Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another, through worship, by the Word, to the world.
Good evening. I am not Pastor Skip Heitzig. I know-- I know. I play him on TV, though, so-- just kidding. Pastor Skip and Lenya are away for a short hiatus. They want to send their love and let each and every one of you know that you are missed already. They miss you guys already.
But tonight, you're stuck with me. My name is--
Oh. Wow, I drop glasses, I get a cheer. That's pretty good. You guys are all right. I'm Brian Nicks, and I'm one of the staff pastors here. And as--
And I have the privilege of teaching the Bible tonight. And really, that's why we're here, folks. We're here to worship the Lord and hear from Him through His Word. So we're going to study tonight. So I hope you have your thinking cap on. Let's pray.
Heavenly Father, we do thank you for this opportunity to gather here tonight as your people. We ask that you would be glorified in and through Your Word. We are a people gathered who take seriously your Word.
And we ask that You would just now open it up to us, and that you would speak to our hearts. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.
If you're over 40, and looking out here, there are some of us who are, you remember a TV show game called The Newlywed Game. Yep. It was the second-longest running game show on ABC. And the host, Bob Eubanks, had newlywed couples on, and he wanted to ask questions to determine how well they knew each other.
And what he found is that some couples knew each other not very well. And other couples knew each other too well. It turned out to be a pretty funny show. Well, tonight we're going to play a mental version of this game show.
So I want you to think of your spouse. If you're not married, a relative or friend or a significant other. I'm going to ask a question, and I want you to [INAUDIBLE] answer in your mind. Don't shout it-- Test. Don't shoot it out. Can you hear me now?
Ah, maybe I should stand over here. Don't shout it out, just keep it to yourself. So, you ready? Here we go. What is your significant other's favorite song? It's going to get more in detail here. Just hold on.
What is your significant other's favorite meal? What is your significant other's ring size-- ring? Ready? What color, or tie, or dress would your significant other prefer? Hm? Here we go.
What is your significant other's blood type? Yeah, you, too. What size hat would you buy your significant other? If your significant other could do anything for one day, what would it be?
Two more. What is your significant other's average blood pressure? And finally, what is your significant other's favorite flower or tree? Of course, I could go on and on. But how'd you do?
Yeah, 100%, some over here. 50%, some over here. We're doing OK. Some of us are going, I'm OK. Others are going, not so well. But, you know, as funny and as fund this can be in trying to learn about other individuals, I have some sad news to convey that isn't really so funny.
When it comes to our true love, the Lord, the one who created us, many people know very little. We may know a lot about other human beings, but when it comes to the Lord, we know very little.
How do I know this? The answer is simple-- biblical illiteracy-- biblical illiteracy. You see, God's self-disclosure of His nature is found in His revealed word, the Bible. And when the bride of Christ-- that's you and I, Christians-- don't know the Bible or biblical theology, we lack a proper understanding of God.
Think of it this way. Our understanding of the truths in the Bible is a measuring rod to our understanding of the God who inspired the Bible. Were our knowledge of the Bible is insufficient, our understanding of God will be deficient.
The Bible, folks, is God's revealed Word. This is where we find out who He is His nature. And when we don't seek to comprehend the Bible, we will not apprehend God. To demonstrate my point, here's some biblical illiteracy facts.
Listen to these. According to the Barna Group, 60% of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments. Only 2 of 10 people participating in a Gallup survey correctly identified who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Folks, that's 80% that didn't know that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.
And some of you may be saying, Brian, Brian, that's people in the world. Of course they're not going to know their Bible. What would you expect? Not too fast, because listen to this next one.
The Pew Research Center said that 23% of Christians didn't read a book of the Bible last year. And even more, Lifeway Research found that only 45% of those who attend church regularly read the Bible more than once a week. So it's not just those out there, it's those in here as well that are not grasping and getting to scripture.
Here's how George Gallup summarized the problem. "Americans revere the Bible," he says, "but by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates." And so, folks, I contend that because Christians don't know their Bible, they don't have a full-orbed understanding of the God of the Bible.
To put it in the context of the Newlywed Game, we don't know our bride very well. So what's the solution? The answer is simple. We need to start reading, studying, meditating on scripture, allowing God's truth to tether us to the God of truth.
