Faithlife Sermons

Psalm 1

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I want to be a kid again.  I want to go back to the time when............

* Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."

* Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"

* "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

* Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly."

* Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening.

* It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.

* Being old referred to anyone over 20.

* The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.

* It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb.

* It was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn't an Olympic event.

* Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot 


INTRODUCTION:             (INSPIRE – You Have to be Believed to be Heard)

Choices - Election coming

Poet Robert Frost wrote of having to choose between two roads that diverged in a yellow wood. Frost wrote that he did well to choose the less frequently traveled road. About 3,500 years ago, the psalmist wrote something similar as he described two paths on which one could live life: the way of the ungodly and the way of the righteous (Ps. 1:1–2). The way one chooses makes all the difference.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., Word in Life Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

<<Robert Frost’s Poem Here>>


Psalm 1:1-6

1 Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers. 

4 Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish. 


MESSAGE:                          (INFORM)

I.     Blessing (v.1-3)

A.    Blessing Involves Discernment

Psalm 1:1

1 Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.


                Must be “blessable” -- avoiding the steps that lead to sin

1.     considering sin (walking)


        Listening to the wrong advice can kill you! <<Ex: Eat poison ivy to become immune>>

2.     contemplating sin (standing)


        Get you into trouble

3.     being comfortable in sin (sitting). Watch that first step!

                        “Living” lazily in sin

                        Seat of the mocker = the seat of judgment.

                        Judging God’s word by your own desires and experience

                        <<Homosexuality, Premarital Sex, Living together before marriage, Pornography>>

Acts 17:11

11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


        Trans: There is another way! It involves living by the Word of God.

        B.    Blessing Involves Delight

Psalm 1:2

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.


                Meditate “Day and Night”

My friend, God has no plan or program by which you are to grow and develop as a believer apart from His Word. You can become as busy as a termite in your church (and possibly with the same effect as a termite), but you won’t grow by means of activity. You will grow by meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the practice of the happy man.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.

The Bible contains the wisdom that created the world. It is the best manual for your life.

A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, "I know what the Bible means!"

His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?"

The son replied, "I do know!"

"Okay, said his father.  "So,son, what does the Bible mean?"

"That's easy, Daddy.  It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving


   How much time does it take to read from Genesis to Revelation? If you would read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood) the reading time would be seventy-one hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in only twelve minutes a day. Is this really too much time to spend reading about God?

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 43-44.

But 22 percent of evangelicals report that they never read the Bible outside of church.

   -- Barna Research Group, May 9, 1991. "To Verify," Leadership.


I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and the pleasure .

   Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)

A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

   A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

It reveals the person of God


Meditate is a very figurative word. It pictures a cow chewing her cud. I’m told that the cow has several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when we meditate. We go over what we have read. Thomas a Kempis put it rather quaintly: “I have no rest, but in a nook, with the Book.” Way back in 1688 Bartholomew Ashwood said, “Meditation chews the cud.” My, how that is needed today in the lives of believers. Remember that James spoke of the man who beholds his natural face in a mirror, then “… straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:24). We are to meditate on the Word of God (which is God’s mirror that shows us what we really are). We are to allow the Word to shape our lives.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.

   I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses [of the Bible] all day than rinse my hand in several chapters.

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Christian History, no. 29.

Psalm 119:97-106

97 Oh, how I love your law!

I meditate on it all day long.

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,

for they are ever with me.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,

for I meditate on your statutes.

100 I have more understanding than the elders,

for I obey your precepts.

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path

so that I might obey your word.

102 I have not departed from your laws,

for you yourself have taught me.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts;

therefore I hate every wrong path. 


105 Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light for my path.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,

that I will follow your righteous laws.


Something new every time if you take the time to meditate (Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees):

Ending his sermon, a preacher announced that he would preach on Noah and the Ark on the following Sunday, and gave the scriptural reference for the congregation to read ahead of time.

A couple of boys noticed something interesting about the placement of the story in the Bible.  They slipped into the church and glued two pages of the pulpit Bible together.

