In Psalm 50, we read the first-of-twelve psalms written by King David’s handpicked worship leader, a man named Asaph. On the day that Asaph first took up his position as worship leader, David gave him a special song, which definitely influenced Asaph’s songwriting.
Psalm 50 has a pretty easy outline: an introduction in the first six verses, followed by 17 verses of God speaking to His people—speaking to you and me! In between the introduction and God’s speaking is the word selah.
Selah means a time for us to pause and carefully consider. So Asaph is essentially saying, “God is getting ready to speak with us, so we need to selah—pause from what we are doing so that we can pay careful attention to His words!”
Asaph sets the stage in the first verse, telling us that the Mighty One, God, the Lord speaks. The words that are about to be spoken come from THE I AM—the All-Sufficient One, the Omnipotent, the All-Knowing, All-Powerful Ruler of the Universe. Asaph also reminds us that He is coming as THE Judge.
When you hear that THE All-Powerful, All-Knowing One is THE Judge that has summoned you into His courtroom, it’s quite likely that your heart would skip a beat. Especially when God lists some of the sins you and I are guilty of breaking in verses 16-20.
It’s also possible that the news that you have to appear before THE Judge could cause you to rejoice. What? How can we rejoice at that?! David taught Asaph this concept in the song he gave him: God’s people should rejoice over God’s judgments.
You see, in Psalm 50 God says, “I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices, or for all your attempts to follow the rules.” It’s not in the practices of the law that we find salvation.
God doesn’t need our sacrifices, but He wants our hearts.
In order to win our hearts for Himself, THE Judge did something absolutely mind-blowing—THE I AM became flesh like us. And then He became the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, paying our penalty Himself when He died on the Cross (see Hebrews 2:14-17; 7:17-27).
This is why we can rejoice when we hear we have to stand before THE Judge. When you have placed your faith in what Jesus did for you on the Cross, when THE Judge opens His perfect record book to your page He will read this inscription written in the crimson red blood of Jesus: PAID IN FULL!
This is why we can rejoice at the thought of seeing THE Judge face to face!
Join me next Sunday as we wrap up this summer looking at the Selahs in the Psalms. We plan to restart this series next summer, unless the Judge calls us home before then!
All of this makes Cornelius a fully self-sufficient and a well-to-do man who was not likely to look for help from God. Nor was he the type of person that a Christian missionary might seek out.
But clearly, something was missing in Cornelius’ life because he was completely countercultural in his pursuit after God. Not just his pursuit of God, but his quick understanding of exactly who Jesus was.
Luke the historian describes Cornelius as:
All of this got God’s attention (see Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Proverbs 19:17), and He sent an angel to direct Cornelius to Peter.
When Peter came to Cornelius’ house, twice he said “as you know” (vv. 36, 37), showing us that Cornelius was aware that there was not only one true God, but that a relationship with Jesus was the only way to be in right relationship with God. As Peter spoke with Cornelius, his family, his relatives, his close friends, and even his fellow soldiers, the Holy Spirit baptized them just as He had done with the disciples of Jesus on the day of Pentecost.
So here are 3 vital lessons for all men to learn from the life of Cornelius the centurion—
Dads, be devoted to God. Desire all He has for you, and all He has for those around you. Pursue Him no matter how many “strikes” there may be against you.
Be sure to check out the other messages in our series We Are: Pentecostal.
T.M. Moore has given pastors a phenomenal training resource in Shepherding God’s Flock. Please be sure to check out my full book review by clicking here.
“The work of church leaders today—and especially of that class of leaders called elders, with which this study is concerned—has been shaped and conditioned more by the temper of our times than by the teaching of God’s Word.”
“According to Paul, any church that does not have in place elders—and other leaders working with them—who are functioning as shepherds is a church that is not in order.… A church without a strong ministry of shepherding is a flock without genuine pastoral care, oversight, and equipping. It may be very active, even happy, and may be ‘growing’ in what some consider impressive ways. But without shepherding as the framework and integrating dynamic, such a church will always be something less than what God intends.”
“Where the work of shepherding is being faithfully pursued, the gospel goes forth with power, lost sheep are located, and the flocks of God grow as He adds new souls to the fold.”
“Where faithful shepherds are at work, the Lord’s sheep will be well fed. Both milk and the meat of the Word will be their daily diet, according to the needs and callings of each. Well-fed sheep are healthy, strong, and fruitful in their own contributions.”
“The work of shepherding begins in relationships of mutual love and trust, spiritual friendships where sheep and shepherd know, love, and care about one another.”
“Only when the people feel known and loved, and only when they know and love those who are called to lead them—only then will they be willing to follow where the shepherds of the church are seeking to take them.”
“In the Christian life, people tend to live up to or achieve, not the level of their abilities, for their abilities are virtually limitless, given the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God. Rather, they tend to live up to the level of their vision—of what they see for their lives in Christ. Unless we are leading them into God’s vision for their lives, the people of God will settle for something less than the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
“When temptation arises we can follow one of two courses. Either we will fall through temptation into sin, or we will grow through temptation into a higher stage of sanctification. … The shepherd’s task is twofold: first, he must help the Lord’s sheep to recognize temptation, by grounding them firmly in the law and Word of God; second, he must equip and encourage them in finding the way of escape from temptation, so that they may grow as the Lord intends.”
“Jesus’ approach to bearing witness was thus energetic, proactive, continuous, compassionate, and pioneering. Should we expect anything less from the shepherds He has left to bring other lost sheep into His fold?”
I am always blessed to sit under the ministry of Jeff Hlavin! These are some of my notes from his message Calvary Assembly of God on Sunday, but you really should watch the whole message.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
There are at least two possible perspectives about the meaning and the application of these two parables:
First Perspective: Jesus is the One who finds and seeks.
The field is the world, and Jesus paid the price for the whole field/world to be His.
Second Perspective: We are the ones doing the discovering.
Jesus provides Himself as the Treasure of treasures. So taking up our cross to follow Him is not a morbid thing. There is overwhelming joy because of the extravagant treasure that is ours when we do so!
1. It’s about our response to discovering His Kingdom.
2. It’s about our appropriate response to His Kingdom.
3. It’s about the whole-hearted appropriate response which the Kingdom of God requires.
4. It’s about the value of His Kingdom.
5. It’s about the primacy of His Kingdom.
Both individuals are alike in that…