VALLEY REFORMED CHURCH
Savoring God through literacy in His literal Word
Sitting in the Seat of the Scornful
salm 1:1 ~ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Today is our every fourth Lord's Day evangelistic message. In this message, we are not going to try to sell you something, prove the existence of God to you, prove that you are wrong and we are right, or try to convince you that it is in your best interest to become a Christian. We aren't going to try to get you to heaven or to change who you are by nature, because you, no matter how hard you try, can't change who you are by nature. This message is not an invitation to accept Christ or an appeal to believe that He died on the cross to pay for sins.
This message is nothing more than a declaration of the truth from the Word of God. It matters not that you may ascribe these words as being of our own interpretation or as being our own perception of our reality, because the fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter what you think is truth and it doesn't matter what I think is truth, but it matters for the whole world what God declares as truth, because He is Truth and the embodiment of all truth.
The truth, regardless of whether or not you believe or accept it, is that one day in the future you will stand before the Sovereign God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, the One who created you in His image, and you will answer for your sin and for why you did not honor God by perfect obedience to His every command. In His justice, He will cast you into hell to suffer unbearable torment for eternity as the payment for your sin. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death and this means eternal spiritual death. The body will live on in the flames of hell, but the spirit will remain dead, because of sin.
So, what is the purpose of the message? As previously stated, the purpose of the message is to declare the truth about man, born into sin, and his eternal position before the Sovereign God of the universe.
There is a common misconception about salvation provided by God through Christ. This common misconception contains a little bit of truth, but a whole lot of error. It goes like this: Adam and Eve were created in the garden in a state of perfect obedience. When they sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, they became sinners and were cast out of the garden. In order to receive spiritual life, they had to perfectly obey God's law, which no human being has ever been able to do. This part is true, but the misconception is evident here: God sent Christ into the world to die on the cross and pay for all of the sins of the world and it remains that all who accept Christ as their personal Savior, inherit eternal life, having their sins paid for and covered by His blood. So, it sounds reasonable to most people when they hear that God loves them so much, that He provided a way for them to escape the penalty of death. It sounds reasonable to them that they have a choice of whether or not to accept Christ's offering. It sounds reasonable to them that God would give them a choice and would not force this on them. But, as I said, this is a misconception fostered by an ignorance of who God is and what He declared in His Word. As humans, we relate to nice stories about humans rescuing each other, but we can't apply what we like and know about humans to God, because God is not a human.
John 4:24(ESV) 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Man, in his natural sinful state, cannot worship God, because in his natural sinful state, he is spiritually dead.
Psalms 50:16(ESV) 16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?
In other words, you have no right, and whatever good things you say about God, whatever prayers you offer, whatever mention you make of His name is no credit to you and is not accepted by God. Let's look at our text this morning. Turn with me to Psalm 1.
Psalm 1:1, 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) 1 Blessed is the man that doth not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful.
Here is the same verse from the English Standard Version:
Psalms 1:1(ESV) 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
This verse accurately describes everyone who was chosen by God to inherit salvation. This verse accurately declares the truth about those who were gifted to Christ by God before the foundation of the world. But, unless God has opened your eyes to see Him and your ears to hear Him, that is, unless you have been born-again by God, these words do not apply to you. By telling of the blessed man, this verse describes the opposite, or the non-blessed man. This verse describes you, spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins, as walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, and as sitting in the seat of the scornful. These three things are true of all who are without Christ. Before we describe the characteristics associated with these three things, let's establish the fact that most people, including you, probably believe in God. You, as do most people, probably believe in Christ. You probably actually believe there is a heaven for good people and a hell, or some version of it, for bad people. If there is a heaven, you want to go to it. In fact, I have never met anyone who chooses and intends on going to hell, mostly, because they don't believe it is real or that there is such a place. Most people would say, if there is a God, and if He holds us accountable, then I want to believe in Him and do what He says to do. Some people will say, "I acknowledge that there is a God, but I believe in what you call the misconception, that God loves me and wants what is best for me and I further believe that God will understand if I interpret things differently than you and if I try my best to do what is right."
The popular view being mostly preached in churches today, tells the sinner that he is under God's grace, but this is wrong. The sinner remains under the law, and the law requires perfect obedience to God. The only humans who are under and in God's grace are those who God has born again.
Romans 3:19(ESV) 19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Galatians 3:23(ESV) 23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
It is important for you to remember throughout this message that this is not my opinion, because my opinion is worth nothing, but this message is a declaration of the Word of God. It is not obscure, but is plain and simple to those who God has given the mind and heart to hear and understand. Let's look at the first characteristic;
WALKING IN THE COUNSEL OF THE WICKED.
