- Sermon Notes
The Keys to a Blessed Life
October 15-16, 2022
- With a sermon title like “The Keys to a Blessed Life” it would be easy to assume that this message will be something similar to what you might hear at a “self-help” seminar.
- Let me assure you that this message will not be filled with “self-help” seminar hype.
- That said, it’s important to recognize that there is a deep desire within us all to lead a blessed life.
- The world offers a variety of suggestions for what a blessed life looks like.
- Money and toys.
- Power and fame.
- The Bible also has much to say about what makes a life blessed.
- Unfortunately, false teachers have confused many churchgoers over the years about what it means to have a blessed life.
- Nowadays, it can be difficult to discern the difference between some Sunday morning “sermons” and a Madison Avenue advertising campaign. What a sad commentary!
- So, during our time together we will look to the Bible, God’s inspired Word, and there discover The Keys to a Blessed LifeHH.
Transition – The first Psalm sets the tone for the Psalms that follow. In fact, the first verse of the first Psalm reveals the first Key to a Blessed Life.
I. Be in the World, Not of the World (1)
Throughout the Bible the Christian will discover comparisons and contrasts.
For instance, the Bible distinguishes between light and darkness, life and death, good and evil, and blessings and curses.
This psalm reveals an important contrast, what it means to be in the world but not of the world.
Transition – I suggest that to be in the world but not of the world is the most blessed life, the happiest life of all.
Why would I offer such a suggestion?
Because the beginning of the first verse can be literally translated, “Oh how very, very happy is the man.”
A. A blessed life is a happy life
- The word “blessed” comes from a word which means “to go straight, to go forward, to set right, to advance in the way of understanding.”
- The word “blessed” is also plural and pictures a person who is blessed in many ways because their relationship with God has blessed them on multiple levels; it’s a multi-dimensional blessing.
- Finally, this “happy” person is thankful for God’s presence because they know their heavenly Father is always near, always has their best interests in mind, and will always be faithful to meet their 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. . . 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 – This first key to happiness begins with asking Jesus Christ to forgive our sin, to be the Savior of our souls.
Psalm 32:1, How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered
APPL – At this point, you might be wondering, “Why Jesus only?”
“That sounds too exclusive.”
“I thought all paths lead to God, right?”
Those are fair questions, so it’s important for us to understand what the Bible has to say in response.
In one sense, all paths do lead to God because all will stand before God one day.
Hebrews 9:27, And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment
The question is “What will be your standing with God when you stand before God?”
The Bible says that your standing with God is determined by your answer to the question, “Who do you say Jesus Christ is?”
This is the most consequential question ever asked and everyone must answer it.
Jesus revealed why our answer to this question is so consequential when He said. . .
John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
If you believe Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin and you’ve asked Him to be your Savior, then you will stand before God forgiven and He will welcome you to spend eternity with Him.
If you do not believe Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin and you have not asked Him to be your Savior, then you will stand before God unforgiven and He will not welcome you to spend eternity with Him because Jesus Christ is the only way to have your sins forgiven so that you may spend eternity with God.
But please know that God wants a relationship with you but your sin has created a barrier between you and God.
So, God has provided the one way for that barrier to be removed, and it is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
- Therefore, the first key to happiness, to be in the world but not of it, begins with receiving the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, for without Jesus you will be in the world and still be of the world!
Transition – Not only does the blessed life begin with Jesus, all of our future choices must flow from our relationship with Jesus.
B. A blessed life is a holy life
1.First, a blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.
- “Does not” means it is a decisive choice; it is a resolution of one’s will.
- To “walk” means “to go along with, to follow a way of life.” If one makes the wrong choice it will be their first step towards greater compromise.
- The word “counsel” means “to purpose, plan, a way of thinking.” It refers to an attitude, a state of mind, or a viewpoint which determines the decisions a person makes.
- “Wicked” refers to someone who is guided or controlled by their fleshly desires, emotions, or impulses.
- This person is unstable and morally loose; not necessarily as evil as they could be.
- Rather, they are superficial in their view of life and unconcerned about the consequences of their choices.
ILLUS – Esau sold his birthright for a taste of red stew. (Genesis 25)
APPL – In today’s terms, what does this counsel look like?
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
“It’s okay to look, just don’t touch!”
The Apostle Peter offers better counsel. . .
1 Peter 3:15, 18, sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. . . For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God
- Second, a blessed person does not stand in the path of the sinners.
- “Stand” means “to stop, to be firm.” From merely walking in their counsel, one becomes more confirmed, involved, and influenced by their counsel.
