Turn on today's radio and you will hear many catchy tunes, but what is the message behind the lyrics? Today, Todd kicks off a new series entitled, "Lyrics." Join us as we compare some of today's most popular lyrics with the truth of Scripture. You will likely not listen to those songs the same way again.
Take Me to Church
See Who Again?
How to Shake It Off and Deal With Bad Blood
Good morning, Watermark. How are you doing? Hello, Plano and Fort Worth. It is great to be back with you all. Hello, Dallas. It's good to have you guys all back with us here. The next four weeks, we're going to talk about Lyrics. One of the things we're going to do every week is we're going to pick a song or two that really are prevalent on the radio that you will hear if you go to the lake this summer, if not broadcasting from your iPod, maybe from a boat or a beach chair near you.
My hope is when you hear that song it will force you back to another lyric. As I said, we're going to take four Sundays to take a look at lyrics. What we're going to do today is we're going to look at a couple of T-Swift songs about conflict. We're going to look at "Shake It Off" and "Bad Blood," but not for long.
Some of you guys are going, "I don't know who T-Swift is, all right? I have no idea what it means to shake it off, but it sounds like something I wouldn't do if I were a good church girl." We'll take a look at Taylor's advice when it comes to conflict. What we're really going to do is not spend much time on T-Swift, but we're going to look at another person who wrote some lyrics.
Every week what I'm going to do is drive you to a lyric in a song from the Psalms. I'm going to take songs that are out there in popular music today, and I'm going to contrast them with another song that was written, and I hope these other songs that are written inform your life a lot more than the songs that are on the radio today. That's what we're going to do.
Let's start by quickly touching base with "Shake It Off," shall we? It was the first single released from her album 1989, which is kind of when she made that soft, gradual shift away from being our sweet little Taylor Swift as a 15- or 16-year-old girl writing songs about love and relationships to pushing herself into the pop music scene.
I'll tell you what. The music is great, both in her old albums and the new ones. I'm going to go ahead and tell you right now, I like me some T-Swift. It's all right. I like Taylor Swift's music. There's a lot of it that's really good, but the lyrics in them… Whenever you listen to music, don't tell me, "Well, I don't listen to the lyrics." You do listen to the lyrics, and lyrics affect you. I want lyrics to affect you, just not Taylor's, Macklemore's, or others' we'll take a peek at. I want the lyrics of David to affect you.
What Taylor does is she pulls from her life experiences, brilliantly, in many ways, and writes songs about them. She has an incredible aptitude to put those lyrics to very catchy melodies with amazing productions around them that make us all want to check them out. In that song "Shake It Off," what's basically going on is she's saying, "Listen. After my last album, Red, when people started to get a little bit more critical of me…" That's when she was starting to maybe move away from her initial core base.
She said, "…I really had a pretty tough lesson to learn. Folks were getting more and more critical in the things they were saying about me, and they were always examining my life. I realize I can't control what other people say about me. All I can do is control my reaction to it. You either let it get to you, or you shake it off." So she wrote a song called "Shake It Off." The lyrics of that song go…
I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That's what people say, that's what people say
I go out on too many dates, but I can't make them stay
At least that's what people say, that's what people say
But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I've got this music in my mind
Saying it's gonna be alright
'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
She's saying, "I'm gonna move on." That, frankly, is pretty good advice. Haters are going to hate, and you cannot be somebody who lives in fear of what other people say, especially in our day and age. You're going to see God himself takes a "shake it off" perspective when people mock him. You're going to see, in fact, when folks say things about God that aren't true, when they blaspheme him…
Blasphemy is one of two things. It's when either you attribute to God something that is not true or you take away from him something that is true. That is blasphemous, and it's going to get you into all kinds of trouble when you start to make God a petty, judgmental killjoy. It will be the source of all your troubles.
Or it's going to cause you a great deal of trouble if you say God is not good, that he doesn't have your best interests in mind, that he gives you desires and then pleasures himself by making sure you don't get the pleasure yourself in the desires he gave you.
This view of God is informed by the very first accusation against him: "Hey, is God really good? Is his Word really true? Is disobeying him really that big a deal? What you really need to do, man, is cast off the fetters of this oppressive deity, move on, and make yourself king." So a lot of people do.
