesson too. The lazy person may have adequate provisions at the moment and so they lounge on the couch and sleep in their bed, but they forget that those provisions will soon run out! What then? That ant works diligently even when her storehouse is full for she knows that the time will come when provisions will be lacking. 

And that is what the Proverb warns against so directly, saying, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” 

Christians are to be hard-working and diligent people. The eighth commandment requires it. Yes, it forbids stealing. But that means on the flip side that we are required to “labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28). 

*****

Baptist Catechism 80

To state the matter negatively, “The eighth commandment forbideth whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward state.” 

As with all of God’s commandments, we must reflect deeply on these things. What sorts of things may “hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward state”? 

Well, concerning our neighbor. stealing is obviously out of the question. That would hinder our neighbor’s wealth, wouldn’t it? Dishonest work is also out of the question. Though we may provide some good or service to our neighbor, if it is dishonest work, or a good of poor quality, then we are not helping our neighbor, but hindering them. 

But what about the responsibility we have to earn a living for ourselves to provide for ourselves and to help others who may be in need?  It seems to me that we need to think about our own work ethic, the management of our finances, the wisdom of our investments and business ventures. Brothers and sisters, we must think carefully about these things. 

A Christians we must not love money. We must pursue contentment and be generous with what we have. But at the same time, we cannot be foolish with our money or unconcerned about the question, how will I make an honest living? And will I have enough for the future when my ability to earn an income has diminished? These are important questions. 

And perhaps I should move to a conclusion by saying, I understand that life does not always go as planned. Sometimes we wish to work, but cannot. I don’t mean for any of this to burden those who are a in situation like that. Rather, I am setting forth the scriptural ideal. Remember, the scriptures do speak of the importance of caring for those in need. Ideally, no one would ever be in need. But in reality, sometimes people are. And the reasons for this are varied. 

*****

Conclusion 

Q. 80. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?

A. The eighth commandment forbideth whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward state. (1 Tim. 5:8; Prov. 28:19; 23:20,21; Eph. 4:28)

Lord, help us to keep your law in thought, word, and deed. And forgive us when we do not. We thank you for Christ who kept this law perfectly on our behalf and died for our sin. In him we have placed our trust. Amen. 

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Afternoon Sermon: What Does The Eight Commandment Forbid?, Baptist Catechism 80, Proverbs 6:6-11

Discussion Questions: Psalm 49

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AT HOME OR IN GOSPEL COMMUNITY GROUPS

Sermon manuscript available at emmausrbc.org

  • What is a wisdom Psalm? How do wisdom Psalms bring glory to God?
  • How does contemplating the grave help the rich and the poor, the weak and strong, live according to wisdom? How might contemplating the grave help the oppressed to live courageously?
  • What is Sheol? How did Sheol change at the resurrection of Christ? 
  • How does contemplating Sheol help the rich and the poor, the weak and strong, live according to wisdom? How might contemplating Sheol help the oppressed to live courageously (even more so than the contemplation of the grave)?
  • Where is true hope and comfort for the righteous oppressed found in this passage? While the whole Psalm helps to put things in perspective, there is really only one verse that brings true comfort? Identify it and discuss why. 
  • Discuss Orthodox Catechism (Heidelburg) question 1. It can be found online or in the sermon manuscript at emmausrbc.org.
Posted in Study Guides, Gospel Community Groups, Joe Anady, Psalm 49, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Discussion Questions: Psalm 49


"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

© 2011-2020 Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church