Following is a rough idea of the sermon I intend to deliver on Sunday:
“Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!” – Psalm 80: 19
1. Restore us /turn us back
what do Christians need to be turned back from? What distracts Christians from their walk?
2. Let your face shine
Talk about Gods love for his children, and the Aaronic blessing.
The Loving God
3. That we may be saved
Saved from what in the psalm?
And saved from what in a modern context?
What assurances do Christians have that they are Christians?
4. If time permits mention the three different titles given to God
We can turn back to look at psalm 80, and we can look at verse 19 as our text. Although we are looking at verse 19 we could just as easily look at verse 3 or verse 7. As these three verses have almost identical wording, exempt from the Name given to God changes each time. Verses 3, 7 and 19 are the three refrains of the psalm.
These three refrains separate the psalm up into its three different topics.
As we see many of the psalms contain this separation either by using repeating verses or by using ‘Selah’
This psalm was written by Asaph and its title has two parts :”according to the lilies” or according to the pure ones, it’s a psalm that documents gods people being treated harshly by the gentile nations. But it also documents a people returning to God in search of help and of safety.it is this Divine help that gives us the second part of the title ” A testimony” it s a testimony of How God treats his people, even though his people so often willingly go off track.
So we can look at verse 17 in three different ways:
1. Subtle Sins
2. Saviours Safety
3. Sure Salvation
1. Subtle Sins
The first thing we can look at is the first part of the verse “restore us/or turn us back”. So what things turn Christians away from their daily walk?
There are of course the obvious distractions to our walk: backsliding and open public sins. But I am the small things, the subtle sins that tend to distract Christians most from their walk.
How easy is it for us to be so distracted by our seemingly important and busy lives, we find so many other things to take up our time, and very often these things are legitimate things
– work, family, college or business.
But if we feel these things are starting to encroach on our walk with God then we should bring the words of Christ in Luke 14 and verse 26 to mind:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
As we know it is no small call when we step out and declare ourselves as followers of Christ. Where we have the word hate here, it is not in the sense that we understand it. The word hate here is used as “Love Less”; here we have the instruction to love Christ over and above all over things.
So even the most mature Christian can let other things enter in between themselves and their walk from Christ. It is these seemingly small but damaging sins that the Psalmist is asking God to turn him away from. Like a small drip of water going through rock, slowly but surely these small sins tear away at our relationship with our God. We should seek to echo the cry of the psalmist, and ask God to turn us away from these small sins which we continually seem to take part in.
2. Saviours Safety
The second thing we can look at is the phrase “let your face shine”
In the most part, in this Psalm we are being confronted with an angry and a wrathful God, a God who –as the psalmist says– allowed this destruction to take place in the midst of his people. The Power of the Lord Of hosts as we have his name in verse 7, this power is being displayed.
But in amongst the frightening power and anger of God the Psalmist brings before us the gentle fatherly love of God. When he asks God to let his face shine he is quoting from the Aaronic blessing ,as is found in in Numbers 6 verses 22-27 :
“22 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Although the people of God were experiencing times of trial and hardship, they were still children of God. The same God who in the Aaronic blessing promised blessings and peace to those who called out to him. As it was for them it is still the same for us, although the situation may seem impossibly tough, and the trials fierce we must remember that the God who is sovereign over all things in life is the same God who shines the warmth of his love on us, the same God who chooses to call us his children. And of course this is only possible because when God looks on us despite our faults and failings he sees his son, there is no more us. If we are in Christ it is only him.
3. Sure Salvation
“That we may be saved”
Although they were patiently awaiting the Messiah to come, the Children of Israel had no lasting assurances of their salvation. They were bound by covenant, and if that covenant was broken then there was a price to be paid. Maybe we are still prone to this way of thinking? That as Christians God will somehow reverse our salvation. And yes at times we will doubt our salvation. But we must be confident that if we are saved, regardless of our feelings and whims, that God will not go back on his promise.
If we still doubt our salvation, the Reverend Kenneth Macrae highlighted 9 points we should consider, and ill close with these:
1. Do you have a particular love for being around Gods people, being in fellowship, hearing the preaching of the word?
2. Do you desire after Holiness, in being made more Christ like?
3. Do long to be able to pray more, and to pray with more honesty?
4. Do you deeply feel saddened when you realize the true extent of your own sin?
5. Do you have a desire to love Christ more and more?
6. Do you have a desire to be closer in fellowship with God?
7. Do you fear that in being so poor in these prior points, that you may lack them altogether?
8. Do you believe that If Jesus Is not raised then there is no hope for you?
9. Do you believe that Christ has freely offered you salvation, through his death on the Cross?
Conclusion … “