Summary: The first sermon I ever preached...I repreached an updated version here right after returning from sabbatical. We are planted with a purpose, it takes power to fulfill it, and that flows thru purity.
3 P’s and a Tree
This is the first message I ever preached years ago...and now it is my first to preach since sabbatical. It is very basic, and God had to hit me over the head to get me back to the basics. I share it now so it may help you as it has me.
It’s a strange title, and juvenile, but hey, God has led me to get back to being myself!
Can a tree bear fruit? Think about the question...and it’s a trick question. You could be judged wrong with any answer you give. You could say yes, obviously, many trees bear fruit, so this proves a tree can bear fruit. You could be wiser than that and say, I know where you’re going preacher, and I say a tree, in and of itself CANNOT bear fruit. It needs the sun and water and roots and some care. No, in the strict sense, a tree cannot bear fruit.
My answer: Yes it can...for a while. It has within itself what it needs to bear fruit. It can draw from its internal resources and for a time can produce and look good. And someone else can pick from it and eat and be nourished and benefited. But only for a while.
If the sun refused to shine, trees around us would continue...for a time. Obviously, you can shut off the water resources and trees can still live. We’ve seen that this summer, but eventually they would all turn into weeping willows, dry up, and die!
We’re introduced to the blessed man. But do we really understand what it means to be blessed of God? In many ways I consider myself blessed. And if you’re talking about material things then I am blessed. [family/church/friends/good looks!]
But I’ve NOT been blessed. Not in the way our text is talking about.
We’re all blessed with every breath we take, and blessed to be alive and that God hasn’t got fed up and destroyed us. We’re blessed to be saved, but that doesn’t mean we are the blessed man in our text.
If I sneeze I get blessed. When I do something stupid and God saves me from my foolishness, I have been blessed in a sense, but not like in our text. [story of nearly killing us all in NYC...Griswold’s crossed w/ Beverly Hillbillies]
We were so blessed to receive a 9 week sabbatical. In a sense, I hate to return home and rob myself of that blessing! Like it or not I have returned and I hope to bless you as a result of what God has done in me.
But none of these blessings are what Psalm 1 is talking about. The truly blessed man is not blessed in temporary things...it is eternal blessings...it’s forever...it never ends, never dies, never stops.
v. 3b His leaf never withers. He never stops bearing fruit.
"Whatsoever" = that’s a big word that encapsulates a forever future with no limitations.
v. 3a "in his season" indicates it may come and go a bit, and yet those leaves are evergreen, year round, even on vacation or sabbatical, even in low times, on a bad day, after a bad decision, this tree continues to produce!
The blessed man is this: He has the blessing of God upon him, and IN him. Even when things aren’t great outwardly, they are on the inside. But according to v. 3 he has something akin to the Midas touch...whatever he does prospers...bears fruit. Good things do happen, and when they don’t, God still gets the fruit of the glory the blessed man gives to Him in all situations.
It used to be said of me that ’everything he touches turns to gold.’ If only that were really true! Of course, I’d look pretty silly with the inside of my nostrils shining 24 carats!
I’ve had some claims to fame over my years. You should see my mommy’s brag book! Maybe she was right...maybe I AM special! Academically, I was top 10. Excelled in sports. I’ve had some great cars, motorcycles, toys, etc. I’ve had some great successes in many ministries from the time I was a kid. [bus/jr. church/Bible clubs/outreach/soulwinning/discipleship/radio/music/Living Christmas Tree/Grace Notes
Ah yes, Jerry Shirley, everything he touches turns to gold! No. Only when he acts as the truly blessed man of v. 1. Who is that guy? That’s the guy I used to be...and want to get back to being!
Let’s look at these first 3 verses, backwards, to understand it inside and out, backwards and forwards...life changing truths, but soooo simple!
1. We are planted for a purpose.
v. 3 God puts us right where He wants us. We are wise to stay, dig in with roots, and bloom where we were planted!