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This Is The Lord's Doing, And It Is Marvelous In Our Eyes! 2

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This Is The Lord’s Doing, And It Is Marvelous In Our Eyes! 2

Psalm 118:22-23

       I have been pastoring for the twenty-eight, and for probably the first ten years of our existence, I would not allow any anniversary celebrations whatsoever.  I took this polarized position for a number of reasons:

1.   Because of the abuses that I had seen;

2.   Because I didn’t want to tax the people;

3.   Because I didn’t want to be seen or perceived as a greedy preacher.

Not to mention the fact of the confusion caused by the church anniversary and my anniversary being on the same date, since I organized the church.

That was good for us at the beginning, and where I was as a young man.  But, looking back, there was a better way of handling this.  Rather than not having anything because of someone else’s abuses, I should have taught the congregation the proper way to celebrate an anniversary.  We don’t stop using the Bible, because someone is misusing it.  We simply use it correctly.

       Today twenty-eight years later, I believe that I understand the importance of celebrations, memorializations, the opportunity to reminisce, and the opportunity to say, “Thanks!”

       We all know that worship is a very important element of the New Testament Church, but we probably don’t make the connection between worship and celebration.  Well “celebration” is actually a synonym for worship, i.e. a word which has the same or nearly the same meaning.  But the word “worship” deals much more with the substance of worship, while the word “celebration” deals much more with the outward observances, rituals, and ceremonies of worship.  The word “celebration” also denotes the festive, merrymaking, grateful, happy aspects of worship.

  God has shown me that humanity needs celebration.

  He has shown me that celebration is a very important part of the Christian life!

  He has shown me that celebration is of special significance and importance to African-American Christians and those who understand suffering.

In short, we need to fellowship together in festive celebrations commemorating what Jesus did for us on the cross, feasting on the Word of God!!!  We should also celebrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but there is another important time of celebration:  anniversaries.

(So, we come today to celebrate the anniversary of Pastor R. A. Vernon.)

The Sign Seekers

       Two 1978 newspaper clippings reflect a kind of religious experience that is preoccupied with the pursuit of the miraculous.  Its main emphasis is not to do the will of God, but rather to seek the thrill of the spectacular.

       Crowds of people had been filing into a small Pennsylvania church, hoping to see a modern-day “miracle.”  Rumor had it that the image of the face of Christ has been appearing dramatically on an altar cloth.  Flocks of curious, skeptical, and hopeful visitors had been making their way to that place to see if they really could witness some supernatural event.

       The other clipping tells the story of a congregation in Michigan that has been clinging to the notion that its deceased pastor would momentarily arise from the dead.  The account says that the members finally gave up their vigil.  In an emotionally charged meeting, the group put the question of his resurrection to a vote and decided by a narrow margin that their expectations may have been more a matter of wishful thinking than anything else.

       There is something inside of Humanity that seeks for the miraculous, the supernatural, the ethereal.  This can, and often is, used by Satan to lead many astray.  Watchman Nee says that emotion and the Spirit of God are easy to confuse for the baby Christian.  He/she thinks he is spiritual when he feels spiritual, and non-spiritual or sinful when he doesn’t feel spiritual.  The baby Christian has become dependent upon feeling instead of faith and his Spirit-controlled will.  The center of his worship is still himself!!!  God still works miracles, but He does not do so capriciously or by whim.  He has a very definite plan and purpose for every miraculous act that He performs.

       Today we see a miraculous act of God that has a definite plan and purpose.  Would you turn with me please to Psalm 118:22-23?

Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.  This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”

This Scripture is quoted two times by Jesus (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11), and referred to by Peter when He preached before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:11).  In these three instances, the Scripture is obviously applied to Jesus Christ.

(Something had happened with respect to Jesus Christ that was a miracle!  What was it?  Well, let’s review the typology involved here.)

The Type

       The builders were building a building.  In their building, they rejected the stone, which was to be the cornerstone, as being insufficient or defective.  In Jewish times, the corner stone was not the same as it is today.  The chief cornerstone in Jewish thought and economy was not a stone which was set in the front of a building with a date on.  The chief cornerstone was the stone around which the whole building was artistically, aesthetically, and  symmetrically designed.  These builders rejected a particular stone as being unsuitable to be the cornerstone, but the very stone which they rejected became the chief cornerstone.

