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  SEEING GOD PSALM 24:1-10: “3Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? 4He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully.” (v3-4)

What did Lord Jesus mean when He said ‘the pure in heart will see God’ as seen in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous –possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favour and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! [Ps. 24:3, 4].” Many believe that this refers to the future where–we will see God when we reach heaven. Tennyson expressed this thought in his famous lines: I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar: But in my opinion, Lord Jesus had in mind not just seeing God when we get to heaven but seeing Him in the here and now. Seeing God, I believe, means having a God –consciousness –seeing Him with the eye of faith and seeing Him in everything He has created and seeing Him in the sacrifice of His coequal Son for man. Let me put it in another way: not to see God is to be in the position of Schopenhauer, the position of philosopher and being an apostle of pessimism, who concluded there was no key in His hand to unlock the meaning of life. Late one night a policeman found him lying on a park bench, and thinking he was homeless asked, ‘Who are you?’ Schopenhauer replied, ‘I wish I Knew’. We don’t know who we are until we know whose we are, and those who do not know God find it hard to see any purpose in living. For them life has few threads of meaning running through it. Christians see God in a way no one else can. They see Him in nature, in the events of history, in their daily experience, in the pages of the Bible, in all the glories that comes from the sacrifice of His coequal Son on the cross for man and so on. Do you know all the glories that come from the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ? Seeing God is being aware of Him, seeing His acceptance, comprehending what it means to be forgiven and made anew; Raymond Cramer puts it beautifully when he says: “To the pure in heart seeing God is like viewing a stained–glass window from the inside rather than the outside.”

  Who can stand? Psalm 24:1-10:

This Psalm is concerning the kingdom of Jesus Christ, I. His providential kingdom, by which He rules the world as seen in v. 1, 2. II. The kingdom of His grace, by which He rules in His church. a. Concerning the subjects of that kingdom; their character as seen in v. 4, 6, and their charter as seen in v. 5. b. Concerning the King of that kingdom; and a summon to all to give Him admission as seen in v. 7-10. It is supposed that the Psalm was penned upon occasion of David's bringing up the ark to the place prepared for it, and that the intention of it was to lead the people above the pomp of external ceremonies to a holy life and faith in Christ, of whom the ark was a type, symbol or figure. Have you ever pondered the significance of all the ark: the Noah’s ark and the ark which the Israelites use to carry about called the ark of covenant? Is both ark not for leading and saving the people of God? People are meant to go into the ark or carry it along! The ark of the people of old is a physical symbolic one but the ark of the present generation is a spiritual ark, it is the Holy Spirit, that part of God that is meant to be in man which is why it is meant to be inside indwelling you to be carried about by you anywhere you go and anywhere you are because it is meant to carry you to a place of safety when eventually the flood as typified in Noah’s time which nobody knows the shape or what will be the flood in this generation but whatever it is, the Lord God’s aim is for you to be in the Holy Spirit so that it will carry you to safety just as Noah’s ark carried the recovered people of that time to safety hence the gospel is given to prepare us for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a recoverer of those God foreknew, whom He called, whom He justified and whom He glorify. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit lifts up our hearts is Psalm 24, 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the currents and the rivers. 3 Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is the generation [description] of those who seek Him [who inquire of and for Him and of necessity require Him], who seek Your face, [O God of] Jacob. Selah [pause, and think of that]! 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you age-abiding doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; yes, lift them up, you age-abiding doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is [He then] this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah [pause, and think of that]! This is the Word of our Lord.

  Introduction:

