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Sunday, November 6th, 2016 - Lord's Table Service - The Summons (Ps. 50)

Savoring the Psalter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:01:35
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If we should judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

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1 Corinthians 11:27–32 KJV 1900
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Main Thought: Let a man examine himself...if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
This didactic psalm, written by Asaph, a leading Levite musician (1 Chron. 16:4–5) who also wrote Psalms 73–83, deals with man’s worship of God and duty to his neighbor, which are in the two portions of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). Asaph described a scene in the heavenly courtroom in which the Lord will examine His people. Asaph then declared that the Lord had indictments against two sins of His people: formalism in worship and hypocrisy in living. To please God His people must bring sacrifices of thanksgiving from obedient, trusting hearts. [Allen P. Ross, “Psalms,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 830–831.]
The burden of the psalm is clearly prophetic and its teaching is best brought into focus when we see it in the light of the coming judgment of Israel at the hands of an offended God in the climactic events that close the tribulation age. [John Phillips, Exploring Psalms 1–88: An Expository Commentary, vol. 1, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Ps 50.]

I. Your Judge Summons You (Psalm 50:1-12).

A. Behold His Majesty & Power (Ps. 50:1-3).

1. The Day Comes that God Calls (v. 1).
God the Judge summons the court (vv. 1–6) and confronts two offenders: the formalist, to whom worship is a ritual to follow (vv. 7–15), and the hypocrite, to whom worship is a disguise to cover sin (vv. 16–21). The psalm closes with a call to all worshipers to be faithful to God (vv. 22–23). [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 183.]
Psalm 50:1 KJV 1900
The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
There are three titles for God here—El, Elohim, Jehovah. El is God as the mighty One, the awful One, in whom all the attributes and excellence of deity are concentrated; Elohim is God as the majestic One, the God of creation, the God of suns and stars and galaxies and of the planet earth; Jehovah is God as the merciful One who reveals Himself to men and signs contracts with them. This is the One who summons the nations to witness the judgment of the Jews: the God of might, majesty, and mercy. The threefold use of these names is found in only one other place in the Bible. When the promised land was conquered, all its foes subdued, and the prospect hope of rest stretched before the chosen people of God, the tribes who were to settle on the other side of Jordan set up an altar. Its erection was instantly challenged by the other tribes. They thought it schismatic, a crack in national unity, a possible source of future spiritual departure by the Transjordan tribes. The tribes which had erected this altar took an immediate oath that this was not so and twice, in solemn affirmation, they used this threefold name for God. “The LORD GOD of gods, the LORD GOD of gods [El, Elohim, Jehovah], He knoweth, and Israel He shall know; if it be in rebellion” (Joshua 22:22). [John Phillips, Exploring Psalms 1–88: An Expository Commentary, vol. 1, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Ps 50:1.]
2. God Shines in His Perfection (v. 2).
Psalm 50:2 KJV 1900
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
Note - the Lord is the only one who can claim perfection in this manner.
3. God Visits with a Fiery Tempest (v. 3).
Psalm 50:3 KJV 1900
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: A fire shall devour before him, And it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
Note - The Hymn "O Worship the King"

B. Behold the Jury & Defendant (Ps. 50:4-6).

1. God Assembles Heaven's Witness (v. 4).
Psalm 50:4 KJV 1900
He shall call to the heavens from above, And to the earth, that he may judge his people.
2. God Gathers His Guilty People (v. 5).
Psalm 50:5 KJV 1900
Gather my saints together unto me; Those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
3. God Himself Ascends the Bench (v. 6).
Psalm 50:6 KJV 1900
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: For God is judge himself. Selah.

C. Behold the Charges on the Docket (Ps. 50:7-9).

1. God Testifies Against His People for Empty Religious Formality (v. 7).
Psalm 50:7 KJV 1900
Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
1 Peter 4:17 KJV 1900
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
2. His Judgment Is Not About Their Sacrifices (v. 8).
Psalm 50:8 KJV 1900
I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices Or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
3. He Now Desires None of Their Sacrifices (v. 9).
Psalm 50:9 KJV 1900
I will take no bullock out of thy house, Nor he goats out of thy folds.

D. Behold the Truth on Display (Ps. 50:10-12).

1. God's Supreme Ownership of Creation (vv. 10-11).
Psalm 50:10–11 KJV 1900
For every beast of the forest is mine, And the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
God says, “Did you really think you were giving Me something when you brought sacrifices to Me? Why, all the animals belong to Me anyway.” This reminds us of the words of Jeremiah the prophet: “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you” (Jer. 7:22–23). The prophet Micah said something similar: “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic. 6:6–8). [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 2 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 760.]
2. God's Self-Existence on Display (v. 12).
Psalm 50:12 KJV 1900
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

