(Psalm 76:1-12) "Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared."
In 701 BC God gave Judah a great victory over the Assyrians.
JUDAH WAS A SMALL NATION, ALMOST COMPLETELY IN BONDAGE TO ITS NEIGHBORS...
Assyria was a mighty nation.
Having defeated the most powerful nations in the Middle East, the Assyrians had become the fear of the region.
SENNACHERIB, THE ASSYRIAN KING DEMANDED 300 TALENTS OF SILVER FROM JUDAH.
Hezekiah, King of Judah took all the gold and silver from the temple and from the palace to give to the Assyrian king.
Assyria sent her great general Rabshaken, with their mighty army who camped outside Jerusalem.
> Rabshaken rebuked Judah by saying can you turn to for help?
> Egypt and other nations will not help you.
> YOU CAN’T EVEN CALL ON YOUR GOD, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT SERVED HIM.
Assyria was rebuking not only Judah, the Lord God Jehovah.
> Hezekiah, turned to the Lord and confessed his and the sins of Judah, and asked God for help.
The Lord responded, that they were not to fear the ungodly Assyrians.
> That He would deliver them!
During the night God killed 185,000 Assyrians.
General Rabshaken returned home with what was left of his Army.
> Back in Assyria, God continued to work, and Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him.
God gave a great victory to Judah even when she did not deserve it!
> Judah was not right with God, but when Hezekiah prayed, God still delivered them!
This Is a Psalm of Victory, and Joy.
The Psalmists encourages the people to make vows unto God...
(v. 10-11) The people vowed themselves unto the Lord. They committed themselves unto the Lord.
> God had delivered them when they did not deserve it.
God turned their desperate situation around and greatly blessed them...
> So the Psalmist encourages them to dedicated themselves to God and make vows unto Him.
This is the beginning of a new year.
It is a time to reflect on the past and consider the future.
It is a time when resolutions are made and vows are made toward living a better life.
> It is a time when we resolve to do better this year than we did LAST year.
Every Christian ought to know the joy of making solemn sacred vows unto God.
> God has been good to us when we did not deserve it.
> God has forgiven and received us when we should have been condemned.
Only carnal or backslidden Christians would refuse to make a commitment to Christ.
Jesus died for our sins.
> Jesus suffered an agonizing death on our behalf.
> Jesus committed His life for our benefit.
> He gave the ultimate sacrifice!
But, He has continued to bless and keep us even when we should have been judged (Ezra 9:13-15).
> You have punished us LESS than we deserve.
> And we have continued living this way!
> We’re on our face before Thee, because we cannot stand...
The Psalmist sings a song of Joy to God’s people.
He tells them they ought to dedicate themselves to God because of His goodness toward them.
> He tells them that they should have been destroyed, but God delivered them instead.
They ought to make VOWS unto God for His great mercy and blessings.
> He tells them that it’s a time for spiritual RESOLUTIONS...
Four Vows Every Christian
Ought to Make Unto the Lord
I. God Rules On Making Vows (Ecc. 5).
A. An Exposition of a Vow (5:1-5).
(v. 1) Be extra careful of everything you do when you are in God’s house.
> Be MORE ready to hear than to speak like a fool.
> You had better leave the fighting at home; And the gossip...
> Some do not even realize that this is EVIL.
(v. 2) Be careful what you SAY in God’s house.
> Its better to be a person of FEW words, than to be RASH with thy mouth.
> (v. 3) "A fool’s voice is known by multitude of words."
(v. 4a) "When thou vowest a vow unto God..."
> Not IF but WHEN. Not in case you do, but WHEN you do.
> It is evident that God intends us to make vows!
(v. 4-5) "...defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed."
> "Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."
> It’s a SIN not to make any vows, but its worse sin to vow and not pay!
B. A Definition of a Vow!
1. A Promise Made to the Lord.
> A promise made to God as an act of SINCERITY - Authentication.
> A promise made to God as an act of WORSHIP - Shows Appreciation.
> A promise made to God as an act of OBEDIENCE - Shows Dedication.
2. A Promise Made to Someone in the Lord’s Name.
> This is why weddings are held in churches.
> People hold weddings in church so that they can make their vows before God.
C. An Expectation of a Vow.
1. Vows were an expected part of worship.
> God’s people often spoke of Vows they had made or were going to make.
> The Psalmist King David spoke often about making vows.
2. God encourages us to vow [Our Text Psa. 76:11].
> "When thou vowest a vow..."
> God DESIRES our worship and commitment!
> God DESERVES our worship and commitment!
Four Vows Every Christian
Ought to Make Unto the Lord
I. A VOW OF SEPARATION.
A. Separation is a Command of God.
1. "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord..."
> If you are not striving toward a separated life, you are out of God’s will.
2. No Christian can be obedient to Christ who does not live a separated life.
> When a man gets married; He is no longer free to seek other women.
BTW: Some of the happiest times of my life were spent in the arm’s of another man’s wife! –> My mother.
> A married man separates himself from former companions.
> Even so the child of God must separate himself from worldly attractions...
B. The Baptist’s of 50 Years Ago.
1. Baptist Preachers used to preach hard on the subject of Separation.
> We have become a bunch of pansies and push-overs.
