Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Summer with Psalm 119 #5

As a few of you know, I love, love, LOVE Psalm 119. I thought it would be great to spend a summer focusing on that psalm and what others have had to say about it. I'll begin with Thomas Manton's Exposition of Psalm 119. It may take all summer to read all 158 sermons. But they're so GOOD, so RICH, I think it will be worth it.

Sermon five covers Psalm 119:4.
To gain the heart to a full obedience, it is good to consider the authority of God in his word. ~ Thomas Manton
In other words, IF you want to be obedient, if you want to follow God with all your heart--then it is good to consider the authority of God in his word. If you HOLD the Bible to be THE authority--not "an" authority, but, THE authority--if you treasure the Bible for what it is God's Revelation of Himself--then your heart will follow and your life will change.
Who can promise more than God, who is a plentiful rewarder of them that diligently seek him? Who hath told us of a kingdom prepared for us; of a body glorious like unto Christ’s body; of a soul enlarged to the greatest capacities of a creature; and yet filled up with God, and satisfied with the fruition of himself. This is the person spoken of in the text, to whom the Psalmist saith, Thou hast commanded us.’ And surely if we would willingly walk after any commandment, we should after the commandment of the great God….Unless you mean to renounce the sovereign majesty of God, and put him besides the throne, and break out into open rebellion against him, you must do what he hath commanded. ~ Thomas Manton
Manton makes some excellent points. No one can promise more than God. No promises are as excellent as those given by God to his people. The world makes promises and can't deliver. God's promises never fail. The more you read the Word, the more you see that.
Here is the nature of this obedience, or the thing commanded, to keep thy precepts. What is that?—to observe the whole rule of faith and manners. Believing in Christ, that falls under a command: 1 John 3:23, This is his command, that we should believe in him whom he hath sent.’ Repentance is under a command: Acts 17:30, He hath commanded all men everywhere to repent.’ Upon your peril be it, if you refuse his grace. So gospel obedience falls under a command, the great God hath charged us to keep all his precepts; to make conscience of all duties that we owe to God and man, Acts 24:6; the smaller as well as the greater, Mat. 5:19. ~ Thomas Manton
Christians, if we had the awe of God’s authority upon our hearts, what kind of persons would we be at all times, in all places, and in all company? what a check would this be to a proud thought, a light word, or a passionate speech?—what exactness would we study in our conversations, had we but serious thoughts of the sovereign majesty of God, and of his authority forbidding these things in the word! ~ Thomas Manton 
I just have to say AMEN. It is convicting, no doubt about it. But doesn't it make you think?!
Hath God bidden me to redeem my time, and shall I make no conscience how I waste away my precious hours? Hath God bidden me keep my heart with all keepings, and shall I let it run at large without any restraint and regard? It is my debt, and I must pay it, or I shall answer it at my peril in the great day of accounts; it is not only commended but commanded. ~ Thomas Manton
These questions are still relevant. I think most of us--Christians included, or maybe even Christians especially, like to think that HOW we spend our time doesn't really matter. Maybe even thinking that so long as I give God a little time each day or a little time each week that how we spend the rest doesn't matter so much.
The heart is never right until we be brought to fear a commandment more than any inconveniencies whatsoever. ~ Thomas Manton
We definitely don't hear much about this sense of fear these days in sermons. We hear about fear and anxiety--and how Christians shouldn't. But very little--if any--about the fear of the Lord. 
If he hath said it is his will, how contrary soever it be to our reason, lusts, interests, it must be done. It is enough for us to know that we are commanded. To command is God’s part, and to obey that is ours, whatever shall be declared to be his will and pleasure. ~ Thomas Manton
Does talking about obedience make you squirm? does it make you uncomfortable? Do you associate obedience with dread and disobedience with fun? It is not a light matter to join in with Manton and say, "To command is God's part, and to obey that is ours…"
God hath the power of life and death. Why? Because he can punish with eternal death, and bestow eternal life. ~ Thomas Manton
That we should not only do what God hath required, but we should do it diligently. ~ Thomas Manton
Not only prayer is required, but fervency, not dead and drowsy devotion. ~ Thomas Manton
And just in case you made it through the entire sermon without feeling convicted…is your devotion fervent or drowsy?!?! I don't know about you, but drowsy prayer is a speciality.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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