If You Love Him You Will Keep His Commandments

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms, which is a compilation of prayers, petition and praise contained within a compilation of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of this Old Testament poetic book. BLESSED! THE LONGEST CHAPTER IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE BEGINS WITH THE WORD BLESSED! IN A CHAPTER THAT IS DOMINATED BY AN AFFINITY AND AFFECTION FOR THE LAW OF THE LORD, THE PSALMIST BEGINS WITH AN EMPHATIC DECLARATION OF BEING BLESSED! BLESSED ARE THE UNDEFILED IN THE WAY, WHO WALK IN THE LAW OF THE LORD! BLESSED ARE THEY THAT KEEP HIS TESTIMONIES! SECRETS OF A BLESSED LIFE! LAWS! STATUTES! DECREES! COMMANDS! COMMANDMENTS! PRECEPTS! TESTIMONIES! OH THAT MY WAYS WERE DIRECTED TO KEEP THY STATUTES! THEN SHALL I NOT BE ASHAMED, WHEN I HAVE RESPECT UNTO ALL THY COMMANDMENTS! RESPECT UNTO ALL THY COMMANDMENTS! NOT A PARTIAL AND UNDIVIDED RESPECT! A FULL AND COMPETE RESPECT FOR ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD! LEAVING NO COMMANDMENTS OUT! I WILL LOVE THY WHOLE LAW! I WILL NOT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT PARTS OF YOUR LAW I WILL OBEY! I WILL NOT BE SELECTIVE WITH WHAT COMMANDS I DELIGHT IN! YOUR ENTIRE LAW WILL BE MY DELIGHT! YOUR ENTIRE LAW IS MIGHT DELIGHT! “BUT HIS DELIGHT IS IN THE LAW OF THE LORD; AND IN HIS LAW DOTH HE MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT” (PSALM 1:2). WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY? BY TAKING HEED THERETO ACCORDING TO THY WORD! HOW DO YOU CLEANSE YOUR WAY BEFORE THE LORD? DO YOU DESIRE TO CLEANSE YOUR WAY BEFORE THE LORD? NOTICE THAT IT SPEAKS OF THE YOUNG MEN CLEANSING HIS WAY, THUS DENOTING RESPONSIBILITY ON THE PART OF THE YOUNG MAN! YOU CLEANSE YOUR WAY BY TAKING HEED ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD! LET ME NOW WANDER FROM THY COMMANDMENTS! THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART, THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST THEE! I HAVE DECLARED! I HAVE REJOICED! I WILL MEDIATE! I WILL ELIGHT MYSELF IN THY STATUTES! I WILL NOT FORGET THY WORD!

QUICKEN THOU ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD! STRENGTHEN THOU ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD! QUICKEN ME! I HAVE CHOSEN THE WAY OF TRUTH! I WILL RUN THE WAY OF THY COMMANDMENTS! TURN AWAY MINE EYES FROM BEHOLDING VANITY! STABLISH THY WORD. UNTO THY SERVANT! TAKE NOT THE WORD OF TRUTH UTTERLY OUT OF MY MOUTH! I WILL WALK AT LIBERTY: FOR I SEEK THY PRECEPTS! THIS IS MY COMFORT IN MY AFFLICTION: FOR THY WORD HATH QUICKENED ME! I HAVE REMEMBERED THY NAME, O LORD, IN THE NIGHT, AND HAVE KEPT THY LAW! BEFORE I WAS AFFLICTED I WENT ASTARY: BUT NOW I HAVE KEPT THY WORD! THOU ART GOOD, AND DOEST GOOD! I WILL KEEP THY PRECEPTS WITH MY WHOLE HEART! IT IS GOOD FOR ME THAT I HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED; THAT I MIGHT LEARN THY STATUTES! GIVE ME UNDERSTANDING THAT I MAY LEARNA THY COMMANDMENTS! MY SOUL FAINTETH FOR THY SALVATION: BUT I HOPE IN THY WORD! MINE EYES FAIL FOR THY WORD! THY WORD IS SETTLED IN HEAVEN! THY FAITHFULNESS IS UNTO ALL GENERATIONS! UNLESS THY LAW HAD BEEN MY DELIGHTS, I SHOULD THEN HAVE PERISHED IN MINE AFFLICTION! I HAVE REFRAINED MY FEET FROM EVERY EVIL WAY, THAT I MIGHT KEEP THY WORD! THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET, AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH! I AM AFFLICTED VERY MUCH: QUICKEN ME, O LORD, ACCORDING UNTO THY WORD! THOU ART MY HIDING PLACE AND MY SHIELD: I HOPE IN THY WORD! UPHOLD ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD, THAT I MAY LIVE! LET ME NOT BE ASHAMED OF MY HOPE! I AM THY SERVANT; GIVE ME UNDERSTANDING, THAT I MAY KNOW THY TESTIMONIES! IT IS TIME FOR THEE, LORD, TO WORK: FOR THEY HAVE MADE VOID THY LAW! ORDER MY STEPS IN THY WORD: AND LET NOT ANY INIQUITY HAVE DOMINION OVER ME! THY WORD IS VERY PURE: THEREFORE THY SERVANT LOVETH IT! I CRIED WITH MY WHOLE HEART; HEAR ME, O L ORD: I WILL KEEP THY STATUTES! CONSIDER MINE AFFLICTION, AND DELIVER ME: FOR I DO NOT FORGET THY LAW! PLEAD MY CAUSE, AND DELIVER ME: QUICKEN ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD!

