Both Bibles

Love the Law (Psalm 19:7-11)

Sermon Recap

The middle of Psalm 19 is a love song to the Word of God, specifically God’s law. C.S. Lewis said, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” Most of us have never thought of composing a love song to the law of God. That’s exactly what David does. This passage is here to teach us to love God’s law.

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1. The Character of the Law

God’s law is a reflection of his character. This is why David says the law is 1) perfect, 2) sure, 3) right, 4) pure, 5) clean, 6) everlasting, and 7) true and righteous. When faced with the mirror of God’s law, we must admit that we are not good like God. The law shows us our need for grace. 

2. The Blessings of the Law

If you don’t know you’re sick, you don’t go to the doctor. If you don’t know you’re spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1), you won’t go God for forgiveness and life in Christ. The law: 1) revives the soul, 2) makes wise the simple, 3) rejoices the heart, and 4) enlightens the eyes. The law leads us to the gospel.

3. The Wonder of the Law

We think the law is there to ruin our fun. But is actually there to show us what the good life looks like. It isn’t like bricks and broccoli—useful nutritious. It’s like gold and honey. 

Cultural forces extol the alleged thrill of sexual escapades, the novelty of one-night stands and triumphs of unending libidinal conquests. What they can’t know is the unspeakable joy when a woman who’s slept beside you for 25 years rolls over in the morning and says, “I love you.” Imagine how mind-blowing that is: this woman who knows everything about you, whom you’ve disappointed a thousand times, is still here

Reflection and Discussion Questions

Head

  • What can the law do for us? What can’t it do for us? 

  • We often think the OT is about the law, and the NT is about the gospel. Read Psalm 103 and then read Matthew 5:17-48. Does this strict distinction (OT has law, NT has gospel) hold up? 

Heart

  • The law of God is like a mirror, showing us the ways we fail to measure up to his standard. Look again at Christ’s words in Matthew 5:17-48. Which of his commands have you broken in the last week or month? 

  • Read Isaiah 53:3-6. Jesus died to forgive the sins you’ve committed this month, this week, and this very day! Does that give you joy? Pray and ask him to make his grace come alive to you!

Hands

  • Choose one of Jesus’s commands in Matthew 5:17-48 that don’t make sense to you. Write it on a post-it and put it where you will see it. Ask God to show you the “honey” of it this week. 

  • Choose one of the 7 characteristics or 4 blessings of the law. Talk to God about it, and ask him to give you that characteristic or blessing this week. Then pay attention to see how he answers you!

Gravity & God’s Law (Psalm 19)

Sermon Recap

Listen to Week 1 and learn why we called this series Both Bibles.

The gospel makes very little sense in our culture. Saying “Jesus saves,” simply begs the question, “from what?” This is partly due to the fact that general revelation has been misunderstood in our day. Without an understanding of general revelation, special revelation won’t make any sense. We have to help people get the first in order to understand the second. 19th century theologian, B.B. Warfield wrote of how important each is to understanding the other:

[I]t is important that the two species or stages of revelation should not be set in opposition to one another…. They constitute together a unitary whole, and each is incomplete without the other.… Without special revelation, general revelation would be for sinful men incomplete and ineffective, and could issue… only in leaving them without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Without general revelation, special revelation would lack that basis in the fundamental knowledge of God as the mighty and wise, righteous and good, maker and ruler of all things, apart from which the further revelation of this great God’s interventions in the world for the salvation of sinners could not be either intelligible, credible or operative.

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1. Law of Nature

Psalm 19:1-6 is a celebration of the unbreakable natural law that God has put into creation. The sun is the most powerful force in our solar system, it is a “strong man” that “runs his course with joy” because God—through the law of gravity—has commanded it! Like gravity, God has placed a moral law into the heart of every person.

2. Law Breakers

Unlike the sun, we don’t obey the moral law, which is why David writes what he does in Psalm 19:12-14. C.S. Lewis put it this way:

[H]uman beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. [And] they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in. 

Our law breaking has caused a chain reaction in the universe that has spread brokenness all across it (Romans 8:19-22). The human race has gone off course, and the entire universe is following suit.

