The Greatest Mistake
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Date: 14 April, 2020
Text: Psalm 49
Title: The Greatest Mistake
Have you ever made a mistake?
quote: "I've never made a mistake. I thought I did once, but I was wrong."
Some mistakes are bigger than others. We generally consider something a bigger mistake if it has greater consequences.
1.) When you are parking your car, you want to put on the hand brake.
a.) My family saw a car in the Costco car park that had rolled.
b.) That's not so bad - I know someone who forgot and it totalled their car.
c.) Someone else I know sadly had their car run over them.
2.) All of those stories are mistakes, but mistakes have great consequences.
A very sad mistake took place on November 2016 a family of five were in a car that slid down a slipway into the sea. A man who saw the tradgedy swam to the car rescuing an infant. He swam back to the car and tried to get a second child but he was unable to free him.
exp. Human mistakes have often resulted in the loss of life.
Pilot error for commercial aviation is listed as the cause of just over half of worldwide accidents.
exp. Our current crisis with Covid 19 - some lines of inquiry are wondering if China mistakenly released this virus from a labaratory. The other line of inquiry would be a mistake as well if it originated at a market that was violating safe procedures.
Mistakes often have horrible consequences.
We are wise to learn from our mistakes and to avoid making them if at all possible.
My message this morning is from Psalm 49 is The Greatest Mistake.
The mistakes above cost men's lives. The mistake in Psalm 49 will cost men eternal life.
You need to avoid the greatest of all mistakes! Would you do whatever you can do to avoid this greatest of all mistakes?
I. People who make the greatest mistake - Ignore God's Word.
- that this man is living his life as if God does not exist.
- He is not a God fearing person. He would probably laugh at those who did fear God.
ill. A few weeks back - I knocked on a man's door - he didn't want to speak about God - I said, "Do you ever stop and think about eternity? He just laughed.
exp. He an anybody like that are in danger of making the greatest mistake - they are already on that path by ignoring God's Word.
A. Don't ignore listening to God.
Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
exp. The Psalmist begins by calling EVERYONE to listen.
ill. The first time we were in Scotland - fun day site seeing in Edinburgh - went to the Castle and joined a walking tour - it was a teen mission trip - I would tell them to be quiet and they would listen. Finally a woman turned to the boys and said, "Will you shut up?"
exp. I wanted to bring her back with us to help in the youth group. If you don't listen you can't learn.
question: Do you give ear to God?
Mat 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
exp. We've all got them and unless we are deaf we have the capability of listening. But, not everyone has the interest in listening.
app. If you want to avoid the greatest mistake, you need an interesting in listening to God.
B. Don't ignore assembling for preaching.
2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
exp. This call to assembly "together" was given to all classes of people. It didn't matter if you were gentry or a commoner - you were to come together to listen to God.
ill. The church were I got saved, had a church bell tower. A church bell was to be rung to call a community to worship and people from all over the community would come.
Sunday was the Lord's day and everything else was closed.
ill. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom governing the right of shops in England and Wales to trade on a Sunday. Buying and selling on Sunday had previously been illegal, with exceptions, under the Shops Act 1950.
exp. Scotland didn't have Sunday trading laws, but she didn't trade on Sundays by custom - I would add conviction.
app. Sunday is now a do as you please day. Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. God said that because He knew how quickly man would forget Him and start living as if he did not exist. Don't make the greatest mistake, don't ignore assembling for preaching.
C. Don't ignore true wisdom.
3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
exp. When God gives revelation it is true wisdom and true understanding.
ill. Evolutionist can't answer the most basic question about life.
- Where does life come from? (life comes from life....)
exp. The first verse of God's Word answers it Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth."
ill. Reading Genesis in our family devotions.
1.) Origin - created by the Word of God.
2.) Sin - man's rebellion against God - death is a result of sin.
2.) Family - established by God.
exp. When we get to Exodus we find that....
4.) God is law giver.
5.) Sin needs atonement. (blood sacrifice picturing Jesus)
app. If you want to avoid the great mistake, don't ignore God's Word. We are blessed with an abundance of Bibles. We use the KJV at our church. Download it or purchase it!
D. Don't ignore good Bible preaching.
4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
exp. This Psalmist is going to preach in song to the assembled congregation. He's going to use a story (parable) to open up their minds to God's truth.
ill. God has given us good Bible preaching to help us understand His Word.
Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
exp. Good Bible preaching is not....
1.) What do I think?
2.) How do I feel?
3.) What is politically correct?
... it is WHAT DOES GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?
note: If you aren't a church going person - you may be confused where to start to find good preaching. Here is a starting place for you.
1.) Do they believe that God's Word is literal? If it says it - do they believe it?
Pro 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2.) Do they believe that Jesus is God?
ill. Doubting Thomas - Joh 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
3.) Do they believe that salvation is only by faith in Jesus?
John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
app. Those who ignore good Bible preaching are in danger of making the greatest mistake. Get to where you can hear good Bible preaching.
E. Don't ignore preparing for eternity.
5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
exp. The singing preachers first declaration by song is of his soul's security at death's door. "WHEREFOR SHOULD I FEAR?"
ill. He can sing with another Psalmist - King David - Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
note: Death is the great adversary of mankind because of our sin against God.
Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
exp. The greatest adversary men face is death.
- Our economy is realing because men are trying to prevent death.
- We can't visit family and friends - because man is trying to prevent death.
exp. Whether man will admit it or not - there is in the heart of mankind a fear of death. Jesus made a way for us to have the security of eternal life - TAKING AWAY THE FEAR OF DEATH.
Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
app. Don't make the greatest mistake and ignore preparing for eternity.
transition: People who make the greatest mistake, ignore God's Word. (Bypass Reality Checks)
II. People who make the greatest mistake - Bypass Reality Checks.
exp. Sometimes people need a reality check.
ill. University is a great place to dream. In the dorm you may hear someone say, "I'm going to have a big family, 5-6 kids...." You say to them, "Time for a reality check. You are not dating anyone."
exp. "Houston you've got a problem." You haven't even lifted off yet.
ill. Or someone could be speaking about what they are going to do with their first million. You need to give them a little reality check by reminding them that they have to pay off their school debt first.
app. Many people are living life....
- as if this world is eternal and it is not.
- They are living as if eternity does not exist and it does.
note: The Psalmist has some reality checks for them.
A. First reality check - Your money is a false security.
6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
exp. Earthly currencies have no purchasing power in Heaven.
ill. Have you ever played monopoly? Our world is quickly going to a cashless society - even monopoly is electronic. But, back in the day you had monopoly money. It is fake play money for the game.
exp. If you want to look really foolish, sincerely try to pay for your groceries with it. It has no value.
app. If you are trusting in your wealth, you need a reality check. Your money is worthless in Heaven. Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
B. Second reality check - Your soul needs eternal security.
8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
quote: "You are not a body with a soul. You are a soul with a body."
exp. Who you really are is the eternal part of you which will live in Heaven or perish in hell is your soul.
ill. When a person has a heart transplant or an amputation - their body changes - but who they are does not - Why? Because they are not their body. They are an eternal soul.
Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
app. Reality check - your money is worthless - your soul is precious and in jeopardy of perishing!
C. Third reality check - Your family is heading towards hell.
ill. The Psalmist uses an illustration now. He wants this to touch this man's money loving heart. And so rather than deal with with the man himself he choses a family member to illustrate this truth.
note: If you told me something could endanger myself, I might listen. If you told me it would endanger my kids, I will listen much more intently.
exp. I remind us this morning that the wicked don't go to hell by themselves. Their family is traveling down the same mistaken path.
1. You can't redeem their soul.
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
exp. Can you by ANY MEANS affect the release if a family member from Hell?
ill. The rich man in Hell not only could not purchase his own salvation, he couldn't do anything to prevent his brothers from coming there.
Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
app. You can't BY ANY MEANS redeem your brother with earthly treasure. The rich man woke up in hell to reality. But, it was too late.
2. You can't ransom their soul.
nor give to God a ransom for him:
exp. This word ransom - means to cover.
question: Can you pay to cover up their sin debt which demands the wrath of God in Hell?
ill. The Catholic church has made a lot of money from people who think you can.
1.) they sold indulgences. "A way to reduce the amount of punishment for the damned."
2.) They still sell prayers. - pay so much and priest will pray for their soul.
app. This Scripture would save a lot of people their worthless money that they love so much.You can't pay to ransom a man from Hell.
3. You can't purchase eternal life for them.
9 That he should still live for ever,
question: Would anyone think you could buy eternal life for someone?
ill. The next illustration is not a joke - ALCOR Life Extension foundation
Cryonics (from Greek kryos meaning icy cold) is the low-temperature preservation of humans who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, in the expectation they can be healed and resuscitated in the future using more advanced medical technologies. Cryopreservation of people is not reversible with current technology, and is today only practiced following legal death. The rationale for cryonics is that current medical and legal definitions of death are inaccurate and that cryopreserved patients who do not meet the more stringent information-theoretic definition of death retain sufficient biological/neurological structure to be restored to full physical and mental health using advanced future technologies.
exp. Again, we could save a lot of people their worthless money that they love so much. God says, no matter how much you pay ETERNAL LIFE IS ONLY A GIFT TO BE RECEIVED.
Ill. The story of the woman at the well. Joh 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
app. If you want to do something to give life to your family, wake up to the reality that money isn't the answer.
4. You can't keep them from dying.
and not see corruption.
exp. When the death angel comes for your brother, you can't pay the death angel to depart.
Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
note: Contrary to what the ALCOR foundation thinks - death is God's domain not theirs.
Psa 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
note: If you google it - the average age of man on this planet is 69 years or 70 years.
app. This temporary life merely gives us opportunity to prepare for the life to come. Men need to heed the reality check that their family is heading towards hell.
C. Fourth reality check - You are deceived.
ill. Often I have people say to me about the Bible, "I think....I feel....I believe...." I'll say to them, "Have you ever been wrong?" And they say, "All the time?" I say, "Me too. That's why we need to know - WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD.
exp. This reality check ought to get man back to the TRUTH.
