Bethel Baptist Church
20.6.14 Morning Worship
  • Eternal Father, Strong to Save
  • How Deep The Father's Love
      • Psalm 73ESV

  • More Love to Thee
  • Wonderul Merciful Savior
  • Spirit of the Living God
  • COVID-19 Series
    This is our 5th week back from the COVID-19,
    And I have been preaching a series on truths we need to remember as we return back to church.
    1st week - Psalm 24 - Remember We have a big God.
    2nd week - Rev 1:5 - Remember who Jesus is.
    3rd week - 2 Ti 3:16-17 - Remember to profit in the Word.
    Last week - Pastor Skaggs gave us an excellent message on remember to hope in Christ - 1 Th 1:10.
    This week, the final week of this series - Ps 73 - as we remember that God is the only possession we truly need.
    As you all know,
    On Monday night, many of us faced a sudden snowstorm and high winds.
    A storm that brought down a lot of tree branches and power lines.
    I was in Salt Lake City at the time, and the wife called and said she could watch the different lines on our street snap and spark,
    And she thought for a minute – what do I need to grab if something catches on fire?
    Have you ever consider that question – if you had a fire in your house, what would you grab?
    What’s most important to you.
    What is irreplaceable.
    Suffering and devastation causes us to really consider what is important in our lives.
    If there was only one possession you could have in this world,
    what possession would you choose?
    That is a tough question.
    - because you can only pick one.
    - So you naturally realize, it’s got to be a really good one.
    It’s gotta be a possession that you can rebuild your life from.
    It’s gotta be possession that cannot only satisfied your temporary desires,
    but fill the meaning of your life.
    For many of us, we might say our family.
    Certainly we love our family.
    And our family is a blessing to us.
    We would never want anything to happen to our family.
    But then I consider Job.
    Job lost everything.
    - He lost his children.
    Job 1:13–15 ESV
    13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
    He lost his wealth.
    Job 1:16 ESV
    16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
    He lost his health.
    Job 2:7 ESV
    7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
    The only thing he didn’t lose was his wife,
    and she told him to curse God and die.
    Job 2:9 ESV
    9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
    Nothing against wives this morning, but
    So much for a wonderful marriage.
    So he has buried his family.
    Lost his wealth.
    Lost his health.
    And his marriage is a wreck.
    As wonderful as our family is,
    is even our family a big enough possession to give us meaning in life.
    If you were stripped of every possession in this world,
    what possession could you have that would sustain you when everything else is gone?
    When you have nothing else.
    And there is no going back - it is irreplaceable and irreparable.
    This Psalm challenges us to consider what possession truly matters in our lives.
    Psalm 73 is about a person who suffers while the wicked prosper.
    But after contemplating the workings of God,
    he realizes that God is the only possession he truly needs.
    From Psalm 73,

    We ought to consider God as the only possession we need.

    And this Psalm will explain to us why.

    As we consider Psalm 73,
    We will consider -
    The temptation of Prosperity.
    The Misunderstanding of Prosperity.
    And the Right Understanding of Prosperity.
    Let’s first consider,

    (1) The Temptation of Prosperity: To Envy the Prosperity of the Wicked. (Ps 73:2-3, 4-12, 13)

