Show Me the Way

Sermon Summary
This message is the first message in a series called “Show Me The Way.” This sermon sets up the series by examining the need for spiritual direction from God and is titled “Desperate for Direction!” In today’s culture many are saying it doesn’t matter what a person believes about spirituality and that an individual can just decide what they want to believe independent of any absolute truth. In fact many say absolute spiritual truth doesn’t exist. This kind of nonsensical thinking is not found in any other school of thought because it is widely known and accepted that there are basic rules, standards, realities and truths that guide other areas of study. There are basic rules, standards, realities and truths in regards to spiritual things as well whether we believe it or not and the consequences of rejecting these truths are real. This message then looks at the words of David the Psalmist in Psalm 123 where he cries out for God to “show him the way!” David prayed, confessed, reported, remembered, thirsted, trusted, entreated, submitted, and concluded. The details of each of these are studied in this message.

Community Group Study Guide
1. Have you ever had a time in your life where you needed directions spiritually or other wise? Tell us about it!

2. Why do you think so many want to believe it doesn’t matter what they believe as long as they believe something?
2 Tim 4:3  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Tim 4:4  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

3. While there are many who want to make up their own truth, there are others who really want to know the truth. God’s Word tells us in Matthew 7:7-8  "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Mat 7:8  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Read the text for this message, Psalm 143:1-12 and then discuss what David’s desperation for God’s direction led him to do. The following points from the text will help: David prayed, confessed, reported, remembered, thirsted, trusted, entreated, submitted, and concluded.

4. Have you come to the conclusions David did? Why or why not?
David’s conclusions:
Only The Lord could preserve His life!
Only God's righteousness could bring him out of trouble!
God’s love would not fail him!
God would silence his enemies and destroy his foes!
It’s a good thing to be a servant of God!

Psalm 143:11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.


FULL SERMON NOTES FOLLOW
 
"Oh how I need Your grace, more than my words can say. Jesus I come, Jesus I come.
In all my weaknesses, You are my confidence, Jesus I come, Jesus I come!"
"In all my weaknesses, You are my confidence!" Love that line!

Here's something to think about! If you don't think you've got weaknesses, you're either delusional or you just haven't had enough life experience to realize there are times when you'll face things in this life where you will desperately need someone else's help, encouragement, strength, and direction!

One of the greatest issues facing our society today is that we think we'll eventually figure out all the issues facing humankind and we believe we'll do it on our own without any outside help from God! In some context self-confidence is okay, but sometimes we cary self-confidence to an extreme and if we refuse to admit we need the outside help of an almighty and all wise, God, we are in trouble as a society and as a nation. Not just in trouble, but in danger of moral and spiritual disaster. But, on the other hand, if we realize and admit our desperate need for divine direction, God will hear our cries and answer our prayers.

Let's go to The Lord right now and ask Him to teach us by His precious Holy Spirit as we begin this new series, "Show Me The Way!"

"Father God, I ask You this morning to show me the way! Show me Your way! Show us Your way! Show us Your way as a church, as a community and as a nation! We are desperate for Your direction! Our nation is fast loosing it's moral and spiritual compass. The youth of our nation are crying out for direction, and yet find very few people who know how to point them towards You! I ask You to speak Your truth, and Your words through Your servant today! Truly hide me behind Your cross and Your glory! I'm desperate for Your direction as the pastor of this beautiful gathering of people, that I might lead them to see You more clearly! That I might lead them to know and understand Your truth so they can say You are their confidence, You are their strength, You are their source of real truth, real life, real meaning, real purpose and real peace! For it's in the Mighty Name of Jesus, I pray and I believe! Amen!!

How many of you remember this song?

Have Justin play a little "Show Me the Way" by Peter Frampton.

How many of you remember the words to the song? Let me share a few of them with you...

I wonder how you're feeling
There's ringing in my ears
And no one to relate to 'cept the sea
Who can I believe in?

I'm kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force
Who do I phone?
The stars are out and shining
But all I really want to know

Oh won't you show me the way, every day
I want you to show me the way, yeah

 Well, I can see no reason
You're living on your nerves
When someone drops a cup and I submerge
I'm swimming in a circle
I feel I'm going down

There has to be a fool to play my part
Someone thought of healing
But all I really want to know
Oh won't you show me the way, every day
I want you to show me the way, oh
I want you day after day, yeah

I listened to that song so much back in the day, but never really thought about what he was saying. When I went back and read them, I realized he was voicing what so many in my generation were saying…"Show me the Way!" "Who can I believe in?"I'm kneeling on the floor, there has to be a force. Who do I phone?" And guess what? My generation is not the first to ask those questions and certainly is not the last! Our youth are asking those questions today, but here's the tragedy…They are being told there is no true way! They're being told there are no moral absolutes. They are being told there are no absolute truths when it comes to spirituality, and that it doesn't really matter what they believe as long as they believe something. I want to go on record as saying "That's the most ridiculous and absurd thing I've ever heard!” In every school of thought, be it mathematics, medical, engineering, aeronautics, biology, agriculture, language, and even in sports, there are accepted standards, rules, directions, basic concepts that serve as foundations! Yet we are being told there's no need for these things in the spiritual realm. How misguided! How tragic!

