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Psalm 1:1-6

The Keys to Happiness

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • December 4, 2016

There is a deep desire within every person to be happy. The world offers many opinions on what brings true happiness from getting married, to having kids, to making lots of money or having lots of toys or landing that “dream job”! There has been confusion in the church as well. So, join us, as we look to God’s Word and discover the keys to happiness.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

The Keys to Happiness

Psalm 1:1-6 


ILLUS – Malina’s declaration after her 4th birthday

1. Let me say at the outset that this is not a “self-help” seminar!

2. Yet, there is a deep desire within every person to be happy.

3. Now the world offers many opinions on what brings true happiness from getting married, to having kids, to making lots of money or having lots of toys or landing that “dream job”!

4. There has been confusion in the church as well. Sadly, it is difficult to discern the difference between some sermons and a Madison Avenue advertising campaign.

5. So, let’s look to God’s Word and discover the keys to happiness.

READ Psalm 1:1-6

I. Be in the World, Not of It (1)

A. A blessed life is a happy life

1. Literally, “Oh how very, very happy is the man…”

2. “Blessing” comes from a word which means “to go straight, set right, to advance in the way of understanding”.

3. Here the word “blessing” is plural which pictures a person who is blessed in many ways because of his relationship with God.

4. This “happy” person is also aware and thankful that God is always near and will be faithful to meet his every need every moment of every day.

Psalm 73:25-26, 28, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, the nearness of my God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”

APPL – The first key to happiness is to place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Psalm 32:1, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” 

Trans – This blessed life flows from a series of choices. 

B. A happy life is a holy life (Progressive) 

1. He does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.

a. “Does not” is a decisive choice, a resolution of will.

b. “Walk” means “to go along with, to follow a way of life.” This is the first steps toward compromise.

c. “Counsel” means “purpose, plan, or way of thinking.” It refers to an attitude, a state of mind, or viewpoint that determines the decisions a person makes.

d. “Wicked” refers to someone who is guided or controlled by their own desires, emotions, and fleshly impulses. They’re unstable and morally loose; not always as evil as they could be but superficial in their view of life and the consequences of their actions.

ILLUS – Esau sold his birthright for a taste of red stew in Genesis 25.

APPL – In today’s terms, what does their counsel look like? “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” “Look, just don’t touch!” “Take a puff! It’s legal in Oregon!” “YOLO!”

2. He does not stand in the path of the ungodly.

a. “Stand” means “to stop, to be firm.” From merely walking in their counsel, now one becomes more confirmed, involved, and influenced.

b. “Path” means “a way, journey, or course of action.” It refers to one’s conduct, habits, and responses. One moves from thinking like the world to acting like it.

c. “Ungodly” is an archery term which means “to fall short, miss the mark, or aim at the wrong target.”

Matthew 15:14, “if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

3. He does not sit in the seat of scoffers

a. Notice the progression from “stand” to “sit”signifying that one has become settled or at home.  

b. “Seat” is a place of assembly where counsel is given and decisions or deals are made.

c. “Scoffers” means “to mock, deride, ridicule, scoff.” It refers to one who is actively engaged in putting down God, His ways, and His Word.

APPL – In today’s terms, what does a scoffer sound like? “Everything is God.” “You are God.” “God is dead.” “There is no God!” “God doesn’t care!”

2 Peter 3:3-4, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

ILLUS – When I reflect on this progression in Psalm 1, I’m reminded of Lot and his choice to live in Sodom and Gomorrah.

APPL – Our lives are progressing towards a target. The wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers are aiming at the wrong target (See vv. 4-6). What target are you aiming at?

Warren Wiersbe, “We must have contact with the world but not be contaminated by it.”

Trans – How do we do this? 

II. Live in God’s Word (2-3)

A. Delight in the counsel of God’s Word

1. “Delight” means “to be mindful of, attentive to,” and so it came to mean, “keep, protect.” When something delights us, we treasure, protect or guard it.

2. Reading God’s Word brings joy because it reveals God and His plan for our lives.

Psalm 119:14-16, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.”

APPL – What do you delight in? The answer is often revealed by what has captured our hearts. 

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” 

Trans – What we delight in is also reflected in how we use our time… 

B. Meditate on the counsel from the Word 

1. Biblical meditation is not eastern mysticism where one empties their mind to become one with the cosmic universe.

2. Biblical meditation is a filling of the mind with the Word.

3. “Day and night”

a. It’s NOT a reference to morning and evening study.

b. It IS a reference to a life that is continually and consistently with God’s Word.

c. Specifically, this is a comprehensive term for the study and application of the Word to one’s life. It involves thinking about what the Bible means and how to apply it.

Psalm 119:97-99, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.”

APPL – Practical ways to study God’s Word 

1. New Christians, start with John and then 1 John.

2. Read from Genesis to Revelation

3. Memorizing Scripture

4. Repetitive reading

ILLUS – Jim Rutledge (Next Step Ministries)

APPL – Approach the Word of God properly

1. Prayerfully – Ask God to open your eyes

2. Expectantly – Ask God to meet your needs

3. Humbly – Submit yourself to God’s authority

4. Contemplatively – Digest God’s Word

C. God will bless you through His Word

1. A tree portrays stability and the capacity to withstand the storms of life. It’s the picture of mental, emotional, and spiritual stability in every kind of situation. It also pictures growth over time. 

2. “Planted” means “to transplant, to cause to take root, to become firmly established for the purpose of stability, nutrition (food and water), growth, and eventually production.

Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

3. “By streams of water” is symbolic of the life that is continually refreshed by the Holy Spirit

ILLUS – The counsel Dr. Lanier Burns received from his wife after a long semester at DTS.

4. “Yields it fruit in its season” (ripe fruit)

a. Fruit takes time to grow and mature

b. Fruit grows from a branch that abides in the vine

John 15:4-5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

5. “Its leaf does not wither” is a picture of vitality. Everyone gets older (wrinkles, gray hair, or no hair) but there is a radiance that shines as we move from grace to grace. 

2 Corinthians 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

6. “In whatever he does, he prospers”

a. Because he has renounced worldly things

b. He has delighted himself in the Word

c. Therefore, God will bless what he does in accordance with the Word

Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”


ILLUS – Discerning shoppers who check the labels

Chuck Smith, “If there ever was a time when you love the Lord more than you do today, you have backslidden.”

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence; for from it flow the springs of life.” 

Psalm 1:1-6    NASB

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

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