Summary: We are to delight in God’s Presence.



Psalm 84:1-12

S: The Four Marks of the Church

Th: Worship

Pr: We are to delight in God’s Presence.

?: Why?

KW: Perspectives

TS: Since we are to delight in God’s Presence, we will find

in our study of Psalm 84 three perspectives that will explain why we are to do so.

The _____ perspective that explains why we are to delight in God’s Presence is that He is our…




RMBC 3/19/00 AM


ILL Notebook: Perspective (C & H)

In the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin’s mom is speaking to him and she says:

M: Calvin, will you gather the trash, please?

C: Why should I? What do I get in return?!

M: We will feed, clothe, shelter, and educate you throughout your entire youth.

C: (as he is carrying out the trash) I really hate having things put in perspective.

Well, poor Calvin.

But it makes me wonder…

1. How do you feel about having matters put into perspective?

Sometimes, we know that we need perspective.

We know that we are not being objective.

We know that we are seeing things from our view only.

And sometimes it is painful for a time, because we see that we are wrong.

In the end, though, we are glad.


2. Getting a new perspective often helps us “see things as they really are.”

We are introduced to “reality.”

It is something that we are missing and the real stuff gets filled in.


We have finished our 50-Day Adventure and what an adventure it has been.

I hope that you enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.

I found it to be a wonderful challenge because I want to be like Jesus.

It is my prayer that you do too.

Today we begin a four-part series on what is historically known as the four marks of the church.

Dick Murphy, in his study on Thursday night, called them the four pillars.

I think that is an apt description.

For these pillars serve as the basic construction of the church.

We build around these.

And when we do, we are effective in glorifying God (our vertical relationship) and we are effective in making disciples (our horizontal relationship).

Now before we speak of this first pillar, let me say in keeping with our theme for the year that…

1. The church ought to be “a place of grace.”

This should be a place where God’s grace is evident, very evident.

It should be evident in two ways.

We should be able to acknowledge by experience that God is a God of Grace.

He has extended His favor to us and we celebrate that.

Grace also should be evident by our activity.

In other words, we are to be people of grace.

The qualities that God has shown us we also extend to others.

Having said that, let us recognize that…

2. We experience God’s grace in worship.

In worship, we discover that He is a God that is at work in our lives.

He is at work in my heart.

He is at work in our hearts.

He works in us individually.

And He works in us collectively.

In worship, we discover there is this matter of God’s Presence.

And so, as we return each time, we rediscover over and over that God is here.

And in the midst of this discovery and rediscovery, we find that God is favoring us.

His grace is constantly at work.

It is not a one-time thing.

It is continual.

There is an appropriate response to all of this, that is…


You know…God is here.

He is not far off.

He is close.

During the advent season, we often find ourselves calling Jesus, Immanuel.

The truth of the incarnation is not something that is a past event.

The concept of Immanuel is a present reality.

He is the “with-us God,” and He is here.

But though God is here, we often miss Him.

There are barriers that need to be broken down that keep us from Him and He from us.

Our priorities, our desires, and even our sins get in the way.

They prevent us from the enjoyment that God has for us.

There is, though, plenty of reason to delight in His Presence.


4. Since we are to delight in God’s Presence, we will find in our study of Psalm 84 three perspectives that will explain why it is to our benefit.


I. The first perspective that explains why we are to delight in God’s Presence is that He is our SANCTUARY (1-4).

(1) How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! (2) My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (3) Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. (4) Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

1. Worship is a demonstration of a heart that is for God.

The text writer speaks about how his soul yearns for God, even to the point of fainting.

The word yearn actually includes the concept of a loud cry, associated with pain.

The idea we get here is that the author has “gotta have it.”

He has to have God in his life.

When C.S. Lewis reflected on this verse, he spoke about having an appetite for God.

That is was like a natural, even a physical desire.

The description here is one of compelling hunger that only God can adequately satisfy.

Now the author states that there is a place where this hunger can be satisfied.

It is at the temple of God.

It is where one finds the Presence of God.

And this reveals to us that…

2. God calls us to worship collectively (Acts 2:42, 46-47).

The temple courts were the place to be.

So, just as birds find it a home and a place of rest, so should we.

This gathering of God’s people was something that continued with the early church.

They gathered together because there was strength in unity.

ILL Notebook: Unity (musk-oxen)

The May 1987 edition of National Geogra-phic included a fea-ture about the arctic wolf. Author L. David Mech described how a seven-mem-ber pack had targeted several musk-oxen calves that were guarded by elev-en adults. As the wolves approached their quarry, the musk oxen bunched in an impenetrable semicir-cle, their deadly rear hooves facing out, and the calves remained safe dur-ing a long standoff with the enemy. But then a sin-gle ox broke rank and the herd scattered into nervous little groups. A skirmish ensued, and the adults fi-nally fled in panic, leaving the calves to the mercy of the predators. Not a single calf survived.

Listen to the testimony regarding the early church in Acts 2:

(42) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

(46) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (47) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The early church gathered together for worship.