We need to learn from the Lord so we can lean on scripture as he leads us through life. We need to be people of the book. So tonight, we're going to jump start this process and look at some characteristics of God, some of His nature found in scripture. And to do this, I invite you to turn to Psalm 139.
If you're new here, the Psalms are kind of right smack dab in the middle of the Bible. Psalm 139, the Psalm of David. David wrote this. And tonight, I'm going to divide Psalm 139 into two major sections.
The first section deals with three characteristics of God's person. David is looking out to God. And in the second section, we're going to find David looking into himself. And we're going to apply this to how believers should conduct themselves in response to God's power. So characteristics and how we're to conduct ourselves in response to who God is.
The BBC News states that the sum total of all human knowledge-- and this includes written, photographic, speeches, everything, is roughly 250 exabytes. Most of you are going what-- well what's an exabyte? Hard to put your head around.
To put this practically, that's about 1.2 billion hard drives. So if we had 1.2 billion hard drives in this sanctuary, all the world's knowledge could fit on those hard drives. Sounds like a lot of information, correct? I have news for you. To God, this is nothing-- absolutely nothing.
Why? Because God is omniscient. He knows everything, past, present, and future. There is no storage system capable of holding His knowledge. It is infant in scope. Now, listen here.
God not only knows the actual, what truly will happen, but he knows the possible, what could happen. And this is important. I don't-- right there, it doesn't like me. Why this is important is because it's showing that God is all-knowing.
So think if you're in a fork in the road, and there's a left way and there's a right way. And let's say I come to this fork in the road and I determine to go left. That is actual knowledge. I actually go there. God knows that.
He knows that I'm going to do that. He knows everything that's before, behind in my present condition. God not only knows the actual, he knows the possible. He knows that if I were to take the right road-- He knows that as well. His knowledge is infinite in nature.
And so here, in Psalm 139, David recognizes that. And under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he gives us a glimpse into God's all-knowing nature. So let's read the first six verses together.
It says, "Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down. You are acquainted with all my ways, for there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, oh Lord, you know it all together. You have hedged me behind and before. You laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it."
I want you to notice several key words there. That word search, it means to examine intimately. That word know, in Hebrew's Yada, it means to know by observation to care for and to instruct. That word there, understand, is [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH], and it means to attend, or consider, or to discern.
The word comprehend is to diffuse with knowledge, to have a complete understanding. And acquainted is to be familiar with. My point is this. God knows David very well. And if God knows David very well, God knows you very well. All these words I just highlighted describe God's perfect knowledge of people in action.
David says God knows him in verse 1. God knows David's mind and thoughts in verse 2 and 3. God knows David's actions in verse 3 and 4. God is in complete knowledge, not just of David, but of all of us. God has infinite, complete, 100% knowledge.
And folks, I don't know about you, but when I think about God's omniscience, His all-knowing nature, this could either comfort me, or it could concern me, depending on my walk. It could comfort me in that, if I'm going through trials and tribulations, God knows it.
He knows that you're going through that. He knows your need when you're not able to pay the mortgage. He knows your need when your child is hungry. He knows your need if you have health problems. He knows it. So it's comforting to know that God knows. But it's also concerning. For those whose walk is not where it should be, God knows that as well.
So God's knowledge is like a two-edged sword. It could comfort, or it could cause concern. And without knowledge, we need to be people who, like David, just say, your knowledge is so high. It's so mighty. The only thing I can do is praise you, Lord, and marvel at what he knows.
So the first characteristic is God's omniscience. According to the best scientific calculations, the most prominent element in the universe is hydrogen. Any scientists out there? Good. No one can check me on this.
Some scientists have tried to give a numerical guess for hydrogen's presence in the universe. And guess what they've come up with? 10 to the 80 power-- that's 10 with 80 zeros behind it. So they say that this, 10 to 80 power is the most present element in the universe.
But what's interesting about hydrogen, if you were to take all the atoms found in the universe, and compressed them, the volume of all hydrogen atoms would just be as large as a star-- Beetlejuice. My point is this. Even the most commonly-present element in our universe, which is hydrogen, is limited.
But according to scripture, God is not. He is omnipresent. He is everywhere, unlimited in His nature. Omnipresence is a characteristic of God that flows from His nature. Since God is infinite in Himself, there was nowhere which he can't be. God is everywhere, present.