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Saviour: As the buzzer sounded and the visiting opponents last-second shot circled the rim and fell through the net, the home fans fell silent. Their heads drooped. Hopes for a championship dashed by a one-point lose. A family gathers at the grave sight, cheeks stained with tears, eyes downcast, faces staring at the ground. How many scenarios can you imagine when our heads droop in disappointment, in sadness, or in heartache due to our numerous life challenges? How often have the burden of your troubles and toils weighed down your eyes? If your life stumbles along from one frustration to the next, don't let that surprise you. The Lord God said to Adam, “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return.” as seen in Genesis 3:19. That's the inheritance Adam passed down to us. No wonder our eyes droop and our faces are downcast. But dear friends, lift up your heads. Yes, lift up your heads in joy and celebration. For the Holy Spirit lifts your hearts as His words here fill you. For His words bring you the King of glory. Yes! Lift up your heads! See the King of glory! A. How can we dare to lift up our heads? Only because His blood washes us clean: 1. Explain the two great reasons we dare not lift up our heads: But how dare we lift up our heads in the presence of such a glorious King? Even in many earthly throne rooms people bow their heads and avert their eyes. How much more before Him who reigns over all things! “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it” as seen in Psalm 24:1. From the massless photon to the largest super cluster of galaxies, it all belongs to the Lord. From the smallest virus to the great blue whale, it all belongs to the Lord. Even the human achievements that fill the modern world belong to the Lord. For who gave humanity its abilities and opportunities? “The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” “For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the currents and the rivers” as seen in Psalm 24:2. He is the Creator of all. On the third day of creation He had the dry ground rise up as He gathered the waters together. He called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” He covered the land with green plants and fruitful trees, bearings seeds after their own kinds. On the fifth day He filled the seas and the air with fish and birds, and the next day He filled the land as seen in Genesis 1:9-13, 20-28. How dare we mere creatures, formed out of the dust of the earth, lift up our heads in the presence of the King of glory, through whom all things were created! But what is more, He is the holy One. “Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place?” Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place?” as seen in Psalm 24:3. When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, even the holy Seraphim covered their faces with a pair of their wings as they called out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” as seen in Isaiah 6:3. How dare we lift up our heads! Are your hands clean? Is your heart pure? Not one speck of guilt? Not one smudge of failure? How far from it! We fail to set our heart fully on God alone. When life goes well, we find happiness in the gifts but neglect the Giver. We rely on our good circumstances to keep life pleasant. We find comfort in a steady income or money in the bank. Our worry when those things waver shows how much we depend on them. We fail to depend on God alone, to trust only in Him as the source for all happiness and security. And when life goes badly, we doubt God's love and kindness. We question His ability to answer our prayers. Our hope grows dim as if God were unreliable. How impure our hearts are! We've lifted up our souls to those false gods of money, pleasure, worry, doubt. Our words and our actions betray the impurity in our hearts and prove you and me to be sinners. How dare we lift up our heads! “3 Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully” as seen in Psalm 24:3, 4. Who is such a person? Do we have such a person or people? How could it be you or me or anyone else, sinners all of us? Who is such a person?

