Psalms 15

Steve Viars July 31, 1993 Psalms 15:

- we're studying through selected Psalms in our adult SS
   classes.
- so far we've looked at 2 Psalms:
    - Psalm 1 - which addressed how to be a satisfied/blessed
       person.
    - Psalm 8 - the importance of having the right view of
       God.

- you know, when you think about those topics--there's some
   conclusions we can already begin drawing about the book of
   Psalms:

    1) one conclusions is that this book deals with some of
       the most important questions/issues of life.
        - we ought to be very thankful that God has given us
           this book.

    2) it's important for us to study what God says about
        these questions because the world in which we live
        has "it's own set of answers" and we're bombarded
        with those "answers" daily.
         - cf - buy this and then you'll be satisfied
              - watch this sitcom and learn how to solve
                problems and be happy in 30 minutes or less.
              - (or from a different perspective) - the
                "deification" of man in our world, and how
                 man has the right/ability to decide:
                 - what morality should be
                 - who should live and who should die
                 - how long a marriage should last


- point is - we're living in a world that proposes "answers"
   to these kinds of questions daily--are we in a position
   where we're "armed with biblical truth?"
      - the Psalms will help us do that.

3) we also ought to remember that these chapters were
     actually songs that were sung as part of the Isrealite's
     worship.

     - INPUT - because they were songs--how do you think they
        would have affected the Israelites "during the week?"
          (one of the benefits of songs is that they "stay
           with us"--they make the truths easier to remember
           and easier to concentrate on.)

         - we're not singing these Psalms as part of our
           study, but wise would be the person who took time
           to read over and meditate on the Psalms that had
           been studied.

- this morning, we're going to study Psalm 15

- READ Psalm 15:1

- Psalm 15 begins by posing:

I. Two Important Questions

    - before we look specifically at the two questions in
      verse 1, let me ask you this:
    - INPUT - how would you complete this sentence -- "Verse
       1 is talking about ________"

       (varied answers)

- let's look specifically at what the verse is saying

    A. What kind of person walks with God?

        - these two questions are not "restatements" of each
           other.
        - they're both important///they're both related--but
             they're not identical

        - the first question "who may abide in thy tent
          (NASB)" or "who may abide in thy tabernacle? (KJV)"
          is talking about a temporary condition.

- the word "abide" means "to sojourn for a temporary time."
   - you remember that the tabernacle in the OT was something
      "transient" that the Jews transported with them as they
       traveled through the wilderness.

          - both the word abide and the word tabernacle
            suggest something temporary.

- so the first half of verse one is talking about something
   very important--but also something that is temporary.

- now let's push this a little further:

   - INPUT - what was the purpose of the tabernacle in the
        OT?

       (the place where God manifested His presence to His
        people, the place of fellowship with God, the place
        where God spoke to His people and they spoke to Him)

- when you "put that into the equation," we can begin to get
    an idea of what David is picturing?

    - the question is - what are the characteristics of the
      person who is in fellowship with God--who "walks with
      God" during his/her lifetime?

   - Gen. 5:21-24, 6:9 - READ

- this is where we got the wording for this point "what kind
    of person walks with God?"
     - INPUT - why is it important to know the answer to this
         question?

     - INPUT - what has to happen after knowing the answer to
         this question? (living in a way that’s consistent
         with the answer)

 

- the second question in verse 1 is:

B. What kind of person will live with God?

    - this question is a natural progression from the first
       one?
    - the word "dwell" indicates permanence.

    - the idea here is - what kind of person will spend
        eternity with you?
          - in other words - what will the person be like now
              who is on their way to heaven?

- now we probably need to make a distinction at this point:
   - we're not talking about: HOW is a person reconciled with
       God so they can walk with Him, or HOW is a person
       saved so that they will live with God in eternity
        - we know from many places in Scripture that
          salvation is by grace through faith in Christ
          alone-not of works
            - INPUT - verses that teach this? (Eph. 2:8-9,
                 Titus 3:5)

     - but Psalm 15 is addressing the issue os - what is a
        person like now, here on earth--if they have been
        saved?
          - what are some evidences of the person who is a
             believer, and what is necessary to have
              fellowship with God today?

- now, when you think about it from that perspective--there's
  a book in the NT that addresses that same set of questions
    - what book is it?  (the book of I John)
    - cf. I John 1:3, 6-7, 5:13

- so, in some real senses, Psalm 15 is the OT counterpart to
   the book of I John.

