Psalm 116 -What Shall I Render Unto The Lord?
Good morning. This morning we will continue our look at the Psalms with Psalm 116. It is a beautiful Psalm from one who has been in deep trouble, the Lord has heard their prayers and as answered them. This is a Psalm to remind us the hand of God is in our life, that God hears our prayers and answers our prayers. He is in our life even this day, in this moment.
In the Christian walk it is well for the most part to be looking forward. Whether it is for hope, for joy, for consolation, or for the inspiring of our love; the future after all must be the grand object of the eye of faith. Looking into the future we see sin cast out, the body of sin and death destroyed, the soul made perfect and fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. Looking yet further, the believer’s soul can see the Jordan passed, the gloomy stream forded. They can behold the hills of light on which stand the Celestial City. They see themselves enter within the pearly gates, hailed as more than a conqueror—crowned by the hand of Christ, embraced in the arms of Jesus, glorified with Him, and given a robe of white.
Our sight of the future may well relieve the darkness of the past. Yet the Christian may do well at times to look backward. When we do we observe the folly we have committed, the darkness of the world we have been removed from and this retrospect will help keep us humble and aware not to repeat missteps. We also may look back with satisfaction on the glorious hour when we first came to faith and acting on that faith quickened our dead soul.
We must not keep our eyes looking backwards though - for joy and beauty lies ahead. There is no benefit in always considering the past; the future is more glorious by far. Still there are times when retrospect is useful as a teacher. In Psalm 116 the Psalmist considers his past, what has happened to him, his prayer to the Lord and what the Lord has done for him. Thanksgiving and love is in the heart of the Psalmist for the blessings he has received.
I. The Psalm starts with; Psalm 116:1-2 – “1. I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The text talks about his taking his petitions and his prayers and offering them up to the Lord our God. About how God heard his voice, He heard his supplications and God inclined His ear to him. I find in myself whenever this happens to me that I love the Lord because I realize He really is there, He is in my life and He loves me.
A. Then when it comes to the subject of prayer it says Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. Whenever we pray to God there's something we need to understand about prayer. With God all things are possible. The Ephesian letter talks about how “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,” (Ephesians 3:20) When it comes to the subject of prayer we don't put limitations on God. When we make prayers to God I recommend that when the answer comes we pay attention. Be alert and expect answers.
B. You see we are the children of God. We have this great honor and privilege to approach the throne of God Almighty with all the things that are pressing down upon us, all of our worries, all of our trials, all of our sufferings, all of our fears, and take them to the throne of God.
1. He inclines His ear to us. He listens to us. He answers our prayers. Do we not all have cause to say; “I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications”? Please be conscious and aware of the answered prayers in your life.
2. I fear sometimes the very fact that God hears our prayers so constantly, leads us to forget the greatness of His mercy. Let it not be so. “Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2)
II. Let us continue in Psalm 116:3-4 – “3. The pains of death encompassed me, And the pangs of Sheol laid upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!''”[para] At the beginning of this verse the Psalmist says the pains of death are surrounding him and the pains of the grave have laid hold of him.
A. Some of us have been in circumstances that dire. Some have been close to death and they knew the position they were in. The text says he prayed, he implored the Lord to save his soul. We never know the greatness of our mercies till we get into trouble and need them. You cannot estimate the value of God’s mercy as well as you can when you are seeking it—when you are driven to despair.
B. Psalm 116:5-8 says; “5. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our Lord is merciful. 6. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. 8. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.” God hears our prayers, He answers our prayers. The creator of the universe is in your life. Enjoy it. Let your soul be at peace, let your mind be at peace. Don't be afraid. The Psalmist says You have delivered... My eyes from tears.
1. If you've ever been struggling emotionally you cry a lot. He talks about delivering my soul from death and not only that but delivering my eyes from tears. Then he talks about delivering my feet from falling.
2. Whenever I have any prayer answered I always get chills, for then I am reminded He also hears the really important prayers. The really important prayer is this; forgive me of my sins and when I pass from this life have mercy on me and let me be with you.