The literal definition of omni, omni means all, or every. Present is present. So God is all-present. But there's a few things we need to clarify when we're talking about God's omnipresence. That doesn't mean that God is His creation.
Very important that you guys get this, because so much in today's world is trying to tell you that God is this tree, or God is the bird, or God is this. That is not biblical Christianity. That's what we call pantheism. Biblical Christianity says that God is present, but He is not the tree, He is not the bird.
So we need to get that distinguishing fact out. Nor is God one part here and one part there. It's not like God saying, hey, listen, I'm going to be in Mars this week, so it's going to take me a while to get back to Earth, so give me some time. That's not the case at all.
God, in theological terms-- now, listen to this, because it almost sounds like a contradiction-- God is simple. God is unified. He's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He's a unified whole. God can't be divided.
Part of God can't be in some other Milky Way over there, and then, in our Milky Way here. He's not divided. He's whole. He's one. But he's present all over the place.
This is mind boggling, ladies and gentlemen. We can't fully comprehend it. We could apprehend it because the scripture talks about it. And in verse 7 through 12 of Psalm 139, David shows us this important text, this truth. Let's read it together.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit, or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascended into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Hell, or Sheol, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me. And Your right hand shall hold me."
"If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You. But the night shines as the day. The darkness and the light are both alike to You."
I want you to notice three aspects that David addresses in this section of scripture. And all of them relate to God's on omnipresence. The first is God is present in personal interactions. David says in verse 7, where can I go from you? Where can I flee from your presence?
We can't. It's a rhetorical question. There's no where David could go. So God is with us in personal interactions. He's with us in our humanity, so to say. But that's not the only place God is with us.
Secondly, God is in the spiritual realm. We learn this in verse 8. David says, "If I ascend into Heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Hell, behold, you are there. By the way, that word for Hell is Sheol, and it means the place of the dead.
So David is communicating that in the spiritual realm, God is there. God is in the personal realm, with humans, but God is in the spiritual realm as well. And then, the third place David highlights is found in verses 9 through the end. And it's the geographical, or the physical realm.
It says, "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there, Your hand shall lead me. And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day. The darkness and light are both alike to You."
So physically, God is there. He's there in the day and in the morning, night. He's there at the sea. God is everywhere in the universe. So He's with us personally, He's with us spiritually, He's with us physically or geographically. God is everywhere.
One quick word on Hell, because I get this question a lot from various people throughout. A lot of people say, well what is Hell? If God is everywhere, is God in Hell? Is God in Hell?
Well, theoretically, God can be in Hell. But most theologians would categorize or define Hell as the place God chooses or elects not to be. That's what makes it Hell. Hell is the lack of the presence of God. Think about that.
God's presence is with us now. We see His goodness in love for one another, love for our children, love for people. We see God's goodness in His creation in the physical world. We anticipate that spiritual union with God. But Hell, God has elected not to be there. It's a scary thought.
And for people going to Hell, just think about that for a moment. God, in all His attributes, everything that is good, true, and pure about this universe will not be there.
But interestingly enough, David points out that God's in Hell. But really, the translation is Sheol, and it's the place of the abode, the place of death. And David is using this metaphor to say that God is in Heaven, He's in life, and He's in death. God is everywhere. But Hell, it appears, will be the one place God will elect not to be.
So the point is this. There is nowhere where God is not excluding Hell. God is at every point in space, but he's not limited to space. God is not His creation. God is at every point in the universe but is not limited by the universe.
And again, depending on your walk, this can be comforting, or it could be concerning. God is present with you in those trials and tribulations. God is present in hard times. But God is also present when you're doing things you shouldn't be doing.
It's not like you're looking around. I don't see God. I'm just going to continue to do what I'm going to do. No. Not only does God have pure knowledge of it, he's actually there. Think about that. God is there in those times.
So the second characteristic is God's omnipresence. Now, listen to this. The average human adult has 206 bones, 640 muscles, 100 billion neurons in the brain, 30 trillion cells, and 7 octillion atoms-- yep, that's 7 billion, billion, billion, atoms.
The human body is the most complex creation in the known universe. It's absolutely magnificent. But when you add all the other known aspects of the universe-- gravity, and space, and time, and trees, and birds, and everything else, and you put it together, the universe is mind boggling.