    What is the natural temptation of someone else being prosperous?
    How do most people respond when someone else get’s the promotion?
    Or the better paying job.
    Or an inheritance.
    Or the seeming inability to suffer.
    We would like to say we would rejoice in other’s prosperity
    but our natural flesh often becomes envious of them.
    This is why -
    The 10 Commandments include the command - You shall not covet.
    Exodus 20:17 ESV
    17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
    Our natural, unsaved, unregenerate flesh covets.
    It is the basic nature of the flesh.
    But after we come to faith,
    [[[ that is we have come to trust in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins in God’s right judgment ]]]]
    After we come to faith,
    we add another potential temptation in our life regarding prosperity.
    We add the temptation to be in envious of the wicked.
    We are tempted to think that living for God doesn’t matter.
    Have you ever felt like that?
    That is exactly the struggle that the author Psalm 73 struggles with - Asaph.
    You are not alone in that temptation.
    Consider, Asaph’s struggle in Psalm 73:2 – 3
    Psalm 73:2–3 ESV
    2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
    In fact, he questions whether it is worth serving God in Ps 73:13 -
    Psalm 73:13 ESV
    13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
    I appreciate how the NET Bible translates this passage –
    Psalm 73:13 NET
    13 I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle.
    Why did Asaph struggle with the prosperity of the wicked?
    Ps 73:4-12 describes the prosperity of the wicked.
    Alan Ross summarizes the wickedness of Psalm 73:4 – 12 this way -
    1. They do not suffer in trouble as other people (4–5).
    2. They display pride and violence (6).
    3. They seem to have all their hearts could have (7).
    4. They speak with an arrogance that is above all others (8–10).
    5. They are insolent in the face of God (11–12).
    But it is not the sin that is most troubling to Asaph at this time.
    It is that the way the wicked prosper as they commit wickedness
    While the faithful suffer while doing right.
    Consider what Asaph says in Psalm 73:12 – 14
    Psalm 73:12–14 ESV
    12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
    We can relate to that.
    There are times in our lives, where we face setbacks and struggles.
    While it seems like the wicked do not.
    Perhaps the first part of the year, with onset of the Coronavirus and the COVID-19 restrictions you felt like that.
    Churches are suffering.
    God’s people are suffering.
    But the wicked are prospering.
    Asaph reminds us in this Psalm – that it is a temptation of the godly to look at the prosperity of the wicked, and be envious.
    But may I remind you that that your envy is misplaced.
    That wicked may have every possession available, but they lack the most important one.
    In the other words,
    your envy of the wicked’s prosperity is a misunderstanding about true prosperity,
    So secondly, this Psalm teaches -

    (2) The Misunderstanding of Prosperity: The Wicked are Not Better Off. (Ps 73:17-20)

    When we read the description in in song 73:4 – 12 - we almost wish we were the wicked?
    After all - doesn’t it sound like the wicked are having all the fun.
    And I am missing out on the good life.
    And as Asaph is struggling with this temptation, he makes his way to the temple.
    And before the temple of God, he remembers what happens to the wicked.
    Psalm 73:17–20 ESV
    17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
    Why is being envious of the wicked a misplaced belief?
    Because they may prosper in this life,
    but God’s judgment is coming.
    Hebrews 9:27 ESV
    27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
    There is a day when the wicked suffer in ways that are unimaginable to believers.
    Let me just be honest, we’re all tempted to be envious of others.
    But don’t you think for a minute it is better to be the wicked than a child of God.
    A right understanding of the prosperity of the lost,
    reminds us that it is always better to be a child of God.
    Next time you struggle with Envy, remind yourself of that.
    Which brings me to my final point -

    (3) The Right Understanding of Prosperity: God is the Only Portion Worth Having. (Ps 73:23-26)