- now, like we said when we began our lesson, the Psalms deal
    with some of the most important issues of life.
      - now, if you look down at the rest of the chapter--
         you'll see that it's not very long
           - which means the Lord doesn't give a long list of
              answers to these questions...  (before you
              "peek", I'll tell you--there are 11 answers in
               these verses)
                 - INPUT - but what should we conclude about
                     the list even before studying it?
                      (these are some of the "majors"--these
                       are some of the things that are most
                       important to God)

- let's start studying the answers to these important
    questions:

II. The Answers (Ps. 15:2-5b)

    - the progression of this Psalm is this:
        - the questions are asked in verse 1
        - they are answered in "general terms" in verse 2
        - then they are answered in more specific terms later
            in the Psalm.
- let's look first at the:

    A. General characteristics

        1. he lives uprightly

            - NASB - "walks with integrity"

            - INPUT - what are some ways a person's integrity
                      might especially manifest itself?


            - INPUT - why is it so tempting to "cut corners"
                 on our integrity?

                 - cf. -  diff. things that came up building
                          the house.
                           - septic system, gutters, CO

        2. he works righteously

            - we talk a lot about how we can't work our way
                to heaven
                  - that’s right//necessary to emphasize-but
                    we can't carry that to the point of
                    thinking that works aren't important

                  - Eph. 2:10, I John 3:7

        3. he speaks honestly

            - INPUT - how are #'s 1 & 2 "tied in" with #3?

                (a person who is living uprightly and working
                 righteously doesn't have any reason to lie.)

                 - but probably most of us has been in a
                   situation where we weren't doing right--
                   then we "had to" lie to cover that up, and
                   then perhaps that led to a series of lies

                    - cf.  2 girls at Seattle conference

- INPUT - what does what we've been speaking about have to do
            with the opening questions in verse 1?  ("the
            finest fellowship is with the fewest sins")

- INPUT - now, there's several more characteristics to study,
    but what questions should we be asking based on what
    we've studied so far?  (How does my lifestyle "measure
    up" to the characteristics we're studying?)


B. Specific characteristics

    1. he does not slander

        - one writer on this passage said, "The word depicts
          a man who has a long nose and a sharp tongue!  He
          is a snooper, always looking secretly to obtain
          tidbits of information. It does not matter to him
          whether the information is true or false. Whatever
          he gathers he passes along in a manner that hurts
          the person about whom he speaks.  He speaks with
          innuendo, saying things like, "I noticed that Jones
          wasn't speaking to his wife this morning," or, "I
          thought I saw one of the Smith kids parked in front
          of the Twilight Bar last night." A slanderer is
          capable of destroying an innocent person.  Prov.
          26:22 - The words of a tale bearer are like wounds,
          and they go down into the innermost part of the
          belly."

       - cf. illus. of backbiters and David Livingstone's
               wife.

- INPUT - how will this sin affect the issues addressed in
           verse 1?

- INPUT - how would this sin affect a church family?


    2. he doesn't destroy

        - we're talking about the phrase "nor does evil to
            his neighbor"
        - the word evil refers to badness, suffering, hurt

        - the idea is - the man/woman who walks with God
           doesn't leave people "harmed, hurting, or
           suffering."

        - INPUT - when are you and I most prone to violate
           this principle (when they were evil to us) What
           does the Scripture say about this? - return good

    3. He doesn't ridicule

        - word reproach means "ridicule."

        - the idea is that that godly people don't "get
           mileage" out of someone else's misfortune.

        - INPUT - how might you or I violate this one today?

        - INPUT - implications to childraising?

    4. Despises worthless people

        - David is speaking here about having the right view
           of the person who isn't living for God and who is
           living sinfully.

 

        - INPUT - how does our world often view persons who
            are vile or degenerate?  (enlightened,
            progressive)

        - Why would this be incompatible with "walking with
            God?"

    5. He honors godly people

        - this is the first "positive statement" in the list.

        - INPUT - how can you or I honor godly people?

 

    6. He keeps his commitments

        - swears to his own hurt, and changes not

        - cf. people in construction who bid, and then change


    7. Does not take financial advantage

        - usury - "biting" - speaking of taking unlawful
           profit


    8. does not take bribes


III. The Promise

    - will never be shaken, moved

    - will have assurance of their eternal destiny

    - Gal. 6:8

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video