Summary: In Psalm 15, David’s asking God what a real worshipper looks like; do we look like God’s answer?
One of the old confessions of the church (Westminster) says that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to fully enjoy Him forever. That’s a pretty decent answer to why we’re all here. We were created to worship. It is man’s chief end. Worship is an end, not a means to an end. We worship “because of” not “in order to.”
Last sermon, we saw that worship is the result of God’s revelation of Himself, His drawing near to us. That is the cause. We answered the question, “Why should we worship?” This week, we’re going to look at the character of a worshipper. We might ask this question: “What does a real worshipper look like?” One happy by-product of this is that we’ll also see a portrait of Manhood. We need this badly. We live in a culture that bombards us with horrible ideas of what it means to be a man. On the one hand, we’re told that a man only becomes a good man as he becomes more and more like a woman. On the other hand, we’re told that a man is measured by things like sexual conquest or the ability to deal out death and violence.
But God created man for fellowship with himself. God made man to worship. When a man becomes a true worshipper, he becomes a man in the estimation of God. He becomes a man like Jesus, who ought to be our standard for Biblical manhood. What we will see is that a worshipper can be recognized by how he lives his life when he’s not in church. A worshipper is not recognized by how loudly he sings, how high his hands are raised during the singing, how much he puts in the offering plate, etc. A worshipper is recognized by what he does Monday thru Saturday. I intend to hold this portrait of a real worshipping man in front of your face this morning like a mirror. It will then be up to you to look into that portrait and compare it to yourself.
We’re going to be in Psalm 15 today. David wrote this psalm of course, and before I begin, I’m going to point this out. If we take Psalm 15 by itself; if we read it in isolation from the rest of the Scriptures, we might tend to think that what we’re looking at is a description of “works righteousness.” We might be tempted to think, “Look, this has so much to do with actions and behavior, with no mention of faith…this can’t apply to the New Testament Christian.” But we’d be wrong. Faith alone saves us. Faith alone makes us right with God, but the faith that saves us is never alone. The modern church needs to hear this again. Only he who has faith truly obeys, and only he who obeys has true faith. Psalm 15 is thus totally consistent with the rest of the Bible’s teaching about who is accepted by God and who is not.
In verse 1 we have the question. Simply it is this. Who may worship you, O God? Who may come into your presence for the sake of offering spiritual sacrifices? Or, Lord, what does a real worshipper look like?
Verse 2 gives us a summary of the answer, and the rest of the Psalm expands on it. A true worshipper is consistent. A true worshipper walks and acts consistent with who he is inwardly. In his heart and from his heart he confesses to God, “Lord, I am a sinner. If it is up to me to make myself acceptable to you, then I am sunk before I begin. If I will be made right with you, then you must do it.” A true worshipper looks at the promises of God and grabs hold of them by faith. He believes that when God promises to save people based purely on their trust placed in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, that He means it. He stakes his whole life on it.
In His earthly ministry, Jesus had lots of trouble with the Pharisees. If you had walked up to the average Jew of the day and asked what a worshipper looked like, he’d have pointed you to the Pharisees. They had the outward appearance down to a science. (It wasn’t an art, because art demands creativity. They had none of that.) It was a science to them. Jesus compared them to a cup that is only washed on the outside. On the inside, where it matters most, it is still dirty. It hasn’t been touched. Who wants to drink from a cup like that?
This verse is saying that the worshipper must be sincere. "Sincere" comes from two Greek words that you might’ve heard spoken in the marketplaces. Our Sincere comes from Sine and Cera. Together, they mean “No Wax.” When a potter fired his wares in the oven back then, it was common for the clay to crack. An unscrupulous potter would then take some wax and use it to fill in the cracks, then paint over it all and try to pass it off as a good piece of pottery. But a shrewd buyer of pottery knew that a simple test could show him if the pot was truly good or not. He held it up to the sunlight. Spots filled with wax would be plainly evident then as the light penetrated and shone through. A pot with no wax was thus a “sincere” pot. It had no wax. It really was consistent with its advertising.