“How to receive God’s blessing”

Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 06 Sep 2015

Psalm 24:3-6
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?

4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

Very often we say “God bless you” but it is no light thing to say something like that. Do those people truly receive the blessing? Often we pray a blessing over our children and relatives. Why is it that people desire the blessing but so few receive it. Those who go to the witch doctor are told if they take the potion or slaughter a cow they will receive blessing but many grow old never having received blessing. Some die not having received God’s blessing. How then do we receive His blessing?

Our Lord often spoke in parables wanting people to understand clearly. Wilhelm Bush said, “Whenever you sin it is like a link in a chain. That chain is bound around your neck.” He said many people walk with it. Maybe they hang a cross on it. That is not the chain spoken of in this context. It is the strongest of chains like a chain that pulls a cow. Whenever you sin or are a hypocrite it is a heavy link in the chain. Whenever you have grudges or hatred this chain gets ever longer. He would ask, “How long is the chain you are dragging?” There are those who sin from the beginning. They sin from their childhood and the chain grows ever longer. Think of how long your chain is and if the Lord Jesus doesn’t break it, it will drag you into hell. I’ve said that the Lord Jesus illustrates with stories so that people will understand properly. This psalm also contains an illustration. Who will ascend the hill of the Lord – he who has clean hands and a pure heart. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness. We don’t have very high mountains here but Austria has very high mountains. In the Netherlands, they have no mountains. There are those who are mountain climbers and they die trying to climb the highest mountains. Some climb a mountain and on the pinnacle they die. Though there are very high mountains there are none like the mountain of the Lord. Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? That is a question. No mountain can match the mountain of the Lord; His holy mountain where He sits. The blessing of the Lord is found on the peak of the mountain. We are speaking of spiritual mountains. The question is who will ascend the mountain and receive the blessing? It is he who has clean hands and a pure heart and doesn’t lift up his hands to idols. Will we receive the blessing of the Lord? Are our hands guiltless. Some shoplift, or maybe there is money in a drawer in a bedroom or an article that you envy and then steal. Your hands must be guiltless before God.

The great day is coming when you will stand before the Judge of judges and He will judge your hands. Only the one with guiltless hands can ascend this mountain. Only few in number that have clean hands ascend this mountain. A friend of the mission in Dalton has put up CCTV cameras in his shop. They noticed a man with a jacket shoplifting items and putting them in his pocket. When he was going out, they confronted him and asked him what was in his jacket; he said that there was nothing. They took him into the office and played the video recording back to him of how he shoplifted items. He was astounded and said, “Is technology so advanced?”, and had to confess to his stealing.

Someone who died and came back to life, shared her experience of how she saw a mountain that was very steep and one couldn’t climb it alone. Some places was very difficult and you had to go down on hands and knees and call on the Lord to help you. If you fell down the cliffs it was the end. At one place there was a hen with beautiful chicks and she had to go through these chicks. She prayed, “Lord give me the courage to go through come what may.” She had to go through many experiences. She met three ladies who wanted to climb with her. She asked, “Where are you heading?” They said that they were climbing the hill of the Lord to receive the blessing. She then said that their clothes had spots on them. They knew they had to climb with spotless garments. Then a man came climbing the mountain but there was a rope around his ankle. The rope went down into the valley, and he got stuck like a goat. He went a certain distance and got stuck. Then someone said, “Do you see the rope stuck on your ankle?” The rope was tied to someone else. When he became a Christian he never broke ties with a certain person and never made right with him.

When you become a Christian you should put things right with other people you have wronged and sinned with. If you don’t, you will not succeed in your journey of faith if you are still bound to someone in sin. Go and make right or you will not succeed and receive his blessing.

You need a pure heart. It must be clean. If it is not clean you will not succeed. In the gospel of Mark 7:20 we read what comes out of a person is sexual immorality, theft, adultery, coveting, wickedness etc. all these come from within a man. People came saying, “But your disciples haven’t cleaned their hands.” The Lord said, “What comes out of a man defiles him.” Wicked thoughts come from an unclean heart. The Lord looks at the heart. Some dress like a prostitute, and say that their clothes doesn’t matter since the Lord looks at the heart. They don’t realize that what they are saying is only partially true because all sexual immorality, slander and foolishness come from the heart. You might look so good on the outside but is your heart clean? The Bible says that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out so that you can go to heaven with one eye. The Bible also says that men should lift up holy hands without anger (1Tim 2:8). Men easily lose their temper. Women gossip. If you climb the hill, your tongue should be innocent. Look at your hands and your heart and your lips. Thoroughly examine yourself and see if there is sin because then there will be a woe upon you.

In the Hebrides in Scotland, 1949 young men prayed for a few months that the Lord would pour out His Spirit. But God didn’t work. One morning a young man read this portion from Psalm 24. He suddenly realized that it doesn’t help to pray if our heart is unclean. He said, “Lets examine our hands and lips and see if we have spoken what is wrong.” As they examined themselves one after the other they fell on the floor because of the presence of God. Revival began.

In Austria there is a beautiful pinnacle and a crystal clear stream that flows from the mountain. The village people appointed a certain old man and his duty was to check the stream so that is didn’t get dirty. Year after year the stream was clean. Many would come and admire this water. It had ducks and swans. They could even run a mill. Everything looked beautiful. Then the town committee had a meeting and checked their books. They decided that the old man wasn’t necessary anymore and they fired him. Not long after the water became dirty. Leaves and branches had fallen into the water. Soon the water began to stink. The mill couldn’t operate any more. Tourists no longer came. The mill stopped completely. The reputation of the stream and town changed and the people didn’t want to come any more.

If we are not busy cleaning our water day and night the beauty is lost and people no longer admire it. Our country and schools and Christianity will be defiled. If our hearts are not clean from deception, lies and immorality, satan will live there, and you will fail to climb the mountain of the Lord. Are you busy cleaning your heart, or is there something tied to your ankles? Now is the time to get right with God. Don’t let revival slip through your fingers.