Interestingly, they were not tied to a style or denomination.

There were no rituals, no formalities, no traditions, no hype and no entertaining exhibitions designed to hold their attention.

The only cohesive force bringing them together and sustaining their interest was the power of God demonstrated through their risen Savior.

You see, they had a common purpose for being together.

It wasn’t something commanded or demanded; it was a natural response to their longing for God.

As they were drawn to Christ they were naturally drawn to those who expressed the common interest in Christ.

In his book The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer wrote, "Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers (meeting) together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ’unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship."

So God calls us to worship together, united around Christ.

But there is a…

3. Reality check: God’s Presence is not wrapped up in a physical building, but a personal “building” (Ephesians 2:22).

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

We do not come together collectively because a building is where God is found.


The New Testament consistently communicates that we are the temple of God.

The Presence of God is in our bodies.

And this Presence is to shine through us and radiate out to others.

So, as a believer in Jesus, you dwell in His presence no matter where you are.

So be overjoyed and delight in His Presence.

He is your sanctuary and you are His.

He is not far off.

He is very near.

In fact, He is so near that He cannot get closer.

II. The second perspective that explains why we are to delight in God’s Presence is that He is our STRENGTH (5-9).

(5) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. (6) As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. (7) They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. (8) Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. (9) Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.

1. God’s strength is a source of blessing to our lives.

We are connected to God.

We have access to the greatest source of strength and power in all of the universe.

And He is in us.

ILL advertisement for a car: “power all around”

You have probably heard when someone is advertising their car and it has power steering and brakes, and other luxuries, they say it this way: “power all around.”

You know, I think that appropriately describes God in our life.

There is power all around.

And wherever we go, He goes with us.

No matter where we go, or how desperate it may seem, He is there.

The text tells of a pilgrimage, most likely a trip to Jerusalem.

And there is excitement in such a trip.

There is so much anticipation regarding reaching the destination.

We are on a pilgrimage today.

And there is a highway that we are on.

It is the highway of our heart.

And though the trip sometimes seems lonely or trackless, it is actually well prepared and well frequented by God Himself.

There is strength for us in the journey.

ILL Notebook: God (God’s love-vane)

A weathercock that once graced

A farmer’s barn above,

Bore on it by its owner’s will

The sentence, "God is love."

His neighbor passing questioned him.

He deemed the legend strange.

"Now, you think that, like the vane,

God’s love can lightly change?"

The farmer, smiling, shook his head.

"Nay, friend, ’tis meant to show

That ’God is love’ whichever way

The wind may chance to blow."

Even when it looks bad, even when the wind seems to be blowing against us, God is for us and God is with us.

And we have reason for confidence, because…

2. God powerfully changes our desperate circumstances.

We can delight in God’s Presence because He is like water in the desert.

He is like fruit in a dry land.

God renews us in the midst of weakness.

He transforms us and we are able to go strength to strength.

We just get stronger.

Why? Because of His Presence.

So be overjoyed and delight in His Presence.

He is your strength today.

III. The third perspective that explains why we are to delight in God’s Presence is that He is our SUPPLIER (10-12).

(10) Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (12) O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

1. Living in God’s Presence is a superior lifestyle.

The author says that God’s way is so much better, that any other lifestyle doesn’t even compare.

We have so much more.

It is nothing less than superior.

ILL Notebook: Prefer (don’t kiss the frog)

An elderly man was taking his evening walk one evening. He was enjoying the crisp night air and the sound of the wind blowing through the trees when, suddenly, he heard a little voice calling, "Help me! Help me!"

The man looked all around and saw no one, so he continued his walk. Again he heard the tiny little voice, "Help me! Help me!"

This time he looked down and saw a small frog. He gently lifted the frog and looked at it intently. The frog spoke, "I’m really a beautiful young princess. If you will kiss -me, I will turn back into a princess and I will love you forever."

The man thought for a moment, placed the frog in his top pocket and continued walking. The little frog looked up out of the pocket and asked, "Why don’t you kiss me?"

The man responded, "Frankly, at this stage in my life, I would rather have a talking frog."

Well, just as this man prefers a talking frog over a beautiful princess, so the author prefers to be a servant at the temple than to be caught living with those that live according to the world’s standards.

It is better to have the lowly role of doorkeeper.

It is superior to receiving public recognition and wealth.

He would rather be found serving the Lord than serving someone else.

2. God’s supply is abundant and just what we need.

Note the description the author uses of God.

He is a sun and shield.

It is a vivid picture of all that is outgoing and positive.

He is light and energy.

He is all that is protective.

And He is full of grace.

God smiles on us and gives to us the benefits of His passion for us.

The Lord’s best for us is far superior to whatever anyone else might offer us.

God lights our way.

He warms our way.

He guides the way.

He provides protection.

He provides favor.

What other response could there be for us but joy.

So be overjoyed and delight in His Presence.

He is your abundant supplier today.