They say a lot of things about God that aren't true, they don't listen to God as he reveals who he is to them, and they get themselves into all kinds of trouble. They go their own way, a way that seems right to them, but in the end it's the way of death. You're going to see what God does is he shakes it off. He laughs. Actually, he does something more. He goes and tries to rescue them from their delusion, because he knows what not having a right view of him will produce in their lives.
At the end of the day, God is not insecure. God is very concerned about his glory, not in the way humans are. Humans are always trying to establish their glory. God is not trying to establish his glory; God is trying to reveal his glory. Why is God trying to reveal his glory? God is trying to reveal his glory because if you saw him for who he really is you would be absolutely desperate to get to know him more.
He knows the more you get to know him, the God of grace and glory, the God who withholds no good thing from those who love him, it will go well with you. He is a loving God, so all he's doing is he has the neon pointed right toward him, and he's saying, "Come and get it. Come to me. You're going to be fettered to something. Why not fetter yourself to the one who is a sun and a shield, who gives grace and glory? Fetter yourself to that."
There are people who won't see God for who he is. Between those people and God there is some bad blood. What she says in that song is, "Listen. There's a problem that's going on." This is another release that's coming up. You'll hear it all summer long if you tune in to the radio or if you're around people who do.
She wrote that song about another pop diva she was purposeful to not name, although pretty much everybody who cares to do some research speculates it's one Katy Perry, who had the audacity to steal three dancers from Taylor's tour before the tour was over to go on her tour. That created some bad blood, man.
'Cause baby, now we have some bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we've got bad blood
Now we've got problems
And I don't think we can solve 'em
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we've got bad blood
Now, we're about to leave Taylor Swift for those of you who are shocked and abhorred that I've spent eight minutes on this, but I've already told you some pretty good truth. What I need to let you know is if you think it's a big deal to steal three dancers from the end of a tour to start your tour, you try and steal dignity from the only one who is worthy of it, you call the one who is good bad, you call the one who is light dark, and that will create some bad blood.
God said this to us at the very beginning. He said, "The day you don't know me for who I really am is the day you will surely die, because I am the God who is the way, I am the God who is truth, and I am the God who is life, so if you pull away from me you will not have life." That's some bad blood.
What I'm going to show you is the greatness of our God. He doesn't just shake off your rebellion against him. He runs after you and pursues you. He doesn't spill bad blood; he spills some good blood to reconcile you to him. He's not looking to shake you off forever. He wants to woo you back. I hope every time you hear "Shake It Off" it reminds you of the fact that when people attribute to you things that aren't true you cannot be overly assuaged by that.
In fact, let me take a moment… I know a lot of people in this room really struggle with being bold for Christ because they don't like what people will say about them if they live boldly. I need to let you know the more you represent the God who is hated, the more you are going to be hated like that God.
The Bible is very clear. It says, "There are going to be some things that come your way you're going to have to shake off if you want to be my disciple, or it will ruin you." Indeed, all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, but it says in Proverbs 26, "Like a sparrow in its flitting, or a sparrow in its flight, so is a curse without cause."
When someone calls you an intolerant, hateful bigot because you hold to unchanging, eternal truth, do not be surprised. The world has always hated people who do that. Taylor wrote this song because she acknowledged she had a real problem with people-pleasing. I want to give you two quick comments here before I dive on to a lyric we're going to spend all our time on.
Let me tell you, Christlikeness always involves people-serving. Listen. We're to love the household of faith, to do good to all men, but if there are people who are enemies toward you, who are slanderous toward you, and who are hateful to you, you are commanded by Scripture to love them.
In fact, we know this. In 1 Peter 2:21-23, it says, "Christ suffered for you, you who created bad blood for him, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps." It says, "The one who committed no sin, nor was any deceit ever found in his mouth." The Scriptures go on to say, "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return." Watch what he did. "He shook off the dissing, he shook off the criticism, and he did not utter threats, but he kept entrusting himself to the one whose opinion is the only opinion that matters."
Did he love them? You bet, to the very end, right to when they beat him, mocked him, publicly displayed him, and said, "Some prophet you are. You couldn't even tell who hit you in your blindfolded state. Some mighty, powerful God you are. You can't save anyone, because if you could you would save yourself."