It's a spectacle beyond awe. It's something we're still trying to figure out. Scientists spend their life trying to figure out God's handiwork. But guess what? The Bible says that God created it all. And not only that, He brought it into existence by His what? Very word. Now, that's power, folks.
And we call this power God's omnipotence. God's omnipotence is that it is unlimited power. God is all-powerful. And for some reason, I keep wanting to say that if there's one area tonight that I want you to pay close attention to, it's this.
Because this is the one area of God's attributes, of His nature, of His character, that you will get challenged on, over and over again. And I'm going to give you some examples here in a minute. So pay close attention to this attribute, this characteristic of God, of His omnipotence, His all-power, His unlimited power.
By the way, God's omnipotence means that God can do whatever He wants to do. Nothing is impossible with God. God's power is unlimited by anything else. God needs no permission from someone. He doesn't need to go, you know, I need to do this. No, God could just do it, no force acting outside of His nature.
He doesn't need gravity. He doesn't need any of these other things. God is all-powerful. That's really what it means. And here, in Psalm 139, David reflects on that as well. So verses 13 through 16, let's read it together.
"David says, 'You formed my inward parts. You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book, they were written, the days fashioned for me, when, as yet, there was none of them."
Again, notice some key words. That word formed, it means to erect or create. That word covered means to entwine. Works are actions, activities, the act of making. Frame is this idea of someone creating with power and strength. The word made, there, is [NON-ENGLISH], and it the means to make and fashion.
Rot is a word used to embroider, this idea that God is weaving the human person. Fashioned is like a potter molding clay. The point is in all of this is that God is the great Creator. He is the Great Architect. He's the Great Artist.
He created, not only the most complex known thing in the universe-- you and me, the human body, the human brain-- but He created everything else. His power is unlimited. So our response should be like David. Marvelous are your works.
But it's here, folks, like just warned you, that you're going to be challenged. You're going to be challenged. I was challenged by this just this last week. So there's two things you need to know in regard to God's omnipotence.
First-- pay close attention to this-- God's "omnipotence does not mean that God must do all things that He can." Let me repeat that again, 'cause you could repeat this when someone asks you this question.
"Omnipotence does not mean that God must do all things that He can. It simply means that He has the power to do so." So here's where the rubber meets the road. Can God stop bad things from happening? Sure He can-- He can. But for some reason, He's restricted His power in certain areas.
And that, folks, is a tough question-- why is this happening to me? Why did this happen to so-and-so? I was at Ashlynn Mike's vigil last week. Ashlynn, if you recall, was the little girl up in Northern New Mexico who was abducted, along with her brother.
She was raped. And then, the gentleman took the carjack and bashed her head in-- killing her, murdered her, 11 years old, beautiful little girl.
So I'm sitting at this vigil with hundreds of other people at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. And I'm looking around, and there's tears. And I heard it several times. Why did this happen to Ashlen? Why not me?
I even heard little conversations, as I walked around, of people saying, I don't know. I'm having trouble believing in a god that would allow this. So, folks, it's important to understand this biblical principle. Yes, God is all power, but God doesn't always do what He can do.
So what do we tell people in situations like this? What do we tell people who have lost children? I have. I've buried a kid. I watched a child go in the ground. Why? The answer is this, folks. I don't know.
But let me say something about the beauty of us being people of the book. Because when we turn to the book, we find answers. We may not know the ultimate reason why God has restricted His power in some areas. But what we know is this. God is good.
We lean on what we know in lieu of what we don't know. And what we do know is that God is good. And God is working all things together for good. Romans 8:28 says that. God is working all things together for good.
This word, work together, is an interesting word in Greek. It's [NON-ENGLISH]. And it's a confluence. Think of it as a confluence of things coming together. To give you a mental picture, think of our Sandia Mountains. And not that we have a lot of rivers on them, but think of rivers, or tributaries, or small little bodies of water that are all coming down the mountain.
And then, they collect in a larger body of water, let's say a pond. And then that pond goes down into a larger body of water, which is a lake, and then that lake makes it way through rivers and such to the ocean. That's the word Paul is using in Romans 8. God is [NON-ENGLISH]. He's working all these things together.
These little things, throughout life, throughout your life, throughout my life, throughout history, each one of these, He's bringing them together for good, for the larger purpose. So though God may restrict His power at times, He may not act upon His, we know that God is good and that He has a purpose for doing so.