When you come to the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms—not only are you coming before the longest and largest chapter within all of Scripture, but you are also coming before the longest chapter within the Old Testament book of the Psalms. What’s more, is that if you spend any length of time considering the words which are found within this particular psalm you will notice the heavy emphasis that is placed on the Law of the LORD. The one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms is perhaps most known for its size, as well as its emphasis on the Law of the LORD and the tremendous affection and affinity the author had for the Law of the LORD. As you read and as we consider the narrative surrounding this chapter within the poetic book of the Psalms we must encounter and come face to face with the reality that there is a vast and fundamental difference between obeying the Law of the LORD and actually loving the Law of the LORD. The words which we find in this passage of Scripture speak about more than simply obeying the Law of the LORD which was given unto Moses the servant of the LORD, but also about truly and genuinely loving the Law of the LORD. The Old Testament book of the Psalms begins with the psalmist describing the blessedness of that man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. Immediately following this declaration concerning this blessedness of life, the psalmist then goes on to describe this same man and how he lives his life in addition to guarding carefully the company he keeps. If you turn and direct your attention to the second verse you will encounter the following words which were written by this particular psalmist: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this particular reality and how the Old Testament book of the Psalms begins and opens, for it opens with an emphatic and powerful declaration of the blessedness of that man who guards carefully the company he keeps in this life—guarding who he walks with, guarding who he stands with, and guarding who he sits with. The psalmist described and emphasized the blessedness of that man who diligently strove to place a seal and a guard over the company he kept, and in that place of guarding the company he keeps the psalmist also has something which is at the very heart and core of his being—namely, a delight in the Law of the LORD, and meditating on that Law day and night.

Pause for a moment and consider this concept of meditating on the law day and night, and consider it in light of the fact that the late Charles Spurgeon wrote a devotional volume that was a compilation of morning and evening readings. This devotional series was intended to bring the student and scholar alike before the divine and holy Word of God in the morning, and then again at night. Essentially, one might say that the purpose of this devotional was to bring the reader into the presence of the LORD to start the day, as well as to end the day. I feel the tremendous need to stop here and ask you concerning your devotion and your commitment to the Word of God. In the second verse of the first chapter of the book of the Psalms we find the psalmist describing how that man who guards the company he keeps also delights in the law of the LORD, and meditates upon that law day and night. I can’t help but sit here this morning and ask you who are reading these words how often you spend with the Word of God day in and day out. Here within this verse the psalmist not only speaks of delighting in the Law of the LORD, but also meditating on the Law of the LORD—two realities which are intrinsically linked and connected. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and astonishing reality, for within it the psalmist not only speaks of delighting ourselves in the Law of the LORD, but also that delight bringing us into the place where we meditate upon the Law of the LORD both day and night. In all reality, I would dare say that this meditation in the Law of the LORD both day and night is a direct result of the delight that is found in the Law of the LORD. I feel compelled to emphatically declare to you who might be reading these words that there is a vast difference in merely reading the Word of God, and actually meditating upon the Law of the LORD. Would it shock and surprise you to hear and consider the fact that we were called to more than simply reading the divine Word of God, and were called to meditate upon the Word day and night, morning and evening? Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that this commitment to meditating upon the Law of the LORD day and night is directly derived from a true and genuine delight in the Law of the LORD, for how can you meditate upon that which your heart and your soul does not delight in?

