Are you aiming to be good or to be godly in your day-to-day life? God has given you everything you need to be a godly man or woman. When you delight in the Lord, your life will shift and change.
God is Here | John 2:13-22
From Good to Godly | 2 Samuel 6:1-16
Living a Life of Faith, Not of Logic | John 2:1-11
“Why Doesn’t God Do Something?” | Revelation 21:1-8
Marriage and Family | Psalm 78:1-8
All Hands on Deck | May 2022
Good Friday 2022
Leveraging Our Lives for the Sake of the Gospel | 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
Godliness doesn’t mean Jesus is only “a part” of your life; it means He is the passion of your life, and you leverage all things for Him. In this week’s sermon, Timothy Ateek gives us four ways to change our thinking to be devoted to God and live a life that is pleasing to Him.
Additional Scripture: 2 Peter 1:3 , 1 Chronicles 13:3, Mark 10:18, Isaiah 55:8-9, 1 Chronicles 15:13-15, 2 Samuel 6:12-15, Mark 10:18
Good morning, Watermark. It's good to see you. I hope all is well. My name is Timothy Ateek, and I am one of the teaching pastors here. Whether this is your first time or your last time at Watermark, I'm glad you made it, and I'm glad we have this moment together this Sunday. Before I get going, I want to make sure you know next Sunday is going to be incredible. It is going to be such a special Sunday.
This Sunday is going to be great as well, but just so you know what's coming, next Sunday we are starting a new series where we are going to be journeying for several weeks through the first three chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-3, and it's going to change the way you see God and worship him. It's going to change the way you view your neighborhood and your workplace. It's going to change the way you relate to the people in this church. It's going to change the way you relate to your spouse. It's even going to change the way you rest.
So, it's going to be a great series. We are fired up about it. That is starting next Sunday. Also, next Sunday we are launching a 5:00 p.m. service. So, if you are interested in being at brunch instead of here at this time next week, then you'll be with us at the 5:00 p.m. service. We'll have food trucks, we'll have coffee, and it's just going to be awesome. So, grab your friends or your family and just make an evening of it. It's going to be a lot of fun. But that's all next week. This week, I believe God has something really good in store for us.
I hope you are ready to hear from him, because he has spoken to us. This is called the Word of God because it's God's words to us. When we open it, it allows us to hear from him. So, let's just take a moment. I just want to invite you to pray for yourself really quickly. I know we've already prayed, but let's pray again. If you will, just take a second. In the quietness of your own heart, would you pray, and would you say, "God, would you speak to me today?" Then would you pray for me and just say, "God, would you speak through TA this morning?"
Lord, thanks for what you have in store for us. Would you wake us up? May we be alert. May we hear from you today. Thank you that you are here and you want to meet with us. We want to meet with you. We want to hear from you. We love you. We give this time to you. In Jesus' name, amen.
In 1999, I graduated from Highland Park High School, which is just down the road. (Go Scots.) My senior year, right at the end, the senior class got to participate in a senior poll, and they published the results in the Bagpipe, which was the school newspaper at the time. The entire senior class could vote different classmates into different categories.
There were some really good categories. There was "Best looking" or "Most likely to be president" or "Most likely to succeed." Then there were other bad categories that you didn't necessarily want to be voted into. There was "Moodiest" or "Worst temper," "Biggest complainer," "Worst driver." You didn't want to be voted into any of those categories. I want to share with you what my senior class voted me. They voted me into three categories. To be clear, I did not take first place in any category. That's difficult, but counseling has helped with that.
Anyway, the first category I took third place in was the category of "Just plain nice." What that means is that was just the girls' way of saying, "You'd be great to marry one day, but right now we want nothing to do with you." Just plain nice. The synonym is friend zone. That's what that meant. I took third place in that category, so if you were looking for someone nice, you didn't start with me. There were two other people who were far nicer. If they were unavailable, Timothy Ateek was your guy. Just plain nice. Third place.
