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Standing Up in a Fallen World - Part 2

Psalm 1:1-6

It’s August 2, 2020. What I’m about to say is not political commentary. It is applying God’s Word to our current culture.

In Portland Oregon, the “peaceful protesters” have added “burning Bibles” to the list of things that they’re burning down. They’ve been burning down and destroying people’s lives and businesses. They’ve been destroying anything that points to the history of our country. They’ve been burning the American flag nightly. But – it’s not enough – now they’re burning Bibles along with the American flag.

If you watch the videos, you’ll often notice a pig in the fire, strategically located for the video. One video has an actual bloody, severed pig’s head with a police officer’s hat on it, set on the American flag, and then set on fire. And now they’re fueling the fires with Bibles.

Here’s the connection we’ve got to make as Christians. The main-stream media, a large percentage of our government leaders, and a large percent of our country are fully supporting the violent overthrow of our current culture in order to replace it with their conflicting ideologies. The propaganda machine of this country has made many believe this is about race. But all you have to do is look past the talking heads of the media to see there’s something much bigger than racial equality that they are after. It seems to me race may just be the emotionally charged “front” these organizations are using to get the masses to help them accomplish their larger goals.

Here’s what I’m trying to point out; There is a movement in our country that is working very hard to drive us from a post-Christian culture to an anti-Christian culture. And because of this, we have got to go onto high alert as Christians. First, in order to be part of turning the country back to God. But then, we have also got to prepare (spiritually) to potentially live in a full anti-Christ culture.

I want us to pray for and be an integral part of the solution to turn our country back to God. I want us to pray and live out 2 Chronicles 7:14.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 

I want us to pray that for real. But if these “peaceful protesters” make their way to Nuevo and decide to burn this church down, then I want to know that I’ve done all I can to help you continue to be found Standing Up in a Fallen World.

Eric Metaxas, who wrote the biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, along with other great Christians, had this to say about the Bible burning.

Eric Metaxas 8/1/20
A century before the Third Reich, German poet Heinrich Heine prophesied that where books are burned, humans will soon be burned also. Antifa/BLM has chosen the brazenly atheist path of Joseph Goebbels. Let the reader understand.

Joseph Goebbels was the infamous Nazi propaganda specialist who was the mastermind behind the Nazi’s convincing the people to support the murder of six million Jews. And Metaxas says those behind the burning down of our system have chosen a similar approach to get us to support their plan to destroy this previously Christian culture.

We pray this doesn’t happen. But if it does, will you continue to stand up for Christ in a fallen world? To that end, I want to apply Psalm 1 to our current culture today.

So, let’s jump to Psalm 1 and see if there’s any guidance for us there.

Psalm 1:1 (NLT)
1 Oh, the joys of those 
(Literal translation - blessed are those) who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 

The first verse of the Psalms starts with three things that we are to turn from in order for us to be God-blessed and joy-filled.

First, verse 1 says, blessed (or joyful) are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked.

The word for “wicked” describes a person or culture that is living in rebellion to God and is actively rejecting God’s wisdom. Psalm 1 says, do not follow the advice of those people. This would certainly apply to whatever media we are choosing to be influenced by. We’ve got to accept that we are influenced by whatever media we are watching and listening to. We’ve got to know that is true because the people who are putting that stuff out there absolutely know it’s true. So, the first step to a God-blessed and joyful life is to not follow the advice or the influence of those who live in rebellion to God and reject his wisdom.

Second, the middle of verse 1 says, blessed (joyful) are those who do not stand around with (or stand in the path) with sinners.

The phrase “stand around” or “stand in the path” with sinners refers to living a lifestyle alongside or along with those who are living in rebellion to God. This does not mean we should not have contact with them. It means we should not “live the same lifestyle” as them. We cannot direct our lives in the same way or by the same influence that directs their lives.

Finally, at the end of verse 1, we read, blessed (joyful) are those who do not join in with mockers. 

