Saturday, March 31, 2018

Christ Through the Bible- Proverbs

Today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of the LORD.  Before I get into the message from Proverbs of Christ Through the Bible, let me say a few things about this day of celebration.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, the belief in God's saving grace through Jesus is destroyed. When Jesus rose from the dead, he confirmed his identity as the Son of God and his work of atonement, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. The resurrection was a real, literal, physical raising of Jesus’ body from the dead. 
During this week of remembrance, we are reminded of the days leading up to the resurrection.  Jesus was arrested, tried and found guilty of claiming to be a king. His body was hung on a cross between two thieves. After his death, Jesus’ body was wrapped in linen clothes and placed in a tomb with a large stone rolled across the opening.  On the third day, an early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and another Mary came to the tomb and found it empty. Sitting on the rolled away stone was an angel of the Lord who told them to not be afraid because Jesus had risen.  
Both the Old and the New Testament speak of the truth of the Jesus being raised from death - Jesus testified of his resurrection before he died on the cross and his disciples witnessed his body after the resurrection.  The message of the resurrection is about the plan of salvation.  The plan of salvation is based on the character of Jesus Christ. 
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not only the supreme validation of His deity; it also validates the Old Testament prophecies that foretold of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection. Christ’s resurrection also authenticated His own claims that He would be raised on the third day. If Jesus Christ is not resurrected, then we have no hope that we will be, either. In fact, apart from Christ’s resurrection, we have no Savior, no salvation, and no hope of eternal life. As Paul said, our faith would be “useless,” the gospel would be altogether powerless, and our sins would remain unforgiven.  The question that we should asked on this day is who was Jesus Christ?  What type of man was he?  For us to appreciate who Christ is, we can look in the book of Proverbs.  Solomon gives us some insight into the character of Christ. 
There are several ways we could approach this sermon today.  About one-third of Proverbs is a father appealing to his son.  We have wisdom taking on the role of a lady who is the mediator of God’s wisdom, who counters the fatal banquet for the foolish by preparing for them a feast with a gracious invitation calling sinners to the dinner table.  
We could look at the role of Christ in creation. God created the world. What many didn’t know was the central role that God’s Son had in it – that is, until Proverbs 8 was written. It is much easier for us to read Proverbs 8 and see Jesus in it because we have the benefit of John 1:1-4 and Hebrews 1:1-2, where the Israelites did not have this revelation.  We might even look at Christ as the perfect Bridegroom choosing the perfect Bride.
Christ was the Wise Son who pleased His Father in every area of life. He was the Wise Host who invited weary, hungry, and thirsty outcasts to His gospel banquet and who also promised us if we hungered and thirsted after righteousness we would be filled.  He was the Wise Creator who was “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)  He was the Wise Bridegroom  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God. (Rev. 19”7-9)
The entire book of Proverbs is a lesson on wisdom.  Christ as the Wise Teacher will bring to us the knowledge to live godly and righteous lives.  What I want to spend the next few minutes looking at Christ as the Wise Teacher.  The first recorded extensive teaching of Christ as we read in the Gospel of Matthew is the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, and in the first 30 verses of chapter five, we have at least seven clear hints of Proverbs in the Sermon.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Jesus gives four blessings found in Proverbs

