This is a stand-alone sermon by Ellwood Splane on the great things the Lord has done this past year.
In Psalm 146, the psalmist invites us to praise the Lord with our whole being and for our whole life. We may be consumed by worries of various kinds, but if we have put our trust in Jesus Christ, we can have assurance that God will take care of us. Such wonderful news should certainly make us sing for joy.
In Psalm 72, David prays for his son Solomon, king of Israel - that God will give him perfect justice and righteousness, that God will give him a long life and flourishing kingdom, that his dominion will extend to the ends of the earth, that he will be known for his care of the poor and needy, and that he will be a blessing to the nations. While Solomon partially fulfilled Psalm 72, God's answer to David's prayer would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who "will reign over the house of Jacob forever," and of whose "kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). While we wait for Jesus to come again to fully and finally establish God's perfect kingdom on the earth, may we bear witness to and pray for Jesus' coming.
In Psalm 122, the psalmist urges Old Testament pilgrims to pray for the peace of Jerusalem because "the house of the Lord" (Psalm 122:9) was in the city. Since the church is "a dwelling place for God" (Ephesians 2:22), we should pray also for the peace of the church. And as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the peace of the church, may we long for the day when the new Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God, and when the dwelling place of God will be with man forever. Only in Jesus Christ can such perfect peace be found.
Advent is a season that helps us wait for Christ's second coming while we wonder at His first coming. But for some, this is not the most wonderful time of the year. In Psalm 80, the people of Israel are crying out for God to restore them. This He would do by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to save His people from their sins. We all experience the brokenness of living in a fallen world, but the hope is that God will one day awaken His might and come to save us - fully, finally, and forever - when He comes again in the Person of Jesus Christ.
In this passage, the psalmist introduces us to the Messiah King - the Son of David and Son of God - who will rule to the ends of the earth. We may become discouraged and disheartened by persecution and suffering at the hands of the evil powers in this world, but Jesus Christ has gained worldwide victory, and in Him we can take refuge.
In this passage, the psalmist presents us with two ways in life - the way of the righteous that leads to everlasting life and blessedness, and the way of the wicked that leads to death and everlasting contempt. Which way will we choose? Will we walk with the wicked, or will we stand with those who are right with God?
As today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we are reminded in Scripture that we can find hope in a secular culture that is antagonistic towards Christianity and followers of Jesus because God is our refuge, because God is present with us, and because God will one day establish peace on earth.
This is a stand-alone sermon by Ellwood Splane.
The hope of salvation leads to the joy of the resurrection on the second Sunday of Advent.