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Sermon Overview + Prayer: "Extraordinary Gifts in Ordinary Places"

PRAYER POINTS | Extraordinary Gifts in Ordinary Places
Psalm 128
1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, —who walks in his ways!

We are invited to receive all of who God has revealed himself to be, to believe in his self-revelation, to be transformed by Spirit’s power, to live awed over his mercies. This is the fear of the Lord.

Jerry Bridges – Properly fearing God is more than just a feeling or attitude – it’s a feeling or attitude that changes our lives. The right fear of God is not just a concept to be entertained in our minds. Rather, it’s an invigorating and guiding principle that deeply affects every area of our lives and determines the way we live.
Holy Spirit, guide me to verses and passages that display the wondrous and awesome nature and power of God. Help me to respond to his blessed invitation to devotedly, affectionately, and worshipfully know, love, and obey him.

Those who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways, receive a promise. Here in the arena of the day to day, the man or woman or child who fears the Lord will be found enjoying the blessed life.
In verse 2, we see that The Blessed Life, the Happy Life is actually to be found in our work.
Father, open my eyes to all that you have given me in the work that I do. Show me the blessing of the work that I do in my home, office, place of service or business, classroom...on the phone, online, or on the road. Search me to see where I might overlook, minimize, or even dismiss the blessings of work! Help me to steward this gift in a way that honors you, displays your grace in my life, and sets an example to others.

Verse 3 takes us...into the extraordinary gift found within an ordinary home...a wife, children, the table. 

G.K. Chesterton – The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and his ordinary wife and their ordinary children.
Friends, any ideology that sets itself up against God’s design for the family, sets itself up against God
If you’re not married, you can still flourish. Open your bibles and see the proof...Jesus, Paul
Every Christian can know the truest and deepest joy because they know Christ. And they know that every good and perfect gift has come to them from their Heavenly Father.
Lord, as I re-read this and other passages – e.g. Genesis 1-3, Ephesians 5, Song of Songs – stir my heart with the wonder of all you intend to do, and all you intend to display of your glory, through a home, a marriage, and a family. And stir my heart with your gifts and glory displayed in community, friendship, fellowship, and care as members of one another – single as well as married – in a local church! As I praise and worship you, prompt me to specifically thank those that are particular means of your goodness to me in my home and my church.

These last two verses (5 & 6) function as a benediction—
For the person who fears the Lord, it is not enough to personally flourish. You are also burdened for your family members and for the believing community around you to flourish. This actually makes our happiness complete.
Lord, thank you for the gift of brothers and sisters in Sovereign Grace Church. Show us, as a church family, how to pray for, serve, and encourage one another. Show us how to pray for and serve those in our families and community that do not know you.  And show us how to pray for our brothers and sisters in other Sovereign Grace Churches, that the church might be built and the gospel of the kingdom go forth to the ends of the earth.

OVERVIEW OF SERMON:
The fear of the Lord is the key ingredient to the blessed (or happy) life. This fear of the Lord is not the kind that Adam showed in the garden after sinning; rather, it is a repentant fear that draws near to the Lord for forgiveness and compassion with “a heart that is sensitive to both his God-ness and His graciousness” (Sinclair Ferguson). The psalmist painted a picture of this happy life with the blessings of the seemingly ordinary: work, marriage, and children. However, the one who fears the Lord is not satisfied in personal blessing, but longs for others to be drawn into it with them. This prompts the writer of the Psalm to end with a prayer for the Lord’s blessing on his people. And all these blessings are possible, and point to even greater eternal spiritual blessings, because of the finished work of Christ to absolve and adopt those who draw near to God for forgiveness.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How have you defined ‘fear of Lord’ in the past, and how has this sermon changed it?
  2. Brian challenged us to assess and, where necessary, redirect our fears. What fear(s) do you need to address with repentance so you might receive fresh forgiveness?
  3. Work, marriage, and children were highlighted as ‘ordinary’ means of divine blessings. Which of these is God opening your eyes to see his goodness to you?
  4. Where do you need to repent of coveting the specific manifestations of God’s blessings for others, robbing yourself of joy, and attempting to strip God of His glory?
  5. John Calvin reminds us, “Our personal enjoyment of God’s grace is always inextricably joined to the welfare of the whole people of God”. Is there a way you can serve or encourage someone [especially in your community group] in their work, marriage, or parenting this week?