1.Proverbs-16:19 Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Christ in Matthew 5: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. 
Christ in Matthew 5: 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
3. Proverbs 21: 21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.
Christ in Matthew 5 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
4. Proverbs   22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend
Christ in Matthew 5: 8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Jesus explains who we are.
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
 Christ in Matthew 5: 14 Ye are the light of the world.
Jesus’ warning about what we say
Proverbs 18:6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
Christ in Matthew 5: 22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus’ warning about how we deal with people.
Proverbs 6:3-5 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.   Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Christ  Matthew 5:  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Jesus warns us how we look at others.
Proverbs 6:25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
Christ in Matthew 5: 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
When I see how often the wisdom taught in Proverbs is repeated and expanded upon in the teachings of Jesus, I see Him as the ultimate teacher of whom the wise teacher in Proverbs is a type or forerunner.  No one had more wisdom than Solomon (I Kings 3:12), who wrote much of Proverbs, but “a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).  I see no reason to draw a strict similarity between the wise teacher of Proverbs and Jesus Christ — I am not suggesting that Jesus IS the wise teacher of Proverbs. Instead, when we see the teacher of wisdom in Proverbs, we see a foreshadowing of the most significant Teacher of Wisdom, our Lord, and Savior.
As we investigate Proverbs, there are many lesson that can be learned which will develop more significant character.  The Bible also teaches that a man is measured more by his character than by his creed ( I Tim. 3). A godly man is not merely one who professes to believe absolute truths, but one who practices them (James 2:14-26). No book in all the Bible is more devoted to the development of godly character than Proverbs. And there is no greater need in the Christian community today than for the kind of character Proverbs exalts.
We live in a secular society that wants to separate the Christian from the spiritual.  In every aspect of life, the Christian is surrounded by the spiritual.  Proverbs teaches that the fallen man will always seek to establish a separation between the sacred and the secular.  We have those who are strong supporters of the separation of Church and State.  Limiting the influence, the spiritual has over the secular.  The Old Testament prophets frequently addressed this misconception by warning Israel that religious ritual had no value when separated from righteous living.
The Book of Proverbs will not allow Christians to linger in the land of the theoretical. We love to keep Christianity on an abstract level, rather than on an application one. Our most significant failing as Christians is not that we know too little, but that we fail to do what we know we should. The emphasis of Proverbs is both on the attainment of wisdom and the application of it. Seldom do we find ourselves “in church” in this book, but rather in the home, on the job, and dealing with the mundane matters of daily living, we cannot separate our spiritual life from the secular world we live in.
We learn how to find wisdom.   While knowledge is  increasing rapidly, wisdom is seemingly more and more rare.  The implications of this trend are frightening. We now have the capability of reaching the moon and splitting the atom. Yet without wisdom men will too often utilize knowledge for the purpose of accomplishing evil, rather than doing good. Proverbs is more interested in making men wise than in making them smart.
We learn what is good is also right.  Proverbs directs us to be godly and righteous in our conduct. Those who pursue happiness as their goal in life will not find it, but those who seek holiness will find happiness as a pleasant by-product. Proverbs never promises that everyone who works hard will get rich or that honesty always is more profitable than crime. As a rule, this is the case, but there are many exceptions. If I live life wisely, I will not suffer the consequences of folly. But Proverbs hints at what other Scriptures tell us plainly--the righteous will sometimes suffer because they are righteous (cf. II Tim. 3:12).
We learn to look at life realistically. Ignorance is not bliss and is more a vice than a virtue. While simplicity is not necessarily sin, it can quickly lead to it. Our Lord instructed His disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” (Matt. 10:16). Unlike Satan, who invited Eve to attain a “higher” knowledge of good and evil by disobeying God and experiencing sin (Gen. 3:5), Proverbs would instruct us about evil so that we might not fall into temptation (Prov. 7:6).
We learn that the process of right thinking will help us to think right.   While it is essential to study the Bible to know what to think, it is just as vital that Christians learn how to think. Most of the Bible was written to convey truth. Proverbs also has many essential truths, (16:4), but it also seeks to develop a mature process of thinking. The terms employed in Proverbs 1:1-6 informs the reader at the start that it is not a sequence of truths which is being transmitted, but the ability to discern and apply truth.
It is from this right-thinking process that we learn to obtain divine guidance.  One would not immediately expect to read the Book of Proverbs to discover the will of God, but this is one of the purposes of the book stated in Proverbs 1:5: “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”
The expression “wise counsel” is derived from the Hebrew root meaning “rope.” This “rope” was connected to the rudder of a ship, thereby being the means of determining its course. By obtaining wisdom which Proverbs offers to teach us, we are enabled to make right decisions which will set a godly direction for our life. These are some of the benefits which the student of Proverbs can expect to gain. If all Scripture is profitable (II Tim. 3:16), Proverbs is especially so.
As we celebrate this day in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us not forget the message of wisdom He has given to us.  Christ came not to be a great teacher but to become the Savior of all men.  Today is the day of salvation, now is the acceptable time.