As I sit here today I find myself thinking about the words of Jesus which further help to set a background and backdrop for what is found in the second verse of the opening chapter of the book of Psalms, as well as the entire one-hundred and nineteenth chapter itself. If you journey into the four gospel narratives which were written to describe the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find two distinct passages which not only speak to the words of Jesus, but also to a direct connection between the words which Jesus spoke, as well as a genuine and authentic love that was connected to those words. If you journey to the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and come to the final words written and recorded in the seventh chapter you will find Jesus closing and concluding the Sermon on the Mount with a powerful parable that speaks to the direct contrast between hearing His words only and not actually doing and performing them, and hearing His words and carefully committing oneself to doing them. As He closed out the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke a parable unto all those who would hear and listen to His words to highlight and underscore their responsibility based on what they had just heard. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that the entire Sermon on the Mount was centered upon Jesus’ invitation to discover the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven as directly set against the righteousness of the Pharisees and the righteousness of religion. The entire Sermon on the Mount was a designed to bring the hearers before the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, and to demonstrate the undeniable reality that they were being called to a greater righteousness than that of the Pharisees. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount we find Jesus speaking unto those within the sound of His voice who both heard and listened to Him—and not only speaking to them, but also taking the Law which was given unto Moses generations earlier at Horeb the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness. Within this Sermon Jesus declared that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, and yet we must recognize how that fulfillment of the Law of the LORD is and can only be done through the words which Jesus spoke. We must recognize and understand this, for the entire Sermon of the Mount was a wonderful and powerful invitation of Jesus’ hearers to engage themselves in a righteousness that was beyond that which they were accustomed to seeing, and that which they were perhaps accustomed to walking and living within their own lives. Even the opening of the Sermon of the Mount begins with what is commonly known as “The Beattitudes,” what I would classify and consider as the [be] attitudes of the kingdom of heaven.

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount you will find Jesus taking the Law of Moses and completely turning it on its head demanding a greater righteousness than even that which the Law of Moses demanded and required. We know and understand through the words which the apostle Paul in the epistle written unto the saints at Rome that he would not know sin except through the law, and that sin through the law worked death within him. When you come across and encounter the words which Jesus the Christ spoke in the Sermon on the Mount you will find Him speaking unto all those within the sound of His voice of a righteousness that was far greater than the righteousness that was produced by and through obedience to the Law of Moses. It’s worth noting and understanding that what the Law could not do in that it was weak in the flesh, the eternal Holy Spirit and the eternal Son of God would fulfill and accomplish within the hearts and lives of those who have made the decision to walk with, serve and faithfully follow Jesus. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote that “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4). The apostle Paul makes it perfectly and abundantly clear that the Law which was given unto Moses atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai was weak in the flesh, and that it could not truly produce the type and quality of righteousness the living and eternal God would require and ask of men. The Law which was given unto Moses the servant of the LORD was weak through the flesh, and would not produce the quality of righteousness which would ultimately be desired by the living God, and it would eventually be fulfilled by, within and through the person of Jesus Christ. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words which our Lord Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount—first and foremost those words which are found in the fifth chapter, and those which are found in the seventh chapter at the very conclusion of the sermon:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophet: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass form the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall read one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall e called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:24-29).