3. I’d like to stay here longer. I like to be with my family. I’d like to be with you but when you really get into the big scheme of things I understand I'm going to die someday. I understand I'm going to stand before God in judgment. I understand that I'm a sinner who deserves to go to hell.
4. So any time I see the hand of God in my life answering any of my prayers I rejoice, because that tells me not only is He hearing my prayers for the healing of brethren, family, friends and myself, but He's hearing my prayers for forgiveness. That's the one that is really important isn't it? The Lord will forgive us of our sins. The Lord will have mercy on us in judgment. The Lord will allow us to be with Him in the end.
C. You are familiar with Philippians 1:21-25 – “21. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,”
1. Here the apostle Paul is talking about the possibility that he may soon be put to death. To live is Christ to die is gain he says in this letter.
2. Then he talks to them openly about where he is. The Apostle Paul tells to the Philippians where he is in his emotions. He does want to depart to be with the Lord which is far better. In the end we understand the ultimate goal is to be with God, to be with Jesus, to be in heaven. It's going to be great. Yes, we are looking forward to it.
3. We also love our family; we love our children and grandchildren. We want to spend time with them. We love the kingdom, we love being with our brothers and sisters. Even though we look forward to being with the Lord I believe we can understand what Paul is talking about when he says to remain is more needful for you. There's work to do in the kingdom.
D. Psalm 116:10-11 – “10. I believed, therefore I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted.'' 11. I said in my haste, "All men are liars.''” Paul quotes from verse 10 in 2 Corinthians 4:13 – “But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke,'' we also believe and therefore speak,” Because Paul believed, his testimony had the ring of truth.
1. Derek Kidner wrote; “if people do not believe the word of God, let them refrain from wasting our time with their books on the subject.”
2. The Psalm writer must have had a similar reaction to those around him who doubted as we see in verse 11 "...All men are liars”. But notice he is also saying if I had taken time to think on this, I would not have judged all men by the actions of the few.
III. In Psalm 116 after he talks about how he was on the verge of death, how he went to God, and prayed to God, he tells how God heard him and God delivered him, God answered. In conclusion he says in Psalm 116:12; “What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?”
A. I wonder if any of us have ever thought about that. We understand what the question is. What can I give God? What can I do for God? Because of all that He has done in my life for me, all that He is doing and all that He's going to do; what can I render to the Lord? What do I have to give Him for what He has given to me?
1. We naturally ask questions similar to this when we receive help from our earthly friends. Would it not be even more proper to ask a question like this in view of the blessings we receive from God?
2. As we think about this; what can be an adequate return for love like God's, - for mercies so great, and so undeserved? We know that God needs nothing and puts no price on His free mercy and grace. - God provides us the answer.
B. The first thing we will find in Psalm 116 that we should render to the Lord - is in verse 9; “I will walk before the Lord In the land of the living.” Let’s take a look at the phrase and the concept of walking before the Lord in the land of the living. Of course we're in the land of the living.
1. In Genesis 17:1 this is where God is speaking to Abraham; “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” There's that phrase walk before me.
2. We find it again over in First Kings 2:4 where David is speaking to Solomon and telling Solomon what to do because of what God told him. “that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.”
3. We can understand what it means when we say I will walk before the Lord. Walking before the Lord in the land of the living is a pledge to walk "uprightly" before God out of gratitude for His gracious healing and deliverance from death.
4. How much more this should be true of one who has been redeemed from "eternal death" in the forgiveness of his sins through Jesus Christ our Lord! There is not a Christian on earth that should fail to make this pledge his own. What it means is; I will follow his word. I will follow the Word of God, I will follow the truth of God in my life, and I will walk before the Lord.
C. In the New Testament, Ephesians 5:8-10 – “8. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9. (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10. proving what is acceptable to the Lord.” To walk before the Lord we need to find out what is acceptable to the Lord. Where we find out what is acceptable to the Lord is in the Word of God.
1. God has heard my voice, therefore I will hear His voice. If He heard me, I will hear Him. Tell me, Lord, what would You have Your servant do and I will do it. What would You have me believe and I will believe it.
2. If there is a task which I have never attempted before, tell me to do it and I will say, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” Is there an ordinance which I never observed? However non-essential it might seem to man, I will do it, because You have told me to do it. If You have heard my feeble voice, I will hear Your mighty one in Your word.
