INTRO: One of the things I so appreciate about the book of Psalms is the way the psalmist prayed ... and pled ... with God. While there is always deep reverence, there is wonderful openness. The psalmist is never fearful of laying out before Almighty God his deepest feelings ... positive or negative. It is from the psalmist that I have come to the conclusion that whatever is on my mind, whatever may be troubling me, is acceptable subject matter for prayer. In the brief petitions I have read as a text for this study I hear the humanness of his prayer. If the psalmist can pray in such a fashion as this, surely, so can I!
1. My affliction
a. almost all of us have a situation which is very much on our minds
b. the most obvious might be a troublesome illness
c. we might have a parent whose aging is beginning to present difficulties
d. we might have a child for whom we have deep concerns
e. we might have some threatening problem we see no way to resolve
f. one does not search long without realizing may are in a situation
2. Consider - we want Gods attention for our situation
a. and this is not necessarily a selfish desire - give us...our daily bread
b. or, let this cup pass from me (Mt 26:39)
c. or, let your requests be made known unto God (Phil 4:6)
d. Ps 69:20 - hymn says, Where could I go but to the Lord?
e. Neh 9:32 - ...let not all the trouble seem little before thee...
f. Ps 40:17 - as insignificant as I may feel, the Lord thinketh upon me
g. Isa 63:9 - the sympathy of God with His people - ...He was afflicted...
3. Plead my cause - here is where we have such great assurances
a. the psalmist saw himself as needing an intercessor!
b. I assume that in his affliction he sought Gods intervention
c. you and I, Christians, have so much more affirmation of intercession - and the nature of it
d. Heb 4:14-16 - v. 15 is especially comforting and important to me - I have an intercessor with God Who knows just how I feel!
e. Heb 7:25 - ...seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them
f. Rom 8:34 - ...who also maketh intercession for us
g. 1 Jno 2:1 - ...we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ...
h. Heb 13:6 - here is the assurance, the confidence we have as Christians - I suggest it is a confidence based on far difference assurances than those enjoyed by the psalmist
4. Deliver me - the practical, simple petition
a. the word used here suggests the intercession of the next of kin
b. in other words, the psalmist thinks of the Lord in the closest possible way ... and pleads for deliverance, redemption based on the traditional obligation of that kinship
c. a fact we enjoy: God is able to deliver, to redeem
d. Dan 6:20-22 - ...is thy God...able to deliver thee...?
e. 2 Cor 1:9-11 - God, who raised the dead, is well able to deliver - notice here that others were helping together by prayer for us...
f. deliverance from the curse of sin has been accomplished by Jesus death
g. but the deliverance we so often seek from our afflictions is an ongoing petition - one answer we may need to consider is 2 Cor 12:8,9
5. Consider how I love thy precepts
a. earlier, he had said, Consider my affliction - now, his prayer is, Consider my affection
b. the psalmist has every right to pray, to plead - 1 Pet 3:12
c. his life is evidence of his love for all that God has revealed, commanded
d. his prayer here is certainly not one in which he is suggesting his life merits God answer to his prayer
e. it is most assuredly acknowledgment of his affection and his acceptance of the sovereignty of God
f. but there is a reminder here for us, too - the basis for our pleas, our prayers presupposes that we do not forget His law
g. he is not afraid to be known as a lover of Gods law!
CLOSE: I would hope that times of affliction are not the only times that we prayer. But I recognize that it is at such times that our human needs can virtually overwhelm us. And at such times we should pray to our Father with the assurance that He, as our near, near Kin, is concerned ... and able to deliver us.
Cecil A. Hutson
May 22, 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)