Message from the Pastor

A message based on Psalm 19 for Sunday Sept. 12, 2021 shared by Pastor George Paraskevopoulos

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 Worship

Call to Worship: (inspired by Psalm 145)

Lift praises to the name of our God; bless God's name forever! From generation to generation we will sing your praises and speak of your goodness! God, you are just and kind in all your doings! You watch over us in love and hear the desperate cries of those who call to you! How great is our God! Let us Bless God's name forever!

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may the words of our mouths be pleasing to you. May the meditation of our hearts be on things that are true, good, right, pure, and lovely and anything that is praise worthy and admirable to you. Father, we realize that it is out of the overflow of our hearts that our mouth speaks. If our hearts are not aligned with the things that are pleasing to you, the words of mouths never will be. Father, may you help us in these areas of our lives. Thank you, O LORD, for we declare along with the psalmist that you are our rock and our redeemer. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Let us look to God’s Word-Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,

refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the Lord are right,

giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,

giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever.

The decrees of the Lord are firm,

and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,

than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey,

than honey from the honeycomb.

11 By them your servant is warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

12 But who can discern their own errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then I will be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Message: When You Need Answers

When You Need Answers

Introduction: C. S. Lewis called Psalm 19 the greatest poem in the Psalms, and one of the greatest lyrics in the world. Psalm 19 tells us that God has spoken where all can hear and revealed Himself for all to see. God has revealed Himself in two powerful ways so that we can know that He exists, and know who He is.

I. In Creation God Has Shown His Greatness

a) On a beautiful starlit night, Napoleon and some of his officers were on a ship. Some of them began to brag about their disbelief in the existence of God. After listening quietly for a while, Napoleon spoke up as he pointed to the star-speckled sky and said: "Gentlemen, one question: Who made all of that?" David says, “That’s easy. Because creation exists, there has to be a creator. The existence of the universe points to the existence of God. The creation points to the Creator.

If a person wants to see God, he doesn't have to look very far. All he has to do is look up or around. Go outdoors tonight and look at the stars. You’ll get a sense of God’s presence. Listen and you’ll hear him. One reason many of us like to hike and camp is because God is there, communicating with us. People ask, “Where do you find evidence for the existence of God?”

b) These opening verses in Psalm 19 speak of two aspects of the universe that clues us in immediately to the existence of God. The psalmist speaks of the immensity of creation in verse one. He says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” When we look at the brilliant stars in the night sky and consider the vast universe, we cannot help but see greatness and immensity as descriptions of the ONE who made it all.

Just think about the incredible size of this universe. Our galaxy contains a hundred billion suns, and our universe holds more than a hundred billion galaxies. The distance from one edge of an average galaxy to the other edge, is approximately six hundred thousand trillion miles. It shouldn't surprise you that 90% of all astronomers believe in God; one of the highest ratios of any profession in all of the world.

Illust. One of the greatest testimonies you will ever hear is that of astronaut Jim Erwin, who talked about an experience he had when he went to the moon. He said: "When I looked out and saw the earth, only as big as a little marble, I thought, “How big am I?” I'm just a speck of dust-if that big-compared to the universe. And yet, this little speck has the capacity to know God! To know the One who holds the universe, to know His love, and have His direction. For the first time, I saw and felt God's love for the earth. I realized then that God loved that little blue marble, that little planet. He loved all the billions of people on it, and He loved me! I realized at that moment that my relationship with Jesus Christ was the most precious thing I had.

c) But there is something else about the creation that tells us of a Creator, and that in creation God is always speaking. Verse 2 says: "Day unto day they pour forth speech and night unto night they display knowledge." We all no doubt have heard the phrase or line, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.” Just as there is a built-in law about nature that communicates something about the weather, likewise all of creation speaks and it is pointing to our Creator God who put it all there for us to enjoy. So tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day as you watch the movement of the sun in the sky be reminded of this outward sign---creation is declaring the glory of God. Regardless of your location, if you look up, you can see God. Regardless of your language, if you will listen up, you can hear God. Every mountain is God's power piled up; every river is God's power in motion; every star is God's power in crystal; every flower is God's power in blossom; every ocean is God's power in fullness. When David set out to write a song about his God, he decided to write some lyrics about the God he knew personally. A God who spoke to him all the time, everywhere, through the created order of things like the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the oceans. But nature is not the only way God speaks. David describes a God who spoke to him personally and privately, through the Scriptures.

