Psalm 14, Matt 7:13-14: The Whole Counsel of God

Psalm 14, Matt 7:13-14: The Whole Counsel of God

The past Sunday I had the privilege of teaching our flock at Calvary Chapel Wellington.

Audio is here. Sermon notes below.

Enjoy!

Blessings







The last few weeks David has been preaching through some of the Psalms.
 
And last week if you remember, he touched on making the most important choices in your life, and walking the correct path.
And with the Children’s Programme coming up this week, it’s timely reminder for us as a church – and especially those working directly with the children – to remember what Christ’s church exists for:
Firstly, to seek and save the lost. Secondly, to disciple believers in their walk.
 
And last week David quoted Matthew 7:13-14, which says:
 
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
 
And the most important choice that everyone has to make – will you repent of your sins and place your faith in Christ? If so, you are passing through the narrow gate, and walking on the narrow path that leads to life. That is, eternal life with Christ.
 
In the KJV the word substituted for the narrow gate is the word ‘strait’, from the Greek word ‘sarar (tsaw-rar), which means distress, or constricting. It symbolises the pain and distress of childbirth, and how the baby that was warm and nourished in the womb, needs to get out of the mother’s body. If it stays in there much longer, it could eventually die. The placenta, which acts as a life-giving organ, to build the baby inside the womb, has a life span of approximately 42 weeks, then it starts dying.
 
And at the appropriate time, the baby needs pass through a narrow canal. Now if I was going to design a woman’s body for childbirth, I wouldn’t design it this way. Because there is every chance something could go wrong. The canal is constricting. Every law of physics is at work here, crushing and restricting the tiny body all the way through. But with the determination of the mother, all the striving, the pain, forces the baby to come out, and then, all of a sudden – joy! All the pain is forgotten.
 
That’s the same with every believer. At their God appointed time they were convicted of their sin. And they passed through the constricting pain and Godly sorrow of repentance, and when faith is placed in Christ they pass into new life, new joy. The old is forgotten. They are Born Again.
 
But if you haven’t done that, then you are one of the ones walking on the broad path that leads to destruction. Eternal death without Christ. When convicted of sin, self-righteousness erupts. The agony of passing through repentance to new life seems pointless. As verse 14 says “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way”. They would rather stay in their nice warm amniotic fluid of sin, not realising, or not even caring that it will eventually lead to death.
And with that sobering thought in mind, let’s turn to
 
 
Psalm 14:1-7 (NKJV)
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the LORD?
There they are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
You shame the counsel of the poor,
But the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
 
 
Pray
 
So, how does the unbeliever suppress his knowledge of God? Look in verse 1 – he says “There is no God”. What’s the easiest way to supposedly cheat death and judgement? Ignore it. Keep going along in life, be nice to people, always do good. Make life as comfortable as you can for yourself, and others.
 
And without realising it, this you’re blindly stumbling towards the cliff of eternal death. Like zombies, one by one, one after the other they die. Because that’s what happens – everybody dies. And it’s our job as Christians to say “Hey, snap out of it! Wake up! You’re walking towards death, and you won’t like what’s on the other side!”.
 
There are many ways to snap an unbeliever out of their stupor; to bring about Godly repentance.
 
How many here love going to the doctor? Don’t look, Greg! 
We have a love/hate relationship with our doctor, don’t we? We hate going because we hate to admit that we are sick. But we love going, because, if the doctor does their job properly, we come away feeling better, or with a health plan to aid us in feeling better. If we don’t, then there’s a good chance the doctor didn’t do their job properly.
 
It’s the same with Evangelism. Everyone has a different way of doing it, but the new birth must come at the correct time.
 
I’d like to introduce you to four doctors. And you tell me whether you think they are good doctors or not.
 
[Powerpoint]
 
 
 
Dr Scare is not a good doctor, is he? Does he care about his patients? No.
So, who might this represent?
 
The person who has no regard for the unbeliever. The first picture may be of someone standing on the corner, condemning people. Now, I have to add a caveat here. You don’t seem to get many of those people here in NZ, but the ones I’ve heard are generally very good. But we’ve all seen people on TV or the internet. Westboro Baptist comes to mind. 
They gather (or they used to gather) outside the funerals of the family of homosexuals and shout things like “all homosexuals go to hell”, or “God hates gays. Gays will burn in hell!”. And what does it do? Well, it turns people off. It gives Christianity a bad name.
 
What they should be shouting is “God loves homosexuals so much, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life”.
 