Monday, March 26, 2018


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom. 1:16
We celebrate this week because it is the week the plan of salvation was put into action.
\We celebrate this week because Christ died for our sins. 
We celebrate this week because Christ made salvation available for whosoever will.
We celebrate this week because of the transforming power of Jesus Christ to change those dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Over the years I have watched as the emphasis in the church has changed from preaching the plan of salvation to adapting to the life of the sinner. (Although you do not call them sinners they are the disenfranchised.)  The message is one-sided.  We preach and teach about a God of love, and forget the God of wrath.  One writer put it this way, A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.
For whatever reason ministers have been making adjustments to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Is it because they are ashamed of the gospel of Christ?  Very few ministers want to preach about the death of Christ paying for the sins of mankind through His substitutionary death on the Cross.  This requires them to address the nature of sin and its end result which is spiritual death and eternal punishment.
Many churches have lost sight of the message of the gospel-repentance. The transformation that the plan of salvation gives to the individual will answer the needs of society. The Church will never alleviate the suffering of humanity caused by poverty, disease, oppressive work conditions, society's injustices, civil rights abuses, drug abuse, abortions, broken marriages, and a host of other social issues.  Those who preach this “gospel” also believed that relief from their spiritual ailments of misery would improve the moral nature of those so deprived.
The Church has bought into the “War on Poverty,” and the “War on Drugs.”  After 54 year and $22 trillion dollars poverty, today is the same as when President Johnson declared and unconditional war on poverty.  The War on Drugs is a waste of time, money and lives. It cannot be won. It has been a failure there is a higher drug problem today than when the war on drugs began in 1971.  We spend $52 billion a year on this war and Congress just add $6 billion more.  We will never alleviate the problems of society by addressing the symptoms.  We must address the root cause, which is sin.  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform the heart of the sinner and free them from the bondage in which they live.
Let me wander out in the brush for a moment.  You never know what you will scare up.  Isaiah told us what would happen when we turn away from the LORD.  There would be judgment brought upon the nation.  This judgment would be identified by children becoming oppressors and women ruling over them.  The leaders of this country and our churches have lead us down the path of destruction and have turn our nation away from the LORD.  We are addressing the symptoms of sin rather than the sins. 
There is a generation in America today that has no regards for human life.  They have not been taught right from wrong.  They have been allowed to do what is right in their own eyes.   It is not the evil of the gun that has taken so many lives in our schools, but the darkness in the hearts of the people.  We are afraid to call sin, sin today because it will offend the sinner.
I understand that many ministers believe you can reach more people with honey, than with vinegar.  They think a message of love is all that is needed. However, their message of “love only” has compromised the biblical message of repentance and has dishonored God, who gave His Son to provide a means to redeem mankind.  Those who attempt to reach the lost without confronting their sins are operating on a false premise, “. .a way which seems right unto a man” is not the way God’s plan of salvation works.  The problems of the world are all symptoms of the root cause of man’s problems-sin.
If you think for one minute that  putting aside differences for the common good, treating others the way we want to be treated, acting morally, ethically, and sacrificially—and that doing so will endear humans to God, you are deceived.   When men deny God's perfect plan of salvation and reject His perfect justice; they are denying the sacrificial atonement of His Son for the sins of man.   Salvation is "not of works, lest any man should boast." In fact, it is "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians:2:8-9  There is no other way because God's perfect justice demanded that the penalty for sin for every human ("for all have sinned"-Romans:3:23
The only hope for reconciliation with God is through the name of Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John:14:6)
A few years ago, called a bigot, who was unloving and did not have the love of Christ in my heart because I could not embrace the corrupt practices and lifestyles of those who have been “disenfranchised” by society, and that means supporting them in their struggles brought on by their lifestyles of sin. I lacked compassion for these individuals.  I was informed that Jesus associated with the “disenfranchised” people of society.  That is true.  However, he did not embrace their sinful ways, but rather told them to “go and sin no more.”  That is the reason He came was to destroy the works of the devil and free us from the bondage of sin and death.
Is it any wonder our churches are filled with people who don’t know that they needed to repent of their sins (if they even grasp what those sins are). It is no surprise, then, that those who have never been called to repentance begin to ask the Church to accept their sin as normal behavior and ask the preacher to not preach out against their lifestyles.   We go down the path of destruction when we recognize sin as an approve way of life,.  After all, everyone is doing it these days.  It is not to long after that we are condoning sin.  Well, I would never drink, smoke and do drugs, or live an immoral life, but if they do it in moderation, it is acceptable.  Here is where we are today we have gone beyond the accepting and condoning we are allowing sin to practiced in the church without question. 
We are no longer preaching a message of repentance from sin, but have changed the message to social relating.  We are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and have replace the voice of God with the voice of human reasoning.  The message today is God’s plan of salvation is suspect and should be avoided.  Many ministers are afraid if they preach against sin and the punishment that sin brings, they will offend people.  Lives will never be transformed until the message of repentance is given.
It is time for the Church to wake up and realize that God’s plan of salvation is the only hope for the ailments of society.  We cannot see individuals freed from the bondage of sin when we distort God’s method of reaching those bound in the chains of sin. When we preach another gospel other than the gospel of Jesus Christ we are rejecting the authority of God and denying the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for the atonement of sin.
I am aware of the enormous problems socially, politically, and spiritually for people in this profoundly sinful and corrupt world. But we do not replace the gospel with a false gospel in the hope that salvation will come by making people better by addressing the symptom.  The plan of salvation must always be preeminent because without biblical preaching no one can be save.
At present, the Body of Christ stands at a crossroad.  In our present society, there has been a significant shift in the worldview and Christianity.  We are living in an era where the world is turned upside down.  For over 1500 years Christian truth has been taken for granted.  Today, however, Christians can no longer depend on the present culture to back up the teachings of Christianity.  After centuries of a privileged status, Christians have become “Christ-less” in their actions.   