2. Baptists used to preach against liquor like it was the devil’s fire.
> Sam Morris preached temperance and abstinence.
3. Baptist used to preach that men should look an act like men, and women... like women!
> That men should not wear their hair long.
> That men would never wear an earing; unless they were queer.
> They preached against Christians getting a tattoo!
> They preached against women wearing pants!
> They preached against going to the movies.
> They preached against having a TV in your house at all.
> Make-up was frowned upon.
> Divorce was a social sin.
> Homosexuality was an abomination.
> An affair was called ADULTERY.
C. We have gotten away from preaching about Separation!
1. But its still Bible; God hasn’t changed!
> We’ve got to get back to our Baptist Heritage!
2. A Vow every Christian should make - Separation!
II. A VOW OF SERVICE.
A. God has a place of service for EVERY one of us.
1. There is no one left out of the picture.
> God says that He has given gifts to everyone in the church...
> There is a position that if you do not do it, NO ONE WILL!
2. This is the day of "spectator Christianity."
> Churches have become a show place where the pastor and a few others put on the show....
> While the majority sit back and watch the show.
B. In the Parable of the Talents...
1. Three different servants were given three different amounts of money.
> Each had a different amount that was expected of him.
> God did not expect the same from the one talent guy as the ten...
> But, each would have gotten a full reward if he would have succeeded.
2. One of them, buried the money and gave his lord back the exact amount given him.
> "Thou wicked and unprofitable servant..."
> GOD EXPECTS SERVICE FROM US!
C. You should make a vow of service for your family’s sake.
1. Joshua did...
> "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve...
> "Whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell...
> "BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."
2. It has always been God’s way, that the child of God make a conscious vow to serve the Lord, or not.
> Elijah said, "How long halt ye between two opinions...
> If Baal be God serve him, but if Jehovah be God THEN SERVE HIM."
3. Many children suffer because the parent never commits himself to their spiritual upbringing.
> They are raised without God in their lives.
> They become young adults with NO CHARACTER or COMMITMENT!
> America is raising a nation of rebels because they don’t want to follow God themselves.
> One day many will regret the foolish decisions they made as young parents!
4. Even if you don’t care about your own spiritual life, you ought to make a Vow of Service for your family...
III. A VOW OF STEWARDSHIP.
A. Stewardship is the act of being a steward.
1. Old English keeper of the Pig Pen (STY) was called a Sty-Ward.
> He was the ward of the pig sty.
> He was in the service of the Land-Lord.
2. Later the title began to be used for anyone who kept another person’s property.
> If you were a Stew-Ward, you were the ward of another’s property.
> You were in charge of keeping another person’s possessions.
B. God calls us stewards because we are keepers of His property.
1. We are responsible for the family He has given us..
> If they fail, God will hold you accountable.
2. We are responsible for the church He has put us in.
> If this church fails God will require you to give an account of your part in its failure.
3. We are responsible for the money God has put in our charge.
> In the New Testament we don’t give God a TITHE...
> We just manage His 90% remainder!
C. It is not what we say we believe, but how we act on what we believe!
1. Its what we actually do that determines what we are.
> To say we love the work of God, but do not support it, is a major contradiction.
2. You have not yet begin to give unto the Lord until you have first given the tithe.
> The tithe is the starting point of your stewardship.
> If you don’t tithe you are an unfaithful steward!
3. A person who does not care for the work of God, has never had a work of God in his own heart.
[2 Cor.5:14-15] "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."
> Or in other words, "If we believe God showed His love by dying for us..."
> Then we should show OUR love by living for Him!"
D. Every Christian should make a vow to give to God’s work.
1. You should make a commitment to Tithe and support the work of Missions.
2. This is just BASIC Christianity!
IV. A VOW OF SALVATION.
A. One of the Clearest Doctrines of the Bible.
1. That man is a sinner and without Christ’s atonement is bound for a devils hell.
> If you don’t get Born-Again you will die and go to hell.
> God call’s this SALVATION.
> We call it getting SAVED!
2. Many Preacher’s believe that at least 40% of their congregation is not truly Born-Again.
> SOME ARE SIMPLY PUTTING IT OFF.
> They fully intend to trust in Christ some time in the future.
> SOME HAVE NEVER FULLY UNDERSTOOD.
> They have a general knowledge of what it means to be saved, but have never fully received it.
> SOME HAVE WILFULLY REJECTED THE GOSPEL.
> They are many excuses for rejecting Christ, but none of them will satisfy God.
3. The patience of God is the only thing keeping some from plunging into hell right now.
> God has given you warning after warning.
> He has been patient with you for a very long time.
B. Still God continues to extend His hand toward disobedient people.
1. You are lost and on your way to a devil’s hell.
> But God stretches out His hand to save you.
"All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
2. Those that are putting it off...
> You are playing with fire by neglecting salvation.
3. Those that do not understand...
> Let someone show you from the Bible how to be sure your saved.
> If you need a private session, just let me know.
4. Those that are wilfully disobedient...
> The patience of God is already stretched beyond imagination.
> To toy with the mercy of God is a sure way to eternal damnation.
C. If you are not already saved, this is the Most Important Vow you will ever make.
1. Having missed this one, none of the others matter.
2. I urge you to give your heart to Christ while you still can!