In the first post on Psalm 15, we answered the searching question, “Who Can Abide with God?” We discovered that only those who are ‘in the faith’ can do so, but the question now is, “Are we in the faith? Are we part of the true church?” For that answer, we need to do some self-examination.
Psalm 15 becomes a bit like a cat scan before it is all said and done. How many here have ever had to have a cat scan? I have had one, and let me tell you, it is uncomfortable. They put you on this little table and roll you up inside of a tube where the ceiling is just inches from your head. And if you are on the claustrophobic side, which I am, you want out of there as soon as possible. It is not fun. This passage is a bit like that today.
There is another way it is like a cat scan, because the scan itself will look deep inside of you and it will find problems. Let me just say that there are certain doctors out there that love to find problems inside of you. They’re thinking, “Ka-ching! Lexus payment!”, when they find something. So I don’t want them poking around with cat scans to find problems with me. No thanks!
You may be saying, “Pastor Dan, I don’t really want to have a spiritual cat scan this morning. It makes me uncomfortable to poke around about my spiritual life. It makes me sweat like being up inside that tube with no air to breathe.” So we avoid it. “ I will think about spiritual stuff later,” we think. It makes us uncomfortable.
Well let me just tell you this morning if that describes you, you need to realize that later never comes, because if you put it off this morning, you will put it off later as well. It is just as easy or even more easy the next time you are uncomfortable to just say, “I’ll think about it later. “ Later never comes….
So we ask the question this morning, “Will you take the test? Will you ride in the cat scan tube this morning? There is a test given in the following verses and it is a test of whether or not you are in the faith. Will you take it?
Paul says in 2 Corinthians:
He also says in Philippians 2:12…
We are to make these examinations of self to see if we walk with the Lord.
Spurgeon said –
The test this morning in Psalm 15 is just like that cat scan–it looks deep inside of us to see if we are in the faith.
Four Spiritual Qualifications for Who Will Abide with God
Verses 2-5 give us, secondly this morning, the Spiritual qualifications for who will abide in the tent–who will live on the hill. There are four of these qualifications.
First: A Changed Heart and ‘Walk’
First of all in verse 2 –He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. This is about the spiritual walk of a person–the day in day out, normal natural dealings of a man or woman. This is about the character of a man.
There was an old Motown song by Johnny Nash that said, “I can tell by the way you walk… you got soul… I can tell by the way you talk… you got soul… ”
Hey, I can tell by the way you walk
You got soul, soul
I can tell by the way you talk
You got soul, soul
You’ve somethin’ deep inside
Nothin’ in the world can hide
Yeah, you got soul ~ Johnny Nash
Perhaps we should say of this verse today, “I can tell by the way you walk, what’s in your soul. I can tell by the way you talk… ”
There is an old question that makes it way around, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That is a bit like what we are talking about here.
It’s Not about a Spiritual ‘To Do’ List—It’s about the Heart
But keep in mind, as we work through this list, that it is not a list of do’s and don’ts that is given to us in the passage this morning. It is not something we can work up in ourselves and get better at so that we are a better Christian, because we have worked on all of these things. That would be strictly legalism if this were the case.
Many would look at this passage and say, “Well I’m pretty good at A, B, and C… I’m pretty lousy at D… so overall I have a passing grade. I pass this morning as a Christian!” Many would look at the fruit of the spirit in Galatians and say the same thing, “Well I have some long suffering… I am fairly gentle… I think I love pretty good…. and I am working on some of these, so I guess I’m alright.”
This is not what the passage in Galatians or Psalm 15 either one is saying this morning. This is not a checklist of things that you can do in your own strength, in your own power, to make the grade. In fact the whole book of Romans up until the beginning words of the 8th chapter is laying out a case against this very thing.
In Romans 3:20 it says:
Then in verse 23 it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
And so this list this morning cannot be about what we can do in our own strength to get there. It has always been about the heart of a person.
When God had regard for Abel’s offering in Genesis 4 and had no regard for Cain’s offering, it says of Cain that his face fell. In the modern vernacular he was ‘bummed’ and God asked Cain why he was upset, because if he did well his offering would be accepted and if he did not do well that sin was crouching at the door. God was pleased with Abel’s offering, not because of what it was or who was offering it–he was pleased because of the state of Abel’s heart. And he was displeased because of the state of Cain’s heart. It has always, from day one, been about the heart of a person.
Our passage today is about the same sort of thing.
It is not about the stuff we do for God. God doesn’t need stuff done for him. He has no need of any kind. It is about the things that will be true of a changed life. These things will of necessity become manifest in someone–just like those fruits of the spirit in a heart and life that has been changed by the power of Christ. No changed walk…. no changed life….
Easy Believe-ism in the Church
There are many today inside the church who peddle a brand of Christianity that would best be described as “Easy Believism.” This easy believism comes about first of all in the pulpits of these churches.
The pastor will say something like, “If you come down this aisle… and you pray a little prayer that we tell you to repeat…And then maybe you sign a card joining the church… and you promise a deacon in the back room that you will start coming to church regularly. Then you are declared saved by this church and this pastor for doing these things.
You see what they did there? They gave you a list of stuff to do and the church today is full of people who have done this but have never truly been saved. The way we can tell they have never been saved is because they don’t have any of the fruit of a person who is truly changed.They don’t walk with integrity, they don’t work righteousness and they don’t speak truth in their heart. They don’t have love, joy, peace, and long-suffering.”
The church is full of people who are unsaved who think they are saved because they did a few mechanical things to seal the deal. They brought the offering like Cain did because they were told to and then the pastor will wonder why his church is so very carnal?…not realizing all the while that his church is completely peopled with unsaved persons! So he will preach to them and tell them, “Perhaps you should work toward making Christ your Lord as well as your savior. Some here have only made Christ their savior by praying that prayer and they have never made him their Lord.”
I would submit to you today that this pastor doesn’t know beans about what makes a true Christian. I am here to tell you today, that you don’t discover his Lordship over your life at some point in the future. If he is not Lord, then he is not Savior!
This is a tremendous disservice to these people who have been led to believe that they are OK in some fashion when God has never done the work of regenerating their heart which would result in a man who walks in integrity–a man who does righteousness–a man who speaks truth.”
It is a matter of a changed heart from Cain all the way down to us. This is a litmus test for being in the faith just like the fruit of the Spirit is. One cannot take this list and try and work it up on their own in their own strength.
You will fail if the Spirit of God does not reside in you. This the only way to have the list–the only way to pass the test.
God tells us in Ezekiel that he will take out of us a heart of stone and He will put into us a heart of flesh. It is his doing–a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit–and it results in a changed heart.
To be continued…
Watch the full sermon live here: Psalm 15: The Searching Question: Who May Abide by Pastor Dan Woody
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://koinoniachurch.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Pastor-Dan.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info] Pastor Dan Woody is a founding elder for Koinonia. He has been serving churches as a pastor for the past 13 years. He and his wife Peggy are the parents of two sons, Chris and Jonathan. Pastor Dan is currently studying for his Mdiv with The North American Reformed Seminary. His interests include music, and most outdoor sports like golf, hiking, tennis and fishing. [/author_info] [/author]