“It’s the Principle”
Pastor David Moore
New Testament reading: James 4:1-12 (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Theme: This summer we are going to look at Psalms because it contains the depth of the theology, wisdom and insights into the nature of God. Today we will begin with Psalm 63. The topics today are how to:
1) actually experience God
2) develop an appetite for God,
3) develop intimacy with God,
4) have an authentic spiritual experience with God and
5) what it means to be in God’s presence.
I remember a story where the architect of a cathedral in Europe asked one man on the job site what he was doing. He said, “I’m carrying these bricks from there to here.” He asked another what he was doing, and the man replied, “I’m building this beautiful cathedral so we can worship God.” Both answers were true and accurate, but the second man had the big picture. ~D. Moore
Old Testament reading: Psalm 63:1-11 (NIV)
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
Through the Psalms experience I will be showing the features of an authentic Christian’s experience. The features are more than a fact by which to understand our experience with God and test ourselves to see if we’re heading in the right direction, but the feature is also discipline. ~D. Moore
Principle 1: Developing an appetite for God. When we are moving closer to God, we actually feel the distance we are from Him. The Bible says that seeking God is a result of having found Him. No one starts seeking God until God has actually met us. ~D. Moore
An odd thing is that people who have a general spiritual hunger are actually trying to escape the true God in particular. They want a spiritual experience but not with God. ~D. Moore
Principle 2: Intimacy with God. David calls Yahweh, my God, intimacy. Because you are my God, I will seek You. The way to know you’ve met the real God is you are hungry and thirsty for God. The sense of God’s absence is also a way to know you’ve really met God. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel His absence. ~D. Moore
We were designed to know, serve, and love God supremely – and when we are faithful to that design, we flourish. ~Timothy Keller
The deeper the sense of God’s absence, the greater His presence in your life. ~D. Moore
Principle 3: Authentic Christian experience. The way someone starts down the path toward God is most often because we want something in life and we’re happy God will give it to us. The mark of authentic spiritual experience is that you become satisfied with God for who He is and not just for the benefit He gives you. ~D. Moore
We don’t worship because life is good. We worship God because He is good! ~Darlene Zschech
Principle 4: Appetite for God. God is meant to be adored, but when we adore other things that is sin. That will ruin your appetite for God. We develop that appetite for God by being in the Scriptures, reading and thinking on God’s Word. Let the Scripture nourish you, let the goodness of God’s Word empower you to answer God’s call. ~D. Moore
Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God – it whets our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship – it deepens. ~Eugene H. Peterson
Ezekiel 3:3 “Son of man,” he said to me, “Eat and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you.” So I ate, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Principle 5: God’s absence is His presence. We would not be pinning for God if we hadn’t tasted of His goodness, and love at some point in our lives. No one longs deep in the spirit for what they have never experienced. ~D. Moore
When you read Scripture, pray first. Ask God to open His Word to you, that you will see Him for who He is, and be led into a deeper relationship of love with Him because of it. And then when the reading has finished, pray again. Only this time, thank God. Thank Him for being whatever was illuminated to you in the passage, admit that sometimes you forget that aspect of His character, thank Him for the reminder. The more you do this the more you’ll start to experience God. It will lead us closer to God, ever closer, even as Communion does the same thing. Let’s pray and ask God to illuminate Himself to us in our confession and in Communion. God bless. ~D. Moore