It is quite clear from these passages that Jesus did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfill them. Jesus would emphatically declare unto His audience that till heaven and earth shall pass away there would not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law, till all was fulfilled. What makes this declaration of Jesus all the more captivating and challenging is when you consider His words that unless our righteousness shall exceed that of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees we shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable reality, for the words which we find within the Sermon on the Mount were more than simply teachings, and sayings, and parables of Jesus, for they were actually the presentation of the righteousness of heaven and the righteousness of the kingdom—a righteousness that was not produced by and through the Law alone, but a righteousness that would be produced by hearing and obeying the words and sayings of Jesus. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand it’s that the only way we can truly hope to attain this righteousness that exceeds and surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees is to not only hear the words and sayings of Jesus, but actually do them. Within the Sermon on the Mount Jesus not only presented His hearers and audience with “the attitudes of the kingdom,” but Jesus also presented His hearers with the righteousness of the kingdom—a righteousness which would only actually be produced within the hearts and lives of those who heard His sayings if they took to hear what He had spoken, and if they committed themselves to doing. This is perhaps what is so incredibly vital about the parable which Jesus used at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, for with and through this parable Jesus was calling His audience and His hearers to action. With this parable and the words contained therein—not only was Jesus demonstrating and speaking of two different types of responses to His words and sayings, but He was also speaking of two different types of people who would walk away from His teachings and sayings. There would be those who would hear His words and His sayings and would do them, while there would be those who would hear His words and His sayings and choose not to do them—in all reality ignoring and despising the words. This parable at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount would be a powerful invitation given to take what they had just heard and do so much more than simply hear it, but actually do it. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words which James the half-brother of Jesus wrote in his epistle found in the New Testament:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in deed” (James 1:22-25).

With these words James the half brother of Jesus further explains and further expounds upon the words which Jesus spoke through the parable at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, for James spoke unto his audience of being more than simply hearers of the word, and actually being doers of the word. What’s more, is that James would go one to speak and declare unto his audience that those who were hearers of the word only and did not actually do the word would be like a man beholding his face in a natural glass, for he holds himself, goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. It is clear from these words which James wrote that there is a tremendous responsibility that surrounds reading the word and hearing the word, for by both hearing and reading the word—not only do we catch a glimpse of and see who we truly are, but we also see who the living and eternal God truly is. Through the words and sayings of Jesus—not only do we see who we truly are, but we also see who and what we were meant to be. It’s interesting to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second chapter of the epistle which was written unto the saints of Rome, for in the second chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing how “as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:12-13). Please pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage, for these words—together with the words which James the half-brother of Jesus wrote—bring us face to face with the fact that not only must we be doers of the word rather than simply hearers of the word, but also that it is the doers of the law and the doers of the word which can and will be justified before and in the sight of the living God. This reality is highlighted and underscored within and through the parable Jesus told and spoke at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, for with and through this parable Jesus highlighted the awesome reality that we have been called to more than simply being hearers of His words and His sayings, but also doers of them. Jesus had just taught all those who heard and listened to Him concerning the ‘attitudes of the kingdom,” and presented before and unto them the righteousness of the kingdom, and even declared unto them that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees they would in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. What we must recognize, is that the words which Jesus spoke unto His audience described for and gave unto them a blueprint on how to obtain that righteousness which would exceed that of the Pharisees and scribes. Oh dear reader, there is a righteousness according to the law and a righteousness that is below, and there is a righteousness that is from above, and a righteousness that is of the kingdom of heaven.

This reality of not merely being hearers of the words and sayings of Jesus the Christ, and this reality of not merely being hearers of the Law and of the word must be taken and brought to an entirely different level —particularly one that is found within the New Testament gospel narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry as written by the apostle John. If you come to the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of this New Testament gospel you will find Jesus speaking directly unto His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed by Judas, Simon’s son. As you read the words which are found within these chapters you will again find Jesus speaking of His words and His sayings—but not only of His words and sayings, but of His commands and commandments. Within these chapters you will find Jesus speaking directly to the reality of being more than simply hearers of His words and sayings, and being more than simply doers of His words and sayings, but also of something much deeper than simply hearing and doing that which He had commanded. If and as you read the words found within this passage of Scripture you will encounter the awesome reality that Jesus took this obedience to His commands, to His words and to His sayings to a whole different level, for He would directly link and connect something else to it. Upon reading the words which are found in these chapters you will find Jesus speaking of love—and not merely speaking of love, but loving Him specifically. We know from Scripture that the LORD our God is One Lord, and how we must love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength. What we find in these chapters is something just as awesome and something just as captivating, for within these chapters we find Jesus speaking of loving Him. What’s more, is that Jesus didn’t merely speak of loving Him, but He spoke of the direct manifestation and fruit of loving Him. That which Jesus expressed unto His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed was an obedience to His commandments, however, this obedience would find its root and its foundation in loving Him. You cannot read the words Jesus spoke on the night in which He was betrayed and not encounter the awesome reality that loving Jesus and doing what He has commanded and spoken are intrinsically linked and connected. When speaking unto His disciples Jesus forever linked obedience to His words, obedience to his sayings, obedience to His commands to loving Him. In all reality, the truest demonstration of loving Jesus isn’t necessarily through worship, nor is it through those pious and religious practices we think hold weight and value. The truest demonstration and a manifestation of our love for Jesus is expressed through our obedience to and our keeping His commands. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this series of chapters found within the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

“If a man love me, He will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make out abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:23-24).