The second category I took third place in was the category of "Most sincere." So, if you're looking for someone to be honest with you, don't start with me. Two other people… They'll tell it like it is much faster than I will, but I can help you out better than about 375 other people. The third category I was voted into… This time I took second place. I'm going to be honest. This one stung a little. I took second place in the category of "Most religious."
Part of me just wants to be like, "Well, how do you like me now?" If we could just run that survey back to see how things shake out this time… Anyway, when I take the results of the senior poll at Highland Park High School in 1999 and put it all together, that my senior class was saying, "He's just plain nice, he's sincere, and he's religious," here's what I think they were saying, in a sense. I think they were saying, "You know what? He's a pretty good guy. Timothy Ateek is a pretty good guy. He's pretty nice, seems sincere, seems religious."
After I graduated, I went to A&M, and I would say that for the majority of people…definitely not everyone, but for the majority of people I interacted with…if you were to ask them, I think they would say, "You know what? He was a pretty good guy. He was at church a lot, served a lot. We didn't see him outwardly doing a bunch of stupid things. He was a pretty good guy." Even now, I think most people would be like, "You know what? The Ateeks give meals to people when they have a baby, and TA has tried to coach his kids' soccer team. Not very well, but he tried. He's a pretty good guy."
Here's the reality. I don't want to just be known as a good guy. I want to be known as a godly man, and I want the same for you. We don't have to settle for just being good guys or good girls when we can be godly men and godly women. We don't have to settle this fall. You think about the start of the school year. It feels like another version of New Year's Day where you want to start it right. You buy new clothes, and it feels like a new beginning with new opportunity.
Let me just say, my hope is that this fall, Watermark would be packed full of people who don't just settle for being good guys or good girls, but they would desire to be godly men and godly women. Here's why I say that. I say that because of what Peter says in one of his books. He says God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. That's just God saying, "Look. I have opened up the storehouses of my resources, and I have supplied you with everything you could ever possibly need to live a godly life."
So, you don't need to settle for being a good guy or a good girl when you can be a godly man or a godly woman. Let's just be clear. Those can be two different things. You can be a good guy or a good girl in the eyes of the world, but you are not a godly man or a godly woman. Those can be very different things.
What am I talking about when I talk about a godly life? Well, author Jerry Bridges defines godliness as devotion to God that results in a life that is pleasing to him. So, godliness isn't just trying to do the right thing. Godliness is a devotion to God. Your heart has been lit on fire by Jesus Christ. You've seen Jesus clearly, and because you've seen him, you begin to respond to him. You want to be like him.
Jesus, through the power of his Spirit, begins to change you, and you begin to show Jesus to the world, and it results in a life that is pleasing to him. That's what we're talking about when we talk about being godly men and godly women. Let me put it a different way, because I want you to be really clear on what my desire is for every person in this room.
My desire is that Jesus wouldn't just be a part of our lives, but that Jesus would be the passion of our lives. See, there is a difference between Jesus being significant and Jesus being preeminent. Preeminent means first place. If we're not careful, we'll step into the fall, and Jesus will be significant. He'll be a part of our lives. We're busy people. We have a lot going on, and Jesus will be one of those things that's going on. He will be significant. He'll be a part of our lives, but he won't be the point and passion of our lives.
Jesus Christ deserves first place, preeminence in our lives. That's my desire: that we wouldn't just settle for being good men and good women, but we would be godly men and godly women; that Jesus wouldn't just be a part of our lives but the point and passion of it. So, here's what I want to do. As we begin to step into the fall, I want to look at a story in the Scriptures that's going to give us four keys for moving from good to godly.
If you have a Bible, turn with me to 2 Samuel, chapter 6. Second Samuel, chapter 6, is where we're going to get four keys for moving from good to godly this fall. We're looking at a story from the life of David. If you're new to the Bible, new to church, David might not be new to you because you're familiar with the story of David killing a giant named Goliath with a sling and a stone, but David was so much more than that. He was the second king ever of the nation of Israel.
He was the best king Israel ever had. David is my favorite life in the Bible to study besides Jesus Christ, because his successes are really captivating, and his weaknesses and struggles are very, very relatable. The most important thing you need to know about David is that he was called by God "The man after my own heart." That's what David was referred to as by God. God called him "The man after my own heart."