This move towards a more “loving” direction has weakened the message of salvation.  When Christians are afraid to confront evil because it might offend the evil-doer, then the message of salvation is no longer a life changing message.  In looking at the life of Christ, he spoke the truth about the scribes and Pharisees when he called them hypocrites, children of the devil and the blind leaders of the blind.  This language was given in love as a warning of what would happen if they did not turn from their wicked ways.   

Ministers are more enlightened than Christ.  His message was filled with hate speech, bigotry, and was unloving.  In the world of the political correct un-offending love is the message of the Church today, if it offends it is not a message of love.  Even though Christ gave us the command to love our enemies he did not command us to support their evil ways and condone their actions which are sinful.   Is it not love when we warn someone of the impending doom is coming their way if they continue down a path of evil?  Is it not love when we speak the truth so that decisions can be made that will alter the course of a destructive life?  Is it not love to speak the truth? 

There is hunger in the world for lives which live in the power of Jesus Christ.  There is a hunger for authentic Christianity.  The Old Testament prophets did not hate the people they hated their actions and life –style. 

It is time for the Church to return to the ways of Truth and Life.  It is time to cast aside the ways which have separated us from God and to allow the message of Truth to become once again the life-changing message it has been since the time of Christ. There is a desperate need to change quickly to seek a transformation that results in a total surrender to Christ. 

It is time to dispense with the lies and tell the truth.  We live in a society that lives on lies because no one wants to hear the truth---we accept the lies and deny the truth

The Church has lost its first love and has forsaken the Truth.  Some misinformed Christians believe that we are not to be critical of the evil doers.  However, we are given an example by the same Apostle Paul that told us to submit to those who are in leadership.  In his letter to the church at Thessalonica Paul says, “ You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results.  We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God, we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.  For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.  On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.  You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.” 