He said, "Father, forgive them, because if they knew what they were doing they would never do it." That is your example. "…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." What you have to do is figure out what truth is, and you'd better entrust yourself to it, and then you have to keep entrusting yourself to the one who judges rightly.
Listen. There are a lot of things that are said about me out there, and I don't bother chasing them down when they're not true. I don't mind helping clear up misunderstandings, but I don't spend my time Googling, "What do folks think about Todd Wagner?" It would bring me to great despair. I don't spend time in my community chasing down rumors.
I was recently in a situation in a community where there were all kinds of rumors that were flying out about me and my involvement in a certain effort to stand for righteousness and goodness. I was told, in fact, one of the people of influence who could make a decision about what was going on was tainted because Todd Wagner, who has all these little minions working for him, is seducing the other side by letting this leader use his lake house, which I thought was really funny because I don't own a lake house.
Everybody was convinced that was exactly what I was doing. For me to try to convince people I don't own a lake house and I've never had a conversation with that guy of any merit or means, certainly not about this topic… You just keep entrusting yourself to the one who judges rightly. When you are reviled, you don't revile in return. When you suffer, you don't utter threats, but you just keep doing the right thing. Our charge, our responsibility, is Christlikeness, and Christlikeness leads to people serving.
Let me tell you something else, though. Christlessness always invites into our hearts a fear of people, and we become people-pleasers. When your life is controlled by what others think about you, you will be a people-pleaser. People who are living the way 1 Peter 2:21-23 says they should will not be people-pleasers.
Here are a couple of Scripture passages on this. Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted." There is a sense, gang, when the world is accusing you of being a hateful, intolerant bigot because you hold to certain, fixed truths that lead to blessing… If you fear being perceived that way, you will back off and become silent.
When those who are to be God's loving, winsome prophets of truth, who cannot remain silent on certain topics because being silent on those topics leads to an advancement of error… When you choose to not speak because you're fearful of what people will say about you, God says, "I'm going to hold you accountable for that. It's a snare not just for you but for others."
Ezekiel 33 is an entire chapter about people who won't shake it off but will be influenced by those intimidations. I want to remind you and tell you tolerance where people is concerned is a virtue, but tolerance where truth is concerned is a tremendous travesty. Old tolerance used to be the idea that every idea deserves its day in court. New tolerance is every idea is equally true, and for you to say otherwise makes you an intolerant, hateful bigot.
Friends, let me say to you, truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth, and it always has. I have a lyric to prove it to you, and I have a guy who's going to model how to respond to it. In Galatians 1:10, Paul talks about this. He said, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."
One of the ways you can know if you have a clear understanding of who Jesus is is if you aren't stuck in the fear of people and if you aren't seduced by the error and the idolatry of people-pleasing. I want to say this to you, because not only is it important that we learn to be Christlike and not Christless…
I had a guy a long time ago who sat me down and said, "Todd, let me tell you something. If you don't like criticism, get out of leadership." Actually, he consulted an African proverb. He said, "Let me just tell you something, Todd. Here's the deal. The higher a monkey climbs up the tree, the more people will see his [behind]." He told me that with a more graphic description.
He said, "If you don't want people commenting on what they see in you… You're not Jesus. Sometimes you're going to make mistakes. If that wears you out, just shimmy on back down in effort to be a leader to other people." One of the things he said to me is, "Listen. If something isn't true, don't even stoop to consider it, but I will also tell you if something is true, deal with it, and deal with it quickly."
Just to wrap up "Shake It Off," I want to say, you have to be able to shake off stuff you hear about yourself that's not true or you will be depressed, but you have to learn to let stuff sink in that is true or you will be dangerous.
One of the verses I taught my sons and daughters early on in their lives was Psalm 141:5 which says, "When you shake it off, make sure what you're shaking off is trash, gossip, slander, and error, but do not shake off friends who love you enough to tell you the truth." Psalm 141:5 says, "Let the righteous smite me with kindness. Do not let me refuse it. Let it be as oil upon my head." In other words, "It's what refreshes me. It's what brings me back to truth."
Gang, one of the things is if you don't have friends who can tell you hard truths that are rooted in God's Word, then you will be a dangerous person, or if you just show up in environments where you're part of a group that sings songs but no one speaks intimately into your life, you will be a depraved person.
