Sunday morning, September 12, 2010 at Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean City, NJ.
(Disclaimer: These notes are an attempt to capture the main points of the speaker; mistakes are inevitable and I’m certain not every word and phrase was captured exactly.)
Speaker: Vernon Allen, Pastor of the Buff Bay Circuit of Independent Baptist Churches.
Text: Psalm 84:1-2, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
Three headings: A False and Unnatural and Cry; A Vague and Perverted Cry; and A True and Earnest Cry
I. A False and Unnatural Cry
People are now bold to decry their need for God. Because they are advanced in knowledge, don’t think they need God—yet cannot explain one star. Have arrived and don’t need a crutch.
Only foolish men would say such. Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” The fact that we can say there is no God is an affront because it is said with borrowed breath.
God has given us a sense of the divine. The soul instinctively cries out to God.
Example: A follower of Rasta, who does not believe in the God of the Bible, was trapped by an earthquake. He cried out to God to have mercy, saying, “I will go to church!”
To say there is no God is a false and unnatural cry.
Yesterday was September 11, and all of a sudden the scorn of the media changed and were willing to cover prayer services uninterrupted. In times of crisis we turn to God. God is the only one who can help.
II. A Vague and Perverted Cry
OK to talk about God, but not the Biblical God. They want to create God in their own image. To them, God is in everything, ocean and animals.
The true God is separate, transcendent, apart. Involved, but one and the same as creation.
There is a way that seems right to a man….but Jesus says the way is narrow. He is the One God, not who we make him to be.
God is still God in uncertain times.
Example: Jamaica feeling tough times. They have a saying, “when America sneezes, Jamaica catches a cold.” Will we not accept bad times as well as good? God is not like us—does not put up with sin, pours out wrath on his own Son.
Be careful when we make God in our own image. Important to know the only true God.
Some who want God without Jesus—want to go to heaven without Jesus.
Romans 1:18 and following: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them.”
III. A True and Earnest Cry
Psalm 84:2, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
We can compare this with Psalm 42, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” His soul longs most intensely—pines, yearns, longs, for God.
Genesis 31:30, “And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?” Jacob yearns for his father’s house, uses the same word in Hebrew translated “longeth” in Psalm 84.
Psalm 17:2, “Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.” The word “greedy” there used of the lion for his prey is also the same Hebrew word translated “longeth” in Psalm 84. The Psalmist is greedy for God, has an internal hunger.
Do we pant after God like that? Is it a cry of our deepest consciousness?
Be careful that we are not just mouthing external words in our worship. King David had animals and wealth to give, but says God desires sacrifice of the heart.
A preacher needs to examine own heart, remind self of this.
How do you come before God? Not just with lips, but with a contrite heart. Like a child who is hungry and wants to be fed. We must cry to God until we are satisfied. A holy love-sickness.
Israel was hard-hearted, wanted to go back to Egypt. The object of this love is the living God. This long for God is the greatest longing we can have.
What does your soul long for? Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Philippians 3:4-11, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
No one can take Christ from you.
What do we long for? Who do we long for?
If you are here and not saved, weep for Him. Ask Him to put this desire in your heart. Oh that you might know him—this God who delights in sinners to come to him, so we can become who we ought to be.
May the world see our great desire for him.