Psalms 1 * Psalms 1-3* Revelation 22:1 * II Timothy 3:16* Proverbs 30:5 * Matthew 4:4 * Revelation 19:13 * *I Peter 1:25 *Romans 1:16 *Romans 11:33-34 *II Peter 1:16 *II Peter 1:17 * II Peter 1:18-19 *II Corinthians 11:14 *Revelation 13:13-14
This morning I want to speak to you about how to prosper. If that’s something you’re interested in, then you will be interested in Psalm 1. Take a look at verses 1-3. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsels of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
As you travel from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea, you can look off into a ravine called the valley of the shadow of death. The shepherds would lead their flocks through that valley to get pasture in Jericho. I’m told that you will almost get dizzy looking down into that precipice. But if you look across that cliff which is The Negev Desert, you’ll see a beautiful stream coming out of that mountainside. And there, standing by itself, is a very tall date palm. A tree planted by the rivers of water. Those who see it are often reminded of this Psalm. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season…”
God has a plan of prosperity for you. The last part of verse 3 says, “…and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” The secret to prosperity is to stay planted, like this tree, by the rivers of water. What is the river of water? It is the Word of God.
Verse 2 tells us what this river of water is. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” The Bible is for you like a river of truth. I want to help you to delight in the Word of God. The Bible is a great delight to my heart. The thing that keeps me going as a Christian is not what I feel, but what I know from the truth of God’s Word.
People have all kinds of attitudes toward the Word of God. There are those who despise it, those who deny it, those who say they don’t believe it, those who distort it, those who dissect it, those who disregard it, etc. Spurgeon used to say of these people, “There’s enough dust on their Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingertip.”
I don’t want you to despise it, or deny it, or distort it, or dissect it, or disregard it: I want you to delight in it.
First, I want you to think about the source of the river. The Bible calls itself “the law of the Lord” in verse 2. The Bible finds its source in God. Since its source is God, we know that this is a pure river. This isn’t a polluted stream; it’s the pure Word of God.
In the Book of Revelation we read about a river that flows out from the throne of God. Revelation 22:1
says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
What do we mean when we talk about the inspiration of God? Poets and musicians and artists often talk about inspiration, but they are often wrong. God is never wrong. We aren’t talking about the natural inspiration of poets and such.
We also don’t believe in partial inspiration…that part of the Bible is inspired and parts of it aren’t. Some people try to say that the Bible “contains” the Word of God, but the Bible is not the Word of God. They think the Bible is inspired in spots and they think they are inspired to spot the spots! That makes them the source of authority instead of God.
When God inspired the Word of God, He did so without error. Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure.”
It’s not natural inspiration, it’s not partial inspiration, and it’s not progressive inspiration. There is progressive revelation in the Bible, but there is no progressive inspiration. For example, we don’t find the truths in Genesis that we find in Romans. God continually and progressively continues to unfold His truth to us. As the Bible comes to us book by book, revelation by revelation, prophet by prophet; we call that progressive revelation.
Some people teach dynamic inspiration. They say that the words aren’t inspired, but the thoughts are inspired. How they hate to give in to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God! You can’t have thoughts without words anymore than you can have math without numbers.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Word of God. The word verba means word in Latin. We believe in word for word inspiration. Every word of God is pure. That’s verbal inspiration. But we also believe in plenary inspiration. The word plenas means “full.” It’s fully inspired, not partially inspired.
This crystal clear river of truth flowing from the heart and mind of God is not a polluted stream. Men have created all sorts of per-versions of the Word of God, but God promised to keep His Word without error forever.
The purity of the Bible and the purity of Jesus rise and fall together. The Bible gives the same name to Jesus as it gives to itself. In Revelation 19:13 Jesus is called “the Word of God…” The Bible is referred to over and over again as the Word of God. Jesus said, “Till heaven and earth pass, not one jot nor tittle (the smallest markings in the Hebrew alphabet) shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled.”
