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Psalm 86:1-10 1
1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. 3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. 4 Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 5You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. 6 Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. 8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. 9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. 10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.

clip_image014Background 2

The psalmist, most likely David, had trouble. His enemies were attacking him. We do not know why or when. He prayed to God about it. This psalm is his prayer, his lament. This prayer is special because David’s own words and words that Moses wrote in the Book of Exodus were used to create it. The psalmist took some bits from Psalms 25-28, some pieces from Psalms 54-58 and some from other psalms and other parts of the Bible. And he made a new psalm from them.

Biblical Truths

In verse 2, “one of your people” is a special Bible word. It is someone that has accepted God’s love. Some Bibles translate it “*saints”. “I lift myself to you” in verse 4 means “I give myself to you”. Some Christians show this by lifting their hands when they pray. In verse 5, the word “forgive” means more to Christians than maybe it did to the psalmist. To him it meant “excuse”. To Christians it means that God gave their sin to Jesus for them when Jesus died for them. That was when God punished Jesus for our sin!

“Answer me” in verses 1 and 7 does not mean that the psalmist will hear God speak. It means that God will give him help. The gods of verse 8 are the false gods of the people attacking the psalmist.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the false gods that seem to attach us today? (see verse 8)
  • Why do we quickly go to God when we are in trouble but reluctantly call out to God when things are going well?
  • How can we warn our children about the false gods of this world?
  • Why would repentance be such a critical part of communicating with God?

 

Ephesians 1:13-14
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Background

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians amounts to a short course in theology. Because of its majestic and exalted content, it has been hailed as “The Queen of the Epistles.” Although it does not cover every theological topic, several central truths that are not explicitly stated are nevertheless assumed or implied. A firm theological foundation leads to spiritual stability, so that God’s people will not be tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine. It is all the more important for us to insist on the biblical gospel, that it is God alone who, through Christ alone, sovereignly predestined (1:3-14), regenerates (1:15-2:10), reconciles (2:11-20), sanctifies (4:1-6:9), and establishes (6:10-20) his people.

Biblical Truths

The Holy Spirit delivers us from death and leads us to the gift of eternal life. We inherit mortal life through Adam, but God gives His Spirit to endow eternal life on His faithful and obedient children. Since the Spirit is God’s gift, neither are we born with it, nor can we earn it.

Though Jesus says God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask, the Bible further qualifies this with conditions. God will give His Spirit only to those who have demonstrated in attitude and behavior that they have repented. Then they must be baptized and obey His commandments. No one who continues to live a lifestyle apart from God’s law has received the Spirit of God or has the power of God working in him.

Jesus and His Father give us a guarantee of His promise to marry us. On the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2), fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection, God sent a “deposit,” the “earnest” of the Holy Spirit—the guarantee of the full payment to come later, when we are changed from flesh to spirit. There may be more here than some realize.

The Greek word for “earnest” is arrabon. When taken in the context of our understanding of a glorious wedding coming, it is a word packed with meaning. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words comments:

  • Originally, “earnest-money” deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, [arrabon] was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote “a pledge” or “earnest” of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the divine “pledge” of all their future blessedness, particularly of their eternal inheritance.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is the analogy of marriage such a good way to describe our relationship with Christ?
  • Could we function without the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are there societies/religions who do not share the gift of the Holy Spirit and how is their behavior different than that of the Christian Church?
  • In what ways does the Holy Spirit facilitate our faith and salvation?
  • What are the differences between biological, material and spiritual inheritance?
  • Why would God use the concept of inheritance to teach us about Salvation?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we share the Holy Spirit with others?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm086-taw.htm
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