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).

It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found within these verses, for within these verses we encounter the undeniable reality that the truest and greatest expression and demonstration of our love for Jesus is not necessarily through our worship, but through our obedience to His words, to His sayings, and to His commandments. We would like to think that the greatest demonstration and manifestation of our love for the Lord Jesus is through worship, is through coming into the sanctuary and singing songs unto and about Him, and the like. The truth of the matter, however, is that the truest and greatest demonstration of our love for the Lord Jesus the Christ is through our obedience to His commands. Jesus emphatically and plainly declared that if we loved Him we would keep His commandments. What’s more, is that Jesus would go on to declare that those who have His commandments, and those who keep His commandments are those whom love Him. Jesus would go on to further exclaim that those who love Him shall be loved by His Father, and be loved by the Son, and the Son would manifest Himself unto them. Jesus would again declare unto His disciples that if a man love Him they would keep His words, and His Father would love them, and both He and His Father would come unto them, and make their abode with them. What makes these words of Jesus even more captivating is convicting is when you consider the fact that He would take this a step further and declare that those who love Him not do not keep His sayings, thus despising, ignoring and rejecting the commandments of the LORD, and by association despising and rejecting both the Father and the Son. Further still, Jesus would connect this reality of love and keeping His commandments when He declared if we keep His commandments we will abide in His love just as He Himself kept His Father’s commandments and abode in His love. Even with all of this being said there is still one more declaration which Jesus would make unto His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed, for He would move beyond exclamations of love, and would transition to that of friendship. You will also find Jesus proclaiming unto the disciples that they are His friends IF they did whatsoever He commanded them. Oh dear reader, please don’t miss this truth, for Jesus declared if we love Him we will keep His sayings and His commands, and if we keep His commands and do whatsoever He has commanded us we are His friends. This must be recognized and understood, for not only is love of Jesus demonstrated by obedience to and the keeping of His commandments, but so also is friendship demonstrated by our obedience to and keeping His commandments.

With this in mind—and before we transition to the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms—it is necessary to consider one more specific statement and declaration which was made by Jesus the Christ. If you turn and direct your attention back to the Sermon on the Mount found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, you will find what I would consider one of—if not the most terrifying passage in all of Scripture. In the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written and recorded by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus speaking and declaring that not every one who says unto Him “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is necessary to pause for a moment and consider those words, for they should instill and put a tremendous fear of God within your heart. We know and understand from the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Roman saints that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. We know and understand that no man can call Jesus Lord without and apart from the Holy Spirit, and yet within the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke words which should absolutely and utterly challenge and convict you. Within the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find Jesus speaking about entering in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way which leads to destruction, and many there be which go in. Building upon this even further Jesus would further declare that strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be which find it. Immediately following this Jesus would warn of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves, and would also speak of knowing men by their fruits. Right after these words and sayings of Jesus we find Jesus issuing what is perhaps one of the most troubling and terrifying declarations He ever made—words which should strike the fear of God within your heart and soul. If you begin reading with and from the twenty-first verse of the seventh chapter you will find Jesus’ words concerning those who would say unto Him, “Lord, Lord,” and how not every one that says those words will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Matthew beginning with the twenty-first verse:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will ay to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