It just means David was after what God wants. He wanted to live a life that was pleasing to God. He wanted his heart to be shaped by God's heart. David was a godly man. We're going to look at a story that's going to help us move from good to godly. Now, I'm going to warn you before we get into this story. This is just a warning. All eyes on me. I want to make sure you hear it.
When we read this story, you are going to think, "How does this story have any relevance to my life right now? I have no clue how this story is the story you've chosen to prepare us for the fall," because it's a story about some guys trying to move a box on a cart pulled by some oxen. I don't know how that hits you, if you're like, "Finally. Thank goodness, because I've been struggling with that. I've got a box and a cart, but I don't have oxen. I'm just trying to figure out life."
I don't know where you're at, but for the majority of us, that's not it. If you stick with me until the end, I promise you it will become very clear that this story has everything to do with us being godly men and godly women this fall. So here we go. Let me read it to you. It's important to note that this story is taking place shortly after David becomes king of Israel. When we read this, what we're seeing is what David truly valued early on being king. Verse 1:
"David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.
And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, 'How can the ark of the Lord come to me?' So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household." I'm giving you four keys for moving from good to godly.
It was so important that when this box was made, it was put inside a very special room in the house of God, which was first the tabernacle and then the temple. This box was placed into a room known as the Holy of Holies. That room was so important it was closed off by a very thick curtain, and only one person, a priest, was allowed to enter that room one time a year. He would enter with a rope around his ankle so that if he died in that room, people could pull him out without having to go in after him.
The reason this box was so important was because when the presence of God filled the tabernacle and filled the temple, the presence of God was said to reside right on top of that box. This box, the ark of the covenant, basically became synonymous with the presence of God. So, when the ark of the covenant was moved, it was as if God was moving.
So, here's what's happening. David has just become king, and when he becomes king, the nation of Israel is kind of fractured. It's kind of in two places. So what David does is he establishes a new capital city. He makes Jerusalem the capital city. One of the first things he does as king is he says, "Look. We're going to get the ark of the covenant and put it in the capital city." This was David's way of saying, "You want to know what I prioritize? I prioritize the presence of God."
The reason he was establishing that was because his predecessor, Saul, the first king of Israel, was a mediocre king. He was a mediocre king because he didn't value the presence of God. That's why David says in 1 Chronicles 13, "Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul." He's saying, "For the last few decades, we haven't valued the ark of the covenant. We haven't valued God's presence. I'm king, and do you want to know what I prioritize? I prioritize God's presence."
Do you want to move from being good to being godly? Then my encouragement to you is to prioritize God's presence. What does that look like? I'll explain it this way. Can you look at a time in your past, some monumental moment in life that you can look back on, and you are clear God was there? Like, God was there. Maybe it was a time of crisis. Maybe it was a really sweet moment in life. There are times in my past, monumental moments in life that I can look back on, and it is clear to me God was there.
Shortly after college, when my life hit rock bottom, God was there. When my friend passed away in Iraq, God was there. When I got married, God was there. When we had each of our kids, God was there. When we had a miscarriage and lost a baby, God was there. When we moved from Waco to College Station, God was there.
When we moved from College Station to Dallas, God was there. I can look back, and it's so clear that in these monumental times in life, God was there, but I don't want to get to heaven one day and God give me perspective. I don't want to wait until then to realize that God wasn't just there in the monumental times of life, but he was there in the mundane times of life.
I don't want to wait until then to realize, "You know what? God was there when I was sitting in my office. He was there when I was driving in my car. He was there whenever I was watching Netflix. He was there when I went for a run that one time. He was there every moment of every day. He was there in the sweet moments of laughter with my wife and these sweet moments with my kids. He was there every single second. He was there in the monumental times and the mundane times of life."
So, when I talk about prioritizing God's presence (don't miss what I'm telling you right now), what I'm talking about is a shift in our mentality from "God was there" to "God is here." I'm talking about living with that awareness that "God is here." Can you imagine how different this church would be on Sunday morning if every single person walking into this room walked in with the realization "God is here, and I get to meet with him"? Just imagine how different this place would be.