The next Sunday, the preacher got up to read his text.  "Noah took unto himself a wife," he began, "and she was" - he turned the page to continue - "three hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high."

He paused, scratched his head, turned the page back, read it silently, and turned the page again.  Then he looked up at his congregation and said, "I've been reading this old Bible for near fifty years, but there are some things in it that are hard to believe."

I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest might fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf.

   Martin Luther (1483-1546)

        C.    Blessing Involves Dependence

Psalm 1:3

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers. 


Your spiritual roots go deep into the resources of God’s grace, and you bear fruit because His life is at work in you.

Streams of water are the word of God...

Isaiah 55:8-11

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”

 declares the LORD.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow

come down from heaven,

and do not return to it

without watering the earth

and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.


John 15:1-11

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.


Fresh food.

What if a tree only got nourishment once a week. Too busy to settle down!

1 day without God makes one weak.

Are you relying upon your previous growth? You are “dead.” The church is not the vine. Your memory is not the vine. Your past relationship is not the vine. Your wife is not the vine. If you are dying spiritually, it is much easier to blame others around you for your slow, painful death than it is to deal with the problem.

John 6:53-68

53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.


Revelation 3:20

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.


Matthew 4:1-4

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”


John 1:1,2,14,18

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. NIV

D.    Blessed Involves a Right Definition

                What does it mean to be blessed?

1:3  The man who is separated from sin and separated to the Scriptures has all the qualities of a strong, healthy, fruitful tree:

Planted by the rivers of water—he has a never-failing supply of nourishment and refreshment.

It brings forth its fruit in its season—he displays the graces of the Spirit, and his words and actions are always timely and appropriate.

Here are 5 sponges laying on your kitchen counter top.  Each member of your family has been cleaning up different areas of your home, but all the sponges look the same.  You are curious as to what was cleaned in your home, but you can't tell by looking...they all look the what do you do?

You squeeze each sponge to see what comes out.

As you squeeze the first sponge, you see that cola comes out, and so you decide that someone cleaned the kitchen with that one.  Upon squeezing the second sponge, you find tub and tile cleaner - that one was used to clean the bathroom.  Next, in the third sponge, you find motor oil - hubby was cleaning the garage!  In the fourth sponge, baby powder puffs out when it is squeezed - yep, the baby's nursery was done with that one!  And finally, in the last one, is floor wax - that was the one you used on the hall floor!

As you lay the last one down, you look again at their similarity - and they all look the same until they're squeezed.

Christians are the same way.

As life squeezes us, different things come out; anger from one, a need for revenge from another, tears from one, remorse from yet another - also greed, untruth, lust - and finally, from one saint, pours forth the love of Christ.

Just like the sponge, we can only squeeze out what is put in - stay in the Word daily, and be in continuous prayer, so that when life puts the squeeze on you (and it WILL), Jesus, and Jesus ALONE will shine forth from you!

Little Rodney, 4 years old, walked down the beach, and as he did, he spied a matronly woman sitting under a beach umbrella on the sand.  He walked up to her and asked, "Are you a Christian?"

"Yes."  she replied.

"Do you read your Bible every day?"

She nodded her head, "Yes."

"Do you pray often?" the boy asked next, and again she answered, "Yes."

With that he asked his final question, "Will you hold my quarter while I go swimming?"

Its leaf also shall not wither—his spiritual life is not subject to cyclical changes but is characterized by continuous inner renewal. As D. L. Moody put it, “All the Lord’s trees are evergreen.“

God’s trees are evergreens—they never lose their testimony. A friend of mine, while taking a course at a seminary in New York one summer, went to one of those famous churches in New York City one Sunday. He said, “I walked down on Sunday morning to this great church and saw over the entrance, carved in stone, these words: The Gate of Heaven. Then I saw underneath it a temporary sign: Closed During July and August.” Too often this happens in the lives of individual believers, but it should not, my friend. You are always an evergreen. Your leaf is the outward testimony that you have in this world for Christ. All God’s children are evergreens.

What Blessing does NOT mean:

This does not promise material prosperity, but rather suggests that the righteous will always achieve what is worthwhile. See Josh. 1:8.