1. You're living like you believe you'll life forever. (false)
10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish,
exp. He doesn't have to get in God's Word to see this, he just needs to look at the obituary column.
ill. I remember hearing my grandparents talk as they looked through the obituary column.
exp. We'd rather look at the birth announcements than the death announcements.
app. As surely as we have been born, we will as surely die. Ecclesiastes 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not:
2. You're living like you believe you can take it with you. (false)
and leave their wealth to others.
exp. That money that they loved and lived for - they leave behind.
ill. In Spurgeons - Treasuries of David - I read of a preacher who visited a parisioner on his death bed. He pleaded with that man to trust in Jesus. That man had clutched under the covers the keys to his cabinets lest anyone took his things.
app. I've met many people who say, "I don't have time to go to church I work seven days a week." Why? So you can have money and your soul go to Hell? The song writer of Psalm 49 has a reality check for you - you can't take it with you.
transition: People who make the greatest mistake, Ignore God's Word, Bypass reality checks....
III. People who make the greatest mistake - trust in false security.
exp. We live in a very affluent society who don't need God because they have a false sense of security in their finanacial well being.
Mar 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
A. False Security number 1 - They trust in their estate.
11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations;
ill. Watching on of those old black and white westerns with my kids this past week - Hopolong Cassidy of the Bar 20 - I was reminded of....
Grandma and Grandpa Shore's dairy farm and ranch house.
- I remember seeing it when I was a kid.
- Broken doors and windows
- Barn Owl
- Sadly the fire department used it for practice.
app. Even castles if they aren't maintained don't last. But, while they are living in their estates it seems men think it will continue forever and be passed down to all generations.
B. False Security number 2 - They trust in their prestige.
they call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
exp. We'll come back to v.12 as it is repeated as a chorus in v.20
exp. v.11 They call their lands after their own names. And what grand names they have...
Duke, duchess, Lord, Lady, earl, viscount, baron, etc.
ill. Do you know that the Queen of England and the janitors of England will stand alike before God. May God help her NOT to trust in her earthly name for God isn't impressed by earthly titles.
app. Your name won't matter when you stand before God. The only name that will matter on that day is the NAME OF NAMES - that of the King of King and Lord of Lords. If you have not Jesus, your name will do you no good.
C. False Security number 3 - They trust in their peers.
13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
def. Selah - pause and reflect.
exp. STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT - they are fools and their peers agree with their folly!
ill. Our world would be quick to encourage the skeptic in his disbelief of God. They would pat him on the back and say, you are doing just right. Keep living for this world. THEIR FOLLY ENCOURAGES ONE ANOTHER TO CONTINUE TO TRUST IN A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY.
transition: People who make the greatest mistake, Ignore God's Word, Bypass reality checks, trust in false security....
IV. People who make the greatest mistake - omit the end of the story.
exp. Like those who rewrite God out of human history. These also like to ignore the truth of that which is to come. THEY PROFESS TO KNOW THE END OF THE BOOK WITHOUT READING THE SAME.
A. What is the end of wicked mankind?
1. end of story - The wicked will be defeated by the grave.
14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
exp. The picture is quite graphic of their corpse being devoured by death. Their shallow earthly beauty will fade forever.
2. end of story - The wicked will take no shred of glory with him.
16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
exp. The fear is of those rich and Godless who trouble mankind, but someday will trouble them no more.
17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
app. Men are slow to speak evil of those who are doing so well in life, but that glory won't follow them into hell.
3. end of story - The wicked will go to the place of eternal darkness.
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
exp. Here again is the progression of a wicked family who lived their life for things. Like his father he will be cast into the fires of hell.
ill. Jesus spoke about the darkness of hell.
Mat 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
4. end of story - The wicked are as ignorant as a hunted beast.
20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
B. What is the end of the man who avoids the greatest mistake.
1. The grave is defeated by God's redeeming grace.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave:
exp. The singing Psalmist has no fear of death.
hymn: Just Martin Grey
Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption; no riches of earth could have saved my poor soul.
The blood of the cross is my only foundation; The death of my Saviour now maketh me whole.
I am redeemed, but not with silver,
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price - the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.
app. Friend, this could be you today - boasting that God has saved your soul from the grave. The end of the story if you get saved, is you will be victorious over death.
2. They will spend eternity in glory with God.
for he shall receive me. Selah.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
exp. This prepared place is for God's redeemed people where they will sing of their redemption for all eternity.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
app. Are you 100 percent certain that you will go to heaven when you die? The Psalmist was.
transition: Don't omit the end of the story or you are in danger of making the greatest mistake ever.
Many mistakes have cost men's lives. But, one mistake can make a man miss out on eternal life.
That is the greatest mistake.
Those who make it....
1.) Ignore the Word of God. (Don't listen to God's call, assemble in church, listen to good preaching,...)
2.) Bypass reality checks. (Money is worthless with God. Your soul and the soul of your family member is in danger of hell.)
3.) Trust in false security. (You trust in estates, prestige and peers? So what? It's worthless.)
4.) Omit the end of the story. (The wicked are devoured by the grave and perish in Hell. The Righteous are redeemed by the grace of a loving God.)