Paul states speaking the truth resulted in him being treated outrageously.  He goes on to identify the group who was creating him problems.  “You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way, they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”  If Paul were speaking today, he would be accused of hate speech toward the Jews.  Did he hate them?  No.  In fact, Paul said, “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Rom 10:1   He was showing them love by telling them the truth. 

It is time to get back to speaking the truth.  If we want to preach a message of “love” then it must be based on the Truth.  

In 535 B.C., a Bible prophet saw the what was happening to his nation.  The same is happening to our country.

Zechariah 11:16 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing (godless leadership), but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs . . .” 

Because the spiritual hoofs have been torn off our people by self-serving church leaders who have forsaken God, we no longer know how to walk the Christian walk. It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when Christians in this country put serving the LORD first.  Their priorities were spiritual rather than material. There was a loyalty to the church and its mission. Today, we worry about how to protect our assets when the dollar goes belly up or the stock market crashes, as both will happen soon.

Before the LORD brought judgment on Jerusalem the prophet Ezekiel received a message from the LORD:

Ezekiel 9:4 “The LORD said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city. . . and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.’ And to the others (angels) he said in mine hearing, ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’ Then they began at the ancient men (the church leaders) which were before the house” (of the Lord, - the Church).

Do you believe a sovereign God, Creator of the Universe, is going to act differently now, just because you go to church on Sunday, know the four spiritual laws, and have said the sinners prayer?  As He did in Israel so long ago, the Lord is once again putting His mark on His remnant. If you have that mark, you know it, because you recognize the lateness of the hour. How late? 

Isaiah 26:20-27:1 (NAS) “Come, my people, enter into your rooms and close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while until indignation runs its course. For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain. In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, with His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill the dragon (Satan) who lives in the sea.”

It’s not going to be easy for those who speak the truth. From here on out everyday, we are closer to a time when the wheat and tares will be separated.  For those who believe that they do not need to watch and pray and be ready because they will be “raptured” out of the troubles coming on us remember what the prophet Amos said:

Amos 5:18-20 “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD (comes during a time of spiritual) darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD (come during a time of spiritual) darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?”

We are living in that day, are you ready?  Are you ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Christ Through The Bible- Psalms

Text:  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Ps. 1:1-2
As we look at Christ as found in the Psalms, the book starts with a blessing for those who delight in the law o the LORD.  I was privileged to have had some of the most exceptional Bible teachers while in seminary.  I also was fortunate to have heard some great preachers of the Gospel.  One such preacher was Joshua Stauffer.  He did a series of messages on the Cross, the Crook, and the Crown.  This series was one of the best insights I have heard on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Psalms.  This morning I will share the gest of his message.  But before I get into the message, I want to share some things about the Psalms that you may find interesting.
The book of Psalms is the longest book of the Bible, with 150 “chapters”—more properly called “psalms” or “songs.” Psalms is divided into five books:

Book 1: Psalms 1—41-            Genesis
Book 2: Psalms 42—72           Exodus
Book 3: Psalms 73—89           Leviticus
Book 4: Psalm 90—106           Numbers
Book 5: Psalm 107—150         Deuteronomy
The division of the Psalms is not based on authorship or chronology, as several authors composed Psalms, and their individual songs are mixed throughout the various collections.
David is listed as the author of 73 psalms, Asaph of 12, and the sons of Korah of 11. Other psalms were written by Solomon, Heman the Ezrahite, Ethan the Ezrahite, and Moses (Psalm 90).
It is most likely that Ezra and/or other Jewish religious leaders compiled the Psalms into their existing order during Ezra’s lifetime in the fourth century BC. Interestingly, the Psalms was one of the most popular writings among the Dead Sea Scrolls, with thirty scrolls of all or parts of the book included. Overall, Psalms is the book of the Old Testament with the most Hebrew manuscripts available for research, indicating its enduring popularity among both Jews and Christians.
Each of these five books or sections of Psalms ends with a doxology or a song of praise. The final verse of each concluding psalm includes either “Praise the Lord!” or “Amen.” For example, the final verse of Psalm 41 ends this way: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, / from everlasting to everlasting. / Amen and Amen.” Psalm 150, the final Psalm, serves as the fitting final doxology, concluding with the words, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. / Praise the Lord.”
The Cross, The Crook, And the Crown
The Trilogy Psalms (22, 23 and 24) are rich in their prophetic and practical teachings. They are rich because they are full of Christ and the Gospel. These three Psalms can be studied from many standpoints, giving us different views of Christ and of Christian experience.  Also, the 23rd Psalms contains the various names of the LORD in each verse.
 Standpoint of Prophecy
Psalm twenty-two is a prophecy of the Crucifixion. It begins with the cry of Calvary, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Crucifixion, as a method of execution, was unknown at this time; yet in a vision, David sees the Redeemer nailed to the cross, His hand and feet pierced, dying a vicarious death.
Psalm twenty-three, is a prophecy of the Resurrection of Christ. In order, it follows Psalm 22; and the prophecy follows that of the previous Psalm, even as the resurrection follows the crucifixion. Taken as a whole, we see Christ resurrected, living, satisfied, upheld by the Father and forever dwelling in His house.
Psalms twenty-four is a prophecy of the Ascension of Christ. The ascension logically follows the resurrection. This Psalm speaks of ascending into the hill of the Lord. The question, Who can ascend into heaven? is answered, and no one fits the description as well as the Lord Jesus. He is first in resurrection, first in ascension, and first in glorification. He is the first Man to ascend into the presence of the Father. He challenges the door keepers of heaven to open, and, as the King of Glory, Who had been mighty and victorious in fine battle of grace, and as the mighty Champion Who triumphed over everything, enters as the God-Man into the presence of the Father.
A Threefold View of Christ- Savior, Shepherd, King
In Psalm 22, Christ is pictured as the Savior of all men. As such He suffers the penalty for sin, taking all sins upon Himself taking the place of all sinners. As Savior, He cannot save both Himself and others. As the Savior, He must take our place to make it possible for man to take His place; He must become poor, that we through His poverty might become rich; He must become a curse to redeem us from the curse; He must become the despised, hated and rejected One, that we may become the beloved and accepted ones.
In Psalm 23, Christ is presented as the Shepherd. As the Shepherd of His sheep, He provides for their needs. He includes rest, guidance and food for His sheep. He selects their pasture. His presence is ever with them. He leads them through valleys and trials. He leads them into heaven, where they will forever dwell with Him.
In Psalm 24, Christ is presented as King. He is Creator and Redeemer. He is Possessor of the earth and its fullness. He is the legal Heir to this earth. The earth belongs to Him by creation and also by redemption. No one is better qualified, as to right and might, to be King, than He.
The Work of the Shepherd
Psalm 22. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. All who have been born again, as sons of God are His sheep. No one is better qualified to be the Shepherd than Christ. No one loves, cares and shelters from storms, wolves, and thieves, better than He. In this Psalm, we see Jesus, the Good Shepherd, laying down His life for the sheep.
Psalm 23. In this Psalm, we see Christ as the Great Shepherd tenderly caring for, and leading His sheep into the promised land.
Psalm 24. This is the Psalm of the Chief Shepherd coming in glory to claim and reward His sheep. This will be at His advent when the saints of all ages will be gathered from the east, the west, the north and the south.
Geographical Standpoint