- “Path” means “a way, journey, a course of action.”
- It refers to one’s conduct, patterns, habits, and responses.
- So, one moves from thinking like the world to acting like the world.
c. The word “sinners” is an archery term which means “to fall short, miss the mark, to aim at the wrong target.”
APPL – Jesus explained why it is unwise to walk in the counsel of the wicked and stand in the path of sinners. . .
Matthew 15:14, if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.
- Third, a blessed person does not sit in the seat of scoffers.
a. Again, notice the progression from walking to standing to sitting, which signifies that one has become more at home in this lifestyle.
b. “Seat” is a place of assembly where counsel is given, where decisions and deals are made.
c.“Scoffers” are those who “mock, deride, ridicule, and scoff.” It refers to one who is actively engaged in putting down the truth about God and His Word.
APPL – In today’s context, what does a scoffer sound like?
- A scoffer sounds like New Atheist, Richard Dawkins.
- Dawkins wrote in his book, The God Delusion, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
APPL – The Bible has a word for those who deny God’s existence. . .
Psalm 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
APPL – The Bible reveals that the presence and prominence of scoffers and mockers is another confirmation that we’re in the last days.
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 the progression in Psalm 1, I’m reminded of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and his choice to live in Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Genesis 13 (Separated from Abraham),
- Genesis 14 (Saved by Abraham),
- Genesis 19 (Saved by Angels)
ILLUS – I’m also reminded of Demas and the tragic progression of his life as revealed in three letters from the Apostle Paul.
Philemon 23-24, Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.
Colossians 4:14, Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.
2 Timothy 4:10, Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica
APPL – Here’s my point, our lives are progressing towards a target.
- The question is, “What target are you aiming at?”
- The wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers are all aiming at the wrong target. Look again at verses 4-6.
Psalm 1:4-6, The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
- Don’t let the wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers influence you, you influence them!
- Be in the world, but not of the world.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “We must have contact with the world but not be contaminated by it.”
Transition – How do we do this? It begins with the Bible. . .
II. Live in God’s Word (2-3)
A. Delight in the counsel from God’s Word
- “Delight” means “to be mindful of, attentive to,” and so it came to mean, “to keep, or protect.”
- When something delights us, we desire to protect it or guard it.
- 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 – How do you know what you delight in? Simply ask yourself, “What has captured my heart?”
Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Transition – What we delight in also is reflected in the way we spend our time. . .
B. Meditate on the counsel from God’s Word
- Biblical meditation is not “eastern meditation” where one empties their mind to become one with the cosmic universe.
- Biblical meditation is the filling of the mind with the precepts, principles, and promises from the Bible.
Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you
3. “Day and night”
a. This does not refer to morning and evening Bible study, though there is nothing wrong with doing so.
b.Rather, it is a reference to a life that is continually and consistently in God’s Word.
c. This is a comprehensive term for the study and application of God’s Word to one’s life.
d. It involves thinking about what the Bible means and how to intentionally apply it to our lives.
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 – What are some practical ways for increasing the impact of God’s Word in our lives?
- Read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
- Memorize Scripture verses
- Repetitive reading
ILLUS – Jim Rutledge, Next Step Ministries
APPL – If you are new to the Christian faith, I recommend beginning with the Gospel of John. After you have read it, then read 1 John.
APPL – How should we approach studying the Bible?
- Prayerfully – Ask God to open your eyes.
- Expectantly – Ask God to meet your needs.
- Humbly – Submit yourself to God’s authority.
- Contemplatively – Digest God’s Word.
C. God will bless you through His Word
- A tree is a picture of stability, it has the capacity to withstand the storms of life.
a. It’s a picture of mental, emotional, and spiritual stability in every season of life.
b. It’s also a picture growth over time.
- The word “planted” means “to transplant, to cause to take root, to become firmly established for the purpose of stability, nutrition, 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.
- “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.
- “Yields it fruit in its season” meaning the fruit is ripe.
a. Fruit takes time to grow and mature.
b. Fruit can only grow 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.
- “Its leaf does not wither” is a picture of vitality.
APPL – Personally, the older I get the more appealing and comforting I find these verses.
We may be getting older, but there is a radiance that shines through a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit and is maturing in Christ.
In Christ we are going from glory to glory.
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.
- “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.
ILLUS – God’s answer to prayer.
Psalm 119:11, 105, Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. . . Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
1 Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the [a]path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the Law of the Lord,
And on His Law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree planted by [b]streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its [c]leaf does not wither;
And [d]in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord [e]knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.