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Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Not To Us"

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Psalm 115 – PRAYER POINTS
NOT TO US – CJ Mahaney

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

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:1-3)

PRAYER: My Lord and my God, may a passion for your honor and glory inform not only my prayers, but all of my life. May all that is done by me, all that is done through me, and my response to anything done to me, be motivated by a desire for your glory.

The author of Psalm 115 finds himself in life’s thick, dark forest; the people of God find themselves experiencing adversity and suffering and are in desperate need of divine intervention. The psalmist calls on God to act, not primarily for their relief but for God’s glory and for the sake of His steadfast love and faithfulness.

PRAYER: Father, in a fallen world, we are often faced with adversity, trials, and suffering. We thank you for your Word that offers the comfort and assurance of your sovereign rule and reign, and of your love and faithfulness. Holy Spirit, please remind me of these truths when I am tempted to mistrust or complain. And while I pray for relief from the trial, please grant me the grace to exalt your name and bring you glory in the trial.

They anticipate the blessing of God because the God they serve is gracious and generous, and He relentlessly blesses His undeserving people because of His loyal love and faithfulness. To be blessed means to be satisfied in God and thriving before God – all because of the person and provision of God.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may we treasure the truth and promise of your prayer that eternal life is to know the Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 17:3). Deepen my confidence that in knowing you I have all things that pertain to life and godliness. May my heart overflow with gratefulness for the gospel that makes it all so.

“However, dead object in itself, the idol had the dreadful capacity to transform its worshippers into its own image-we become like the ‘god’ (or the God) we worship.” (Alec Motyer) And this remains a relevant warning for us as modern idolatry – our creation of substitutes for God with our hearts, not our hands, that are more important to us than God that we serve other than the true and living God – is no less prevalent today, just more subtle and sophisticated.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, please make me aware, and convict me, of anything for which I have more affection than Jesus Christ...anything I long for more deeply than communion with you...anything for which I want to be known, more than being forgiven by my heavenly Father. Lord, through your Word and Spirit, and with the help of others, show me where I might be more attentive, interested, and enthusiastic about anything more than you. Are there desires and distractions that transcend my devotion to you? Please deliver me as I reverently survey the wondrous cross.

During adversity and suffering Psalm 115 takes us by the hand and leads us to a biblically informed response so that we don’t waste our suffering. The psalmist models for the people of God the proper response to suffering—God-centered, rather than a man-centered. “When we see that God’s glory is the center and we are able to immerse ourselves in that center no matter what we may encounter in this ever-dark world, we will find a deep well of joy and tranquility that transcends the adversity and sustains us in the midst of it.” (Scott Christensen)

PRAYER: Father, from the time I awake in the morning, until I fall asleep at night, remind me of your steadfast love that never ceases, and of your mercies that never come to an end. And may those reminders compel within me a desire to please you, honor you, and bring you glory.

“If you ask, ‘Why is this or that happening?’ no light may come, for ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God’ (Deu. 29:29); but if you ask, ‘How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?’ there will always be an answer.” (J.I.Packer)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your saving and transforming grace that enables and empowers me to serve and glorify you here and now...and always! And thank you that when I’m not sure what that looks like, if I pray, you will show me.


OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
The psalmist exemplifies a God-centered perspective on suffering by asking that God would glorify Himself. Unlike idols, the living God can do whatever He pleases. He also delights to bless His people as they live a life full of praise to Him from now until eternity. Beholding this God transforms suffering into an opportunity to glorify God. Ultimately, we glorify God for His steadfast love and faithfulness revealed at the cross.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The psalmist draws attention to the attributes of God—His sovereignty, power, and desire to bless His people. What specific verse(s) in this psalm helped you see God as more glorious and worthy of your trust?
  2. How did this sermon encourage you to pray differently during times of suffering?
  3. CJ said, “All of our disappointments and difficulties are divinely appointed opportunities to glorify God”. How does this idea give you hope in a current disappointment or difficulty?
  4. What are some examples of a “God-centered, God-glorifying response to suffering” that you have seen in the church?
  5. The psalmist prays for God to bring glory to His name. One way He does this is by bringing more people to know His glory. Who is one unbeliever in your life that you can ask God to save for His glory?