Sermon Overview & Prayer: "A Stunning Contrast"

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Psalm 36 – PRAYER POINTS
A Stunning Contrast - Brian Chesemore

These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. (Psalm 36:1, 5, 6, 10-11)

“This is a psalm of powerful contrasts, a glimpse of human wickedness at its most malevolent, and divine goodness in its many-sided fullness. Meanwhile the singer is menaced by the one and assured of victory by other. Few psalms cover so great a range in so short a space.” (Derek Kidner)

PRAYER: Father, in a world increasingly darkened by sin and godlessness, please keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to the stunning and surpassing expressions of your steadfast love that surround me. Even now, remind of ways it is on display!

  1. God matures our faith by exposing the schemes of sin in the life of the wicked. A summary of the nature of sin includes: Sin talks, sin targets, sin transforms, sin troubles (v. 1-4)

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, please alert me and convict me of any area of compromise where I am viewing or listening to that which dulls my discernment or resistance to sin. Show me anything that has specifically drawn my time or affections toward the vain, the empty, or the worldly, and away from you and righteousness.

“Whatever rules the heart will exercise inescapable influence over the person’s life and behavior.” (Paul Tripp)

PRAYER: Through your Word, your Spirit, and those near to me, help me to see if any of my pursuits have in wrong ways become a part of me and changed me. Please help me to change if I have been wrongly influenced, or am wrongly influencing others.

  1. God preserves and matures our faith by revealing his steadfast love towards his Children (v. 5-9).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

PRAYER: Father, so fill my heart and mind with the wonder and glory of your love displayed in the gospel, that no gift would be more precious, no passion have more influence, and no adversity or suffering tempt me to question or doubt your eternal, infinite, and undeserved love.

The first reason the loyal love of God has become precious to the psalmist is because he has learned to take his refuge in it. The second reason the loyal love of God has become precious to the psalmist is because he knows a feast of peace with God. In a world marked by abundant transgression, where we have so often transgressed God, and in a world under the sentence of death because of sin, we need a refuge.

PRAYER: Lord, where wickedness and lawlessness abound around me, and where pride and idolatry abound within, thank you for your unfailing love. Thank you that within your love I find the refuge of faith, obedience, forgiveness, and peace. May your infinite love for me compel me to live for your glory.

  1. God preserves and matures our faith by making available his love to his children through the gift of prayer. Ours is a full and free salvation, marked by broad and measureless delights, and purchased entirely by the substitutionary sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In Christ are riches…David and Paul and the entirety of the Scriptures teach us to live by these promises and pray for these promises to be ours. “Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you.” “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17, 19)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior, Comforter and Helper, may your perfect, infinite, steadfast love draw me to pray without ceasing, that I might treasure the wonder of constant communion with you!

OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
In Psalm 36, we learn that in a world darkened by sin, God preserves and matures our faith through stunning expressions of his steadfast love. Brian gave us 3 ways that God preserves and matures us: God exposes the schemes of sin in the life of the wicked, he reveals his steadfast love to us, and he avails his love through the gift of prayer. Apart from a right understanding of sin in our lives, it is impossible to fully understand God’s gracious act towards us in Jesus. Ultimately, we all were the wicked described in this psalm, but God graciously extended his steadfast love toward us through Jesus Christ. He preserves and matures us through this relationship he has called us into. May these truths cause our hearts to sing, worship, and enjoy the fellowship of our God through Jesus!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. J.C. Ryle desires the believer to have a right understanding of sin, “He must dig down very deep if he wants to build high”. How does this psalm help your understanding of sin?
  2. “Whatever desire rules your heart will ultimately control your words and behavior” [Paul Tripp]. Who other than God has set up shop and can give directives in your heart?
  3. Brian spoke on how sin talks to and transforms a man’s heart. What are some spiritual disciplines that can cultivate a focus on God’s voice instead of the deceitfulness of sin?
  4. In covenant-keeping love, God never forgets his children. Verses 5-9 remind us how good it is to take refuge in our God and Savior. What specifically in these verses gives you peace and comfort?
  5. This psalmist is exclaiming and singing these great truths about God! As your faith has matured through the expressions of God’s steadfast love towards you, how have you noticed the overflow of your heart to share these lived experiences with unbelieving friends and family?