Summary: Palm SUnday sermon on how Jesus ascends into God’s presence and takes us with him
March 24, 2002 Psalm 24
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory. Selah
“This stands for wisdom, and this stand for strength,” the commander said to his troops as they stood before a huge pole beaming into the sky. He had shot an arrow up into the top of the pole, and challenged his men to climb the pole to get the arrow. One man said, “no problem girly man, I’ll get your arrow.” There were two problems however. The commander said they had to carry two weights up to the top of the pole with them - one standing for wisdom, and the other for strength. So they began trying, and one after another, they fell. The weights kept dragging them down.
The Psalmist in today’s text asks the question - “who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The “holy place” was in reference to the temple of the LORD. The basic idea is, “how can we stand in the presence of the LORD?” Whether he was referring to the physical temple in Jerusalem or heaven - it doesn’t matter. The main question is - how do we get in the presence of the LORD? The only way is by climbing the hill. The only problem is, that like the soldiers, we have huge weights tied to our hands. And so the Psalmist asks -
Who May Ascend the Hill of the LORD?
I. The credentials
In today’s Psalm David lays out four things needed to ascend the hill of the LORD. He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
1) clean hands and a pure heart
I felt that these first two were intimately connected, and I’ll show you why. That term “clean hands” is a neat illustration - just in the physical sense. At any given time your hands can have millions of disease causing bacteria on them. Right now you have more bacteria on your body than there are people in the world. Your hands are the hardest things to keep clean, because you use your hands to open doors and shake hands, etc. Yet they are so important, for we often use our HANDS to put things in our MOUTHS, which then effect our bodies.
In the same spiritual way - our hands have an intimate connection with our hearts. Eve used her hands to eat from the fruit which she God told her not to - and she used her hands to then give the fruit to Adam to eat. How many times have you used your hands to change the TV channel to a wicked TV show? How many times have your hands been used to intimately touch someone that you had no permission to touch? Have you ever used your hands to strike someone? To connect to a perverted web sight? And then the slime on TV or the Internet entered your eyes and your heart?
So the Pharisees naturally then thought, “if we wash our hands and can refrain from eating unclean foods, then our hearts will be clean.” Jesus said, “don’t be so naive!” “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’” Sin doesn’t actually start with the actions of the hands. The hands are only motivated by what is within - from your heart. So you need clean hands AND a clean heart.