    Asaph is honest with us - he is tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked.
    But He shows us how that is a misunderstanding.
    And then he reminds us what the child of God has.
    What does the child of God have, that the wicked do not?
    If we were approaching this topically
    we might say Jesus and his salvation.
    But the author gives us an answer that might not immediately be obvious to us.
    The wicked may have the wealth and riches of this world,
    but they miss the most important possession of all.
    They miss having God.
    They live a life as though God doesn’t exist.
    The live without the hope, mercy, and goodness of God.
    Asaph essentially communicates that while the righteous may not have wealth,
    they will always have what truly matters - God.
    Psalm 73:23–26 ESV
    23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    Consider what Asaph is teaching us here –
    (a) The Believer posses’s God who guides them. (23-24)
    (b) The Believer posses’s God as their inheritance - the ultimate possession. (25-26)
    I love the point that Asaph makes here.
    We would all consider heaven a blessed place to be.
    We always consider heaven a better place to be then this place.
    What is the true possession that we have in heaven?
    Is it vast domains.
    Is it incredible riches.
    Or Unlimited Power.
    Those all perish with death.
    Jesus said in Mark 8:36 -
    Mark 8:36 ESV
    36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
    What makes heaven a better place than to be the richest person on earth?
    God is there.
    Psalm 73:26 ESV
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    Asaph concludes his Psalm - by confessing that God is his prosperity, and that God is more than enough.
    He doesn’t need the prosperity of the wicked.
    He doesn’t need the success and riches of this life.
    He just needs God as his portion.
    The song, Count Your many blessing, is certainly a wonderful hymn.
    And it communicates powerful truth – that so often we overlook the many blessing that come from God.
    Showers of blessing is another one that paints a wonderful picture of God’s work in our life.
    But may I from Psalm 73,
    critique how we typically understand the blessings of God.
    We typically think of the blessings of God,
    as God keeping us from suffering and hardship.
    We are prosperous in this life.
    But is that really what the Bible promises?
    Romans 8:20 ESV
    20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
    1 Peter 1:6 ESV
    6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
    James 1:2 ESV
    2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
    I ask you - Does the Bible promise that God will keep us from suffering and hardship?
    And the answer is no.
    There’s a fine line between the heresy of the health and wealth gospel,
    and the reality of the Christian life.
    And we sometimes blur that difference in our lives.
    So I ask you
    How are you going to respond if God strips you of everything you have?
    If a fire took everything you love away, even your family - would you still believe in God?
    I think of Job that we talked about earlier.
    What if God took away your –
    What if your marriage turns sour, and the other person won’t let you fix it.
    Job’s wife told him - Just curse God and die.
    I am not saying divorce is the answer.
    I am saying it takes two to build a marriage.
    Paul warns us of suffering in Romans 8:35.
    Romans 8:35 ESV
    35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
    What if you actually had to face those struggles?
    The danger of suffering and the temptation of watching the prosperous
    - is to think I need more.
    After all, envy is the idea that I need more than just God.
    How do you get through those times?
    How do you make it through horrible tragedies?
    There are things in this life, no amount of money can fix.
    What then?
    Asaph points us to how we get through those times.
    Asaph points us to the possession that really matters.
    We realize that if I have nothing else, at the very least I have God.
    That I can lose everything in this world,
    and still be a blessed child of God.
    I think a defining moment in our Christian faith,
    is when we get to the point that we can say -
    If I have nothing else but God, then I have more than enough.
    So often Christians we are in search of hope, peace, joy?
    And we struggle at times because we think
    our life circumstances are robbing us of hope, peace, and joy.
    - May I suggest that our lack of hope, peace, and joy is not because of our circumstances.
    - Hope, peace, and joy aren’t found in the pursuit of more.
    They are found when I realize that if I have nothing else, I have God.
    And that God is more than enough.
    God is my portion.
    I will often tell people I council that - they need a relationship with Christ.
    The reason I do that - is because there are things in this life that I can’t fix.
    There is nothing I can do to make things better.
    And in those situations - a single verse is not going to make it better.
    They need more than my proof text.
    They need to come to a point - that they realize God is their portion, and he is more than enough.
    2020 has brought things into our life we never thought we would face
    and I wanted us to remember what really matters.
    I wanted us to remember, that if we have nothing else, God is more than enough.
    Next week we will be back to Exodus,
    but I wanted us to remember these basics of the faith.
    1st week - Psalm 24 - Remember We have a big God.
    2nd week - Rev 1:5 - Remember who Jesus is.
    3rd week - 2 Ti 3:16-17 - Remember to profit in the Word.
    This week, the final week of this series - Ps 73 - as we remember that God is the only possession we truly need.
      • Job 1:13–15ESV

      • Job 1:16ESV

      • Job 2:7ESV

      • Job 2:9ESV

      • Exodus 20:17ESV

      • Psalm 73:2–3ESV

      • Psalm 73:13ESV

      • Psalm 73:13ESV

      • Psalm 73:12–14ESV

      • Psalm 73:17–20ESV

      • Hebrews 9:27ESV

      • Psalm 73:23–26ESV

      • Mark 8:36ESV

      • Romans 8:20ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:6ESV

      • James 1:2ESV

      • Romans 8:35ESV

  • The Solid Rock

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