NOT EVERYONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME! MANY WILL SAY TO ME IN THAT DAY! I WILL PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU! DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY! BUT THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER! As we prepare to journey back to the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms it is absolutely necessary that we consider these words which Jesus spoke, for these words stand as a powerful word of caution and warning to those who think simply saying, “Lord, Lord,” in that day when they stand b enforce the throne is enough to grant them access into the kingdom of heaven. With these words Jesus brings His audience and His hearers face to face with the fact that merely saying, “Lord, Lord” is not enough to grant us access and entrance into the kingdom of heaven. What’s more, is that Jesus would continue and take this even further by declaring that those who will gain access into the kingdom of heaven are not those who merely say “Lord, Lord,” but those who do the will of His Father who is in heaven. Jesus further explains and compounds this reality when He reveals the words which He will speak unto these individuals in that day, for not only will He declare unto them that He never knew them, but He will also instruct them to depart from Him being those who work iniquity. Please don’t miss and lose sight of these words which are found within this passage, for you will recall Jesus would later explain to His disciples that if they loved Him they would keep His sayings and would do His commandments, and that His Father would love them, that He would love them, and that they would come and make their abode with them. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for it helps shine a great deal of light on why and how Jesus could declare unto those who would say “Lord, Lord,” that He never knew them. Within this passage of Scripture Jesus directly links and ties together doing the will of the Father who is in heaven with being known by Jesus the eternal Son—and I would even say by the living and eternal God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t help but be convinced when reading these words that those who are instructed to depart from Jesus in that day, and those who heard that Jesus never knew them never experienced the Father and the Son making their abode with them. This abode would never be made with them because they neither loved Jesus, nor kept His sayings and His commands. Jesus made it very clear that if we loved Him we would keep His commandments, and that He and His Father would make their abode with them.

If Jesus declares unto you in that day that He never knew you, then I would strongly and emphatically declare unto you that you were not a friend of His here within and here upon the earth. If Jesus declares unto you in that day that He never knew you then I would emphatically declare unto you that neither He nor His Father came in unto you and made their abode with you. What’s more, is that if you should hear those words from the mouth of Jesus that He never knew you, that you did not keep His sayings, nor did you keep His commandments. If Jesus should declare unto you in that day that He never knew you then the underlying reality was not His absence of wanting to know you, nor His absence of wanting to come and make His abode with you, but rather your lack of love for Him. Your lack of love for the eternal Lord Jesus would be expressed and explained by your refusal to keep and do His commandments, as the greatest demonstration and manifestation of your love for Jesus the Christ is your doing and keeping His commands. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for it not only has the ability to dramatically alter and transform our lives, but it also must transform our lives. We must realize and recognize that merely coming unto the Lord in that day and declaring Him as Lord, and/or calling Him Lord is not and will not be enough, for our obedience to the will of the Father will be the true plum line and litmus test of our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Remember the words which Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount as He declared unto His audience that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees they would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Oh how absolutely necessary and imperative it is that we understand this truly humbling and sobering reality, for we demonstrate our love for the Lord Jesus through our obedience to His commands, and our obedience to His words and sayings. With this being said we must recognize and understand that not only must we love the divine and living Word which became flesh and dwelt among us, but also we must love the words which came and proceeded forth from that living Word. We cannot speak of—much less seek to try and understand—obedience to the commands of the Lord without simultaneously recognizing its direct link and connection to love and to a strong affection toward and desire of the word of God and all that He has commanded us. It is this understanding that must be brought into our attempt to read the words which are found within the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the poetic book of the Psalms, for what we find within this particular chapter not only describes obedience to the commandments, the statutes and precepts found in the Law of the LORD, but also a deep, and undying and unending love for the Law of the LORD. The one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms not only describes an obedience to the commandments of the LORD, but also a love and affection to the commandments, and all that is written and found in the Law of the LORD.

As you come to the opening verses of the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will immediately be brought face to face with a certain blessedness that is available to a certain group of individuals within and upon the earth. If you begin reading with and from the opening verses of the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms you will find the author(s) speaking of the blessedness of those who are undefiled in the way, and those who walk in the law of the LORD. This blessedness of those who are undefiled in the way because they walk in the law of the LORD is further expressed and defined by those who keep His testimonies, and those who seek Him with the whole heart. Within the opening two verses of this longest chapter in the book of the Psalms we find a blessedness in life mentioned twice, and very specific elements that are connected to this blessedness. Within the opening verses of this psalm we are brought face to face with those who are undefiled in the way, or those who are perfect or sincere (“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect’). We encounter this blessedness not only found within our being undefiled in the way, but we also find this blessedness as being directly evidenced and manifested in those who walk in the law of the LORD. In other words, those who are blessed are those who remain undefiled in the way, and they remain undefiled in the way because they walk in the law of the LORD. What’s more, is that this blessed life is further expressed and explained in the second verse when we read of those who not only keep the testimonies of the LORD, but also those who seek Him with the whole heart. WALKING IN THE LAW OF THE LORD! KEEP THE TESTIMONIES OF THE LORD! SEEK THE LORD WITH THE WHOLE HEART! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these verses, for the words which we find here do in fact bring us face to face with the blessed life, but they also bring us face to face with how we live our lives, and how we conduct ourselves before the LORD—namely, by walking in the Law of the LORD, by keeping His testimonies, and by seeking Him with the whole heart. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to these words, for these words tie together and link walking in the Law of the LORD with keeping His testimonies and seeking Him with the whole heart. This psalm which is centered around and centered upon the Law of the LORD—and not only the Law of the LORD, but also doing, keeping and obeying the Law with all its commands, statutes, decrees and precepts. This is in addition to an undying and unending affection for the Law of the LORD, and a genuine and authentic love for the Law with its commands, its statutes and its precepts.