It's ironic we have fancy GPS on our phones which gives us more access to physical directions than we've ever had in history, and yet our souls are sadly lost at sea with no direction. And some folks might say; "it's not that big of a deal. Morality doesn't really matter." To which I would reply. "Do you want to know why we've got young men and women from America trying to get to the middle east to join up with ISIS? It's because those people are at least offering them some kind of direction for their lives. It's not a good direction, in fact it's a tragic direction, but it's direction.

And if you've wondered why so many young people are willing to zone out on drugs and alcohol abuse or even take their lives, it's because they have no direction, purpose or meaning in life! And let me say this…If there is no absolute right or wrong, then what basis do we have to say the holocaust was a bad thing? If there is no true way, then who's to say Hitler, who had rejected the teachings of Jesus, and was willing to stop at nothing to impose his warped version of society, whose to say he was wrong? Well, I for one am thankful there were Godly men and women who were willing to stand for what was right and defeat such evil ideology!

But again, if we accept the new age thinking that spiritual truth is whatever you want it to be, then we have no basis to say anything is a bad thing! And if there is no such thing as absolute truth, then we're in major trouble because the rules will simply be based on what the strongest, and most powerful people want them to be! When that happens human rights are always lost, and the poor, the weak, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable, are abused! But you know, somehow, humanity has always known this is not acceptable. It's not right! And how do we know that? Thankfully God has put that in our DNA!

According to God's Word, He created us with an innate ability to understand certain moral truths and to be able to discern certain spiritual revelation. Listen to Romans 1:20...

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

So there's natural revelation from God about spiritual things, about morality, about right and wrong! But we didn't fully understand the natural revelation so God inspired certain people to write down spiritual truths to further explain His desires and purposes for humanity. This would be God's Word, The Holy Bible. However, we didn't fully understand the written revelation, so God sent His One and Only Son to come to the earth to show us truth! Jesus is known as the living revelation of God to human kind! Listen...

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

John 14:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And guess what? We sometimes have a hard time even understanding the stories of truth we see in Jesus, so God took another step to help show us the way…Jesus said this to His disciples...

John 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

So we have natural revelation, written revelation, living revelation in Jesus, and continued revelation through God's Holy Spirit!! So we have all of these sources for spiritual guidance, but here's the big question for each of us here today…are we desperate for God's direction? Or have we decided to adopt the convenient new age definition of spirituality that it doesn't really matter what you believe as long as you believe something? And why do I say convenient? Because it's pretty convenient to just make up your own rules because then you can do what ever you want to do and it doesn't matter! Or does it? Yes it does matter!!! You see you can sincerely believe something but be sincerely wrong! You can convince yourself that wrong is right, but that doesn't make it right!

And here's the deal…the consequences of your choices, and your actions, if they violate moral truth, are very real regardless of what you believe. Let me give you a very practical example. In the physical realm, here on earth, there is the law of gravity. Now you may choose to not believe in the law of gravity. You can declare to the world your disbelief. To prove your point, you could jump from an airplane without a parachute, but regardless of your sincere belief that you are not bound by the laws of gravity, the consequences of your choice will be tragic. Why? Because what you believe about truth doesn't change truth! It's the same with spiritual truth!

If we ignore the natural revelation God has placed within each of us, our conscience, if we neglect to read and study God's Word, His divine principles, if we reject Jesus, the living revelation of God, God's supreme example, and if we refuse the Holy Spirit's guidance, God's personal guide for our lives, then we are bound to loose our way! And the consequences are devastating. We are experiencing the consequences of losing our moral and spiritual direction in our society today. Families are in moral crisis, our youth are in moral crisis, political and social institutions are in moral crisis, even many churches are in moral crisis!

You might be thinking, well, this is sort of a downer message. Pastor says the sky is falling! Run for your lives!!! But here's the truth, there is an answer! And it's not to late for change! I'm an eternal optimist, and I still believe we can change the world with the truth: one heart at a time, one life at a time, one family at a time! The question, again, is this; Are we desperate for direction? Do we want God to show us the way, the true way? Remember, the words to the song at the beginning of the message?

