This isn’t a political thing, but a kingdom of God thing…but still vote today.
NOVEMBER 3, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
This isn’t a political thing, but a kingdom of God thing, but still vote today. Let’s talk on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. Our message is simple, because life is hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Steve Brown invited Zach Van Dyke to teach this week. Zach’s the teaching pastor at Summit Church here in Orlando, Florida. If you’re tired of religion, that just beats you down, pull up a chair and stay awhile.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thank you Matthew. And thank you for tuning in again this week, while Steve is out, I’m here and I’m excited to be with you. Steve, will be back on Friday with Pete Alwinson for Q & A, so you don’t want to miss that, but today we’re going to jump right back in to this discussion of justice and the kingdom of God that Jesus came to bring. And he inaugurated with his very first sermon. Yesterday, we talked about how the first thing you choose to preach on is pretty significant. It says something about your heart. It says something about the mission that you’re on. I talked about how our founding of our country, the words of the Declaration of Independence really are significant. They are powerful words. They’re powerful words that talk about how each of us were given rights by our creator to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And even if, when those words were penned, not everyone was included, that should have been included. They’re still powerful words from which to build from. And so yesterday I said, all right, so if Jesus’ first words, his first kind of inaugural address about the kingdom of God were about, giving sight to the blind and good news to the poor and setting people free. Are we as the church, are we as the hands and feet of Jesus, are we known as being people of the oppressed? Are we continuing building upon the world words that Jesus started this whole kingdom of God thing with? And we talked a little bit about justice yesterday and how throughout the Bible, you have this picture of justice, that’s not just about fairness. It’s not just about judging people based on whether or not they’re guilty, no matter what race they are or ethnicity or their social class or their wealth or anything like that. It also means giving them their rights. And over and over again, we see God identify himself as a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, in Psalm 146:7, it says
who executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
Deuteronomy 10:17 through 18 says
The Lord your God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow. He loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing.
I mean, it really seems the main way that God wants to be known in scripture is as a God of the oppressed. And with his very first sermon, Jesus confirms that. Now maybe you’re listening today and you’re not really a church person. Maybe you were just flipping the dial and you just happened upon this and you stayed for whatever reason. I have a question for you, when you think of the people of God, is the main thing you’ve heard about God from the people of God, is that he is a God of the oppressed. If not, that is an indictment on God’s church. It means we’ve not been about the very thing that Jesus declared in his first sermon. Again, I said this yesterday, I’m gonna say it all week. This isn’t a political thing. This is a kingdom of God thing. And let me also remind you, you’re in the future, you are in a, you today is voting day. You should go out and you should vote. You should, you should exercise that right that so many people have fought and laid down their life for, but y’all, I’m months away from where you are, I have no idea what’s going on politically. I have no idea what the polls are saying. I have no idea how you’re feeling about who’s going to be the next president. I know nothing you, I am, so in the dark, you know a whole lot more than me. And so this discussion this week, isn’t about what is currently happening for you, but it is an important discussion to have. What does the Bible say about justice and what does the Bible say about the kingdom of God? Because how I ended yesterday, is really important to remember, the hope of the world is not in a particular government or political party or a social service organization. The hope of the world is Jesus Christ. That’s our hope. That’s everyone’s hope. And Jesus says, this is what I want my kingdom to be about. So how do we, how do we become like that? How do we build from Jesus’s powerful words? How do we take part in setting the oppressed free? Well, in order to be set free, we have to first acknowledge what is enslaving us. In order to be set free, we have to acknowledge that, and you know what it is? It’s wickedness. During this whole COVID pandemic. I have found myself in the Psalms again and again and again, and y’all, I was never a Psalms guy before. I just, I like stories, you know, I, you know, Paul’s letters, like I like, you know, very practical instructions. I just never really got in to the Psalms prior to COVID. Now, I find myself going to the Psalms daily and just crying out to God using God’s word, to speak back to him through the Psalms. And a Psalm, that I was just reading, it really, it struck me. It’s Psalm 10 and it’s a, it’s a, it’s a doozy of a Psalm. But, when I was thinking about this idea of what is enslaving us and what is it that we need to be set free from. Psalm 10 paints this picture of wickedness that I think is so helpful for us to self examine, to reflect on, on, on the wickedness around us and also the wickedness within us. And so for the rest of the week, that’s actually where I want to spend our time, I want to spend our time in Psalm 10. So, let me go ahead and read it. I’m just going to read the whole Psalm for you now. This is Psalm 10.
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts, “There is no room for God.” His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.” Arise. Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted, you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. Defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
This is God’s word. In order to be set free, we have to acknowledge what is enslaving us, wickedness. Psalm 10 gives us a rather illuminating description of wickedness. So if you and I want to be about what Jesus started with that first sermon, if we want to build on those powerful words, we have to understand wickedness. We have to be able to examine whether or not we are wicked. Listen to this quote from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis,
The right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he’s all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.
You and I, we have a choice. We have a choice right now, either ignore what God says to us in Psalm 10 about wickedness, or we can take a deep breath and a humble posture and say, search me Oh God. Know my heart. Now, it’s a lot easier to just turn off the radio, right? It’s a lot easier to walk away from the podcast than it is to get up in the middle of a sermon. Although that has happened to me before, I have had someone stand up when I was teaching on human sexuality from a Biblical perspective and they stood up in the middle of the sermon and they said, Oh, H no. And then walked out. Quite awkward. It was definitely very awkward. But listen, if, if you stay with me, if you lean into this, if you take that deep breath in that humble posture and say, search me Oh God and know my heart, he will be so kind, he will be so gracious and he will call you out into what he had in mind when he thought you up. He will allow you to be a part of building a kingdom of life, Liberty, and true happiness for all, because we have a God who is all about grace.
And that was Pastor Zach Van Dyke, continuing to teach us about Biblical justice and what we can do about it. And again, our text today was Psalm 10. More from Zach tomorrow, make sure you join us then. So when I say the phrase hidden agendas, what image comes to mind for you? I know for me, my immediate picture has something to do with crooked politician. Here’s the thing. We all have hidden agendas, we’re phony, afraid, sinful, scared that the pressure of keeping it altogether is going to overwhelm us. Frankly, it is killing us and hurting those we love. Steve wrote a booklet that invites us to drop our masks and to discover God’s love and grace and how it can propel us into the real relationships we thought we’d never have. Could you use something like that? Then call 1-800-KEY-LIFE right now. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for that booklet. If you’re mailing us send your request to
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