That is why God says, "Let us encourage one another day after day, as long as it is called 'today,' so that none of us are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." You've heard me say before a little statement that rolled out of my mouth one day: "Isolation is the garden in which idiosyncrasies grow." If you are isolated from others and you're not in biblical community where friends faithfully wound you, you will be a dangerously depraved person. All of us need those friends. All of us.
When you shake it off, make sure you're shaking off the right stuff and make sure you're inviting in friends who will deeply wound you. There are only two people in the world who can tell you the truth about yourself, I often say: an enemy who has lost his temper or a friend who loves you dearly. Shake off enemies who have lost their tempers. Let it sink in when it's a friend who loves you dearly.
That's some truth right there. Let me show you another lyric that's full of truth. Open your Bibles to Psalm 2, and let's take a look at how God handles some of the criticism that is thrown at him and some of the ways people respond to him and see if we can't find some encouragement and some strength from that.
Let me just tell you, one of the things I see happening a lot with certain individuals who love God or say they know God is they spend more time watching Fox News than they do reading the faithful Word of God. If you watch Fox News the way this country is going, Fox News will make you fret. Psalm 2 will make you sing.
I'm not telling you you shouldn't watch Fox. I'm just telling you to make sure you live with the psalms, because if all you do is hear about how bad it's getting, it'll make you fret and wonder if God is at work. Let me tell you something. You'd better not judge God's play until the final act. That's what Psalm 2 is really about. Let's see what we can learn from it.
I'll break up this play into four acts for you, if you will. Basically, if this were a play, there would be two primary sets. The first set would be on earth, and you would have in verses 1, 2, and 3 a bunch of individuals on earth telling you what they think about God. Then there would be a scene change before the next act. In verses 4-7 it would move to the throne room of God. In 4-7 we're going to hear from God himself.
Then in verses 8 and 9 you're going to see it shift off the throne of God to his right hand, and you will see God the Son speak. Then what you'll do is you'll go back to the very first set and you'll see the earth, in effect. In verses 10-12, in the rest of this song or lyric, you will hear God the Spirit imploring those who are on that stage to deal with the truth heaven revealed one more time. Are you ready? Let's see if we can't learn something from this lyric. Here we go.
Psalm 2:1: "Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?" When you think of vanity, don't just think of arrogance and self-love alone. What vanity really means is emptiness or futility. By the way, one of the words I love… As you guys know, I love words because sometimes they can be very descriptive.
There are a number of Greek words that are used for pride. The Old Testament uses Hebrew, but in the New Testament, one of the words for pride is typhoō. That word can be literally translated without smoke or when the smoke goes away. In other words, there are a lot of people who have all kinds of assurance, all kinds of pride, and all kinds of mouths that run wild, but there's going to be a day, in effect, where God just goes whoosh! and silences men.
Out from behind that little curtain of human arrogance where we're pulling all kinds of levers and making ourselves look like the all-powerful Oz, that curtain will come back, and we'll see there's a short, stunted little man who is nothing in light of truth and reality. When all that hot air and futile vanity is blown away and God says, "That's about enough," men will see themselves for who they are. They'll see the emptiness of their attempts to rebel against him.
There are so many great examples of this throughout history. I'll start with just a couple. There's a gentleman by the name of Voltaire who was part of the whole Enlightenment rage over there, as you remember, in the French Revolution and all that came with it. Voltaire was a vehement opponent of God.
There's a story pastors have told for a number of years that is not true about Voltaire saying, "In a hundred years, faith, Christianity, and the Bible will be done away with forever because of men like me." As these stories get repeated a lot and the error continues to perpetrate itself… It's an urban myth that Voltaire's old home is now a place that's used for the distribution of Bibles.
What is true is that Voltaire is long dead, and that country which, by and large, still is more Voltairian than Christian… The Bible is far from gone, and it's far from irrelevant. Voltaire has met God, and if he had a chance to speak to you again, I can say with absolute, sovereign authority that what he would do is go, "I'd like to take another shot at influencing wisdom in my land again."
Why do I say that? The Bible tells a story about a man who railed against God and lived in ignorance against him. In fact, this is one of the things I always do if I do a funeral of somebody who did not know the Lord or I'm not sure if they know the Lord. What I'll always do is I'll stand up and say, "Let me tell you what said person would desperately want you to know if they were here today."