So the first thing we need to know about God's omnipotence is it does not mean that God must do all things He can do, it simply means He has the power to do them. Secondly-- now, listen to this one-- "God is free to limit the use of His power but is not free to limit the extent of His power."
What this means is that God knows all things and could act in a powerful way if He so desired but does not have to do so. God can restrict His power when needed. We're in a political season, right? And I know some of us are probably going, ooh. Who do I vote for?
Lord, it's not turning out how I thought it would turn out. And then you kind of look up and you go, God, are you involved in any of this? I mean, are you aware of what's going on? I mean, should I write you a letter or send you an email? I mean, Lord, come on, help us out here!
No, God knows what's going on. God's not getting communications every day from Michael the archangel. Lord, did you know this? No, God has absolute, complete knowledge. He's omniscient. He knows everything, the actual and the possible.
So again, we're back to that, well, so, God, on the bigger scope-- personally, we understand that you're working together for good. But collectively big? I mean, why are You restricting Your power in that way as well? Well, again, back to Romans 8:28.
We don't understand how God is weaving the fabric of history into this beautiful tapestry. We know the ending, because we have the Book of Revelation. But all of the details, all the little strands of yarn, all the details it takes to create that beautiful tapestry, or that beautiful rug, we don't know. But God knows. He sees the picture.
Another mental image that might help you is think of a wonderful symphony. You know, symphonies never just start with a big bang and two seconds later they're over. No, symphony music, it starts, it works its way up.
It may start with, what, a low bass over here, and you start hearing a bass. And then over here, you start hearing a flute. And then out there somewhere you hear a cello. And then, a little bit at a time, all these instruments are playing together. They're coming together. And then they culminate in this magnificent, this majestic melody that moves you. And you go, that is such a beautiful song. That's how it is with God.
Bass may be doing their own thing over here. The flutes may be singing over there. Cellos and the bassoon and the oboes, and throughout history, all of these instruments have been playing, and shouting out, and proclaiming. But God is taking all of these instruments and He's making a symphony from it.
God is the Great Composer. And because He's good, we can trust Him. But why do we know He's good? It comes from His word. It's imperative, ladies and gentlemen, that we learn from God's Word how God has revealed Himself.
Because I'll tell you what, the problem of evil and why God restricts His power is a tough one. It's a tough one that we get asked day in, day out. It's the number one problem facing biblical theologians. But we could turn to scripture, and we could give reasonable answers that God has restricted His power, but He's good, and He's working all things together for good.
So those are three characteristics-- God's omnipotence, God's omniscience, and God's what?
Omnipresence, good. And by the way, these are just three of many of God's characteristics, or His attributes. So we've looked at the character-- the characteristics of God. Now, let's take it inward. Let's look at our conduct, how we are to respond to God in light of God's character.
We're moving out from God, and we're moving in to us. And we're briefly going to hit on four areas-- praise, justice, weakness, and guidance. The first one is that we're called to practice praise. And that's found in verse 17 and 18. Let's read it together.
"How precious are Your thoughts to me, O, God? How great is the sum of them? If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I am awake, I am still with You."
I love that word precious. It's [NON-ENGLISH] in Hebrew, and it means valuable or prized. When's the last time you stopped and said, Lord, I just prize you? You're valuable. I just want to praise you, Lord, for who you are, that you're all-knowing, that you're all-powerful, that You're present, You're here, You know my condition.
When's the last time you've stopped and said, God, I praise You. You're prized. But then, notice what David says. When I awake, I am still with You. When's the last time you sought God's presence-- I mean truly sought God's presence in your life?
We take it for granted, don't we? Sure, we know God's here. But when is the last time you said, God, I know You're here, and I just want to sit at Your feet and hear from You?
There's a classic book called The Practice of the Presence I God. And it sounds mighty and lofty, and you think, boy, some great theologian must have wrote that book, The Practice of the Presence of God. No.
A great theologian-- well, he could be considered great to a certain extent. But a great theologian didn't write that. A dishwasher wrote that book. See, Brother Lawrence worked in the monastery. And his job was not to pray with the monks, and to study scripture with the theologians, and learn all these high and lofty things. His job was to wash the dishes.
And he wrote about finding God in the details of washing dishes. And he was consumed with God's presence in even the smallest of things. And the only reason why we know about this is because he wrote letters to a friend describing how much he enjoyed God's presence while he washed the dishes.
