Redemption Songs

In God's Time (Psalm 90)

Sermon Recap

Life gets so busy in the Bay Area that we often don’t take time to assess what it’s all for. We question what our purpose truly is, get disappointed by how mundane things are, and wonder if we’re really making any impact. This psalm challenges us to think about what it means to live faithfully in the face of the cold reality that we all one day will die.

1. Our Circumstance

Psalm 90 highlights the chasm between God and man. He is the eternal Creator and we are mortal creation. He transcends time while we are bound by it. If we are to have an honest assessment of our lives, we must first be oriented by these truths. Ultimately, death is where we all will end up which makes many of us wonder if anything we do matters.

2. Our Consequence

One of the big issues is we think death is the big problem when the real issue is sin. God’s wrath toward sin is manifested in death. Our culture tries to deal with this by either trying to excuse sin or escape it. Both attempts fail because they try to alter the character of an unchanging God to work around us. Instead, what we really need is to see what God has done about our sin.

3. Our Confidence

Thank God this psalm doesn’t end at v.12. It would be so hopeless! Instead, Moses prays that God would display his work and glorious power. He was eyewitness to it in the Exodus, which events all pointed forth to our Messiah, Jesus. In him, God accomplished his greatest work and displayed his most glorious power. By faith in him, our lives find the significance we long for and can live with the confidence we need.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. What do you think it means to live a life of significance? To have purpose in everything you do? How do you know you’re living consistently that way?

  2. Find all the ways in which this psalm highlights the differences between us and God. How do you experience these differences in your day-to-day life?

  3. What are the ways you tend to excuse away your sin or escape it? Why doesn’t it work?

  4. How does Jesus display the work and glorious power of God? How have you seen it at work in your life?

  5. What do you think v.12 means in actual practice; ”So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom?”

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Listen to God (Psalm 81)

Sermon Recap

This might be the most important psalm of the Psalter. It describes a time central to Israel’s holy calendar, sits at the center of the Psalter’s structure, and has a theme that is at the heart of Israel’s spiritual life. It gives us much to reflect on as we begin a new year.

1. God Listens to Us

Before God even calls us to listen to him, he already is listening to us. The first half of the psalm actually focuses on all the way God has listened to us and responded in kind. It reminds us that we are in relationship with the Creator of all things and that our prayers never fall on deaf ears.

2. We Must Listen to God

We have a responsibility to listen to God for our own good. Romans 10:17 reminds us that faith for us comes from hearing God’s Word. Listening and reflecting on all the ways God has delivered us and warns us of disobedience helps us to follow him in worship and faith.

3. We Don’t Listen Well

The problem with all this though is we’re not very good listeners. We’d much rather complain or listen to our counsel. Israel has countless examples of doing this and suffering the consequences of it. If we take careful stock of our lives, we can probably highlight ways we’ve done the same.

4. Jesus Listened to God

Jesus listened to the Father perfectly in his life and died our death due to our sinful disobedience. In Jesus, we don’t merely have a moral example to follow; we have a Savior who becomes the one we can be in relationship with, who listens to us and speaks to us so we might listen, learn, and live.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. Have you ever had a time where you doubted that God was even listening to you? Why? How did you handle that period of life?

  2. Do you spend as much time listening to God as you do talking to him? Is your relationship with him a two-way conversation or more one-sided? What would it look like for it to be more balanced?

  3. Are you more prone to complaint or following your own counsel? Have there been times where you’ve seen that hurt you more than help?

  4. How does Jesus help us listen to God the way God desires? How might you grow in listening to God in 2019?

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Christ Our Priest (Psalm 110)

Sermon Recap

The concept of a priest has changed a lot in today’s culture. Most people learn about what they do from movies and television rather than actual experience. It’s even odder to envision the role of priests in the Old Testament. Our psalm today is a Davidic song that foreshadowed a priest nobody in Israel’s context could comprehend but would become our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

1. We All Need a Priest

Christmas is a time of year where the holiday messages conflict with struggles that fill many of our hearts. To deal with this dissonance, many of us look to secular priests to intercede for us. For some, it’s the bartender, for others, it’s the yoga instructor, for others, it’s our own children. King David recognized his need for a priest, different and greater than the ones that existed in his day.

2. We All Need a Perfect Priest

The problem is most of the secular priests we seek out aren’t perfect enough for us. They can never truly satisfy our need for meaning, hope, and purpose. David sensed this in his own life. This is why he prayed for a priest in the order of Melchizedek, one who would also be a king who would eternally mediate for his people.

3. We Need Jesus Our Priest

Jesus fulfills David’s prophecy in our psalm. He is able to be our perfect priest because he is without sin, with no beginning nor end, eternally interceding for us at the right hand of God. He is the only priest who became the perfect sacrifice for us. This is why he satisfies the longing of our hearts to find peace for our anxieties, hope in our difficulties, and joy in our sadness.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. When you think of a priest today, what do you think of? How different is that from the image of the Old Testament priest?

  2. Who are your secular priests? Who do you search out and go to when you feel guilty, sad, or broken? Who do you go to in order to find comfort and peace?

  3. Why do secular priests fail us? Why can they never truly fulfill what we need them to do?

  4. Why does it matter that Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek rather than the normal Old Testament priests we read about? What differences are there?

  5. Why do we need Christ to be our priest? How different are our lives when we look to him to intercede?

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Christ Our Life (Psalm 16)

Sermon Recap

The human mortality rate is 100%. Every last one of us will die one day. But Psalm 16 says that that is not the last word on us. Psalm 16 says that there is hope of resurrection for all of us through Jesus.