Imagine what worship would be like. Imagine what this moment would be like if we all lived with the understanding "God is here. He wants to meet with us. He wants to speak to us, so we want to meet with him, and we want to hear from him." Imagine how different life would be if tomorrow morning you woke up and realized, "God is in my room." When you're driving in the car, he is in your car. When you are sitting at your desk, he is there with you. When you are working out, he's there. He's not working out. He's God. But he is there. He's here.
I was driving from out of town last night, just driving in my car by myself, and it was just this awareness. "God is here. He is in the car." There's something sobering about that. There's something sweet about that. Until we wake up to God's presence with us, we'll never feel his embrace. Have you ever felt the embrace of God? Have you ever felt the nearness of God? Have you ever tasted the joy of the nearness of God? In his presence there is fullness of joy. At his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). God is here.
I went to Texas A&M University. We just moved from College Station back in December, so I've spent a lot of time in Kyle Field, the football stadium, which means I've spent a lot of time observing some incredible displays of power from the Aggies. That's just my opinion, but that's reality. It amazes me. When I go to Kyle Field with about 100,000 other people, there are people who will bring their infants to the games, and their babies will sleep the entire time.
There can be some of the greatest acts, greatest displays of power, and these babies have no clue what's happening, just sleeping through it. I just wonder if that's us, if every day, God in his kindness is putting on display… He's giving us glimpses of his goodness, greatness, and power all throughout the day, and we're just sleeping through it. We have to wake up and realize God is here.
Sometimes we treat God like a puppy. We wake up. We play with him before work, and then he walks us to the door, and we leave. He just stares at us through the window, tilts his head, and we just go off to work. We do our own thing, and then we come back. We kind of pat him on the head when we walk in the door, and then we don't have any more meaningful time with him until the next morning.
Yet when we meet with God and we close the Bible and say, "Amen," I think God is like, "Okay. Let's go to work." He's going with us. This is the most significant benefit of the gospel. Jesus hasn't just come so we can be with God in heaven one day. He has come so we can be with God now. Jesus Christ conquered Satan, sin, and death so we could be brought into right relationship and live with God now. So prioritize his presence. God is here.
Now, when you read that they were trying to transport God's very, very precious piece of furniture on a cart pulled by some oxen, a red flag should go up in your mind. The reason I say that is because God had actually given very specific instructions on how to move the ark of the covenant. This wooden box was supposed to be made with rings on all four corners so that very specific men could slide poles through those rings and carry the ark on their shoulders.
Do you know what this is? This is just a story about some type-A project managers. This is a story about some people who think they can be more efficient than God. They're like, "We're not doing the poles on the shoulders thing. I've got a cart. You've got some oxen. Put the two together. We can get it there in half the time. God, watch this. I'm about to show you something special. We're going to get this thing to Jerusalem in record time. No more box on the shoulder-type thing."
This is men thinking they can be more efficient than God, and it doesn't go well. Do you remember what happens? Verse 6: "And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God."
Do you have a picture of what's happening here? They're moving the ark of the covenant. There's the cart. There are the oxen. David and everyone are having a worship service as they go. They're singing and dancing. There are instruments. There's a lot of joy and celebration. Then the oxen begin to stumble, the cart begins to tip, and God's furniture begins to fall off. So Uzzah does something so nice, where he reaches out to catch God's box so it doesn't get damaged. And what does God do? He kills him!
Okay. Real talk. When you hear that God killed Uzzah for catching the ark of the covenant when it was falling, what's your initial response? It seems harsh. Right? It's like they caught God on a bad day. It was like that day humanity was really sinning, and God was like, "I should have never made you guys. You touch my furniture? Well, you can die. I'll show you who's in charge here." It's like God is really impulsive. He's really off, super insecure, really mad at humanity. A guy touches some furniture, and he's like, "Okay. Well, you'll die for that," and just trying to bring order back.