If there is one thing I absolutely love when reading the words which are found within this particular psalm, it’s the tremendous love, the tremendous affection, the tremendous affinity the psalmist had for the Law of the LORD. The more I read and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but think about the fact that for the psalmist who wrote these words the Law was their life. There is absolutely no doubt about it when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that the Law of the LORD was more than simply a random set of decrees, statutes, precepts and commands which were given unto Moses the servant of the LORD atop Horeb in the wilderness. For the Psalmist who wrote these words the Law of the LORD was the central and core reality within their life, and they could and would not make it through life without and apart from it. For the psalmist and one who wrote these words the Law of the LORD was something that not only kept them rooted and grounded, but it was also something that kept them on the path which they knew to be true and right. It’s interesting to note that the two most well-known verses found within this particular chapter are found in the eleventh and one-hundred and fifth verses. In the eleventh verse of this chapter the psalmist emphatically declares unto the LORD, saying, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 1119:11), while in the one-hundred and fifth verse of the chapter the psalmist goes on to exclaim and declare, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). For the psalmist, they hid the word of God within their hearts that they might not sin against Him, and that same word was a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for by doing so we understand that for the psalmist—not only was the word of God means to keep themselves from sinning against the LORD, but it was also a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path. The word of God possessed the wonderful and beautiful ability to light their way and reveal the path which was before them, and to show them the way in they should go. For the psalmist the word of the LORD was more than simply that which instructed them on what they should do, but it was also that which enabled them to keep their way clean and pure before the LORD, and it was a way for them to know and understand the direction they should go without being led astray.

The more I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I encounter the very real reality that the word of God and the Law of the LORD was their entire source of life and the foundation upon which their life was built. Time and time again within this chapter you will find just how critical and how vital the word of God and the Law of the LORD was. For instance, in the ninth verse of this chapter you find the psalmist asking how a young man shall cleanse his way, and then going on to write that they do it by taking heed according to the word of God. You cannot read the words which are found within this psalm and not encounter the awesome reality that the word and the Law of the LORD was essentially the lifeblood for the psalmist, and they could not imagine doing their life without and apart from the law of the LORD. For them, everything they needed, everything they wanted, everything they desired was found within the law and word of the LORD, and they ought not look anywhere else. For the psalmist they knew that in the word and Law of the LORD was all the instruction, all the wisdom, all the guidance, and all the teaching they needed. What’s more, is the more they committed themselves to the word and Law of the LORD the more they found themselves receiving absolutely everything they needed. With this being said, however, it’s important to note that despite the psalmist’s affinity and affection for the Law of the LORD that did not mean that their life would be exempt from trial, from trouble, from strife, from struggle and conflict. Within this chapter you will find the psalmist unreservedly declare that it was in the midst of their affliction and in the midst of their distress they clung to the word and Law of the LORD, for they knew that it was the word and Law of the LORD that sustained, that quickened and upheld them. Consider if you will the times within this psalm the psalmist asked the LORD to quicken and uphold them according to His Word and according to His Law:

“My soul cleave the unto the dust: Quicken thou me according to thy word” (Psalm 119:25).

“My soul melteth for heaviness: Strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (Psalm 119:28).

“Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: Quicken me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 119:40)

“This is my comfort in my affliction: For thy word hath quickened me” (Psalm 119:50).

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67).

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation: But I hope in thy wordl. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. How many are the days of thy servant? When wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? The proud have dogged pits for me, which are not after thy law. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. They had almost consumed me upon the earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth” (Psalm 119:81-88).

“Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalm 119:92).

