Psalm 119:89-96 and others
Based on the fifth characteristic of a healthy church in Take Your Church’s Pulse.
Theme: God’s Word, which reveals Jesus to us, is eternal.
Goal: To trust Jesus who is revealed by God’s eternal Word.
Need: Unchanging truth.
People of God, we live in a world that is constantly changing, so we need a truth that will never change, a truth upon which we can build our lives.
Today is the first Sunday in Lent - a time when we journey to the cross with Jesus. Over the past few weeks, we have been “taking our pulse” as a congregation, trying to get a grasp on the current reality of this local faith community, this local body of Christ. We began by viewing the “clear and inspiring vision” which was “the joy” set before Jesus that enabled Him to endure the cross, scorn its shame, and sit down at the right hand of the throne of God. That “joy” was not just the throne, but the PEOPLE around the throne from every tribe, language, and nation. PEOPLE belonging to God.
That vision motivated us to action where we learned that Jesus gives us leaders to prepare/equip us to serve. Then we saw that each one of us has been given gifts to serve the one body of Christ. Last week, we looked at appropriate stewardship of resources and we learned that appropriate stewardship involves the direction of our hearts. A healthy church will desire what God desires. This week we are going to consider the unchanging truth upon which we can build our lives. And as we said, this is good because we live in a world that is constantly changing. New styles, new discoveries, new ideas, and new values. New, new, new. In this constantly changing world, we need an unchanging truth upon which we can build our lives. And we believe that unchanging truth is found in God’s Word.
(Read Psalm 119:89-96)
God’s Word is eternal. It is unchanging; it endures from generation to generation. And as such it is our source for truth. This becomes quite clear in the first three verses.
(Read verses 89-91)
Simply put, God’s Word is eternal because God is eternal. God created all things by His powerful Word, and His Word endures to this day! And to prove it, the psalmist adds his own experience.
(Read verses 92-95)
As the psalmist delights in God’s law, he is preserved in affliction. In fact, he says it is the Lord’s Word (precepts) that preserves his life. We saw this very practically as Jesus was being tempted by Satan in the desert in Matthew 4. It was God’s Word Jesus used to combat Satan’s tricks. So it was God’s Word that preserved His life, and not only His life, but ours as well. How’s that? Well, you see there is one more thing we need to know. Not only is God’s Word eternal, but God’s eternal Word also reveals Jesus. The apostle John in the beginning of his Gospel declares Jesus to be the “Word” made flesh. So God’s spoken Word (as recorded in the Holy Bible and by which all things were made) became flesh and made His dwelling among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The fact that God’s eternal Word reveals Jesus is the reason we can be saved. Eternal salvation cannot be gained through our individual obedience alone. Our obedience is incomplete and therefore worthy of judgment. In other words, because our first parents, Adam and Eve, before us did not do what God said to do, and because we do not always do what God says to do, today we stand condemned before God. So our only hope for salvation is for someone to take our place. Jesus is the One who came to take our place. He lived obediently (He never sinned, never gave into temptation), so His death was able to pay the penalty for our sins and free us forever from condemnation. Jesus is the “Word” made flesh, who came so that we could be saved! And now we can be saved by placing true faith in Him!
(Read John 1:1-5, 10-14)
“To those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” To confirm this, let’s look at what Jesus says later in John’s Gospel.
(Read John 5:31-47; esp. 36-40)
Here is the key to understanding - God’s Word is both proposition and person. Proposition (written and spoken) = Scriptures (v. 39) - can be read and heard Person (the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus) = “testify to me ...” (v. 40) - can be seen and experienced.
So Jesus very clearly states, “The Scriptures lead to eternal life, but only because the Scriptures testify about Jesus.” Jesus is the way to eternal life (John 14:6). So God’s Word, which is both proposition and person, holds the key to salvation for all who believe in the proposition, which testifies to the person - Jesus.
(See also 2 Timothy 3:10-17) - God’s eternal Word is useful in the world.
- Make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
- Teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that ... equipped for every good work.
Jesus illustrates the connection between the proposition and the person for life in the world at the end of his very famous “sermon on the mount.”
(Read Matthew 7:24-27)
God’s eternal Word is unchanging. It reveals Jesus as the only hope for salvation to all who believe in Him (the person to whom the proposition testifies). Therefore, it is the only reliable foundation upon which we can build our lives. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
But just as the Word became flesh - proposition became person - then, the same thing must happen today. The Word that we speak must also be shown to a lost and hurting world. The Words will seem empty unless they are accompanied by action. Actions speak louder than words. Francis of Assisi is often quoted, but his words are so true: “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”
The gospel (good news) = life is available only through true faith in Jesus. He took our place. He lived our righteous life. He died our death, and now He offers eternal life to all who receive Him in true faith. This is the good news we are called to share through good words and good deeds. So how are we doing in this regard? Are we offering the Word (both proposition and person) as the only reliable foundation upon which we can build our lives? And are we demonstrating that truth not only by what we say but also by what we do?
(Take the survey)
God’s Word is eternal. It is unchanging. As both proposition and person, it reveals Jesus as the only hope for salvation for all who believe. Therefore, it is the only reliable foundation upon which we can build our lives ... for God’s glory and Christ’s kingdom. Amen.