       This would certainly be marvelous, wondrous, or miraculous in the eyes of the builders.  Experienced builders would never lay aside a piece of defective material and then use it later on¾accidentally or on purpose.  It would be a tremendous surprise for the builders to look at the finished building and discover that stone, which they had rejected, prominently displayed as the chief cornerstone!!!

(Certainly, this would be a wonder to the builders, but the antitype is even more wonderful.)

The Antitype

After this statement of the type, the psalmist adds some words of interpretation:

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

These words let the reader know that this type is about more than a building.  Wherever there is a type there is antitype!

·        The type is the shadow, but the antitype is the substance.

·        The type is the picture, but the antitype is the reality.

·        The type is the prophecy, but the antitype is the fulfillment.

·        The type is the promise, but the antitype is the answer.

This Scripture is about a much greater building and a much greater Chief Cornerstone than a natural building and cornerstone.  This statement points forward to the future, when this type would be filled by the Antitype:  Jesus Christ.

       The builders were the religious leaders of the Jewish community.  They were building their religion upon the law, the tradition, and the knowledge of Judaism and the scribes.  The stone which they rejected, that later became the cornerstone, was Jesus Christ!!!  “Christ is called the ‘corner stone’ in reference to his being the starting point or foundation of the Christian faith (Ephesians 2:20) and the importance and prominence of the place He occupies (Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:6)” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary).

Not only is Jesus referred to as the Cornerstone by Bible writers, but Jesus applied these words to His own rejection.  Neither the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the chief priests, nor the Sanhedrin believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.  They rejected Him in their minds and in their actions.  But, think of the amazement of these religious builders when they stepped back to admire their work, and lo and behold:  the stone which they had rejected¾Jesus Christ¾was prominently displayed as the Chief Cornerstone!

       It is difficult for us, as Westerners who are not immersed in Jewish thought and history, to understand the importance of the Messiah.  All of the Scriptures, their religion, their hopes, dreams, aspirations, etc., were focused on and in the coming of the Messiah.  These builders rejected Jesus Christ from being their Messiah.  This carpenter from Nazareth, who walked the streets of Galilee, could not be their Messiah.  They took offense at Him for many reasons:

·        They knew where He was from, and it was a saying that they wouldn’t know where the Messiah had come from.

·        He was not the revolutionary they had hoped for, who would overthrow the Roman government.

·        He was upsetting the traditions of the scribes and the elders.

·        They hadn’t made the differentiation between His first coming and His Second Coming.

He came the first time to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, but He is coming again as the Lion from the tribe of Judah who will reign from the throne of David.

·        Etc., etc., etc.

He was rejected and despised of men.  He came unto His own and His own received Him not.

       But, this same Jesus became the chief Cornerstone of the building.  Jehovah God will manifest Him as the Messiah, the Chief Cornerstone of Judaism.  But not only is He the Chief Cornerstone of Judaism, Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone of the Church.  He is the artistic, aesthetic, symmetrical, centripetal, centrifugal, spiritual, eternal Cornerstone of the Church of Jesus Christ.

       This is the Messianic, antitypical situation that the psalmist was referring to.  He probably didn’t know exactly what He was writing, but He was being carried along by the Holy Spirit and He wrote what God put into His heart.  Now the next sentence makes all kinds of sense.  This is the Lord’s doing!  This was according to the predetermined counsel and will of God.  This was decreed by God before the foundation of the world.  God, the Sovereign, Potentate of the universe, conceived, planned, decreed, and brought to pass this situation.  It was not by human might, nor human power, but by the Spirit of God.  The happening was truly divine.

       The next phrase summarizes the effect of this situation upon all who can perceive what had happened.  “It is marvelous in our eyes.”

6381 pala’ {paw-law’} a primitive root; TWOT - 1768; v

1)    to be marvelous, be wonderful, be surpassing, be extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action

When this Hebrew word is translated into the Greek, the word used is

2298 thaumastos {thow-mas-tos’} wonderful (5) from 2296; TDNT - 3:27,316; adj

1)    wonderful, marvelous

       1b)   passing human comprehension

It is marvelous to our eyes, suggests that it is marvelous to our sight or comprehension.  When we gaze upon the situation so as to contemplate it or think about it, it is wonderful.  To every believer in Jesus Christ, it is wonderful, i.e. inspiring, great, wonderful.  It is extraordinary.  It is something that causes us to wonder, marvel, and be in awe.  It is actually beyond human comprehension.  It fills our minds with wonder, awe, excitement, reverence, praise, and hence:  worship or celebration.  So if you are looking for a true marvel, you don’t have to look any further than Jesus Christ!!!  The scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priest, elders, Sanhedrin, and Satan, thought that they were through with Jesus Christ when they stretched Him wide, hung Him high, and dropped low, at Calvary.  Think of their amazement, when three days later He got up out of the grave!!!