And the book is called The Practice of the Presence of God, and it's a spiritual classic. And the reminder is, even in the smallest things in our life, God is there. We need to recognize it. We need to prize that and say, how precious is that, Lord? We need to practice praise.
But the second thing we need to do is seek justice. And you're going have to follow me here on this one because some, when we read this, are going to say, yeah, all right. That's good. We get to hurt people. I like this one. Not so fast, folks. Let's read verses 19 through 22.
It says, "David writes, 'Oh, that you would slay the wicked, oh God. Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men, for they speak against You wickedly. Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, oh Lord, who hates you? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred. I count them my enemies."
Some of us are going, yeah, I liked that one. I liked that one a lot. But folks, I need to remind you of something. In the new covenant, as Jesus' followers, people are not our enemy. Jesus actually said love your enemy.
So how do we take something like this and put it in the context of the New Testament? Well, here's how you do it. You apply it to sin and to Satan. Your enemy, ladies and gentlemen, they are not people-- not the Muslims living next door, or the Jehovah Witness, or the atheist. Those aren't your enemies.
Your enemy is sin, and its source, Satan. So how do we combat sin and Satan in this world? We bring in God's justice. We speak God's truth into situations in life. We speak truth into terror. We live faithfully in the midst of falsehood.
To put it in layman's term, we need to fight for what is right. And that takes different forms. For some of you, it may be helping the homeless. One of our pastors here recently talked to me. And I so respect him for it.
He said, you know, Brian, God's really just calling me. I need to get involved in the political sphere. And I said, that's awesome. Because that's speaking justice, God's truth, into this world.
Some of you may go down to Joy Junction and help the homeless. Praise the Lord. Some of you may go street witnessing in Knob Hill. Praise the Lord. The point is not what you do, it's that you do. And when you do, you are bringing God's justice into a situation.
That is how you combat sin and Satan in this world. People aren't your enemy. Satan is your enemy. And the only way you're going to combat Satan is with the truth of God. That's the truth. That is the truth. So we're to practice praise. We're to seek justice.
Thirdly, we're to understand our weakness. And we find this in verse 23 through 24:8. Let's read it together. David writes, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties and see if there is any wicked in me."
David is basically saying, you know what, God, you know me. You're omnipresent, you're omnipowerful, you're omniscient. You know everything. You know me. You know that I am a what? A sinner. Try me.
And inherent in this is the understanding of knowledge that we're not God. We are foible people. We're frail. We're but dust, the Bible says. And it causes us to recognize our condition, but also to recognize daily that we need God's forgiveness.
John reminds us that he who says he is without sin is what? A liar. You're a liar if you say you're without sin. It's better just to say, I'm a sinner, and I need a savior who's going to cleanse me, day in and day out. Jesus told us to pray this in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6.
"Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." So we need to understand our weakness. And we need to understand that God, who is good, will forgive us. Psalm 103:8 reminds us, the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
So we need to understand our weakness. The fourth and final thing we can glean about our conduct, of how we're to respond to this awesome and mighty God, is found in verse 24, the second half.
David writes, "And lead me in the way everlasting." That word lead is [NON-ENGLISH] in Hebrew. It means to guide and govern. Do you know what the word govern means? It means to be conformed to the principles and order of something-- in this case, God-- to be conformed to the principles as set out in scripture.
To be conformed and ordered by what is written in this book, to have God lead you is to have the Holy Spirit speaking through this book so that you can be a witness to this world, allowing God to lead you. Rely on God's guidance.
So the four things, our conduct, our responses to practice praise, seek justice, understand our weakness, and rely on God's guidance. In the famous musical, The King and I, there's a character named Anna. She was a British schoolteacher. She moved to Siam to help the King educate his family.
But things don't go as she plans. Problems start to arise. She butts heads with the king. And then, in a key moment of the song-- I mean, in the play, she sings a song-- and you guys know the song, Getting to Know You.
(SINGING) Getting to know you, getting to-- you know the song. Some of the lyrics read, in part, "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you, getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy when I am with you, getting to know what to say."
Ladies and gentlemen, like Anna, we need to get to know, not each, as important as that is, but get to know the true King-- not the King of Siam but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It's important-- sure, you can clap for that one.
