Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 15

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Who’s Going to Heaven?”

You’ve probably heard this one.

“When you get to heaven or…, you’ll be surprised to see who’s there and who’s not there.”

I can’t help but thinking about Mark Twain who said that the climate is better in heaven but there’s more company in hell.

That’s God’s business.
God judges.

Nobody else.

Good news!

Anybody can go to heaven!

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you, everybody, and I will take care of you…God loves the world so much that He came in Me and whoever believes in Me will go to heaven.”

Bad news!

While anybody can go to heaven, not everybody goes to heaven.


Because it’s a choice!

Remember, He said, “I stand at the door and knock.  If you open the door, we’ll be together.  If not, not!”

Let’s listen, learn, and live as He completes the thought in a familiar line and then lines that are often omitted because it’s the truth that anybody can go to heaven but not everybody goes to heaven because it’s 
a choice; or as C.S. Lewis wrote, “It’s either-or…If we insist on keeping Hell, we shall not see Heaven…If we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell” (The Great Divorce): “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…[Sounds great!]…For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him…[Excellent!]…Whoever believes in His in not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already’…[Whoa!]…(John 3:16ff.).

Just read the red letters.

It’s very, very, very indisputably and categorically clear that Jesus says over and over and over again that anybody can go to heaven but not everybody goes to heaven because it’s a choice.

So how do we know who’s going to heaven?

That’s the Q&A of David in Psalm 15.

Psalm 15 asks the question (Who’s going to heaven?) and answers with indicatives/evidence/signs about the kind of person who’s going to heaven.

Let’s see.

We’ll look at a conventional translation (ESV) and then The Message

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent?  Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?…God, who gets invited to dinner at Your place?  How do we get on Your guest list?”

That’s the question.  

Existentially, how do we get closer to God in time?

Eternally, how do we live forever with Him and His in heaven?

What kind of person experiences the existential and eternal pleasures of God?

“He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart…Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.”

To paraphrase a popular line from a country that’s tried to get Him right in the past and better get back to Him before it’s too late, God’s people pray and work “for truth, justice, and the Biblically Christocentric way of life.”

I’m reminded of President Jimmy Carter who read Micah 6:8 as the guiding principle of his life from his mother Lillian’s Bible at his inauguration on January 20, 1977: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Simply, love God and be kind to one another.

Love God by being kind to one another.

“…who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change…Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable.”

Let’s begin with a basic psychospiritual reality.

We are not responsible for what others say and do; but we are completely responsible for what we say and do and how we respond to what others say and do…and whatever we say and do to others it is the same as saying and doing it to Jesus: “As you do it to/for them, you do it to/for Me.”

Simply, when we hurt others, we’re really hurting Jesus.

So, even more simply, don’t do those kinda things if you want to get closer to God!

“…who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent…Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe.”

Sacrificial selflessness not self-aggrandizing selfishness is a dominant trait of people who are getting closer to God.

We give until it helps even if it hurts.

Jesus put it this way, “if you’re really going to follow Me and get closer to Me and experience my best benefits in time and forever, you’ve 
got to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.”

Christians don’t save up when there’s human need around them.

Christians share indiscriminately.

Christians pray and work for everybody’s best no matter who, what, where, when, or why without the need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.

Christians are notorious agape lovers.

I’ll never forget the religious person as opposed to a person with a personal relationship with Jesus who came to me and said, “I’m leaving the church because all you ever talk about is Jesus and love, love, love.”

I said, “That’s probably good.”

Get it?

Churches don’t need any more religious people going through ritualistic and ceremonial riteousness.  

Churches need more people related to Jesus as seen by increasing love for Him in their love for everybody else.

“He who does these things shall never be moved…You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.”

Praise the Lord!

Who wants James Spader’s Raymond Reddington coming after them?

I know.

Bad joke.

Aren’t they all?

Some people are all talk.

Their lives are nothing more than gossiping gibberish.

People who are close to God walk the talk; and we know what that means: “And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

At this point, there’s always some pop-theologian who says it’s not about “works righteousness” or working your way into a right and existentially and eternally saving relationship with Jesus.

No kidding.

But anyone who has ever read the Bible knows Jesus expects our belief in Him to backed up behavior for Him.

Deeds confirming creeds.

Christianity is walk confirming talk; and not just all talk.





All of us!

No, we don’t believe in works righteousness; but we believe in works that indicate/express/show our righteousness.

That’s why Luther said, “Good works don’t make a man good; but a good man does good works.”

That’s why Calvin talked about the saved of God showing the signs of their salvation.

They got it from James: “Faith without works is dead…Talk without walk is do-do.”

They got if from Paul who said people who are going to heaven show indications/evidence/signs that they’re going to heaven like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, fidelity, humility, and self-control.

They got it from Jesus who revealed to John in Revelation: “I am coming back.  How happy will be those who have kept the words of the prophecy of this book; for I am going to repay everyone for what they have done.”

We live confidently in knowing we will live forever by grace through faith in Jesus; and anyone who has that blessed assurance acts like it/Him – more than less, increasingly so, and with inevitable fallings and failures that prove no one ever outgrows the need for Jesus to bridge the gap between our humanity and His perfection.

In short, Psalm 15 repeats an irrefutable and undeniable and absolutely necessary prerequisite for knowing we’re going to heaven after we die so that we live with strong, safe, secure, and serene sanity until our last breath.

Here it is.

Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior is confirmed by praying and working to behave like we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior; and believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior takes out all of the guesswork of our eternal destiny.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



1 comment:

Wayne said...

Best Disclosure ever!!! Our God is an awesome God..