Then I talk from Luke 16 about Lazarus (not the Lazarus of John 11, but the Lazarus of Luke 16). In the story Jesus told, the rich man begged the Father to allow him to go back and tell his sons to not follow him in his rebellion and indifference to God. It won't be a second after you die that the vanity of human rebellion goes away.
Voltaire was famous for saying things like this: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." He said, "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason." "Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
You're going to see in the Scriptures, not in Psalm 2 but in Psalm 73, it talks about how their tongues parade throughout the earth. I think about one man I know who had experienced all the offerings of the world and the great successes, but later in his life saw the futility of that and actually suffered much from his trying to find life apart from God. He went to his friends, and he said, "You need to know something. The laughter of the wicked is short."
It's why, again and again in the Scriptures, we're told to not fret because of evildoers and to not be envious toward wrongdoers. It says in Psalm 37, as an example, in verse 2, "For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb," but man, it looks sometimes like they're never going to wither and they're never going to fade, and that's why you have to stand strong. That's why you have to follow the command of the lyric in Psalm 37 which says, "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." Meditate on this lyric.
We know in act 1 it looks like there is no consequence to mocking God. Verse 2: "The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!'" In other words, "We don't want anything to do with God. We want to be freed up from that which constrains us to find life."
Do you hear the world saying that today? "We reject any standard of morality. We reject this oppressive morality that keeps us from being free creatures who can enjoy the bodies that have evolved over time." People will say, "We don't need that morality. We don't need that definition of marriage."
I want to say this really quickly, and I actually mentioned this in a Real Truth. Real Quick. You can go back and get this in five minutes, but I'll give it to you in a little bit less right here. Sometimes people have asked me, "Todd, why do we talk so much about the sexual issues in our culture today?"
I'm going to tell you why. It's because homosexuality is different. Watch that. I didn't say, "It's different than every other sin in its offense against God." The church for too long treated it that way, and that's why way back in 2006 I gave a message about homosexuality and same-sex marriage that was titled An Apology, an Answer & an Assignment, and it's still just as relevant today, some 10 years later.
I want to tell you homosexuality is different. I'm going to show you how. In 1 Corinthians 6… You can keep your thumb in Psalm 2 if you want and turn to 1 Corinthians 6, or you can just follow along with me as I read it right here. Look at what it says. He says, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?"
Let me say this to you. The kingdom of God is a place where there is peace, blessing, joy, and goodness. It is both a state and a place, and God is warning us here that, "Listen, if you continue to practice that which is not consistent with the Spirit of God, that might be evidence that the Spirit of God doesn't dwell in you, and, by the way, it won't allow you to experience the peace that comes in a relationship with God."
What this lyric in 1 Corinthians is talking about here is not only about eternal destiny. It's talking about present reality, and that is why Jesus says, "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly." When Jesus says that, he's saying, "I want you to experience goodness and life with me right now. I want your life to be a blessing. I want it to go well with you now."
Certainly we want it to go well with us forever, but the way we know we've trusted God is going to have it go well with us forever is by having it go well with us now, not always in the sense of prospering financially and physically, but certainly prospering with a peace and a joy that the world goes, "I don't know where that comes from."The answer is it comes from meditating on the lyric of Psalm 2 and knowing who God is and that in the midst of our bad blood with him he came and rescued us and we have responded to his offer of grace and forgiveness.
Watch this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters…" These are heterosexual offenders against God. People-pleasers would be one form of idolatry. We've already talked about that. "…adulterers [those who are married who are having heterosexual issues] , nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."
Now, why do we talk so much about some of these and not the others? Here's the reason why. Can't you tell what makes two of these different than others? Here's the answer. The most liberal expressions of the world are not saying, "Hey, lookit. It's okay to go to Wall Street and swindle the working class out of great amounts of money."
In fact, they're going to occupy Wall Street because they think there are a bunch of swindlers running it. They're going to occupy Wall Street because there are a bunch of covetous men in Wall Street who are manipulating the system. They are causing a great ill effect on our entire society and 90-plus percent of the people so a very small percentage of the people can get more rich. They're going to say, "That's bad."