Your first response to this is that you don't take advice from wicked people, but God declares in His word that you are wicked and you walk in your own counsel.
Proverbs 14:12(ESV) 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
You have learned by your own experience and in your own wisdom, you have determined for yourself what is good and acceptable and how much good you need to do in order to please God, if there is one. You do what you do, because it seems right to you. You feel good about it and you feel good about who you are. You pride yourself in being a self-made person and in having the ability to order the path of your life.
You reject the idea that you are wicked, because you only ascribe that word to people who murder, commit adultery, steal, and lie. You have deceived yourself into thinking that you have never done any of these things, although you know in honesty, you have. You are, according to God's declaration and judgment of you, like all human beings born on the face of the earth, wicked, because you were born spiritually dead and with a wicked heart. God declares this about the human heart, and He knows, because He created it.
Jeremiah 17:9(KJV) 9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The fact that God has declared this state of wickedness of the human heart does not move you, because in your own counsel and wisdom, you believe it to be otherwise. You don't consider yourself to be wicked and you believe that God, in His great love, will understand that you are trying most of the time, to do what is right. You believe that if there is a God, He understands that you are trying. You believe if there is a God, He knows you aren't perfect, but then who is? You believe that God is proud of you for not accepting the beliefs that others try to push on you.
What you fail to see in your own blind wisdom and counsel is that you were born doomed to destruction, because you were born in wickedness and sin and there is nothing you can do to change your heart or your nature; the real true you. The fact that you are heaping up God's wrath against you increasingly every day, does not bother you, because in your own counsel, you don't believe it.
Part of your own wise counsel are your feelings. You trust your feelings, because you believe you have a unique ability to perceive the thoughts of your sub-conscious and you think that your feelings or the wisdom from your sub-conscious is trustworthy and since it is the way God made you, you believe it is good.
STANDING IN THE WAY OF SINNERS.
This phrase doesn't mean that you are blocking others, as standing in their way, although you may be a person who is currently doing that to others. It means that although you think you are unique and gifted in ways that others aren't, you are the same as them. Every person prides him or herself in being different from others, in having a uniqueness about their personality or wisdom in some particular area, but what you should know is what God declares about you; you stand in the same way all other sinners stand. Whatever may be unique about you makes no difference, because you have a wicked heart as do all who are born into the world and apart from God. You may do some things differently than others, and sometimes wrong, but you are proud that you make your own decisions and that you don't go along with the crowd. God declares that you are part of the crowd and that in your state of spiritual deadness and blindness, you can't see that you are the same as every other person in the crowd. You can't see that the crowd, of which you are a unique member, is walking down the same broad road to destruction, all the while, eating and drinking, proud of themselves, and thinking that nothing bad awaits them in their life after death.
You aren't different, you aren't unique, you aren't better, and you aren't worse, because you are without God and have an evil heart, unable to do anything spiritually good for yourself, just like all of your friends who are sinners. You stand in the way of all sinners, even though you think you don't.
Isaiah 64:6(ESV) 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Again, this is not me saying this, it is God saying this.
The third thing about you and all born into sin with wicked hearts, is this:
YOU ARE SITTING IN THE SEAT OF THE SCORNER OR SCORNFUL.
We should first consider the definition of a scorner or scornful. The simple definition is feeling or expressing contempt or derision. You might immediately think, "But I don't feel or express contempt or derision against God or Christ." Let's look at some other words that describe the scorner; contemptuous, derisive, withering, mocking, scoffing, sneering, jeering, scathing, snide, disparaging, supercilious, disdainful, superior. If you are honest with yourself, you have probably already engaged in one of these scornful behaviors or thoughts. You probably started to engage in some of these as soon as you agreed to read or listen to this message, because although you don't think you scorn God, you aren't willing to accept His truth as the only truth. You aren't willing to accept His declaration as the only sovereign declaration of your state. You have scorned God.
If you think that any portion of what you think about yourself is different than what God declares about you, you have disparaged God and you have contempt for what He declares about you, because you think your own counsel is superior. You are currently scorning God and sitting along with others, in the seat of the scornful.
You may be one who has listened to many sermons and many evangelistic pleas, but you haven't heard them; you have only listened. You may have subscribed to the false theology that invites you to make a decision to follow Christ. You may be an officer in a church, never miss communion, pay tithes, do kind things for many people, but you are scorning God, because you do not see yourself as who God declares you to be.
