Sermon Audio and Notes
Scripture Focus- Psalm 138
Cross Lanes Baptist Church was planted in 1959, by a small group of families who had a vision to make a difference for the kingdom of God. The church was a Southern Baptist congregation from the beginning, in partnership with the Ohio Baptist Convention, and started the same year as the Pioneer Baptist Association in the Kanawha Valley. The church pre-dated the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists by eleven years.
Through the years, the church has maintained a faithful presence, consistently communicating the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching the Word of God, serving one another and the community, and serving on mission together. The church has a rich history, and an especially dynamic recent past. We are deeply thankful for this, and humbled by God’s grace and the many blessings he has poured out on us. We are excited about what God is going to do in the future, for His glory, for the up-building of his people, and for the sake of people who do not yet know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
I have been blessed to serve as the Lead Pastor of this church for the past 15 years, a little more than ¼ of the history of the church’s existence. I count it as the greatest privilege of my life, surpassed only by my salvation and the blessing of my family. This is a great church and I am encouraged about and anticipating our future!
Psalm 138, is A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Let’s reflect on the past, live in the present, and focus on the future as a local body of Christ.
The Praise of the Psalmist- I will give thanks, I will sing your praise, I will bow down. When God’s name is exalted even the kings of the earth will give thanks when they hear all he has promised.
V5 The Lord’s glory is great. . .
Glory= kabod– from a root word meaning heavy, weighty, important-The glory of God is the beauty and weightiness of who he is.
“God is in a class by himself. He has infinite perfections, infinite greatness, and infinite worth. The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going public of his holiness.” John Piper
We find the description of Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 33 and 34. Moses asked God to show him his glory. God said, I will make all goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But he said, you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live. Moses hid in the cleft of the rock and the Lord passed by and proclaimed- The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.
Worship is the unifying principle of life- giving God the praise due him as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. St. Augustine spoke of the gravitas of worship, the seriousness of mind that we must have when we enter into God’s presence. We worship a weighty Lord, so we must always consider whether the worship we offer is light or weighty. Does our worship reflect the full significance of all who God is?
Worship causes us to give thanks to God. . .
Give thanks to God for his constant love and truth.
V2 I will give thanks to your name for your constant love and truth.
Love is an attribute of God- 1 John 4:8 God is love.
God’s love is eternal. Psalm 136:2 His lovingkindness is everlasting.
God’s love is infinite. Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his lovingkindness toward those who fear him.
God’s love is unchanging. James 1:17 Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
God’s love is sacrificial. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known today for his life of ministry, faith, and sacrifice.
Hudson and Maria’s work was often criticized—even by other Christians. Maria wrote, “As to the harsh judgings of the world, or the more painful misunderstandings of Christian brethren, I generally feel that the best plan is to go on with our work and leave God to vindicate our cause.” Of their nine children, only four survived to adulthood. Maria herself died of cholera when she was just forty-three. But she believed the cause was worthy of the sacrifice. On her grave marker these words were inscribed: “For her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.” It was God’s love for us that sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins, and it is that kind of giving love that our world needs so greatly today. When we love God as we should, our interests fade as we magnify Him.
God is the source of love, Jesus is the proof of love, and believers must be the agents of love in this world. Love and truth go hand in hand- Love rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6 Love without truth has no character. Truth without love has no power. Truth is the foundation of love. Love is the fulfillment of truth.
We exist to love God and love others, and proclaim his truth, so that people know him.
Give thanks to God for hearing us and increasing our strength.
V3 On the day I called, you answered me, you increased strength within me.
Specifically, David the Psalmist was likely referring to a time of distress when Saul was persecuting him, he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord answered him. More generally, this directs us to the significance of the prayers of God’s people.
Isaiah 56:7 I will bring them to my holy mountain and let them rejoice in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
D.L. Moody- When a man has no strength, if he leans on God, he becomes powerful.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song.
We pray in dependence on God, and he gives strength.
Give thanks to God for he fulfills his purpose in our lives.
V8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.
God is concerned with every good thing that concerns his servants.
There is the will of God to save us- the Father desires for you to have a relationship with him in Jesus Christ.
There is the will of God to guide us- the hairs of our head are numbered, the boundaries of our lives are marked out. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
There is the will of God to change us- 1 Thess 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.
Our confidence is not to be in our success, or steadfastness, or supply this world has to offer. Our confidence must be in the Lord.
A small bird called the bar-tailed godwit grows up in northern Alaska, but every fall they fly nearly 7,000 miles to New Zealand. When the young birds mature and start to migrate, something wired in them also directs them to New Zealand. Though they are land birds, and cannot fish or rest on the sea, they will cross most of the Pacific Ocean, and fly all the way to New Zealand. Many of them are young, and have never done this before. How they do that, many of them never having been in the southern hemisphere, never having seen the southern stars, nobody seems to know. But they manage. One female, dubbed E7, because that was the code on her wireless transmitter, flew 11,680 kilometers (7,369 miles) in 8.1 days. Non-stop. The same homing signal that guides them over treacherous waters to New Zealand also navigates them back to their parents.
Similarly, we also have “homing signals” for God and eternity. He has put eternity in our hearts.
Adapted from Robert Krulwich, “The Toughest Little Bird You’ve Never Heard Of,” NPR’s Krulwich Wonders blog (9-21-11)
We are to live in light of eternity and seek to live for God’s purpose in our lives for his glory.
A.W. Tozer- When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of this hour may well be that the church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity, and the name of God be glorified in her again as of old.
V8 Lord, your faithful love endures forever, do not abandon the work of your hands.