But if your initial response is God was too harsh, it's a misinformed response. It's not that God was too harsh; it's that Uzzah was too careless. God had actually given very specific instructions about the ark of the covenant, and he had explicitly told them, "Do not touch it. The reason you're not to touch it is because it is holy." That's why I'm telling you if you want to move from being good to being godly, tremble at God's holiness.
What do we mean when we say that God is holy? We can sing about God being holy, but I wonder how many people actually understand what it means that God is holy. If you and I were to sit down to coffee and I were to ask you, "What does it mean that God is holy?" I wonder if the majority of people in the room would say, "Well, it's that he's pure. He's perfect." You wouldn't be wrong, but you definitely wouldn't be right.
See, the Hebrew word for holy is the Hebrew word qadowsh. It means awesome or singled out or cut off. So, when we say God is holy, what we are saying is that God is cut off from all of humanity in his awesomeness and splendor. When we say God is holy, we are talking about the "otherness" of God, that God is so other than anything we have ever experienced in life. Our finite minds cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the tip of the iceberg of who God truly is because he is so other than who we are.
To compare God to anything or to say, "God is kind of like this" is absurd, because we cannot even begin to come close to scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg of who God is. God tries to help us understand in Isaiah 55. Listen to what he says. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts…" On your best day of thinking, like, the day when your mind is really firing on all cylinders, God is like, "That's cute. Your thoughts are not my thoughts, and your ways are not my ways." "…neither are your ways my ways…"
He's saying you on your best day, the day that you're like, "I crushed it today…" He's like, "You kind of didn't, because your way and my way are different." It's like God was like, "Okay. Let me see how I can say this in a way that you will understand." It's like God found the thing our minds could wrap around that was the farthest in distance. He says this: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
He's saying, "Just imagine the greatest distance you can. As far as the heavens are above the earth…" That is a distance no plane can collapse. There is no plane that can get you from earth to heaven. It's too big of a distance. God says, "That's how different we are. The way you think and the way I think… It's that different. The way you act and the way I act… It is that different."
So, when we talk about God being holy, that's what we're talking about. We are talking about him being so other than we could ever fathom. When we grasp that that is who God is, then it makes sense why people in the Scriptures responded the way they did when they saw God face-to-face, when they saw him in person. For example, when Ezekiel the prophet gets a vision of God, his body just collapses on the ground.
John, in the book of Revelation, gets a vision of the glorified Christ, and he collapses on the ground. John literally is like, "I'm dead. I died." Jesus is like, "You're not dead. Get up." Let me ask you. Do you have anyone in your life who has that type of effect on you? They just walk through the room, and you fall down. You're like, "I'm so embarrassed. I don't know what happened. It was crazy. You just walked in, and that happened. I didn't choose to do that. My body just did that."
Do you have anyone in your life like that? No, of course not. The reality is if Jesus Christ walked through those doors right now, there is not one person in here who would do this. "Hm. So that's Jesus, huh? He's pretty good, I guess." No. We would all find ourselves on the floor, not because we chose to go there, but because our bodies knew what to do when they were in the presence of the one for whom they were made. That's it.
I tell you that just to say, as you step into this fall, let's be clear: your view of Jesus will determine your response to Jesus. So, if you have a small response to Jesus this fall, if you're too busy for Jesus this fall, it's just because your view of Jesus has shrunk down so small that the Jesus you're relating to isn't worth anyone's time. Your view of Jesus will determine your response to Jesus. My hope is that we would tremble at his holiness.
When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I used to go with my dad. Once a week, he would play racquetball with one of his friends. I'd tag along, because my dad's friend would bring his son, and we'd just hang out while our dads played racquetball. One week, my dad called up the YMCA. He reserved his court, and we showed up, and there were two high school kids playing on the court that my dad had reserved. These high school kids began to play right into my dad's time, so my dad politely knocked on the glass and told them it was time. That high school kid gave my dad the middle finger.
The problem with giving my dad the middle finger is, at the time, he was the chief psychologist at the Dallas County juvenile department, which is the place where troubled teens went to figure out how to do better in life, and my dad's racquetball friend was a Dallas County judge. So, when that high school kid walked out, my dad very clearly and firmly informed him who he had just flicked off, and fear struck him, because he realized that respect was demanded in a moment when he was in the presence of one who deserved it.