“I will never forget thy precepts; for with them thou hast quickened me” (Psalm 119:93).

“I am afflicted very much: Quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word” (Psalm 119:107).

“Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope” (Psalm 119:116).

“Hold thou me up, and I shall e safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually” (Psalm 119:117).

“Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: Yet thy commandments are my delights” (Psalm 119:143).

“Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment” (Psalm 119:149).

“Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: For I do not forget thy law” (Psalm 119:153).

“Plead my cause, and deliver me: Quicken me according to thy word” (Psalm 119:154).

“Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: Quicken me according to thy judgments” (Psalm 119:155).

“Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: Quicken me according to thy judgments” (Psalm 119:156).

“Consider how I love thy precepts: Quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness” (Psalm 119:159).

“Let my supplication come before thee: Deliver me according to thy word” (Psalm 119:170).

Nine times within this one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms the psalmist asks and entreaty the LORD to quicken them, and this isn’t even taking into consideration their cry before the LORD to strengthen them, to uphold them, to hold them up, and to deliver them. For the psalmist who wrote these words they recognized and understood that the tremendous importance and value in the word and Law of the LORD, and how it would be absolutely necessary for their substance, their sustenance and their life. The psalmist recognized and understood how the word and Law of the LORD had the awesome authority and ability to uphold and strengthen them, and time and time against they asked the LORD to quicken them according to His Word, and according to His loving kindness. If there is something else that we must realize and understand when reading this particular passage of Scripture it’s how for the psalmist the word and Law of the LORD was directly linked and connected to His loving kindness, to His mercies, to His salvation, and essentially to His divine character and nature. What’s more, is that what you find within this chapter is the psalmist essentially holding the LORD to His character and nature which is not only revealed within and through His word, but also in His word. We must realize and recognize that the character and nature of the living God is intrinsically linked to His Word and His Law, and we cannot and must separate the two from each other. The psalmist recognized that the character and nature of the LORD was directly linked to the word and Law of the LORD. Through the word and Law of the LORD we encounter and see the nature and character of the LORD being revealed, and with and by the word and Law of the LORD we find the psalmist holding the LORD to His character and nature, and even appealing to that character and nature. The word and Law of the LORD was supremely important for and unto the psalmist, for through the word and Law of the LORD the psalmist would encounter and come to understand the character and nature of the LORD—a character and nature that would fuel and facilitate their cries and their pleas before and unto the living God. For the psalmist, the word and Law of the LORD was a way to not only understand the LORD, but it was also a way to approach the LORD, for there were times when they would approach the LORD through and according to His word—and by doing so, they would approach the living and eternal God according to His divine nature and character.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to draw and call your attention to the incredible truth found within this chapter concerning the character and nature of the LORD which was revealed and understood by and through His word and Law. For the psalmist the word and Law of the LORD was more than just a collection of statutes, precepts, decrees, commandments and instruction, but was for them their entire source of life. It would be through the he word and Law of the LORD the psalmist would come to understand the character and nature of the LORD, and it would be through the Law of the LORD the psalmist would experience, encounter and approach the LORD their God, for within the word and Law is a wonderful and awesome invitation to come near and to approach the LORD their God. The psalmist would and could not live their lives, nor even attempt to conduct themselves or please the LORD without and apart from the word and Law of the LORD. For the psalmist the word and Law of the LORD was the driving force and foundation of their hearts and life, and they could not function without and apart from the word of the true and living God. The underlying question we must ask ourselves is how important, how critical and how crucial the word and law of the LORD truly is within our lives, and whether or not we are going to be those who don’t merely read and hear the words contained therein, but actually do them. Are we going to be those who not only love the word and law of the LORD, but are we going to be those who demonstrate our love for Jesus through our obedience to His commandments, His teachings, His words and His saying. Can we truly be considered friends of the eternal and only begotten Son of God because we walk in obedience to His divine commands, words and sayings. If there is one thing we must understand and walk away from here in this passage it’s whether or not we are truly friends of God, and whether or not we are truly friends of the only begotten Son of God—a reality which is evidenced and manifested through our obedience to the words, the commands, the sayings, and His teachings. Oh that we would be a people who not only love the LORD our God, and who not only love the Lord Jesus Christ, but those who demonstrate this love by and through a diligent and faithful obedience to the word and Law of the LORD within our lives.

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