Look in verse 1 of our Psalm 14
 
Psalm 14:1 (NKJV)
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
 
 
Psalm 14:4-7 (NKJV)
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the LORD?
There they are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
 
Yes, the people have no knowledge. They are wicked. But the lastthing they need to hear is Christians telling them they are going to hell, without telling them how to get out of hell. Giving them the bad news, without the good ending.
 
Imagine telling your child half of a nursery rhyme:
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. But one day the princess was snatched by an evil  dragon, who kept him in his dungeon. The End.”
I doubt whether your child would want to hear any more stories from you. Ever.
 
Giving unbelievers half a message without any good news is not loving, and proves that we don’t really care where they go. We need to be compassionate to the unrighteous. That’s what Jesus modelled for us.
 
 
[Powerpoint]
 
Dr Woo is not a good doctor, is she? Did she care for her patients? No.
So, who might this represent?
 
People and churches that rely on gimmicks, and tricks to pull in the ‘seeker’.
Rather than fulfil the great commission by going into all the world, they turn it upside down, and try and seduce the world into coming to them. If you’re doing Evangelism simply to make up numbers, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason.
 
But, let’s look at verse 2
 
Psalm 14:2-3 (NKJV)
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good, No, not one.
 
God says there is no such thing as a seeker, none that search for righteousness. But these people have turned their Evangelism techniques and their churches inside-out, to try to lure the unbeliever into thinking that they have exactly what they’re looking for. But in reality, what they’re looking for is not Holy, it’s not righteous.
 
So in order to appease them, the message is changed. They talk about things that will help them in this life, help them get through the week.
 
These ‘seekers’ are clueless about things of God. And the last thing they need is to hear is Christians telling them they are believers, when they haven’t gone through the narrow gate, haven’t been Born Again.
 
 
[Powerpoint]
 
Dr Love, is she a good doctor? Did she care for her patients? Well, she showed some sort of love for them. She sat down and listened to their life stories when no one else would listen. She hugged them when they needed comforting. But she showed no interest in really helping them. This is not real love, because real love tells the truth.
So who might this represent?
 
These are the people that focus on God’s love, but forget about His sovereignty, and His judgement.
They tell everyone all about the Good News, but forget about the bad news. They tell them that God thinks they are the bees’ knees, that He sent His Son just for you because, after all, you’re special.
 
They are the opposite of Dr Scare, because he just told them the bad news, whereas Dr Love tells them just the good news. They would focus on the end, without the beginning.
 
They would be the ones who would skip straight to verse 7, which says:

 
Psalm 14:7 (NKJV)
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORDbrings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

 
They offer deliverance from captivity, and forget about why they were captive in the first place.
 
They are the ones that would just tell their children:
“One day Prince Charming went into the dungeon, killed the dragon, rescued the Princess, and they all lived happily ever after”. 
Rescued her from what? How did she get into the dungeon in the first place? These are the important things that we need to hear!
 
 These so-called  ‘loved’ people, they’re just lost. And the last thing they need is to hear is Christians telling them they love them, and God accepts them, and has a wonderful plan for their life. They too are told they are Born Again, when they have by-passed the narrow gate altogether. They need to hear the bad news before they hear the good news.
 
Which brings us to our last Dr, Dr Reason.
 
 
[Powerpoint]
 
It’s pretty obvious that Dr Reason is a good doctor. Did he care for his patients? Well, yes, he did. And his concern was genuine. He took the time to examine the patient, diagnose the problem, and offer the cure.
So who does this represent?
 
Someone who knows how to do Evangelism properly. Biblically. Someone who knows how to preach the whole counsel of God. Because the last thing anybody needs is someone who isn’t prepared to preach the whole counsel of God.
 
We’ve been through the whole book of Acts recently in our Sunday morning services. And what do we read when Paul was given the opportunity to preach?
 
 
Acts 20:17-27 (NKJV)
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,
serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;
how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,
testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,
except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
 
 
This is someone who is not scared to put in the hard yards with the Gospel. He gives them the bad news plus the good news.
 
And when you explain to someone in simple terms the sins they have committed against God, the punishment that awaits them, and they fall under conviction – then you can offer them the cure – the beautiful saving Gospel.

 
Psalm 14:1-7 (NKJV)
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the LORD?
There they are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
You shame the counsel of the poor,
But the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

 
This is a picture and a prophecy of Israel coming out of captivity. But it’s also a picture of God saving humanity.
 
So, the inevitable question: How do you do it? How do you engage these people?
People have asked me this all the time: “How can you just walk up to a complete stranger, and have a conversation about God like that?”.
 
And my answer is, well, it’s the fact that they are complete strangers, helps me to do it. My problem is not with complete strangers, it’s with people I know, friends, family. That’s the part I struggle with.
 
