Faithlife Sermons

Song of a Servant

Psalms of Ascent  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION

WELCOME

GOOD MORNING
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US -
First time back to the school since Mid-March
As various aspects of our life begin to return to a sense of normal, I want to challenge us to be careful.
Our desire for “normal,” is ultimately a desire for comfort and normalcy
Were you really happy with life pre-pandemic?
The pace at which you were living life and all the activity
Your spiritual health - dependence on God, prayer life, affections for God, Obedience to his commands
Your relationships - interactions, friendships, community and connectedness
We are called to something better than simply returning to what “WAS.” We are called to fix our eyes on “WHO IS” and “WHAT WILL BE” according to the promises of God.
So we lift our eyes and continue our climb - Further Up & Further In
HEART OF SERIES
This is the heart behind our current series - studying the 15 Psalms of Ascent
A Playlist of Songs given BY GOD, to ISRAEL as they journeyed to jerusalem 3x a year

REVIEW

Song #1 - Lamenting our surroundings (dissatisfaction) and becoming sojourners (moving toward something new, not just returning to ‘normal’)
“In my distress I called on the Lord...”
Song #2 - Lifting our eyes beyond false hills of hope and resting in the assured security in the maker of heaven and earth
Song #3 - Delight as we gather together in the house of God to be built and bounded together for his glory
Song #4 - Today, our eyes are fixed on God himself. Beyond the hills, beyond the footstool, the God’s throne eternally established.
Collective Sigh, LAMENT (define)
Lament is a tool that God's people use to navigate pain and suffering. Lament is vital prayer for the people of God because it enables them to petition for God to help deliver from distress, suffering, and pain. Lament prayer is designed to persuade God to act on the sufferer's behalf.”
PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION reduces our emotional fortitude - the defensive walls we built around our heart cover up insecurities and pain. Too tired to defend these boundaries our hearts are laid bare.

CONNECTION

THE PAIN
“We have had more than enough...” Contempt & Scorn
“Our soul has had more than enough...” The depth of the pain...
Contempt - Despised, verbal accusations, disliked, disrespect, misunderstanding
Scorn - Mocking, derision, stammering, laughing, snickering
THE SOLUTION
Some of you will not like the solution this Psalm offers us
Looking Inward for Strength vs Looking Outward for Help
In response, some will desire to raise the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag
Psalmist - invites us to lift our eyes outside ourselves
Fighting vs Surrender
Us - fight, defend your position, resist the negativity, just be positive
Psalmist - surrender and service as we plead for mercy

READ PASSAGE

LOOKING UP WHEN DOWN

“TO YOU I LIFT MY EYES”

In your distress, weakness, exhaustion - do you look UPWARD or INWARD?
INWARD? - Your own pain and/or your own strength, wallowing in despair?
Lift our eyes above your circumstances, and above the the hills to the maker of hills and heavens.
Spurgeon says, “The uplifted eyes naturally and instinctively represent the state of heart which fixes desire, hope, confidence, and expectation upon the Lord.”
“Eyes” not just a physically looking but a spiritual and emotional position of desire, hope, confidence, and expectation.
NOTICE THE POSTURE
Eugene Peterson, “Service begins with an upward look to God. God is over us. He is above us. The person of faith looks up to God, not at him or down on him. The servant assumes a certain posture, a stance. If he or she fails to take that posture, attentive responsiveness to the master’s commands will be hard.”
COLLECTIVE SIGH - LAMENT - PRAYER
A hymn from 1865 says,
Prayer is the burden of a sigh
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near
When we are down, we look up - Not inwardly toward ourselves but upward toward God

“BEHOLD”

FIXED, MEDITATIVE
This is not a passing glance - a wandering eyes, not a snapshot on God and then rushing to fix the problems around us ourselves.
Rather - attentive, fixed, observing, desiring, watchful eye
Pleading eye
Hopeful eye
Ever watchful - transfixed on the sovereign rule and reign of God over our lives.