I tell you that just to say… Jesus is full of grace, Jesus is extremely forgiving, and he is extremely loving, but he's also the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. Our God is holy, holy, holy. I think about the story of Moses when he sees a burning bush. As he begins to approach it, God says, "Take your shoes off because this is holy ground." Yet sometimes I think we wake up, and we just walk right up to the bush, and we're like, "I've got five minutes for you. What do you want to do?" I just wonder if we need to kind of recalibrate.
I know there are times where I just fly in hot to my time with God in the morning, because I have Todoist, my task management app. There's a lot I need to execute on. I can fly in hot. If I begin to pray and remind myself of God's holiness… It's kind of like this. I'll be like, "You know what? God, thank you for this day. God, you are holy…holy…holy." It's like my posture changes. I go from being slouched down to sitting up or bending a knee. Things begin to change. I begin to recalibrate, because my view of God changes my response to him.
You have to remember that the entire reason Jesus gave his life for us on the cross is the holiness of God. It's because the only way for an unholy people to be made right with a God who is holy, holy, holy is by that same God leaving heaven, coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and enduring the holy wrath of a holy God for unholy people. That's the only way it's possible. I tell you that just to say tremble at God's holiness if you want to move from good to godly.
"'Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.' So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord."
David is saying, "Look. We were too careless. The first time we did this, we wanted to be in God's will, but we wanted to do God's will our own way. So we were like, 'You know what, God? We're not going to do the poles through the rings thing. We're going to do the box on the cart with an oxen thing.'" They wanted to be in God's will, but they wanted to do it their own way. If you want to move from good to godly, treasure God's commands.
Pastor Charles Swindoll says, "If the Lord cared enough to write it and cared enough to preserve it, he cares enough about the details to have you and me pull it off precisely his way." Our tendency is to want to be in God's will, but we want to do his will our way. God has given us his Word so we can know his ways and live in his will, but we want to do his will our way.
French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre nails it. He's not a believer, but this is somebody outside the realm of Christianity saying, "Here's the problem with humankind." He says, "Man is the being whose project is to be god." We want to put ourselves in God's place. We just want to say, "You know what, God? I know better. You want it moved with some poles through rings, but I'm going to do it on a cart pulled by some oxen. I want to be in your will. I am a follower of Jesus, and I want to be considered a godly person, but I want to do things my way."
So here's what happens. There are people in this room, there are times in my own life… We can hear the Word of God taught, and people can stand on this platform and talk to you about things that are honoring to God and things that aren't honoring to God, whether it's in your marriage or in the way you work or the way you interact with your kids or with your friends, and there are times where we can leave and say in our hearts, "I just don't feel convicted about that."
Here's the thing. When you and I say, "You know what? I just don't feel convicted about that. I don't feel convicted about looking at porn. I don't feel convicted about cheating on my spouse. I don't feel convicted about cutting corners at work. I don't feel convicted about the way I talk to my kids," we're saying, "God's command should submit to my feelings."
God's commands never submit to our feelings. Our feelings have to submit to God's commands. Just because we don't feel convicted… That doesn't say anything about God's commands. It says something about the calluses on our hearts. So, I just tell you that. One of the reasons calluses form is we lose sight of why his commands aren't just to be obeyed, they are to be treasured. Here's what I mean. Look back at the text. Look at how things play out. Verse 12:
"And it was told King David, 'The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.' So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn."
Do you see what's happening here? You see obedience and joy go hand in hand. We often operate like joy and obedience are mutually exclusive. I'll position it this way. When we used to live in Waco, we lived on a very busy street, so there were cars flying by at 40 miles an hour. We had a long driveway, and our kids, who were really young at the time, would ride their bikes on the driveway. I told them, "Guys, you cannot go past this line, because we're not going to play chicken with cars going at 40 miles an hour."
Now, who hears that and thinks, "Man, what a sick and twisted dad. You don't love your kids. If you loved your kids, you would let them do what they want. What's wrong to you doesn't have to be wrong to them. What's right to you doesn't have to be right to them." No. I gave them rules because I love them, yet sometimes we believe God is just trying to rip us off.