The Open Bible, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1997.

Joshua 1:8

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.


If you don’t have One before your zeroes, you have only a goose egg, friend. But if you put that One, who is Christ, before your material blessings, then you are blessed indeed. But remember that He has not promised material blessings in this age.

At 4:10 am, on April 29, 1903, seventy to eighty million tonnes of rock slid off the face of Turtle Mountain, killing approximately 75 people and trapping many in the little town of Frank, Alberta.  Amongst those trapped by the Frank slide were 17 miners who took 12 hours to dig out of their entombment.  The elation of reaching daylight was short lived as their eyes adjusted and the panorama of their devastated town came into focus.  These men were the last of the survivors to be found - that is until Charlie was discovered.

About a month after that fateful day, and at the end of efforts to reopen the main entrance to the Frank mine, Charlie the mine horse was found alive.  Dwelling in complete darkness, he had endured by drinking seepage water, eating the bark off of mine timbers, and by breathing air from the vertical escape shaft the 17 trapped miners had dug to escape that first day.  If horses can experience elation, Charlie must have experienced it then – that is until he died the same day from an overdose of oats and brandy given to him by his rescuers.  What testing could not take, celebration robbed from Charlie.

Sadly, Charlie’s end is not unlike the experience of many Christians who have survived an episode of testing and darkness in life.  They may have been in a workplace that sucked the joy out of making a living.  Maybe they had an extended illness accompanied by tests and treatments worse than the disease itself.  Or perhaps there was a long, lonely wait – infused with fear and anxiousness - to meet the love they’d always dreamt of.  These depths, or others like them, gave rise to many cries to God during long hours of pitch-black waiting, spawned a hunger for deliverance that seepage and bark could never quench, and evoked declarations of lifelong trust and devotion if God answered.

And then, sudden rescue!  Along came a new and better job, a clean bill of health after a last chance treatment, or Mr. or Mrs. Right moved in  next door and dropped by to deliver misdirected mail.  Glory to God!  Hallelujah!  Jubilation!  And then. . .  I can’t be in church because I’m working overtime on Sunday to make a good impression for my new boss!  No time to read my Bible because my flower garden didn’t get planted when I was sick!  It’s ok that we are having sex because we love each other and this is the real thing and doesn’t God want me to be happy anyway?

When darkness ends and God’s deliverance arrives, go easy on the oats and brandy.

Romans 12:2

2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


   A Bible that's falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn't.

   -- Christian Johnson. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.



Perilous times await those who do not trust God and walk in His Word.

Psalm 1:4

4 Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.


The wicked are neither well-planted, fruitful, enduring nor prosperous. Like chaff, they lack body or substance. When the storms of life blow, they prove unstable. A strong wind drives them away.

The contrast is strong. The wicked are compared to dead and rootless plants. A puff of wind carries them away.

Psalm 1:5

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 


They will, of course, appear before God at the Judgment of the Great White Throne. But the meaning here is that they will have no adequate defense. In idiomatic language, they won’t have a leg to stand on! Furthermore, they will never stand in the congregation of the righteous; they will be forever excluded from the company of those who are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION:                      (INSTRUCT -- Specific Application/Formation)

How tragic that anyone is perishing when Jesus offers abundant life! Contrast tree and chaff if you want to see the difference between the godly and the ungodly. The godly receive blessing but the ungodly receive judgment.

The psalm starts with “blessed” and ends with “perish.” The choice is yours.

The question is, which road are you taking? If you find yourself …

•      paying more attention to the advice of those who do not believe in God than of those who fear Him;

•      behaving pretty much as unbelievers do; or

•      making cynical statements about God and the things of God…

then beware! You may already be far down the road of unrighteousness. If so, then do whatever it takes to turn back, because the end of that road is destruction.

All things desirable to men are contained in the Bible.

   Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Isaiah 55:1-3

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,

come to the waters;

and you who have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,

and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,

and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;

hear me, that your soul may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

my faithful love promised to David.


Devotional Guide in Bulletin

Series in the Book of James

SONG: Breathe (A or Bb)



Acts 20:32

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

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