Sermons

Summary: Trust/confidence in God’s promises--we are secure in Him

Psalm Steps> Psalm 125, “Stirred, not Shaken” -Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts

A minister was visiting an elderly man, who’d been a Christian for most of his long life. The minister remarked, “Well sir, after keeping the faith for so long, you must feel pretty confident of holding out to the end.” The gentleman replied, “It’s not a matter of me holding out; it’s the Lord holding on to me…and the Bible assures me that I can trust Him for that!”

We admire such confidence, but some believers are plagued with what you might call “eternal insecurity”. They’re hoping they’ll make it to heaven, but sense little assurance. This is often because they are trusting their feelings, rather than the clear facts and promises of God in Scripture. Some days (particularly before coffee) I feel miserable—but my eternal security does not depend on how I feel. We stop worrying about losing our salvation when we realize Who’s doing the “holding”. We can be “confident that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6). Ours is a know-so salvation. The Bible doesn’t leave us wondering if we’re going to make it to heaven.

Security is the theme of Psalm 125. In an age of insecurity, we need all the encouragement and reassurance we can get. We can be confident, “In God we trust.” This pilgrim Psalm of Ascent shows that God is our Protector—He grants us security in this life, and for the life to come. We don’t know when this psalm was written, but there’s not a time in Israel’s history when these words didn’t apply.

Jerusalem is a city surrounded by hills which provide fortification against invading armies. It’s possible that this psalm was sung by travelers at the moment when the hills came into view. The One who made the hills is our security, and “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever”, verse 1. Some people think the Christian life is precarious, like walking a tightrope without a net. They fear they may backslide and miss heaven. Nothing could be further than the truth. We can have confidence that God will “keep us from falling” (Jude 24). We are secure in our fortress of faith. God’s protection encircles us with an impenetrable wall of defense. We are and will remain God’s people, surrounded by His protection.

People install elaborate security systems in their homes and cars, and nations amass extensive defense measures. Governor Tom Ridge was just appointed by the President as the Secretary of Homeland Security, a new cabinet post. For eternal security, we find that we don’t build our protection—this is the work of God. We don’t have to worry that evil will overtake us, or that we will stumble into evil. We are steadfast and immovable; we know that Jesus is with us. In John 17 He prays for us, “Father, keep them in Thy Name, the Name You gave Me” (vs 11). Will God answer that prayer? I think so! We are as secure as our Savior. Christ within is our ultimate defense. He is our Advocate, Intercessor, Payment for sin, and our Righteousness before God. We need to feed our faith and starve our doubts.

We trust what God will do for us and in us. The word “trust” in verse one means to extend one’s self out fully, totally letting go of everything. We let go and let God take over. We’re not trusting in religious ritual or in ourselves—we’re trusting a Person. We cannot be “shaken”. This word was used to describe natural calamities, like earthquakes. Nothing will cause our faith to collapse. Christ is our foundation.

To trust may seem like a simple thing. God gives promises, and we believe them. He is at work in our lives, and we accept His will. He gave His Son to secure our salvation, and we receive Him. The reason people do not trust is that they are foolishly wise in their own perception. Those who walk by sight cannot understand those who walk by faith. We pray that their spiritual blindness will be lifted so they will trust the Lord.

Our faith may falter, but God will not disown us. He has secured for us a nonnegotiable contract; there’s no getting out of it. Verse 3 says that “the scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous” The key word is “remain”, which conveys a sense of finality. Evil is temporary, and does not characterize the condition of God’s people. God won’t let us be changed by the evil in the world. We may falter, and sin may influence some decisions we make, but we will not be permanently affected. The word “scepter” refers to the political climate of the times. The “scepter of the wicked” for Israel describes the periods when evil rulers were on the throne. Their ungodly sphere of influence was but temporary. Think of the dark times that surrounded the birth of Christ—in spite of the troubling political situation, the Prince of peace came to establish His righteous Kingdom.

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