SERVANTS OF THE ENTHRONED KING

POSITION

GOD IS
Enthroned in the heavens (King, Lord, God) - Above and Beyond us
Master
WE ARE
Below (hence lifting our eyes)
We are servants -
The Created looking to our creator
Dependents in another’s household
Servants under the control and authority of a master
FEELINGS OF - crushed, pressured, accused, contempt and scorn.
Bondage - captive to the words and the perceptions of others
If GOD IS GOD
Eugene Peterson, “But God is not a [our] servant to be called into action when we are too tired to do something ourselves, not an expert to be called on when we find we are ill equipped to handle a specialized problem in living. God is not a buddy we occasionally ask to join us at our convenience or for our diversion. God did not become a servant so that we could order him around but so that we could join him in a redemptive life.
If God is God at all, he must know more about our needs than we do; if God is God at all, he must be more in touch with the reality of our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies than we are; if God is God at all, he must have a more comprehensive grasp of the interrelations in our families and communities and nations than we do.
Psalm 123:1–2a ESV
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.

“HAND OF MY MASTER”

HAND OF POWER
Isaiah 48:13 ESV
My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.
HAND OF EVER PRESENT HELP
Isaiah 41:13–14 ESV
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
HAND OF OWNERSHIP
Jeremiah 18:6 ESV
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
We are shaped, molded, and directed as God sees fit.
HAND OF PROVISION
Psalm 63:8 ESV
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
HAND OF LOVE
Psalm 136:12–13 ESV
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever;
The powerful hand of God is turned toward us with Love

SO OUR EYES LOOK TO THE LORD OUR GOD

DISTANT vs NEAR
God enthroned in the heavens, high above us and the earth and the hills he created draws near
He is a covenant making, covenant keeping God. He chooses to enter into a relationship with us.
The God of creation is OUR GOD
The God of Abraham is OUR GOD
The God of Isaac & Jacob is OUR GOD
The God who sits on the eternal throne is OUR GOD.
PERSONAL
He calls you son and daughter
Eugene Peterson, “He is not a police officer on patrol, watching over the universe, ready to club us if we get out of hand or put us in jail if we get out of hand. He is a potter working with the clay of our lives, forming and reforming until, finally, he has shaped a redeemed life, a vessel fit for the kingdom.
INVITATION OF “MERCY”
Mercy is not getting what we deserve - it’s getting pulled over for speeding but not getting the ticket your deserve.
Not self-justifying, not self-protection, no excuses, no condemning others
IT IS seeing God high and lifted up -
ACKNOWLEDGING our need for Help
LOOKING to God as the only source of our Help

TILL MERCY ARRIVES

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

SIGH

“We have had more than enough...”
“Our soul has had more than enough...”

LONGING

“Till mercy comes...”

EXPECTATION

“I lift up my eyes...”
“Look to the hand of their master...”
“So our eyes look to the Lord our God...”

CONCLUSION

WHERE DO YOU LOOK IN YOUR NEED? ON WHAT DO YOU MEDITATE?

To God or Other Things
Do they stay fixed on God as you wait on him or do you have a wandering eye

JESUS IS THE EXTENSION OF GOD’S MERCIFUL HAND TOWARD US

Ephesians 2:4–8 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
IT WAS JESUS
Ascended the hill to calvary,
Who took upon the himself the wrath of God for our sins, so that we might receive mercy
Who breathed his last breathe, dying in our place
Who was buried in the darkness of the tomb that we might live in the light
Who was raised from the dead 3 days later, that we too might walk in th newness of life
Who ascended from the mountain top and into heaven to prepare for us a home in eternity
Who will one day soon return and lead us to our eternal and final home.
TILL THEN
We lift our eyes
Though we have had more than enough - Our souls have had more than enough
We look to the Lord OUR God

COMMUNION

Declares the Lord’s death and resurrection until he returns. This is a way that we remind ourselves and one another of the mercy we HAVE RECEIVED and WILL RECEIVE.
This isn’t something to be done thoughtlessly. The sacrament of celebrating the Communion is with reverence and joy.
We have communion with God because of Jesus
We have communion with one another because of Jesus
Do this as often as you gather together.
Because we forget
We get distracted
And we need to be reminded that the mercy we desperately need comes only from Jesus.

BENEDICTION

NEW TO CROSSPOINTE
GIVING
ANNOUCNEMENTS
COMMUNITY GROUPS
MEN’S (Sundays and Thursdays) & WOMEN’S (October 24)
Help on the exit
(1) Wipe down the benches (30 Seconds)
(2) Return any unused communion elements on your way out
(3) Reset after the second service
EXIT FLOW
Out toward the center courtyard and around
No need if this too difficult
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