Jesus Christ came, and he fulfilled all of God's commands, so when we put our faith in him, he puts his Spirit in us, and he empowers us to obey God's commands, not just to appease God but so we can experience fullness of joy. I tell you that just to say when you begin to recalibrate and you realize God's commands exist because he loves you, then your response to obey his commands is just a demonstration of your love for him. Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commands." Our obedience is one way we show God that we love him.
Before I move on to the last point, I want to be very clear. When I talk about treasuring God's commands… Some of you are going to leave here and be like, "That's the answer. I just need to try harder. I just need to do better so God will love me more." No. You treasure God's commands because you've already tasted and experienced God's love. You already know he loves you, so you respond in obedience as a response of love to his love. You don't obey to get love. You obey because you already have it.
He comes home. He's on a spiritual high, and she lights him up. She was like, "You looked like a fool out there. You're the king of Israel, and you look ridiculous." David was like, "I can be a lot more ridiculous than that, and I have no problem going there to worship my God." I tell you that just to say… If you desire to be godly this fall, there are going to be some people who have a problem with that, especially Christians, because your life will become convicting to them, and people don't like feeling convicted.
You might have people in your Community Group or other Christians saying, "You're just being legalistic." Let's be clear on what legalism is. Legalism is ratifying a set of rules, saying, "If I do these things, God will love me." To do certain things out of response to the love you've already experienced is not legalism. That's just biblical Christianity. That's just pursuing godliness. So, reject man's opposition and set an example to those around you.
What do we do with a talk like this? Let me encourage you to do three things this week. First, before you leave today, meet with God. God is here, and he wants to meet with you. Don't just rush out to beat traffic. Meet with him. Then when you get home today, or at lunch, share with a friend or a family member one command you want to fully obey as a response to God's love for you. Then, thirdly, every morning this week, I want to encourage you to start your day on your knees reminding yourself that God is holy, holy, holy.
I'll close by saying this. Some of you hear me talking about being godly instead of just being good, and you're like, "I'm good with being good." Being godly feels irrelevant right now. You're good with just being good, a good guy or a good girl. Let me remind you what Jesus says in Mark 10:18. "And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'" Do you see that? "No one is good except God alone."
Here's what that means. It means you might be able to be good in your own eyes or in some people's eyes around you, but when it comes to being good in God's eyes, that's impossible because you're not God. The way God defines good is perfection. That's how God defines being good. It means being perfect. So, how do we, imperfect people, have any chance of spending eternity with a perfect God in a perfect place? It's impossible.
For a perfect God to let us imperfect people into his perfect place would make his perfect place imperfect because we're there. So, how do we imperfect people be reconciled to a perfect God? It's because that perfect God left heaven and came to earth, and he lived the perfect life we couldn't. Then when he died on the cross, he was dying for all of our imperfections. When he was put in the ground, he was put there for all of our imperfections. When he walked out of the tomb, it was his victory over all of our imperfections.
So, when we surrender our lives to Jesus, when we trust in him through faith, the perfection, the true goodness of Jesus, is credited to our accounts, so when a perfect God sees us, he sees the perfection of Jesus Christ making a way for us once again to spend all of eternity with a perfect God. Do you know him? If not, don't just bet on being good enough for God, because you can't be. That's okay, because Jesus Christ has come, and he has been good enough for us. Do you know him? Let's pray together.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have come and have lived the life we couldn't. You have died in our place. You have made a way for all of us who in the eyes of God are not good, yet your goodness through faith counts for us. Thank you for making us right with God. Lord Jesus, I pray that here at Watermark we would be a people that prioritize your presence. Even now, as we respond in worship, I pray that it would be different because you're here and we're awake to it.
I pray that we would tremble at your holiness, that we would enjoy your love and your grace, yet we would be confident and clear every day that you are holy, holy, holy. May we treasure your commands. May we reject man's opposition. Would you do a good work in our lives? May we be godly men and women. May we find a devotion to you that results in a life that is pleasing to you. We need you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.