The key to understanding the Bible is Jesus. It’s all about Him. Even when the Bible speaks of sin, and Satan, and all of that; those things are only meaningful as they relate to Jesus Christ. He’s the standard by which everything is judged. Jesus believed every word of the Bible. If Jesus is your Lord, then His view of the Bible is your view of the Bible. The living Word honors the written Word and vise versa. This is a pure river.
But not only do I want you to see the source of this river; I want you to see the force of this river. This is an extremely powerful river. This river comes from the throne of God and will never be stopped. There is something very different about the Bible when compared to every other book.
I Peter 1:25 says, “The Word of the Lord endureth for ever.”I Peter 1:25 says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” This river continues to run and will never run dry. Men have scorned the Bible, laughed at the Bible, ignored the Bible, burned the Bible and made laws against the Bible. All those men are gone and the Bible is still here!
There was a time in Scottish history when to own a Bible was a crime worthy of death. R.G. Lee said, “All of its enemies have not torn one hole in its holy vesture, nor stolen one flower from its wonderful garden, nor diluted one drop of honey from its abundant hive, nor broken one string of its thousand stringed harp, nor drowned one sweet word in infidel ink.”
The Bible has outlived all other books. It out-reaches, out-ranks, out loves, out lives, and out blesses every other book. That’s the force of this river. When you and I are gone the Bible will still be here. “The Word of God endures for ever.”
A man was commissioned to build a wall that could not fall down. He built it four feet high and five feet wide. He said, “If anybody tries to knock it over, it will be taller than it was before!” That’s the way it is with the Word of God: it’s indestructible.
But not only is there the source of this river and the force of this river; there is the course of this river. Not only is this river pure and powerful; it is pleasant. Only God knows how many people have been nourished by putting their roots down deep into the river of God’s Word. This river has flowed into nations, into homes and into individual lives. It meets so many needs.
God says, “If you will be like a tree planted by this river, then whatever you do will prosper.”
What does the Bible do? First, it’s there for the saving of sinners. You can be saved, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the Word of God. Romans 1:16 tells us that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
I’ve been preaching long enough to know that there’s convicting, converting power in the Word of God. People today have been lied to, conned, manipulated, abused and misused. Everybody has a built-in sales resistance today.
People come to church on Sunday morning after having stayed up on Saturday night watching Elmer Gantry on television. Or, they were reading about some scandal concerning some television evangelist. Preachers have about two strikes against them before we even get started. People come in here thinking, “Well, let’s see what this babbler’s going to say.”
But do you know what I’ve discovered? I’ve discovered that this Book has incredible power. God says, “Is not my word like a hammer that breaketh the rock?” You can just keep tapping on a rock with a hammer….you don’t even have to hit it hard…..and the hardest rock will eventually crack.
There’s incredible power in the Word of God. I’m not talking about oratory, or illustration, or salesmanship, or persuasion; I’m talking about the power of the Word of God. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God.”
People will come and listen for a while. They start to get interested. You can see the Word of God start to reach into that heart and open their understanding until, finally, they come to Christ.
The Bible is saving to the sinner, but it’s also sweet to the saint. Our passage says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” One man said, “I have no greater joy than to be in a nook with the Book!”
When the child of God reads the Bible, he has an inner witness that it’s the truth. That’s supernatural. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” His voice and His words are sweet to the saint. If you aren’t feeding on the Word, you’re denying yourself an incredible blessing.
But not only is it saving to the sinner and sweet to the saint; it’s sufficient for the sufferer. If you are suffering, or if you have heartaches or problems, you’d better learn how to read the Psalms. You need the promises of God. All of us have tears and heartaches sooner of later.
Sir Walter Scott was a literary artist and poet. When he lay dying he said to his nephew, “Bring me the Book.” The nephew said, “Uncle, you have so many books in your library. Which one do you want?” He said, “Son, there is but one Book. Bring me the Bible.”