II. In the Scriptures God Has Shown His grace and goodness

a) I believe God created the heavens and the earth. And I can also tell you that you don’t have to commit intellectual suicide to believe there is a higher being, who planned and created this world. Actually, I too believe in the Big Bang theory. I believe God said, “Let there be light” and “Bang!” it happened! You must understand the first two chapters of Genesis were not written to teach us about the exact process of creation, they were written to teach us about the God of Creation. From the beginning, we see He is a good God. During creation, God was like a master painter. He created something, and stepped back and said, “That’s good.” In Genesis 1, the phrase “and God saw that it was good” is repeated six times. When He finished, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 1:31; 2:18) When He created Adam, He saw He was alone, and said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” God’s nature is to create and seek the good. When He sees something that is not good, He corrects it. That’s why God gave Adam a wife, because He knew she would be good for him! James 1:17&18 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” We sing about goodness and we say it often. We sing, “God is so good.” We sing the familiar psalm 23, “Surely Goodness and Mercy” and choruses like “Something Beautiful, something good.” But do we fully understand this attribute of God? Everything good in our lives comes from God. Even though we know that God is good and that we benefit from God’s goodness every day but if we are not careful we can take His goodness for granted.

illust. I heard about a dad who was getting fed up with all of the materialism in his house, and how his kids were so spoiled. So he decided to sit them down for one of those fatherly talks. They were just young children. He said, “Kids, you don’t realize how good you have it. When I was a boy I had to get up before daylight to deliver newspapers. I walked to school in the rain and the snow. I then worked at a grocery store after school, and even then we didn’t always have enough to eat.

Well those kids’ eyes were as big as coconuts and they were in awe at what their dad had just told them. That dad felt pretty good that his message had finally gotten through to them until his little four-year-old boy said, “Gee, Dad, I bet you’re glad you live with us now.”

b) God has spoken naturally in the skies, but He has spoken verbally in the Scriptures. In the Bible God says what needs to be said and He says it with great authority. In other words when God speaks He always means what He says! In many areas of society, people are looking for an authoritative leader with an authoritative voice who can tell them what to do and how to do it. Deep in the human heart of hearts, there is a great need for clear direction. God wrote us a manual to help us live our lives with purpose and direction and scripture is that manual packed full with God’s special revelation to us. It tells us things we could never know about God unless he did something special to reveal them to us. He did this by writing them down through the pens of the prophets and apostles who were moved under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is why I love this book and have given a lifetime to studying it and preaching its truth. The Bible teaches us things we could not know without being told. Listen to the Psalmist talk about how the scriptures have impacted him personally, starting at verse 7:

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps. 19:7-11).

c) Unlike other books the Bible is the only book in the world that I know of that can transform a life. God’s Word is perfect, making it trustworthy, right, radiant, pure and precious. If you will keep its commands, you will avoid a lot of pain. And if you will practice what it tells you to do, you will reap eternal rewards. Scripture teaches something we could never discover from nature alone, and that is that God knew we would sometimes ignore physical laws, and even more so, that we would sometimes ignore moral laws. And when we do, Scripture tells us that there is a Savior willing to reconcile with us and grant us forgiveness if we’ll turn to him and ask for it. The Psalmist understood our need for a Savour. He said in verses 12 &13, “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” God has placed in all of us the law of morality, and the sting of conscience. The conscience is God's moral alarm clock which he has placed inside of every human being. It goes off in our hearts, not simply when we do wrong, but when we know deep down we have sinned against God who made us. Jesus said that God gave the Holy Spirit to "convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment." (Jn.16:8) Here is what is so amazing about God’s grace and love. We are sinners by nature and by choice, but God still loves us, in spite of our sin. He loves us enough that He sends His only Son to die for us. The Bible says, “But God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

d) Aren’t you glad that God is good? And yet, because of all the problems and pain in our world many people still have a hard time accepting this amazing truth that God is good. How many times have you heard someone say, “If God is as good as you say He is, why do bad things happen?” When someone complains to me that life isn’t fair, I have to agree with them, life isn’t fair but that doesn’t change the fact that God is good. David knew what we sometimes miss when bad times hit our lives and that is that ultimately God's purpose for our lives is good. The apostle Paul in Romans 8:28 said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God's purpose for the Christian, we are told here, is "good." God's purpose for you and me is that the end result of our entire life will be to the "good." Now that does not mean that things will turn out like we think they should, and it may even seem that certain things that appear bad at the time really are good because they serve a larger purpose in God’s overall kingdom plans. Did you know that even pain has a purpose? God has given us pain (something we all desperately want to avoid) to let us know our body needs healing, and God has also given us a conscience to let us know that our soul needs saving. The psalmist closes out this psalm with a prayer request that I hope we will pray ourselves. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." (v.14) It is no coincidence that the last verse of this Psalm refers to the "Lord" and the "Redeemer." That is exactly who Jesus is-our Lord and our Redeemer. You see, Jesus is the ultimate and the greatest revelation of God.

Conclusion: David looked into the heavens and saw the greatness of God. He was making a declaration. Our God is so great! Every time I think of Him in that context, every time I sing the hymn “How Great Thou Art!” and I am reminded of all His splendor and majesty and glory it blows me away. But David didn’t stop there. He then took a Bible into his hands and saw the goodness and grace of God. Yes, there is a God who created the heavens and earth, I spoke with him this morning, and because of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God we can see above us, and the God we can see around us, is the God we can have within us.

Blessing and Commissioning

God has placed us in creation not as owners but as loving caretakers. May the grace of God sustain us, the love of Christ be our glad delight, and the Holy Spirit renew the image of God in us day by day.

Hymns for Today’s Worship

Hymn: How Great Thou Art

Hymn: Blessed Assurance

Here is today's lyrical video with the hymns for today's worship for Sunday Sept. 12, 2021 provided by Autumn Gambles. Just click on the link below, once there tap anywhere on the video image and it will take you to the full screen from start to finish.