II. Your Judge Can Either Sentence or Save (Psalm 50:13-23).

A. Call on Your Deliverer for Salvation (Ps. 50:13-15).

1. Avoid the Blood that Cannot Satisfy the Lord (v. 13).
Psalm 50:13 KJV 1900
Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats?
2. Bring Your Heart to the Altar Instead (v. 14).
Psalm 50:14 KJV 1900
Offer unto God thanksgiving; And pay thy vows unto the most High:
The Lord speaks first to those who are indeed His people, but their hearts are not in their worship. Their devotion is faithful but only routine. Like the church at Ephesus, they had “left their first love” (Rev. 2:4) and were worshiping the Lord out of habit and not from the heart. Outwardly, they were doing what the Lord commanded and honoring the daily sacrifices (Ex. 29:38–42), but inwardly they lacked love and fellowship with God. They forgot that God wanted their hearts before He wanted their sacrifices (Isa. 1:11–15; Jer. 7:21–23; Hos. 6:6; 8:13; Amos 5:21–26; Mic. 6:6–8; Mark 12:28–34). [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 184.]
3. Call on the Lord, Give Him Glory for Salvation (v. 15).
Psalm 50:15 KJV 1900
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Exploring Psalms 1–88, Volume One: An Expository Commentary c. The Proven Need of the Accused (50:13–15)

What was God looking for in Israel down through the ages? He wanted them to be thankful—thankful for the great sacrifice already offered for sin, thankful for the gift to them of the Scriptures, the Son, and the Spirit. He wanted them to be truthful—to pay their vows. He wanted them to be trustful—to call upon Him in the day of trouble, not to trust in their wealth, their works, their worship, or anything else, but in Him.

The real problem with ritual is that, if forms are all there is to our religion, they give us feelings of being right with God when actually we may be guilty of the most terrible sins. This happened to the Pharisees in the days of Jesus. They hated him and were trying to get rid of him. Eventually they murdered him. But they did so religiously, breaking the law when they had to but at the same time keeping up every possible outward appearance of piety. Since it was the time of the Passover Feast, they would not defile themselves by going into Pilate’s courts. They insisted that Pilate come out to them. Yet they had already arrested Jesus by night, which was illegal. They had forged various and unrelated charges against him, which was illegal. They condemned him unanimously without allowing anyone to speak on his behalf, which was illegal. Students of Jewish law say that scores of safeguards, all of which were meant to protect an innocent person, were recklessly abandoned in Jesus’ trial. Yet in spite of this most horrible of sins, the Pharisees nevertheless kept themselves ritually clean and certainly observed the Passover with clear (though hardened) consciences the next day. Formalism leads easily to such hardening, which is why the psalm speaks so strongly about it. The psalmist seems to say that the cure is to realize afresh that God does not need anything from us. That is, the cure is a good dose of spiritual reality. [James Montgomery Boice, Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 418.]

B. Consider the Fate of the Wicked (Ps. 50:16-18).

1. God Knows the Wolves in Sheep's Clothing (v. 16).
Psalm 50:16 KJV 1900
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, Or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
2. Their Fruits Betray Them (v. 17).
Psalm 50:17 KJV 1900
Seeing thou hatest instruction, And castest my words behind thee.
To “hate instruction” means to reject an ordered way of life patterned after God’s Word, to reject a responsible life. The Lord specifically named stealing (the 8th commandment, Ex. 20:15), adultery (the 7th commandment, Ex. 20:14) and deceitful speech and slander (the 9th commandment, Ex. 20:16). These are not “old covenant sins,” for believers today who live under the new covenant can be just as guilty of committing them. [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 185.]
3. Their Sins Find them Out (v. 18).
Psalm 50:18 KJV 1900
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, And hast been partaker with adulterers.

That word “consentedst” is translated by some as “didst delight thyself with” or “found pleasure with” or “ran with.” The idea conveyed is one of full agreement, approval, and fellowship.

C. Correct Thy Evil Ways & Words (Ps. 50:19-21).

1. An Evil and Lying Tongue of Gossip (v. 19).
Psalm 50:19 KJV 1900
Thou givest thy mouth to evil, And thy tongue frameth deceit.
2. Backbiting the Brethren (v. 20).
Psalm 50:20 KJV 1900
Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; Thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.
3. God's Silence Is Not a Sign of His Approval (v. 21).
Psalm 50:21 KJV 1900
These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: But I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

D. Consider & Remember Your God (Ps. 50:22-23).

1. The Severe Warning (v. 22).
Psalm 50:22 KJV 1900
Now consider this, ye that forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
Because they have torn His true sheep into pieces, He will rend them to pieces.
2. The Salvation for Whosoever Will (v. 23).
Psalm 50:23 KJV 1900
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: And to him that ordereth his conversation aright Will I shew the salvation of God.
In the two closing verses, the writer succinctly summarized the characteristics of the kind of worshiper God is seeking (John 4:23–24). The true worshiper has a proper fear of the Lord and seeks only to honor Him in his worship. He obeys God’s will [ordereth his conversation aright] and is able to experience [(“I will shew”)] the salvation of the Lord. When you combine these characteristics with verses 14–15—gratitude to God, obedience, prayer, and a desire to glorify God—you have a description of worshipers who bring joy to the heart of God. [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 186.]


So the psalm indicts God’s people for formalism and hypocrisy in worship. Jesus’ advice to “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) provides the proper correctives for these faults. [Allen P. Ross, “Psalms,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 831.]
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