Through the ages, saints have pillowed their heads on the Word of God as they were passing through the chilly waters of death. Martyrs have held this Book to their hearts as the flames crept up around them. It is sufficient for the sufferer.
It is also satisfying to the scholar. I’ve been studying the Bible for well over 40 years now. Do you know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid someone is going to discover how little I know about the Bible! I feel like I’ve just got my foot in the door! The Bible transcends the mind of man because it contains the mind of God.
Its treasures are never all discovered by a single intellect. Its depths are immeasurable; its heights reach far above the pinnacle of human understanding and discernment.
The Apostle Paul probably had one of the finest intellects of any man who ever lived. He was a genius. Yet Paul said in Romans 11:33-34, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?”
If God has blessed you with incredible intelligence, don’t think you have to check your brains at the door to believe the Bible. Sometimes while reading, or while listening to some man teach or preach, some truth will just explode in my mind. I will think, “How could I have been a Christian so long, and have read the Bible for so many years, and not seen that?” But there it is!
The deeper you search into this mine of truth, the richer becomes the vein. The Bible is like a perennial spring, or a summit-less mountain, or a bottomless ocean, or an endless song. It’s a house of never ending rooms.
But the Bible is also surety for the seeker. You’re going to need a sure place to stand. We live in a day where everything that’s not nailed down is coming loose…and the devil is pulling nails as fast as he can! You need a sure place to stand.
In II Peter 1:16, Peter is giving his testimony and says, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
Peter, James and John were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Peter describes what he saw up there in verse 17. “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Can you imagine being there on the Mt. of Transfiguration when Jesus’ countenance becomes like the noonday sun and His clothes glisten white as snow? Then there appears on one side, Moses, and on the other side, Elijah. They’ve come with Jesus from Heaven to stand there with Him.
Then, as Jesus stands there transfigured….dazzling in His appearance….the Father says, “This is my beloved Son!” Don’t you think that if you were there and saw and heard those things that you’d have a testimony to tell?
Peter says, “I’m not telling you a fable. I’m telling you what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.” He goes on to say in verses 18-19, “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
What is Peter saying? He’s saying, “More sure than what I saw with my eyes…..more sure than what I heard with my ears…..is the Word of God.”
Why is that so important? This is important because your eyes and ears can deceive you. Suppose you were standing at the judgment and God asks, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?” And you say, “Lord, I didn’t know whether I was saved or not, but I had a vision. Remember that angel you sent to me? That angel appeared at the foot of my bed and told me I was your child. Thank you, God! I have assurance because one of your holy angels told me I was saved!”
About that time, Satan steps out of the shadows and says, “You fool! That was me! I was the one who told you that you were saved when you were actually lost.”
You say, “Is that possible?” Of course it’s possible! II Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan himself can be transformed into an angel of light. If an angle appeared to you and told you that you were saved, that would not mean that you were saved.
Or, you might answer this way. “Lord, I was driving my car and I wanted to know if I was saved. I was on Interstate 20 and I said, Oh, God, if I’m right with you, and if you exist, give me a sign. Then the whole heavens just opened with light and I saw this dazzling ball of fire in the sky! I know I’m saved, Lord. Remember that ball of fire you sent?”
The devil steps around and says, “You fool! I was the one who did that!”
You say, “Is that possible?” Of course! Revelation 13:13-14 says, “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do…”
Like Simon Peter you may have had an experience (and it may be a valid experience just like his was), but if you really want to be sure, go to the Bible. Peter said, “We have a more sure word of prophecy…”
This is the course of this river. It is saving to the sinner; it is sweet to the saint; it is sufficient for the sufferer; it is satisfying to the scholar, and it is surety to the seeker.
If you want to bear fruit as a Christian, then keep your roots deep in the river bed of God’s Word. You’ll be “…like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Are you ready to start your journey on the road to prosperity?