Our life should be about getting to know the One who created us, cares for us, and keeps us in His love. Let your song be a love song to the Lord, the King of the universe. And maybe you're here tonight and you don't know the King of the universe. Well, then your song would be one of an invitation.
You were just simply, in the quietness of your heart, say, Lord, you are powerful. You're mighty. I am a sinner. I need you. And then you would receive Jesus into your life. You would confess and invite Him to inhabit, to take up residence in your life. And in a nanosecond, He will do so. And you will be saved.
But maybe you're a Christian here today in one of those camps. You need to be comforted, or you need to be concerned. For those of you who are concerned with God's all-knowing nature, that He's present with you in things you shouldn't be doing, that He knows it, and that He's powerful, what your song should be is one of forgiveness, of repentance.
Lord, forgive me. I need to get back in a right walk with you. I need to practice praise. I need to seek justice. I need to understand my condition. I need to rely and let You lead me by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And then, there's some of you tonight who are comforted by these. Your walk is strong. You're seeking the Lord. You're doing these things that we highlighted. Well, my challenge for you, then, is to get to know God even more. Don't stop studying His Word. Don't stop delving into the depths of His nature.
Make it a point to study deeper, find commentaries, seek out pastors, ask them what books that you should be reading. Learn all you can about God. A few years back, I wrote a little booklet. Pastor Chuck Smith and I wrote it together, it was called, Line Upon Line.
And the stuff I wrote, who cares about. But what's great about this booklet is the resources given at the end. We lay out all these resources on different books of the Bible, theological works, counseling works. Get to know that God that we're reading about. And let others help you through resources.
So those who find comfort in this, mine is a challenge to you to dig deeper, to learn more, to go further with the Lord. I don't know about you, but I like to watch those nature programs on television. And for some sick reason, I'm fascinated by the killing scenes.
It's true. I think we all. You know, when the lion starts chasing after the antelope, and you're going, oh, is the antelope going to get away, or what's going to happen here? And then, the lion catches the antelope, and he devours it. And he feasts on it. And then other lions in the pride come together, and they're all feasting.
And then you see that moment when the lion's just kind of there, and he growls. Rawr. It's not a growl of safety, of leaving him alone. It's a growl of satisfaction. He has so devoured that. He's feasted on it. He's shared it with his family. That's a growl of satisfaction.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we're to be like lions. We're to be like people that so feast on scripture that we're so full, that we're so satisfied, the only thing we could do is growl. Make a noise. And if you don't believe me, Isaiah says it as such. Listen to this, and I close with this. This is Isaiah in Chapter 31.
He says, "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses." Isaiah's saying, you don't have to rely on the Egyptians, the wisdom of this world. You don't have to rely on materialism. You don't have to rely on the power, or the knowledge that people think they have in this world.
Isaiah continues on. "The Egyptians who trust in chariots, the power and the political might because they are many, and in the horsemen, the military might because they are very strong but who do not look to the Holy One." Isaiah says, "Nor do they seek the Lord."
And then, he brings it down a notch. "Yet, he is wise and will bring disaster and will not call back his words." The Lord will have no competition. The Lord is the only one who is omniscient. The Lord is the only one who is all-powerful and all-knowing.
And then, in verse 4, Isaiah says just what I told you. "For thus saith the Lord has spoken to me, as a lion roars and the young lion over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him, he will not be afraid of their voice nor disturbed by their noise."
The young lion-- the lion-- over his prey, who knows the strength manifest in himself. Ladies and gentlemen, we know the strength of our God. We know that He's all-knowing. We know that He's good. We know that He's all-powerful.
We just need to feast upon His Word, upon His presence, singing His praise, seeking His justice, knowing our condition, and letting Him lead us. When we do so, we will sit, we'll be full, we will be satisfied, and we will give that growl. Let's pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for Your Word. We thank you for its beauty, for its power. We thank you, Lord, that we are formed by the Holy Spirit in accordance with this text of holy scripture.
Lord, we're so glad that You have not put us in charge of forming our own spiritual lives, but that in accordance with Your Word, implanted and taught to us by the Holy Spirit, you will lead us.
So Lord, let us not be Bible illiterate statistics like we read about, but let us be Bible literate success stories. Let us be people who read, study, and know that you are growing us in Your grace and Your knowledge. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying His Word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.