INTRO: Children are playing on the playground. A disagreement arises, and one child demands that another do something. The second child might respond, You and who else is going to make me? If that does not sound familiar to you, I can only tell you that it was heard from time to time on the playground of Huff Elementary school in San Antonio. The words make me may sound to our modern ears to be rebellious. They may sound like stubborn independence. In our text, however, those words are the beginning of a brief prayer. In our text those words are far from rebellion and stubborn independence. Indeed, they are words signaling utter dependence!
I. MAKE ME
A. Clearly, this is a plea for Gods help
1. God will not force us to walk in His way ... the privilege of choice is ours
2. thus, the psalmist is pleading for Gods help
B. What is the problem here?
1. Mt 26:41 - weak flesh ... willing spirit - thus, a very real difficulty
2. Mk 9:24 - an undeniable struggle for a growing faith
3. Lk 17:3-5 - in the face of demands of discipleship our human nature is at a great disadvantage ... only a growing faith can meet the demands!
4. Rom 7:22,23 - how graphically this internal struggle is expressed
5. Gal 5:16,17 - here is, again, this struggle which probably plagues many
6. so, people who truly want to live lives which will be pleasing to God find themselves enmeshed in the struggle between flesh and Spirit
7. no wonder the psalmists plea!
C. Some thoughts in response to the problem...
1. 2 Cor 8:8,9 - an appeal to the gratitude of our hearts
2. 2 Cor 5:14,15 - it is our love for Him Who has done so much for us that constrains us to live for and to Him
3. Phil 2:5-8 - the power of His example joined with an appeal to us based on the magnificence of His sacrifice
4. Phil 2:13 with 1 Thes 2:13 - the power of Gods working in us by means of His word - as the apostle Paul noted, the gospel is Gods power
5. as I have noted in other prayers of the psalmist, there is a recognition of a real need in his life - praying concerning that need creates an environment for Gods word to work in his (our) life
II. TO GO
A. Relationship with God is never passive
1. Ex 14:13-15 - Moses answer? stand still - Gods answer? go forward
2. reading the scriptures, you find that Gods servants were busy doing
3. true, God was interacting with/in their lives, but waiting, like a little bird with its mouth open for mother to feed, was not, is not our role
B. Compare Mt 11:28,29 with Mt 16:24
1. notice come unto and come after
2. even in Mt 11:28,29 there are yoke and the learning
3. there is a life of followship involved
III. IN THE PATH OF THY COMMANDMENTS
A. The course in which the psalmist wants to go is very specific
1. he certainly does not want to be a spiritual wanderer ... drifter
2. and a great many people these days are exactly that!
3. the psalmist wants to go in the path of thy commandments
B. Perhaps this is why the struggle is so real, so difficult
1. there must be a submission to the will and specific way of God
2. and submission to the will of another is very difficult for human beings!
3. the problem is to bring our desires into harmony with His desires is such a way that His desires are our desires - so, 1 Pet 4:1,2
C. 1 Jno 2:3,4 - And hereby we do know that we know him, if...
1. fact: we cannot walk with God while walking in paths of life other than His
2. in the same epistle John further notes: 1 Jno 5:2,3
3. remember what Jesus said at Mt 16:24? If any man will come after me, let him deny himself... - we cannot go in the path of His commandments until we can deny ourselves!
D. Jno 12:49,50 - ...his commandment is life everlasting...
1. here is why we should pray for Gods help!
2. our eternal future depends on our embracing and keeping His commandments!
3. as difficult as the struggle may be, it is a struggle in which we must engage - Gods will simply must become our will
CLOSE: Gods commandments are the psalmists delight. But the flesh is so weak!
Cecil A. Hutson
January 16, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)