D. What we do when we follow the Word of God is walk in the light as it is said in First John you walk in the light as he's in the light. We walk as Children of Light by doing the will of God, walking before the Lord. That's the very first thing that we can render to God. All the time that we're here in the land of the living we follow the Word of God by faith in our life.
IV. The second thing the Psalmist says is in Psalms 116:13 – “I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord.” A cup is something you drink from. God offers to us the cup of salvation as one would offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty man.
A. We accept the cup and thank the Lord for forgiving us of our sins and allowing us the hope of being with Him in heaven.
1. I notice in verse 13 that it is a conscious act of willingness to accept the cup by the person who receives salvation. It is even a determination in the words “I will”. Not only will we drink of this cup of salvation but we will hopefully share it with others in the world around us.
B. Psalm 16:5 says; “You, O Lord, are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.” This describes God’s provision. The Lord fills the cup of every believer’s life with the blessing of salvation. That cup is free to humanity, but it cost Jesus everything! Romans 10:13 says; “"whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
C. I think of Psalm 51:12 - “12. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me with Your generous Spirit.” I am so conscious of the hand of God when prayer is answered and I know He is hearing the really important prayer I make, God, please forgive me – yet again. Restore to me the joy of salvation to where I'm not going to be lost I'm not going to be separated for eternity from You. Restore to me the joy of your salvation by forgiving me.
1. The Psalmist goes on in 51:13 – “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” Those here that are in Christ know the way to heaven. They know how to be reconciled to God and be forgiven of their sins. Christians also want to share what they have learned, what they have found in the scriptures and the way to God through Christ.
2. Those in Christ have accepted the cup of salvation and made sure they were right with God then they share that cup with the world around them. 1 Chronicles 16:23 – “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” What shall I render unto the Lord? First to walk before the Lord, second to share the cup of salvation with others.
D. Third the Psalmist says in Psalm 116:16 – “O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.” We are indeed servants of the Most High. “...you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. The Psalmist says he is the son of Your maidservant. How very wonderfully blessed are those who are able to say my mother was a servant of God or my father was a servant of God.
E. Fourth he goes on in verse 17 – “17. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.” The sacrifice of thanksgiving is actual praise and thanksgiving rendered from the heart, in the spirit. What can we render unto the Lord is the thanksgiving of a grateful heart. This to me is saying that as long as his life continues, he will be thanking God for the wonderful work of salvation that was wrought in his life. This thanksgiving will be part of his regular praise in prayer that he brings before God. This heart-felt sacrifice is the real worship of which all the ancient animal sacrifices were only the tokens and shadows.
F. Next in verse 14 and again in verse 18 now, the Psalmist says; “I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people.” The idea of a vow is something we tell God we are going to do in our relationship with Him.
1. Do we understand that it is a covenant relationship that we are entering into when we obey the Gospel? We are making promises and vows of what we are going to do in our relationship with God if He will forgive us and allow us to be with Him in heaven.
2. I will repent and I will give myself to you as a living sacrifice. Obeying the gospel is not just being baptized. Being baptized is an act of obedience and obeying the gospel is a commitment to a relationship with God of giving yourself over completely to Him for the rest of your life.
G. What does the Psalmist vow in His desire to render to the Lord? I will walk before the Lord (verse 9). I will take up the cup of salvation and I will call upon the name of the Lord (verse 13). I will pay my vows to the Lord and I will do so now in the presence of all His people. (verses 14). He says; truly I am Your servant; (verse 16) I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and again he says I will call upon the name of the Lord.(verse 17). In verses 18 and 19 he again states I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, and then says I will do this In the courts of the Lord's house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
1. I notice that the importance of "public worship" is also in focus in this psalm. Both verses 14 and 18 are identical, both of them stressing that the payment of the psalmist's vows shall be, "In the presence of all his people."
2. And verse 19 amplifies doing this in a public setting. This is speaking of his place of worship. We hear people say that they can worship God alone in the woods. This is alright, but there is a time to worship Him publicly. Jerusalem was where the temple stood, and this would be his choice of places to publicly worship the Lord.