I'm kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force
Who do I phone?
The stars are out and shining
But all I really want to know
Oh won't you show me the way, every day
I want you to show me the way, yeah

Remember how I said we are not the first generation to ask those questions? David, the Psalmist, had some kind of crisis going on in his life when he wrote Psalm 143. We don't know what it was, but I can say with certainty, he was desperate for God's direction and he cried out for God to "Show him the way!" Listen...

Psalm 143:1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

There are some fascinating spiritual truths in this passage which can help us find direction. Let's mine this passage for spiritual truth. Let's start with what the Psalmist did.

David Prayed!

Psalm 143:1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.

I love David's relationship with God! It was honest and personal. He asked God to hear his prayer and to listen to his cry for mercy! He acknowledged God's faithfulness and His righteousness and asked Him to act accordingly in coming to his relief! If we are truly desperate for God's direction, we must spend time in prayer!

David Confessed!

Psalm 143:2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.

Our prayers must be honest. Confession is the beginning of honesty in prayer. David admitted his culpability, the part he played in his present situation because of his own mistakes!!

David Reported!

Psalm 143:3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.

God wants to hear your take on your situation! He wants you to be honest about your feelings, your discouragement, depression, your struggles, your temptations, your questions, your doubts, your fears, your desires, your disappointments, whatever. When you get honest, God will give you His direction!!

David Remembered!

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Someone told me the other day that their pastor tells them to get out their faith files and remember the times God has worked in their lives. I thought that was very good!! It's like the old Hymn "Count your many blessings and it will surprise you what The Lord has done!"

Remembering what God has done in the past can help you find your way today!

David Thirsted!

Psalm 143:6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

David was desperate for spiritual truth like a man in a desert would be desperate for physical water. It's so important that we understand our need for this spiritual water, that we thirst for the things of God! If we ignore our need for spiritual direction and have no desire for it, we will stumble and fall and our spiritual life will begin to fail!

David Trusted!

8a Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you...

People put their trust in a lot of things, and many times that trust is misplaced! However, David desired to renew his trust in God every morning. He began his day acknowledging God's unfailing love for him and this trust in God served as the anchor for the rest of his day, no matter what came his way! He trusted the truth of God's love!

David Entreated!

What does it mean to entreat? It's a whole other level of asking, or praying. It means to ask earnestly, to beseech, to implore, to beg!! David was serious. Listen to these verses which are the center piece of this series...

8b ... Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.

How powerful! Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul! Are you entreating God, beseeching God, begging God to show you the way you should go? Are you lifting up your soul to Him? Are you desperate for direction, His direction? What happens when we entreat God for direction?

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Just remember, ask God for His will, His truth, His direction, His way. It may not be what you wanted or expected, but God's ways are not our ways, and He has a divine and eternal plan for you that is greater than anything you could ever dream, plan or imagine.

You might say, "But Pastor Larry, what about people who ask to be healed, but die anyway?" When God gets ready to call me home, then that simply means my work on this earth is finished and I'm about to graduate to my eternal home with Christ and my healing in glory will be ultimate and permanent!! Thank You Jesus! As long as God has a work for you to complete here, He will give you the health and strength you need to complete it. When that work is finished, celebrate! Death is the final enemy to be faced, but remember, Jesus defeated death and the grave so we don't have to fear death!! Are you entreating and imploring God to rescue you from your enemies? Whatever or whoever, your enemies are God wants to rescue you! Are you finding safety by hiding in Him? Are you trying to handle things on your own or are you letting The God who is bigger than any enemy you have take care of you?

When I preached in Haiti a few weeks ago I shared a message from Psalm 57. I know those people deal with so many enemies. Poverty, sickness, hunger, and sometimes other people. I read them these verses and made a comment...

Psalm 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills └his purpose┘ for me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me;  Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness.

Here's my comment I made…God wraps His mighty arms, and wings around us and then ask our enemies…"You still want to fight him, because if you fight him you fight me, this is my child!!!"


David Submitted!

Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

David's trust in God allowed him to submit to God's will. He wanted to know God's will and wanted to be taught how to accomplish God's will. And even in the Old Testament, David understood the importance of God's Holy Spirit in leading him down the good path. The path that leads to life! The true path! Listen to Psalm 119:104-105…

Psalm 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

David Concluded!

David's desperation for direction and his prayer for God to show him the way had led him to several conclusions. It is my prayer that you will come to the same conclusions...

Psalm 143:11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

David Concluded only The Lord could preserve His life!
David Concluded only God's righteousness could bring him out of trouble!
David Concluded God’s love would not fail him!
David Concluded God would silence his enemies and destroy his foes!
David Concluded it’s a good thing to be a servant of God!

Let's Pray!