Psalm 22. This is the Psalm of Calvary. The hill of execution was outside the walls of Jerusalem and was called in the Greek, Calvary. This name has became an inspiration today in song and in sermon. This name is associated only with the death of Christ.
Psalm 23. This is the Psalm of Canaan. In this Psalm, we read of rivers, waters, tender grass, valleys, shady places, and comforts. Canaan was the excellent land of hills and valleys, of springs and fountains, wheat and barley, figs and dates.
Psalm 24. This is the Psalm of Olivet. On this mount, Christ stood when He blessed and comforted His believers -- then He ascended. This also will be the spot where His feet shall stand at His second advent. This same Jesus shall came in like manner as He went; and shall come to the same place from whence He ascended.
God's View of Christ
Psalm 22. The Shepherd in the Night. God beholds His beloved Son in the dark world of sin, misery, and woe. He sees Him wandering in the dark, with bleeding hands and feet, and a broken heart seeking the lost.
Psalm 23. The Shepherd in the Fold. God beholds His Son, risen, changed and beyond the state where unbelieving eyes see or plot against Him, where no sinner or demon can touch or tempt Him. He is alive for evermore.
Psalm 24. The Shepherd in Glory. He is the Creator and Redeemer of the Earth. In this Psalm, the Son is in the presence, yea, seated at the Father's right hand. He is there awaiting the fullness of time when the Father will make His enemies His footstool.
Standpoint of Christian Experience
Psalm 22. This Psalm teaches Regeneration. The death of Christ makes possible the regeneration of sinners. In order, this work precedes all others.
Psalm 23. This is the Psalm of Sanctification. Thins work of grace follows regeneration. Jesus is Savior of the regenerated, and Lord of the Sanctified. No man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost.
Psalm 24. This is the Psalm of Glorification. Glorification will be experienced at the second advent of the Lord. As regeneration prepares the believer for sanctification, so sanctification qualifies the believer for glorification.
Standpoint of Practical Living
The twenty-second Psalm is that of the Cross. The cross is not a spiritual luxury. The cross is a crude looking instrument on which to die. Christ died upon a cross. Believers are commanded to take up their cross and follow Christ. The cross of a believer is not the cross on which Christ died; but as Paul speaks, "a dying daily." The believer must daily live a life of separation from sin. The way of the cross is antagonistic to the ways of the world.
The twenty-third is the Psalm of the Crook. A crook is a rod with a hook on one end. The shepherd used this rod during the daytime to rescue sheep; to draw them back from a precipice, or as need demanded. The crook is for believers after they are saved, and is only for this life.
The twenty-fourth is the Psalm of the Crown. The divine order is the cross, the crook, the crown. Man cannot reverse this order. No cross -- no crown. Many want to wear a crown, yet they do not want to bear the cross. The cross is for this life; the crown is for the next life. The cross is made to bear; the crown is made to wear. If faithful, some day, we shall lay down the crass and the Lord will place on us the crown. The cross is only for time, but the crown is for eternity. When the Lord returns in glory, the believers will be crowned. Then we shall never get through wearing the crown, nor will it ever wear out. God's Yesterday, Today And Forever.
Psalm 22. This is the Psalm of God's yesterday. God fills all time even as He fills all space. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." God never changes. He is what He always has been and what He always will be. This Psalm beautifully illustrates the love of God and the redemption that has been accomplished for man, or what God has been, and has done for His people.
Psalm 23. This is the Psalm of God's today. Here we learn what the Lord, the Good Shepherd, is to His sheep. Even now, the Lord's sheep can enjoy perfect satisfaction, rest, food, quietness, guidance, restoration, fellowship, and joy. This Psalm peculiarly fits the present life.
Psalm 24. This is the Psalm of God's forever. Here we learn what is awaiting the sheep who have followed the Lord, those who have clean hands and pure hearts. These will enter inside the pearly gates with the Lord of hosts to abide forever in His presence.
While it is true that Psalms 22, 23 and 24, in a remarkable manner reveal what the Lord has done in the past, what He is doing in the present, and what He will do in the future for His people; they also reveal the Yesterday, the Today and the Forever of Jesus Christ, Who never changes, but ever is the same. At the same time, each of these Psalms has a future -- a point beyond the present. There is no end or limit to the blessed results of the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, or the Ascension of Christ; neither will there be an end to the blessed results of His second coming in power and great glory.
Have you committed your life to the Shepherd?  Are you safe in the fold?  You can have the peace and assurance that comes from allowing the Great Shepherd to guide your life.