Sermon: Life with God

Life with God
Psalm 15
February 1, 2015

History remembers Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan as a dashing Irishman who tickled America’s funny bone in the late 1930s, during the dark days of the Depression. He became a national folk hero, creating a household phrase still bestowed on those who do things the “wrong way.”

Corrigan was part of a select club of early aviators. By 1938 he had logged 1,500 hours of flying time. Eleven years after Lindbergh’s famous trans-Atlantic flight, he filed a flight plan to fly from Newfoundland to Ireland. Authorities denied him permission on the grounds that his nine-year-old second-hand Curtis Robin monoplane, for which he paid $325, was too old and unsafe for such a long flight over water. On July 17, 1938 he told authorities that he would fly from New York to Long Beach instead.

Wrong_Way_CorriganTwenty-eight hours and 13 minutes later he landed in Dublin, Ireland. After being asked for an explanation, he stated that he flew the wrong way because his compass stuck. Because of the fog on that fateful night, he was told by airport authorities to take off toward the east and turn above the Atlantic, heading west. His 27-foot plane, which weighed 3,800 pounds, had fuel tanks mounted on the front, allowing him to see only out of the sides of the plane. He had no radio and his compass was made during World War I.

After his famous flight, “Wrong Way” returned to America, aboard a steamer. As the ship entered New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty, whistles started blowing and fireboats shot streams of water into the air. The Mayor’s Reception Committee came on board and took him to the Hotel McAlpin. At noon the next day he was given a ticker tape parade down Broadway in New York. Later he received the United States Flag Association medal in 1938. Galveston, Texas named an airport after Corrigan. [“Wrong Way Corrigan,” accessed 1/30/15.]

That story had a happy and somewhat amusing ending. Not all wrong-way stories end that way. Roy Riegels picked up a fumble in the 1929 Rose Bowl and ran for a touchdown — only instead of running to the opponent’s end zone, he ran to his own end zone so that instead of scoring seven points for his team, he scored two points (a safety) for the other team, and those two points were the deciding points in an 8-7 loss.

Even more tragically, we sometimes hear of drivers who drive the wrong way on a freeway — generally to their tragic deaths. It’s good to know which way to go.

This week we are starting a short series of sermons I’ve called, “Songs for the Heart.” They are sermons taken from various Psalms; these are songs that are to minister to our hearts and provide encouragement, direction, hope, and confidence in God when we are discouraged, lost, questioning, or fearful. And this morning we start with a psalm that has long been one of my favorites — Psalm 15.

Old Testament Israel had four annual festivals that drew citizens from around the country to Jerusalem to worship at these feasts. These worshippers would often travel together in large companies both for protection and pleasure. And as they traveled they would sing songs and this psalm appears to be one of those songs that they sang on the way to Jerusalem (the author and exact circumstances of the writing are uncertain); it was a reminder for them of the requirements of those who would worship the Lord corporately in Jerusalem. And it serves as a reminder for us as well of the kind of worshippers God calls all men to be.

Perhaps you are a little confused in your spiritual life — what does the Christian life look like? how are we sanctified and what does sanctification do? and what’s the advantage of living for God? These are the kinds of questions that this psalm answers; if you have these kinds of concerns today (and all of us have these or some variation of them), then this psalm and message are for you.

And as we examine these verses, we will find that —

When God declares one to be righteous, his entire life will be changed.

With a question, an answer, and a promise, the psalmist reveals what a godly life is like.

  1. Question: What Kind of Life is a Godly Life? (v. 1)
  2. Answer: A Godly Life is a Thoroughly Transformed Life (vv. 2-5a)
  • God transforms one’s character (v. 2)
  • God transforms one’s communion (vv. 3-4b)
  • God transforms one’s contentment (vv. 4c-5b)
  1. Promise: A Godly Life is a Stable Life (v. 5b)

Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 15.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.

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