You scorn God, because you are unwilling to submit to Him, to His authority. You like to have it all together and you like to be in control of your life, and in this, you refuse to relinquish control to God. Being in control of your own life makes you feel bigger and better, and if you can control others, you feel even more sure and confident. You are blind and oblivious to the fact that God is in complete control. God controls every act, every thought, and every event in your life, and in case you question whether or not God would cause someone to do evil; read the story of Pharaoh who God caused to rebel against His commands, for the sole purpose of heaping up greater wrath toward his own destruction by God. God is leading and directing your life down a wide path, the wide path to destruction, and all the while, you believe you are in control. You have complete disdain for what God commands, because you scorn His Word and are currently sitting in the seat of the scornful.
The Apostle Paul, the one who murdered Christians prior to his conversion, describes you and those like you.
Romans 1:18-23(ESV) 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
This passage fully describes those like you who are scornful of God. You suppress the truth. It isn't that you don't know the truth, it is that you know it and you suppress it. This scorns God. You have no excuse for your scorning. You do not honor God and if you ever give thanks to Him, He doesn't accept it, because He doesn't accept anything from one who scorns Him. You think you are wise and in control, but God says that He is in control and that you are a fool.
The next section of this text confirms what I mentioned earlier that God has planned your destruction.
Romans 1:28-32(ESV) 28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Again, you might object; "But I don't slander God", and maybe you don't openly. But in your heart, you slander God, you scorn Him and you are sitting in the seat of the scornful.
Let me shift bases for a moment and talk about those you probably know who claim to be a Christian. In fact, you may claim to be a Christian, although a Christian in your own way. Let me describe the difference between someone who claims to be a Christian, but is not, and someone who is.
The non-Christian who claims to be a Christian does many good works, and as I mentioned previously, might even hold an office in church and have been a member for years. This person might make much talk of his prayers before God, of his desire to only do what God wants him to do, of how God blesses him, and of theological books he has read. Jesus said that you will know the genuine Christian by their fruit and we tend to think that "fruit" is good works. But fruit is not good works. The proof of this is found in Matthew, chapter seven.
Matthew 7:15-23(ESV) 15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Do you see it? The fruit is not their works, because those who claimed to be Christians had done many mighty works in Christ's name. The fruit is what comes from the heart, and what came from their hearts was scorn for the commands of God. In other words, lawlessness. I know many people who claim to be Christians and who claim to want to follow Christ, but who absolutely won't do what Christ commanded His followers to do.
There are people claiming to be Christians who are living in open sin, but when you point it out to them, nothing changes, because obedience to God comes from a regenerated heart and they don't have one. Their words sound good when they say they want to follow Christ, but their heart belies their words when they won't attend church on the Lord's Day as commanded by God. These aren't works; these are behavior issues that stem from the heart.
These people who claim to be Christians, but aren't, are also people who rarely admit sin and the only sorrow they express is the sorrow for getting caught or found out. You never hear them talk about what a great sinner they are. You and they, even if you don't claim to be a Christian are never truly broken and sorry for your sin, mainly because you don't think your sins are that bad.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that in order to be a Christian you must express sorry for disobeying God's law. I am saying that even if you wanted to be sorry for your sins, you could not, because you are sitting in the seat of the scornful. You are at enmity with God. Unless and until God gives you a new heart and imputes Christ's righteousness to you, you can't and won't be genuinely sorry for your sin. Sorrow for sin, genuine brokenness, genuine grief over your sin is a result of your heart having been made right by God. It is a misconception to think that sorrow for sin, repentance, brings about a change of heart, because it doesn't; only God does that.
So here you sit in the seat of the scorner. God has declared that you hold Him in derision, you mock His laws, you disparage Him by your heart's behavior. You may say you want to follow Him, but you disobey many of His commands and even if you were to somehow be able to keep all of His commands, which you can't, you would still be storing up His wrath against you, because He has not changed your wicked heart and you cannot change it yourself, no matter how hard you try.
If this truthful declaration makes you feel bad, if it makes you realize you are a sinner in need of a Savior; there is only one thing you can do. Cry out to God to have mercy on your soul. Ask God to change your heart and to make you submissive to His authority and then wait on Him.
The Christian life is about obedience from the heart. Our text describes those who are obedient from the heart. Adam sinned and he became the father of all who sin, but Jesus Christ became the Savior of all who were chosen before the foundation of the world to inherit eternal life.
Romans 5:18-19(ESV) 18Therefore, as one trespass (Adam's sin) led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness (Christ's death on the cross) leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
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By Bob Martin | Dec 16, 2016 | Psalm 1:1 |