  2. How does Lord Jesus change everything so that we joyfully lift up our heads?

See Him riding on donkey into Jerusalem. The Lamb of God, pure and holy. Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Holy God, the Almighty, the eternal Son of the Father. But look! He comes wrapped in our flesh and blood. For He, our Creator, has taken the nature of His creature, our human nature, into His person. What's more, He, the Righteous One, has covered Himself with our sin and guilt, our shame and filth. He the glorious King lowers Himself, humbles Himself even to death on a cross. He rides into Jerusalem to die for you, dear sinner, to die for you. How that changes everything! A dirty rag can't wipe our hands clean. So even our own best efforts only wipe more guilt onto us. Isaiah writes that even our righteous acts are like filthy rags as seen in Isaiah 64:6 “For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction].” But Lord Jesus, the holy One, the righteous One, He can wipe you clean, inside and out. For His blood “But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]”as seen in 1 John1:7. This is as the Apostle John writes in his first epistle. That's why Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem. That's why He went to the cross. That's why He rose from the dead on Easter. To wash your hands clean. To purify your heart. So, dear Christian, lift up your head in joy and celebration. Lift up your heads as in faith you ascend the holy hill washed clean in Lord Jesus' blood. Lift up your head and see your glorious King. For His glory is His work of saving you. His glory is the shameful cross on which He bore your sins. His glory is His blood that washes you clean inside and out is His glory. There is a saying that goes thus, “There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel's veins, And sinners plunged within that flood Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains” How can we dare to lift up our heads and see the King of glory? Only because His blood washes us clean. Have you allowed His blood to wash you clean or are you still an evil person going about wickedly doing evil to people; the Lord said come in and be washed! B. How do we? By seeking Him as our mighty Hero: 1. With what kind of attitude do we lift up our heads? But how do we do it? With what kind of attitude do we lift up our heads and see the King of glory? We certainly don't do it as if to challenge Him, such as when someone lifts up his head to look his earthly opponent in the eye. We certainly don't do it as if to claim to be on equal terms with Him. We certainly don't do it as if to deceive Him, pretending to be more than we are, imagining we're calling His bluff, like players in Texas hold'em. We certainly don't do it as if to bargain with Him, thinking if we lift our heads high we can manoeuvre a good deal out of Him. Think about all these and search your mind and heart to find out and know if you are calling His bluff! Or you are ready to humble yourself before the Lord God realizing you are a sinner whom He saved and accord Him His dues! Any and all of these attitudes above reject the blood of Lord Jesus. They leave us standing with filthy hands and impure hearts, filled with dirt and sin, condemned and damned to hell. For without Lord Jesus washing us clean, no one can ascend the hill of the Lord. No one can stand in His holy place. This is exactly what the psalm is talking about. Do you now understand? Will you now make efforts to wash yourself in His blood? Rather, we come as beggars, knowing we have nothing to offer. We come as humble supplicants pleading for His mercy. We come as seekers, turning to Him alone as our mighty Hero, our Saviour. 2. Where do we seek the Lord? “This is the generation [description] of those who seek Him [who inquire of and for Him and of necessity require Him], who seek Your face, [O God of] Jacob. Selah [pause, and think of that]!” as seen in Psalm 24:6. Do you remember Jacob? He wrestled with God, holding the Lord God to His promises. Yet he did so in all humility, recognizing his total unworthiness. He was afraid to meet his brother Esau, whom he had tricked out of the birthright and blessing twenty years earlier. At that time he had fled for his life with only the shirt on his back and the staff in his hand. The Lord now had told him to return with his new family and flocks, and He would be with him. But Jacob finds out that Esau is coming to meet him with four hundred men. So Jacob sought the Lord. He prayed: “9 O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord Who said to me, Return to your country and to your people and I will do you good, 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercy and loving-kindness and all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant, for with [only] my staff I passed over this Jordan [long ago], and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray You, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and smite [us all], the mothers with the children. 12 And You said, I will surely do you good and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude” as seen in Genesis 32:9-12. He held the Lord to His promise. Ask yourself do you have this kind of Jacob’s attitude, with humility and respect towards God and man? Like Jacob, dear friends, seek the Lord in His promises. For that is how He has chosen to be found. That's how His gracious face shines on you. That's how He looks on you with favour. Through His promises.

  3. What has He promised you?

And what has the Lord promised you? That Lord Jesus is your Mighty Hero. He has conquered sin, your sin, by His death on the cross. Here is the victory cry: “It is finished.” He has conquered Satan for you, parading through hell in victory early Easter morning. He has conquered death, showing Himself alive to His disciples, letting them touch His wounds. Yes, the same Lord Jesus who sacrificed Himself as the Lamb of God in your place has risen from the dead. He lives! He lives! Who once was dead! He is your Mighty Hero. Today He is alive in heaven interceding for you and expecting you to plead His promises in your prayers to Him just as Jacob did so that He will make His face to shine on you by fulfilling the promises for you. The gates of heaven, those ancient, everlasting doors, open wide to welcome Him back as the ascended Lord of glory, the conquering Hero. “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and might; the LORD Mighty in battle . . . Who is this King of glory? The LORD Almighty -- He is the King of glory” as seen in Psalm 24:8, 9 “8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; yes, lift them up, you age-abiding doors, that the King of glory may come in.” So if even the gates of heaven lift up their heads in joy, how much more so, you and I, His people, His blood-bought, ransomed people! For our Lord will visibly return to take you and me and all His faithful people with Him through those ancient gates. He will lead us as mighty throng home to heaven following Him our Lord, for He is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of Sabbath. Such a Mighty Hero! Why would we not seek Him with all our heart? Why would we not listen to His voice and follow Him? Why would we not cling to His promises and rejoice even in the crosses that we get to bear for Him? Why would we not strive with all our strength and efforts to live with clean hands and a pure heart, to live for Him who died covered with our filth and rose in victory as our Mighty Hero and Saviour? Lift up your heads and see the King of glory coming to you through His promises in word and sacraments. Feel Him place His nail-pierced hand beneath your chin. And though your head is weighed down, He lifts it up and says to you, “My blood washes you clean. I am your Mighty Hero.” Amen. The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Father Lord, how I long to be able to see You. Please Lord Jesus purify my heart so that I might have a clear vision of You and thus reflect Your glory all the days of my life. In Your name Lord Jesus I ask it. Amen!