I know that everyone is different. Nobody does it the same, and that’s OK too.
And if you’ve seen me in action, maybe down at the Naenae Mall, you would have seen me with one of these. It’s a million dollar bill from Living Waters Ministries. On the front it has a picture of Capt. Cook, and on the back it has a Gospel message [Powerpoint].
 
All this is, is an icebreaker. I wander up to people and say something like “Did you get your million dollars today?” Or if they have just purchased something from one of the shops, I might say “Here, have a million dollars to go with that”.
 
If I’m by myself, I don’t generally approach women. It’s just a safety thing – some women don’t feel safe if a man approaches them.
 
 If they don’t receive it, that’s fine, I just smile and say “Have a nice day”.  And anyone can do that part. If you’re an introvert, or have trouble witnessing, there’s nothing wrong with just handing out a Gospel tract – or as some call, a Paper Missionary.
 
If they take it, I will tell them that “I’m asking the million dollar question – what happens when we die? What do you think? Do you think there’s a heaven?” That’s the finger click that I was talking about earlier, to snap them out of it – to get them thinking about death, and what happens afterwards. This suits me, because I’m not keen on small talk, I just find it distracting.
 
Some will keep walking away, making some lame excuse like they have be somewhere. That’s when you pray to yourself that the tract will work on their heart.
 
Maybe one in four might stop and have something to say. And of those, one in three might last without saying “you have your views, I have mine”.
 
Most people believe in a heaven of some sorts. So I ask them “Do you think you are good enough to get there?” Most say they will try their best to be good, and only God will know if that’s good enough.
 
That’s when I normally push them towards the law, the 10 commandments. Like the back of the million dollar note:
 
How many lies have you told?
Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you ever looked at another person with lust?
Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
 
This is like Dr Reason’s examination – I’m running some tests to see how good the patient’s health is. And if they answer honestly, then they are all coming back positive. Positive for sin. Positive for terminal illness.
 
So then I deliver the bad news, the diagnosis. I tell them that, according to your own admission, not mine, the Bible says that you’re not a good person, and not going to heaven. You will be going to hell instead.
 
At this point I always ask “Does that concern you?” That might seem a strange thing to ask. But the question I’m really asking is whether or not they trust my diagnosis. Some just say “No.”. If they do I’ll repeat the question: “So it doesn’t concern you that if you stood before God on judgement day, and He judged you according to those questions, found you guilty, he would send you to hell forever?” If they keep saying no, then I would say “Thank you for your time, and your honesty. Please read the back of the note, and think about what we’ve talked about.”, and walk away.
 
You might ask “What are you doing? You didn’t give them the Gospel!” And you would be right. They didn’t believe the diagnosis, so there’s no point in giving them the cure, because they won’t take it. They want a second opinion.They don’t believe the bad news, so why should they believe the good news?
 
I know it sounds harsh, but the Holy Spirit has to be the one that convicts, not me. I’m just thankful that I had the chance to plant the seed, and that someone else can water it. Or maybe someone else planted, and I just watered. His Word doesn’t come back void. If called, then God will give the increase.
 
However, if they say “Yes it does concern me that I will go to hell”, then it means that the Holy Spirit is convicting the person. They have accepted the diagnosis. It’s then, and only then, that I can offer the cure. I say “God did something so that you don’t have to go to hell, do you know what that was?” To which they might say “No, what?” What they’re really saying is “Give me the cure, I don’t want to die!”
 
Then you can deliver the beautiful antidote of the Gospel to them. [Music team to come up]
 
I normally say something like:
God sent His Son into the world, born of a virgin. He was fully man and fully God. He lived a perfect life. Never sinned once. Then God sent Him to the cross. And on that cross, He poured out all the wrath of sin for all mankind, including mine and yours. And Jesus drank down that wrath, to the very last drop. He died, and was buried in a tomb. But on the third day God raised Him up. And what you have to do is repent, which means turning away from your sins. And then place your faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on your behalf to wash away your sins. And if you do that, then God can commute your death sentence, and grant you everlasting life”.
 
Is the way I do evangelism perfect? Probably not. But I try and keep it biblical, and evangelise the whole counsel of God.
 
So, what would be a takeaway from this? 
Well, Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. In the original Greek the emphasis is on the word “Go”. Translated it really means “as you are going into all the world, preach the Gospel”. 

Take every opportunity you can, and don’t let it get to you. There’s a whole world out there, full of dead zombies, heading towards the cliff of death. And you and I have been tasked with the job to snap them out of it.
 
Pray…
If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing:

Leave a Reply