How important is God’s Presence to you?

1. Are you celebrating God’s Presence?

He is to be a delight to us, for the life with God has tremendous advantages.

But a lot of Christians do not know the joy that comes with worship.

The joy is just flat out missing.

There are things in the way.

Or it can be that we are just not growing.

For if we don’t grow in our knowledge of the Lord, that wonder, that awe will dissipate.

It will be gone.

ILL Chronicles of Narnia--Aslan

In Prince Caspian, the second of The Chronicles of Narnia, there is a marvelous scene where Lucy, the little girl, sees the great lion Aslan again after they have been apart for some time. She says, "Aslan, you are bigger." Aslan replies, "That is because you are older, Little One." "Not because you are older?" Lucy asks. "I am not," says Aslan, "but every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Aslan (they type of Christ) was not going to change, but as Lucy grew older and wiser and learned more about Aslan, she would see his greatness in fresh and wonderful ways.

In the same way, we need to grow so we would see more of God’s greatness and goodness.

We need to grow in our understanding so that our view of God would become bigger and that we would be in awe each time we think of Him.

It is then that we will celebrate and delight in His Presence.

Let’s switch gears for a second and talk about our corporate worship.

2. In the framework of our worship, we take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.1 Greeting

Sometimes we consider the fellowship greeting a nice, friendly thing that we do, but it is much more.

Think for a moment about those people you greeted today.

Perhaps you hugged them or shook their hand.

Do you realize that you greeted an immortal?

You did!

They are going to live eternally.

And every Christian that you greeted is another temple of God.

Each one is another image of God.

So in a way, we are greeting God when we greet each other.

We draw near to each other for His sake.

We also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.2 Song

God as gifted us with music.

It is amazing that at times such a great gift causes so much controversy.

Among us there is certainly a variety of preferences when it comes to music.

I like what 104.1 says when it advertises the “golden oldies.”

It is “the music that drove your parents crazy and embarrasses your kids.”

Yes, there are differences when it comes to music.

But the truth also is, music is a universal language.

And God is pleased when we lift our hearts up in song to give Him praise.

We also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.3 Prayer

Prayer is worship.

We talk to God for His sake.

And we do it for our sake.

For when we pray, we recognize something very simple and very profound at the same time.

We proclaim that we are dependent.

We need God’s help.

And we are delighted to call on the One that can answer.

We also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by the…

2.4 Offering

ILL Notebook: Worship (cheerful giving)

Scottish Presbyterians established churches in Ghana over a hundred years ago, and today their worship services still resemble a formal Scottish Presbyterian service. Recently, however, they have allowed tradition-al African expressions into the worship service. They let the people dance when they bring their offerings forward. The music plays, and each individual joyfully dances down the aisle to the offering plate. It is reported by one of the missionaries that this is the only time in the service when the people smile. No doubt, God also smiles.

God is delighted in our offerings.

For when we give, we make a statement.

We say that we love God more than money.

And when we give generously, and not the leftovers, we demonstrate that we trust God more than anything or anyone else.

We also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.5 Testimony & Baptism

In Acts, we are told we are His witnesses.

So there will be opportunities for us to testify of what God has done in our life.

For all of us, our first public opportunity is baptism.

But God gives us other opportunities (as today) and we all are delighted to hear how God is working in the lives of other believers.

We also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.6 Teaching (Message)

Our time of study is a time to learn to know God better.

We study His Word, because He has given us these words, to be an encouragement to us and so in knowing them, we might encourage others.

Finally, we also take the opportunity to delight in His Presence by…

2.7 Communion

We gather around the table for His sake.

It is here that we remember the centrality of Christ’s sacrifice.

It is a delight to know how much God has loved us.

In today’s culture, worship is evaluated by the talents of those leading worship.

It is gauged by the eloquence of the speaker, the musical ability of the song leader or choir, the assortment of instruments and whether it is exciting or interesting.

But I say, worship ought to be evaluated differently.

For worship is not based on how you feel.

Worship is to be evaluated by God Himself and whether from our hearts, we were able to delight in Him.

3. When we delight in God’s Presence, we become blessed with an eternal and infinite perspective that only comes in worship.

If you want perspective, if you want reality, be a worshipper of God.

For when we worship, we find our rightful place.

We see God as He is.

We see ourselves as we really are.

And as hard as that is, there is something great about it.

We find joy.

For just as the Westminster catechism says, it is the chief end of man to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

So…enjoy Him…begin now, so you can enjoy Him forever!

BENEDICTION: [Counselors are ]

Delight in the Lord…rejoice that God’s home that you long for is not far away; rather it is so near that it is in you; wherever you are is where God is;

Delight in the Lord…rejoice that God is your strength and your supply; that He will make you strong in your weakness; that He will enrich you in every deprivation;

Delight in the Lord…rejoice that He has given us a church family with which to enjoy Him; so as we gather and greet and sing and pray and give and testify and listen to His Word, we are energized to welcome others to join us.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.