You're not going to find very many people who go around and say, "It's okay to say, 'I'm going to be committed to this person,' and then just betray them with every single person you want to." It's increasing, by the way, that that's okay in the world's opinion, but it's still not common fare.
Certainly, many Christians who don't want to be bigots and considered intolerant, who go, "What's wrong with letting people love each other?" and who might vote for wonder why I can be against certain expressions of marriage would say, "I'm certainly not for those who will violate the marriage covenant."
You see, what makes a couple of these different and the reason I'm talking about these so much is it's the area our society is saying, "I want to break free from this fetter of morality and this definition of marriage," and I, as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mystery of God, and you, as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mystery of God, if you love God and you love others, cannot be silent while people say, "It doesn't cost you to disobey God, mock his Word, and think we know better than he does."
You'd better not shake off God's rebuke. You'd better not shake off God's instruction. It won't go well with you. That's one of the reasons… I would love to have to stand up here some week and go, "Gang, I hate to do it, but we have to talk about shoplifting again. Everybody, right now, there's a case before the Supreme Court that stealing is not a problem and shoplifting is okay.
I'm going to tell you, if we turn our backs on shoplifting consistently, it's not going to go well with us. It's going to ruin our economy because people who work hard to stock their shelves who sell products… Sooner or later they're not going to do it because no one is buying them. They're just stealing them. We have to stop saying it's okay to shoplift."
Do you guys know how much time I've spent in 15 years of pastoring Watermark talking about shoplifting? I don't know, I think it sounded like about 12 seconds just a few seconds ago. Everybody was like, "Why is he talking about that?" Do you see why we're talking about that other issue? Do you see how it's different in kind? It's the area where our world is starting to say, "I don't want the fetters. Cast away the cord of marriage between a man and a woman."
That's what children are born from, and they have the blessing of being raised by their biological mother and father. Kids need mothers, and kids need fathers, and that's why God hates divorce. He doesn't hate divorcees, and he doesn't hate homosexuals, but he hates what homosexuality and divorce do to people. That's why you've heard me talk a lot about divorce here more than homosexuality, because divorce has done more to ruin our country than homosexuality has.
The world is always going to say, "I don't want that fetter." Jesus says, "Come to me. Take this fetter. Take my yoke upon you, because you're going to be yoked by something, either the futile wisdom of man or the wisdom of God."
Now the scene shifts. That's what men are saying. By the way, I'll throw this out. There were so many other illustrations of people who come up against powers. I mentioned Voltaire. I was going to quickly talk about Lennon and his comment which was slightly taken out of context, but nonetheless he was just saying, "It looks to me like the Beatles are more popular than Jesus," to which I would say, "Probably not." Later, he tried to walk that back himself.
Here's a great picture. This is a guy who was a 24-year-old stud. He was, I'm sure, a pretty tough character. His name was Anthony Miranda. Anthony, when he was 24, a couple of years ago, walked up to a guy he measured up and thought he could handle, and he knocked on the door and asked for a light for his cigarette. The guy said, "I don't have anything to light your cigarette with." The guy said, "How about this. Why don't you alight yourself from that car…" He pulled a gun out. "…because I think I want your car now."
The problem with that is that little 33-year-old got out of the car and happened to be a part of UFC. He was a mixed martial arts specialist, and it wasn't long before… He didn't give that guy his Miranda rights. He gave Mr. Miranda what was coming to him in his arrogance. He took his gun, he shot him in the foot, and he basically subdued him. He called 911 and didn't let the guy tap out until the cops got there. The guy got a beating, a $350,000 bail, and this beautiful mugshot.
I'm going to tell you something. It's kind of tough to look at, but it's nothing compared to what people are going to look like if they continue with the arrogance of act 1 in Psalm 2. That little guy, when he saw that person holding a gun, he just said, "Okay. You want me to get out of my car? I'll get out of the car." He got out of the car, and it wasn't long before he disarmed him, shot him, brought him to submission, and had him put where he belongs.
There's going to be a day when God says, "I'm going to get out of the car." What that guy had to be doing when he looked at Anthony Miranda saying that to him, he had to go, "Man, bro, I don't have a light. Just move on. Please, move on." When he pulled the gun and said, "No, you move out," this guy moved in, and it got really bloody.