The word for “mockers” or “scoffers” refers to people who arrogantly and pridefully reject the wisdom and direction of God. Let’s say, for example, those who would inspire the burning of Bibles, or call for the tearing down of all statues of Jesus. To “join in” or “sit in the seat” with them means to be identified with them. God calls us not to be identified with them – even if they scream really loud that it’s all about racism.

And I know if the wrong people hear me say this, they may come all the way to Nuevo to burn this church down. But, the truth is, God’s Word says do not be identified with people who arrogantly and pridefully reject the wisdom and direction of God, and I think burning Bibles and tearing down statues of Jesus fits in that category.

We’ve got to be more careful about who we are being influenced by. We’ve got to be more influenced by God and less influenced by a God-hating world. We’ve got to be more influenced by God’s wisdom and less influenced by social media propaganda.

Okay, that’s verse 1. We’re moving on.

Psalm 1:2 (NLT)
2 But 
(in contrast to verse 1) they (the God-blessed, Joy-filled person) delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 

This is a simple two-step plan from God.

Step one – do not be influenced or led around by those who are set against God (verse 1).
Step two - Instead, delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night.

To delight in God’s Word is to “take pleasure in” and “to embrace” God’s Word. It involves a strong desire to have God’s Word set the direction of your life. We delight in meeting God in his Word. We delight in having God’s Word guide our life.

And because this God-blessed and joy-filled person delights in God’s Word – they meditate on God’s Word day and night. To “meditate” is to slow down, and genuinely embrace the Word of God. It’s taking in the Word of God in such a way that it sticks, and it causes change in our lives. Meditating on God’s Word gives the Holy Spirit fuel to light a fire in your life, and meditating on God’s Word hides the Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11) so that the Holy Spirit can bring God’s Word up in your mind when you need it.

Delighting in God’s Word and meditating on God’s Word will set the direction of your life according to God’s Word.

And verse 3 tells us the result of learning to delight in and meditate on God’s Word.

Psalm 1:3 (NLT)
3 They 
(the person who turns from wickedness (verse 1), and delights in, and meditates on God’s Word (verse 2)) [They] are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

The picture of the tree implies strength and stability and fruitfulness, which is exactly what we need in order to stand in the culture crisis we live in today.

And so, the person who turns from the influence of the ungodly and instead delights in and meditates on God’s Word – that person will become like a tree planted on the bank of God’s life-giving river, and they will gain the strength and stability to be able to stand in a Fallen world. And they will bear fruit – the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And God will be able to use that person for good in other people’s lives, which is pictured by the tree providing shade for other people to take shelter in.

And then, the end verse 3 says, and they prosper in all they do. What is that prospering? This verse is that prospering – that your roots will go deep into God, and your strength in God will grow, and you’ll produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and others will find shelter in your life.

It’s turning from the influence of the ungodly and turning to the life-giving water of God’s Word, that will make us like a strong tree planted on the bank of the river of God – and we will be able to stand up in a fallen world - That is the picture of a godly, and truly God-blessed,  person.

But, the final hammer to drive the point home is the second half of the Psalm. The final blow is the contrast between the God-blessed person and the person who chooses to reject the truths of God.

Let’s finish the Psalm by reading verses 4-6. These verses don’t need much comment, so just take in the weightiness of them.

Psalm 1:4–6 (NLT)
(in contrast to vs’s 1-3) But not the wicked! (or the wicked are not so) They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners 
(those who live in rebellion to God) will have no place among the godly.
6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. 

We are faced with a decision like I’ve never seen it for Christians in this country. Will we walk the path of the Godly described here in verses 1-3, or will we walk the path of the wicked described here in verses 4-6?

If we will turn from the influence of the ungodly, and if we will genuinely turn to the life-giving counsel of God’s Word, then we will grow in the blessing and the joy of walking in God’s ways. Then we will be like a strong, stable tree planted by the river of God. . .

And we will be able to continue to stand up in a fallen world.

Please take a minute and pray about what you've read.