The miracle of the cross and the resurrection has got to be two of the greatest miracles that Jehovah God will ever perform.  As a matter of fact they are two of what Lewis Sperry Chafer terms the seven greatest undertakings of God in the history of the universe.  They are:

·        The creation of angels.

·        The creation of material things.

·        The incarnation.

·        The death of the incarnate One.

·        The resurrection.

·        The Lord’s return in glory.

·        The creation of the new heavens and the new earth.

       If you don’t feel like celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s all right!  Celebration is not always precipitated by feelings.  Sometimes it must be initiated by our Spirit-controlled minds and wills.  I don’t celebrate this because there are no problems.  I don’t celebrate this because there is no trouble in my life.  I celebrate because I contemplate what God has done through Jesus Christ.  Then my contemplation summons my emotions, and my thoughts and emotions combine in my choice to give God the glory¾sometimes contrary to other feelings!!!

(Let’s move from the type and antitype to the application.)

The Application

       Isn’t this the way God always works?  He takes the stone which human builders reject, in their human wisdom, and makes it the chief cornerstone of the building.

·        This is true of the preaching of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  The word of the cross, i.e. the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

·        This is true of our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).  He called not many wise according to the flesh, mighty, or noble, but instead God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, the weak things of the world to shame the strong, the base things, the despised things, the things that are not to nullify the things that are.  Why?  That no man should boast in himself!!!  It is by His doing that we are saved, and if any boasting is to be done it must be in the Lord.  “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

·        This was also true of Paul, the preacher, and his preaching (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

1 Corinthians 2:4, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”

I’m sure that the Corinthians wanted to hear the best, polished, persuasive, intellectual oratory, because of their Greek heritage.  But Paul did not come to them with superiority of speech, but in fear and trembling He came preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  This was probably rejected by a lot of Greeks, but it became the foremost in the Spirit, power, and wisdom of God.  It was the living Word of God which became the written Word of God.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

(But, I want to go just a little further.)

·        This is also true of Pastor Vernon and the Word Church.

About fourteen months ago, Pastor Vernon was rejected by the religious builders.  One fateful Sunday morning, the religious builders locked the door to the building that God was building and Pastor Vernon was left standing outside, embarrassed, rejected, and forsaken.

But today, the stone which the builders rejected is now the cornerstone of The Word Church.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

God has chosen the man that they did not want and honored him.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

This church has grown from around two hundred in attendance to a high of 2,400 on the first Sunday in this building.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

This has to be one of the fastest growing churches in America.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

God has opened up this building for you through a miracle.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

God has provided the funds to remodel this building.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

God has brought pastoral staff to help support the vision of the Lord.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!

All of this has been accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, so what should our response be?  “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”  We ought to be full of wonder, excitement, awe, reverence, celebration, and worship.

       Today is a day for us to worship His holy name!!!  Knowing Christ makes life marvelous and wonderful.  Knowing Christ should make worship service a wonderful celebration.

       Who or what is the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is getting out of pain the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is some religious experience the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is your car the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is your house the cornerstone of your life?

·        Are your friends the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is your husband or wife the cornerstone of your life?

·        Is a position in church the cornerstone of your life?

·        Are drugs the cornerstone of your life?

If you build your life on anything or anyone other than Jesus, you will find that you are building your life on sinking sand!

1660: It’s Inevitable

       The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is going to fall.  Scientists go there yearly to measure the building’s slow descent.  They report that the 179-foot tower moves about one-twentieth of an inch a year, and is now 17 feet out of plumb.  They further estimate that by the year 2007 the 810-year-old tower will have leaned too far and will collapse onto the nearby ristorante, where scientists now gather to discuss their findings.  Quite significantly, the word “pisa” means “marshy land,” which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed.

       Don’t build your life on marshy land!  Don’t build your life on sinking sand!  Build your life of the Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone and you will be able to say about your life, “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!!!”

(Now is the day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)


Call to Discipleship

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