Psalm 2:4 says this: "He who sits in the heavens [who sits in his car] laughs, the Lord scoffs at them." It's not like, "I think this is funny." It's like, "Can you believe this? These people I created, who are sustained by my kindness, continue to tell me I'm incompetent and unwise." It says, "There's going to be a day that he will speak to them in his anger."
I want you to watch all the future tenses here. "He will speak to them in His anger. He will terrify them in His fury, saying, 'You guys can say what you want about who your Lord and who your King is, but I have installed my King upon Zion, my holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord,'" verse 7 says, and that's when the scene shifts off of the Father to the Son.
This is the Son. He's saying, "Listen. He has made me King." By the way, this psalm has initial fulfillment in David being anointed of God. Where others said, "We don't think David should be our King," and the rest of the world said, "We're not really intimidated by who God says is going to rule," David said, "Look, I don't know why he chose me. I'm just a little shepherd boy, but he has. God has enthroned me."
When this psalm is used a little bit later you're going to find a reference to what's called the Davidic covenant where God is saying, "I am going to have somebody from the throne of David who reigns forever." That is why the writers of the Gospels make such an effort to help you see Jesus is from the line of Judah, a descendant of David, because Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this psalm.
Here we have the Son in effect saying, "I will surely tell the decree of the Lord. You all can tell me I am a false prophet. You can tell me I am of the Devil. You can tell me I don't know the law, but I want to say God has said to me, the only one whose opinion matters, 'You are my Son, and today I have begotten you. I've brought you forward.'" Romans 1 talks about this. It says God brought the Son forward from the final act of the play.
Here's what I would tell you. If you and I were watching Jesus when he was alive and we were watching what was happening at that climax of the confrontation between the religious leaders in Israel and the world powers in Rome, you would go, "I don't know who Jesus is. I'm going to watch. Jesus said he is the visible image of the invisible God and to know him is to know the Father, but no one can treat God poorly. No one can falsely accuse God without him defending himself. Nobody could punch God in the face. Surely God would defend himself."
Here's what they forgot. They forgot God isn't just a God of justice; he's a God of love, so if you go back and look at Isaiah, he very clearly said, "When my Anointed One comes, he's going to come first as a Lamb but later as a Lion." You're going to see the Lion show up here in just a second.
There's bad blood between them, and what a loving God would do is he would not say what Taylor Swift said: "I don't think we can solve them." The Father said, "There's nothing you can do, but there's something I will do for you. I'm not going to spill bad blood; I'm going to spill my blood."
This little psalm shows up a little bit later in the New Testament. One of the places it's alluded to is in Romans when Paul says, " [Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…" He was begotten and brought forth from the grave. This is the Man.
If you watched just the fourth act of that play, you would see Jesus beaten almost to an unrecognizable state, nailed to a cross, and mocked, but then you would see the earth shake, you would see the temple curtain that separated the holiness of God from the brokenness of humanity torn from the top to the bottom, you would see the graves opened, and you would see people who murdered him say, "Surely that was the Son of God, because nobody can love like that and hold out hope like that. That guy knew something we didn't know." Three days later they found out, "He's somebody we did not perceive."
What the Son is saying here in this lyric is, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware." The next time Jesus comes back will not be as a person who has come to proclaim the year of freedom to those who were captive but, as the Scripture says, to rule with a rod of iron and to bring Act 1 people to submission.
Jesus is the original one who said, "I'll be back, and when I come back I want you to know me. When I get out of the car, if you will, of eternity and come to accomplish my plans on heaven, you want to be ready to receive me, because my grace has been sufficient for you." That's really how this psalm ends in verse 10. It jumps back down to earth, and you have this lyric where the Spirit of God is singing this to the earth:
"Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"
This is the lyric that needs to be running through your mind all the time. Let me say to you again, sometimes when you watch, it looks like ISIS is the one who knows who the Lord really is when they mock believers on their knees and go, "You just profess Allah is God and Muhammad is his prophet, or we're going to cut your head off." It surely looks like, "Oh, man, I guess if the Christian God were the real God, he wouldn't let those guys take that head off." It's not Act 5 yet.