3. Law Keeper

David asks that God would “declare me innocent from hidden faults” (v.12). David is a law breaker; only a law keeper could be declared innocent. Jesus Christ is that Law Keeper who stood in our place, gave us his innocence and takes our guilt upon himself (2 Cor. 5:21).

Reflection and Discussion Questions

  1. What are some examples of the moral law that every person knows innately? Which of these would your neighbors agree on?

  2. Where else in the Bible is the idea of “natural law” taught?

  3. Why does death follow from breaking the moral law that God put into creation?

  4. Why does the rest of creation suffer from human beings breaking the moral law?

  5. Only Christ Jesus can declare us innocent (Ps. 19:12). Find a passage of Scripture that speaks to the way he makes us innocent before God. 

Bring It Home (tangible ways to live the truth daily)

  1. Listen for two people quarreling this week (children, neighbors, family members). What kinds of things do they say? Do you hear any appeals to the natural law?

  2. Take 5 minutes to listen to your conscience one day this week. What is it saying to you? Does it tell you to do things you don’t want to hear? Do you hear it convicting you of law breaking? 

God’s Forgotten Word (Psalm 19)

Why “Both Bibles?”

The short series we started this week in Psalm 19 derives from the way the passage transitions seamlessly from talking about God’s general revelation (the way he reveals himself in nature) in Ps. 19:1-6, to discussing God’s written Word in Ps. 19:7-11. The abruptness doesn’t disconnect these “Words,” but shows that they both reveal God (though in different ways). Theologians through the centuries have talked about the “two books” of God’s self-revelation, like the Belgic Confession does in Article 2:

We know Him [God] by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even his everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All which things are sufficient to convince men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation.

We often forget natural or general revelation in the church, focusing solely on the Bible The Bible is authoritative and infallible, and we should not forget that! Yet, God’s general revelation in nature is helpful and has much to teach us. We should see him in “Both Bibles.”

Sermon Recap

Psalm 19 has an abrupt transition from verse 6 to verse 7. One moment it speaks of the heavens above, the next it’s proclaiming the beauty of God’s Law. While this transition seems out of the blue, it isn’t. Psalm 19 is about God’s Word, written in the Bible and imprinted on creation. God’s self-revelation in creation is God’s Forgotten Word.

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1. God’s Word, God’s Initiative

God is like Jason Bourne: if he doesn’t want to be found, he won’t be (Isaiah 55:8-9). But he does want to be! Because of that, God reveals himself in creation. 

2. God’s Word, Written and Spoken

People will often oppose faith and reason or science and Christianity. But we should not accept this, because all truth is God’s truth. Human interpreters get God’s Word wrong. But God’s self-revelation is not wrong, either in creation or Scripture. 

3. God’s Word in Creation Reveals His Character (and Ours)

In Psalm 19, God’s creation reveals his power and glory. And general revelation (God revealing himself in nature) reveals our character too, as people who fall short and are accountable to that God (Romans 1:18-20).

4. God’s Word in Creation Reveals Our Need, But Can’t Meet It

If we’re honest, Psalm 19:12-14 is the right response for us in the face of God’s self-revelation. The heavens declare God’s law; the Scriptures declare the gospel of Jesus and meets our need for divine forgiveness. 

Reflection and Discussion Questions

  1. Is general revelation (God’s self-revelation in creation) a new concept for you? What other places in the Bible point to this idea?

  2. Why is it an act of God’s grace to us that he would reveal himself? What does grace mean? 

  3. Why is it tempting for us to oppose faith and reason, or science and Christianity? What are some examples of this in your own life or in our culture? Why should Christians never fear truth?

  4. What does nature reveals about God’s character? What does it reveal about yours? 

  5. Why is general revelation insufficient to bring a person salvation? 

  6. Why does the psalmist end on Psalm 19:12-14? What should this tell us about how we should approach God and think about ourselves? 

Bring It Home (tangible ways to live the truth daily)

  1. Find a beautiful spot in nature this week. Spend some time taking it in, and prayerfully ask this question: What does this place show about God’s character? Write down what you learn.

  2. When your neighbors outside the church talk about God or spiritual things, what do they say? What aspects of what they say are correct? Write them down! This is common ground we share with them! How does this support the idea that God reveals himself in nature?