Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9th - Ascending the Hill of the Lord

Prayer Requests
Jellybean Snyder
Crandall/McDonald Family for Dale's going Home
New School Year
New Middle School Curriculum (It rocks)
Preaching KSU
Whoever’s Preaching

Text – Psalm 24

Welcome to class.
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About me; my name is Canyon Shearer, I’m 27 years old. I am in the Air Force, and I work on F-22’s. I am going to Seminary at Liberty University and will graduate with my Master of Divinity in December. I am Summit’s volunteer pastor of evangelism.

You can call me Mister, Sergeant, Pastor, Sir, or just plain Canyon. One of the reasons I don’t require you to use a title is because I would rather think of you as young adults than children, and I will give you my utmost respect and hope you will do the same.

I can be reached at 928-606-6906 or I work in a classified area, so can’t have my phone at work, so e-mail or facebook is the best way to get in touch with me.

My teaching style is somewhat different than a lot of middle-school teachers, I’m not big on games or goofiness, but rather I like to spend most of the class in the Bible, letting it speak for itself. God esteems his Word higher than we can possibly imagine, so I request and require reverence towards the Bible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. There is an answer to every question, so please don’t hold back.

So let’s begin. I’m of the opinion that you can find Jesus Christ in every narrative in the Bible, which means we should be able to preach redemption from every part of the Bible. Today I want to take you to one of my favorite sections of scripture, Psalm 24.

This is the twenty-fourth of 150 Psalms in the Book of Psalms. David wrote most of these, with six other writers. He wrote Psalm 24. This Psalm is a sister-psalm of Psalm 15, which is instructions on who can bring the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple, and how they are supposed to do it. I believe these two psalms were written after it was done wrong and Uzzah died for it.

1 Chronicles 13:10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.

On our side, this Psalm has a lot more to do with Heaven and Jesus Christ than the physical Ark of the Covenant, but when the Israelites would first read this, they would realize that they were under grace to be able to move the Ark, and that they weren’t just moving a gold box around, but were representing the glory and mercy of God. The Ark of the Covenant was replaced when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, and we see that the ultimate mercy seat was the tomb where his blood poured out. The Ark of the Covenant had two angels sitting on either side with their wings meeting in the middle. The blood of sacrificed lambs was sprinkled on the mercy seat, and this made a covering for sins. When Christ was sacrificed, we see that he poured out his blood once for all as the atonement for sins.

John 20:12 She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.

Let’s see why we needed him to do that.

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

We’re setting a precedent here, that the world belongs to God, and everything and everyone in it. He gets to make the rules, he gets to run things, he is in charge. This might not be a good thing if he weren’t totally holy, totally good, and totally worthy of this position. Everything that God does is right.

But where does he get this authority? It’s because he is the Creator and Sustainer of the planet. A little over 6000 years ago, God created the world out of nothing, he spoke it into existence. At first he created it as just water, but in the water he spoke land into existence. From here he created the fish and the fowl, the animals and the plants, and above us he created all of the stars and galaxies. Then he created Adam and Eve and put them in the paradise of the Garden of Eden. And everything was good.

But what happened? They sinned against God, they desired to be God so much that they took the only avenue available to them, which was eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the only thing forbidden for them to do in all of the world, and they did it. The consequences were dire, death entered into the world through sin. It affected not only Adam and Eve, but all of the world, and even the universe, where we see stars supernova and die.

God, in his mercy, saw that everlasting sin would be bad, so he forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Life, which was right next to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he drove them out of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22-24 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

What’s the angel there for? To keep sinners away from the Tree of Life.

Let’s look back at Psalm 24 real quick.

Psalm 24:3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?

This can refer to four places, first the Garden of Eden in Adam and Eve’s day, then Sinai with Moses, then the Temple in David’s day, and finally Heaven in our day. Something interesting though, there were no hills or mountains in Adam and Eve’s days, something big had to have happened between them and us. Anybody know?

A flood; God saw that the imaginations of men were only evil continually, and so he decided to destroy all life on earth. He chose Noah and his seven relatives to survive, through an Ark to likewise save two of every type of animal. Then the fountains of the earth burst forth and it rained for forty days, and all life on earth, save for those safe in the Ark, was drowned. The Garden of Eden likewise was destroyed, but before that happened, God moved that Tree of Life, and I suppose also, the angel who guarded it, to Heaven.

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

From the flood, we have many of the fossils we see today, billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. Our oil deposits are the old foliage crushed under millions of tons of earth. And here is where we get our mountain that we’re going to talk about.