3. Proverbs 20:25 – “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows.” We should not make a vow rashly whether we're getting married or whether we're obeying the gospel.
4. Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” Our walk before the Lord, our life, is to bring glory to God, our creator. As we read earlier in Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” A servant gives service. That is why obeying the gospel is the biggest commitment of our life.
V. Now let’s go back to Psalm 116:17 – “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.” As we said one of the things we can render to the Lord is the sacrifice of our lips, of thanksgiving. We can pray to God and sing praises to God, glorifying God, thanking God in prayer and thanking God in song for the wonderful blessings that He's given us in our life.
A. When we are in heaven we will be worshipping and singing praises to God, glorifying God as well. A major part of what is going to be glorifying God is song. Our hearts should be in it when we praise God in song just as when we praise Him in prayer.
1. I'm not talking about learning how to sing in tune. If that's the case I'm in trouble. Nowhere in the Bible does He say sing in tune. What the scripture says is we are to sing with the spirit and the understanding. Give it all you've got with what you’ve got.
2. What I'm trying to get across is if you don't like singing now you probably won't like Heaven because there will be a lot of singing. Swallow your pride and have humility to sing praises to your God from your heart. Just let it go.
B. Psalm 13:6 – “I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” We should thank God in our prayers, thank God in our songs, not just for physical healing and for all the physical blessings, but primarily for the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. The spiritual blessings of the forgiveness of our sins, the spiritual blessings of the hope of eternal life in heaven, and the spiritual blessings of even prayer itself. Thank the Lord and praise the Lord in song for all the blessings He is showering upon us.
1. In Psalm 18 – “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.”
2. Psalm 104:33 – “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” We are told in many places of singing praises to God. I have a strong hunch that God must like us praising Him in song or He wouldn't request it.
That's what we can render to the Lord. I'm serious when I say you don't have to sing beautifully. We can give from the heart our praise to God for what He has done for.
What can we render to the Lord? We can walk in the ways of the Lord. We can keep His commandments in our life.
What can we render to the Lord? We can take up the cup salvation and share the knowledge of the gospel with all that we come in contact with telling people how to be saved.
What can we render to the Lord? We can be His servant keeping our vow, keeping the commitment of giving our self totally over to him in this life. As long as we are alive, as long as we have breath, praise Him and glorify Him and sing praises to Him and pray to Him, thanking Him in song and prayer.
Those things are what you and I can render to the Lord for what He has, He is, and He will be doing for us. While we're still alive we can praise God and when we pass from this life we will praise God for eternity.
On this side we serve God and when we pass from this life we serve God for eternity.
On this side we give our self as a living sacrifice totally to the glory of God in this realm.
Yes, give our entire self over to the glory of God, His kingdom, His gospel. We learn from Him about love and service. We do the best we can to honor Him and glorify Him in our life. Our God is worthy of our worship.
If there's anybody here this morning who is not a Christian yet hopefully now you see that becoming a Christian is the biggest commitment and the most important commitment of your life. Because you're committing yourself to give yourself as a living sacrifice to God to strive to live a life that is holy, a life that is pleasing to Him, coming out of the world and sanctifying yourself and then giving yourself totally over to His service.
As you go through your life you will falter. Even though you're trying to give yourself totally over to him there will be times you’ll mess up, times you don't keep your vow and your relationship with God.
What you do when you mess up is take it to God in prayer and again you pray for forgiveness, you pray for mercy yet again and then you get up and you get back in to giving yourself totally over to the glorifying of God in your life.
If you're willing to make the commitment of repentance and confess your faith we will be glad to assist you and baptize you into the one body for the remission of your sins.
If you’re a child of God already and you realize there's sin between yourself and your God that needs to be dealt with then go to God in prayer. Our God is gracious, and He is merciful. He desires to forgive you.
Take the sin to Him, confess it to Him and turn from it. We'll pray for you, we will pray with you, we will do the best we can to encourage you and strengthen you.
If you are subject to the Gospel call in any way whatsoever let us know while we stand and sing the song that has been selected.
Invitation song: ???
Reference sermon by: Wayne FancherPrint
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