When wicked people carry the way of the nation and they mock the morality and the definition of marriage by God, it's going to look like, "Maybe God doesn't really care. Maybe these Christians…" There are many Christians, by the way, who are beginning to sway over and go, "Maybe they're right. Maybe we back away from this."
That is evidence, in my opinion, that those folks were not ever truly clear about Psalm 2, or if they were clear at one point they're certainly not clear now. The Bible says very clearly, "Let not many of you be teachers, for you will incur a stricter judgment," so when you stand up and say you represent God and then you tamper with the morality of God, the definition of marriage by God, the way of blessing God has revealed, and the absolute sufficiency and necessity of the Son…
By the way, if you see what all the nations do, they say, "We don't want Jesus to be King. We reject Jesus as King. We'll take him as a prophet, a poet, a leader, or a model, but you tell me he's my King or my God, and I will kill you." That's the way of the world. That's the spirit of the Antichrist, and you watch. What this thing is all going to shake down to is, "Who do you say Jesus is?" Not just in word or with tongue but in deed and in truth.
Jesus has spoken clearly on the morality of God, and he's spoken very clearly on marriage, so don't tell me you know who Jesus is when he's not born of a virgin or when he doesn't believe in creationism. Don't tell me you know who Jesus is when you say there's not a bodily resurrection of the dead. Don't tell me you know who Jesus is when you say God's Message and Word is elastic. Don't tell me you know who Jesus is when you say marriage can just be between people who love each other, because Jesus didn't think so.
How you follow the Son determines on which side of this psalm you're on. There is some bad blood between rebellious humanity and a holy God, but there was some beautiful blood that was spilled so when we come to our senses and respond to the lyrics of Psalm 2:10-12 we can be reconciled to him.
This psalm, as I said, shows up a number of times. I want to just show you one as a close. It comes in Hebrews. In Hebrews 1:1-5, you're going to find this message being given where there's an effort by God to tell you, "Pay attention to the Son. This is the One. He has been shown with power to be the means through which the bad blood between me and you can be reconciled."
This is Psalm 2:10-12 in a major section of your New Testament. It says, "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." Evolution isn't an option.
"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they."
"For what angel did ever hear God say Psalm 2, which is, 'You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.'" That's not Jesus being born. That is, "I am bringing you forth from the judgment of the world and exalting you above all others. I am declaring with power that you are God, because you alone did what God can do, which is to reverse the curse and pay the debt which was an offense against God, which was man's sin."
That's why from Hebrews 1:5 through the next three chapters you hear Jesus being exalted, Jesus being exalted, and then you come to this in Hebrews 4:15-16. Listen, gang. It says, "For we [who know Jesus] do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore…" Psalm 2:10-12. Let us draw near while there's still time. "…let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
I pray you don't shake off that word of warning. I pray you know there's bad blood and good blood has been spilled that you might be reconciled to the God who loves you. I pray, as his disciple, when the world casts its dispersions at you that you would shake it off, you wouldn't fret because you watch Fox News but you would sing because you read Psalm 2, and you would be faithful to the end.
If you are here today and you have never come, make it your day that you respond to God's decree that there is one name under heaven by which men might be saved. His name is Jesus. Don't shake it off. Let it sink in.
Father, I pray every time we hear about "Bad Blood" or "Shake It Off" that we would run back to these moments together and a different lyric, that lyric of that psalm David wrote long ago, would fill our hearts and minds, we'd be reminded of who we are and what you've done about it and we'd be reminded that because you have saved us if we've known your Son and become his disciple who we are: we are your prophets and your people.
You've told us to not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among us, as if it comes as some sort of surprise. You've told us, "The world is going to hate you the way it hated me." There are going to be certain parts in the play when it looks like they're getting away with it, but you've told us the way this play ends.
You've told us to, like your Son, be heralds of righteousness who declare to others the goodness of you and your way. You've told us to sing all we can about your goodness and to declare to others about your provision. You've told us to not grow weary in doing good. You've told us not to fret because of evildoers. You've told us we should do all we can to let men know the Word of God is not burdensome but the way of life.
Lord, help us to be men who live in that Word, who walk in that way, and who sing this song. If there are any here this morning who have not yet come, I pray today would be the day when the bad blood of sin would be covered by the perfect blood of your Son. In Jesus' name, amen.