1. Prayer

Everyone prays at the holidays. We pray when we ask one another for presents! A prayer is simply a request, asking for something I can’t get on my own. Psalm 16:1 is King David’s request: “Preserve me.” Just like God preserved Joseph and all his people through him (Genesis 45:7-8), David (and Jesus after him) could trust that God would preserve his people.

2. Joy

This psalm focuses on true joy, rooted in eternal things. Temporary things can give happiness in the moment; only eternal things can give true and lasting joy. This Psalm finds the God of joy in 1) Suffering (Psalm 16:2); 2) Community (Psalm 16:3); 3) Material blessing (Psalm 16:5-6); and 4) Wisdom (Psalm 16:7-8). None of these things give true joy. All of them point the way to the God of joy.

3. Resurrection

The first Christian sermon ever preached (by the Apostle Peter) quoted this psalm to show that the Old Testament predicted that Christ Jesus would rise again from the dead (Acts 2:23-32). Things in this world can show us God, but they aren’t the path to God. No, the “path to life” (Psalm 16:11) is Jesus himself, who came to earth at the first Christmas, who died for our sins, and who rose again from the dead to give us life eternal.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. What do you usually pray for? Why? How do your prayers compare to this Psalm?

  2. What is your refuge, the place or person or thing you go for safety and security? Is it God? When was a time you went to him for refuge?

  3. How does suffering point the way to God and his joy? How do people in your life point to God and his joy? How do material blessings? How does wisdom point to him?

  4. Why doesn’t that path to God begin with us? Where does the path to God start? Why?

  5. What would it mean if God “abandoned” Jesus’s “soul to Sheol” (v.10)? What hope do we get from knowing that he didn’t?

  6. In what way is Jesus the “path to life” (Ps. 16:11)? What are the “pleasures forevermore” at God’s right hand (v.11)? Knowing that, how should we live?

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Christ Our Sacrifice (Psalm 22)

Sermon Recap

In Luke 2:34-35, Simeon tells Mary, Jesus’s mother, that “a sword will pierce” her soul because of her child. Psalm 22 foretells that anguish in detail. It described the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins of his people.

1. The Abandoned Son

In Mark 15:34-37, we hear Jesus praying Psalm 22 which he is hanging on the cross. While many people have rejected God through the centuries, only Jesus was abandoned by him. But God abandoned Jesus, not because Christ had sinned, but because he took our sin on himself so he could atone for it.

2. The Cost of Atonement

Atonement means, literally, at-one-ment. We ran from God and rejected him. Christ died so that the hostility our sin created could be put to an end. His sacrifice was the costliest one ever given, as St. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:18-19: “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” God paid the highest price possible for you, to be at-one with you. That means he will never abandon you.

3. The Hope of Faith

Faith looks back and knows that “he has done it” (Psalm 22:31); or as Jesus said in John 19:31, “It is finished.” Knowing that Christ has atoned for us is the foundation of our faith. And faith produces hope (Psalm 22:26-27) through any trial in this life, which, in turn, produces praise and worship in our hearts to God (Psalm 22:22-23).

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. Have you ever felt abandoned by someone? How did it feel?

  2. Jesus lived his whole life in perfect, loving relationship with God the Father. Then, on the cross, he was forsaken by God when he became sin for us. What do you think that was like?

  3. How could David describe Jesus’s crucifixion so accurately 1,000 years before it happened?

  4. Psalm 22:4 says that God is “enthroned on the praises” of his people. If God were to make a throne from the praise that you give him, what kind of throne would it be? Why?

  5. What does it mean to you that God paid way more for your atonement than he paid for anything else in the universe? We are surprised when a painting is sold for $450m. Are we shocked that God would pay an even higher price to save us—the blood of his own Son?

  6. If God has paid the highest price in the universe to redeem you, do you think he will ever leave you or forsake you?

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Christ Our King (Psalm 2)

Sermon Recap

Psalm 2 foretells of the coming Messiah, the Christ who would be God’s King over his people.

1. You Need a Better King

Psalm 2:1-3 tells of a world that is determined to have a king other than God, a world in rebellion against him. Whatever we love most in the world is our king. And you serve what you love. The things other than God that we set on the throne of our heart will ultimately hurt us. But God promises a better King.

2. Christ Is the Better King

Psalm 2:6-9 shows that God’s King would be identified with him. His throne is on Zion, where God’s temple was. He would be called God’s Son. Christ is the better King. Because he provides the peace that no other king in this world can provide.

3. Take Refuge in the King

What you love gives you peace. If Christ is our King, if he rules our heart, we are promised peace in this passage. Psalm 2:12 invites us to take refuge in Christ. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and he alone can bear the full weight of our hope, expectation, longing, and desire and give us peace in return.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. Psalm 2:1-3 describes an entire world in rebellion against God. How have you contributed to rebellion in the world against God?

  2. If it’s true that you serve what you love, what are you most tempted to serve besides Christ? Why?

  3. How is Christ a better King than whatever you are tempted to love instead?

  4. Christ Jesus, God’s King, died for your rebellion so you don’t have to. How does this demonstrate his goodness? How does the cross and resurrection prove he is more powerful than any earthly ruler?

  5. Where do you look for peace besides Christ? Why won’t it provide ultimate peace?

  6. In what way do you need to take refuge in Christ today? How will you do that?

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