Psalm 104:5-9 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

So for us this is referring to Heaven, this is how to get in.

Psalm 24:3-6 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Who shall get into Heaven? Those with clean hands and a pure heart. Christ quoted this in his Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

But we have a problem, if we’ve sinned, we don’t have a pure heart.

Ezekiel 16:30 How sick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things…

Likewise, if you’ve cursed or taken God’s name in vain, this shows the condition of your heart.

Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.

Psalm 73:9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.

Psalm 139:20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!

Remember what this hill would have referred to in Moses day? Sinai. What would happen if we approached Heaven, approached that angel, if we had loved anything more than God, or sworn, or lied, or had a defiled heart or hands?

Exodus 19:12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, 'Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.

God is holy, he is without sin, and he cannot tolerate sin. If you approach him with sin in your heart you will die. It’s the same way the sun can’t tolerate an ice cube that God can’t tolerate sin.

Exodus 19:21 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish.”

The final word in this passage is Selah. This word means, pause, it means we should stop and think about what we’ve just heard. So let’s pause for about a minute and think about which sins we may have committed that would keep us from ascending the Hill of the Lord.

Ravi Zacharias was once invited to an ecumenical council where multiple religions were trying to figure out if they were as different as history has shown them to be. The consensus of the council was that there were many paths up the hill to God, and each religion was on its own path. But we see from this Psalm, that if you so much as touch the Hill of the Lord as a sinner, you’re gonna die. Ravi looked at them all and asked, “Has your God ever come down the mountain?”

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, stepped out of Heaven, he left it all behind. He put on flesh, born of the virgin Mary, sent by his Father, to live a perfect life. He was tempted in every way, yet without sin. Then he willingly went to the cross to pay for all of the sins that we had committed.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

What are the requirements to go to Heaven? A pure heart and clean hands. Check out this description of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7:26-27 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

He can ascend the Hill of the Lord, he is worthy. Let’s look at the gates of Heaven. The gates of Jerusalem and Heaven didn't open like doors, it was a massive portcullis, which is lifted up into a housing. It is tremendously strong and no army would be foolish enough to try a direct attack against it. Revelation tells us that the housing was made of pearl.

Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

Three days after Jesus died, he did something astonishing, he defeated death, and he reigns forevermore. After he showed himself to over 500 witnesses, he ascended into Heaven. In order to get into Heaven, he had to approach the gates. No-one in history had done that, for no-one ever in history was qualified to come to these gates. The setting is the gates of Heaven, a man stands without, an angel guards within and here is the conversation that ensues. Here is the end of the Psalm, I’m going to dramatize it a bit as to how I think it happened.

Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

The Angel of the Gate, whose duty it is to keep men and sin out of Heaven challenges,

Who is this King of glory?

And Jesus answers,

The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

And the Angel, reaching for his flaming sword, furious that someone would try to get into Heaven by claiming to be on the side of God, challenges again,

Who is this King of glory?

And Jesus answers,

The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

And beloved, you better believe those gates were opened up.

Revelation 21:25-27 And its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So beloved, we see that the earth is God’s, and everything in it. He makes the rules, he cannot tolerate sin, and sin will not be allowed into Heaven. If you’ve ever sinned, then you are counted an enemy of God and will be excluded from Heaven. But to demonstrate his love for you, Jesus Christ stepped out of the mansions of glory to die in your place, crushed by his holy Father. He has defeated death, and opened Heaven’s gates to you, so I implore you to be reconciled to God, receive the righteousness and blessings of his Son through repentance and faith, and be welcomed into the Joy of your Lord.

Finally, the response, look at how David responded, the author of Psalm 24.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Do you know the way?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Flee to the Son, repent of your sins, trust in him to save you, and he will lead you on the path to Heaven, and finally, here is how you will have clean hands and a pure heart.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.


Something I want to do differently this year is optional homework. I’m not doing this for me, but hopefully to help you remember the lesson and get more out of it. For every five assignments you turn in, you’ll get something...probably a $5 gift card or something, we'll do our best to make it worth your while, but whatever it is, the lesson you'll learn will long outlast the reward.

This week’s assignment will be posted on the website, for all of these the length should be at least a half-page single spaced, the maximum length is however long you want to go. There is no limit to how long before you turn it in, like I said, it’s not for me, but for you to help remember the lesson.


Find three verses regarding holiness as a requirement to go to Heaven. Write at least two sentences for each verse considering why righteousness/goodness is important. When we refer to Jesus Christ as “Goodness Gracious”, how does that relate to these verses?