Date: 26 July, 2015
Text: Psalm 1
Title: The Key to Lifelong Happiness
Psalm 1:1 ¶ Blessed is the man....
def. "Blessed" ='s happy
Psalm 1 tells us about the happy man. In our modern society there is a sad lack of happiness. Just look at the faces of people in the shops and ask yourself how many people look happy.
We have a world that is hungering for happiness!
I am going to share a lengthy quote of an article from an incredibly secular source this morning as I introduce this topic. Interestingly, there is much within this secular source that agrees with our Psalm 1.
ill. The Guardian online..."Why Does Happiness Matter" - Mark Williamson
"Happiness relates to how we feel, but it is more than just a passing mood. We are emotional beings and experience a wide range of feelings on a daily basis. Negative emotions – such as fear and anger – help us to get away from danger or defend ourselves. And positive emotions – such as enjoyment and hope – help us to connect with others and build our capacity to cope when things go wrong....
One popular misconception about happiness is that happy people are somehow more likely to be lazy or ineffective. In fact research shows the opposite is true: happiness doesn’t just feel good, it actually leads to a wide range of benefits for our performance, health, relationships and more.
For example, economists at Warwick University showed different groups of people either a positive film clip or a neutral film clip and then asked them to carry out standard workplace tasks under paid conditions. The people who were primed to feel happy were 11% more productive than their peers, even after controlling for age, IQ and other factors. Similarly, researchers at Wharton Business School found that companies with happy employees outperform the stock market year on year and a team at UCL has discovered that people who are happy as young adults go on to earn more than their peers later in life."
But perhaps most importantly of all, people who are happier are more likely to make a positive contribution to society. In particular, they are more likely to vote, do voluntary work and participate in public activities. They also have a greater respect for law and order and offer more help to others.
When it comes to the happiness of society as a whole, however, the sad truth is that in recent decades we have become substantially richer but no happier. The positive benefits of higher incomes have been undermined by rising inequality and falling levels of trust and social cohesion. We’ve also reached the point wheremental ill health is one of our greatest social challenges – causing more of the suffering in our society than either unemployment or poverty.
This is why increasing numbers of policymakers and leaders are now calling for measures of progress to be based on human wellbeing and happiness, not just economic factors such as growth in GDP. Here in the UK, the government has introduced a programme to measure national wellbeing, and influential figures – including former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell – are calling for wellbeing to become the overall measure of prosperity and the main guide to public policy.
This shift towards prioritising happiness is important because this also reflects what the majority of people want. In a YouGov pollcommissioned by Action for Happiness, a majority (87%) of UK adults said they would prefer a society with the “greatest overall happiness and wellbeing”, rather than the “greatest overall wealth” (8%). The findings were consistent across all regions, age groups and social classes.
So happiness does matter – the scientific evidence is compelling. The pursuit of happiness is not some fluffy nice-to-have or middle-class luxury; it’s about helping people to live better lives and creating a society that is more productive, healthy and cohesive. As Aristotle said: 'Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.'"
AMAZING! 3,000 years ago God's Word told us the very same thing. Accept in God's Word it also tells us how to obtain happiness. It is not something that government or society can give us. But, it is something that God will help us find if we will follow his keys to happiness.
Psalm 1 - The keys to lifelong happiness?
I. You can't be worldly and be happy.
A. Don't listen to the world.
...that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
exp. Don't let the ungodly teach you how to find happiness.
ill. They will put you on a path of heartache not happiness. Solomon warned his son's to avoid the words of the wicked. (Proverbs 1)
10 ¶ My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
ill. The ungodly say that "Drugs and drink will satisfy!" Have you ever met an addict? Sadly they are in the depths of despair because they have listened to ungodly councel. (Guys on the benches down in the Meadows.)
NOTE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE UNGODLY COUNSEL AND GOD'S COUNSEL.
29 ¶ Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
app. Don't listen to the world!
B. Don't fellowship with the world.
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
exp. If you want your life to be destroyed - just follow along with those who are going that way! But, if you want a happy life - don't fellowship with the world.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
def. communications: companions
quote: "Birds of a feather walk together."
app. You can't be worldy and be happy. So, don't fellowship with the world.
C. Don't adopt the world's attitude.
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
def. to talk arrogantly to mock.
ill. It witnessing to young people, at times I have met the scornful. They mock what they should fear!
ill. In old days you had to hang out in the pub or with worldly friends to adopt the world's attitude. Today it comes in electronic form. The scornful and wicked can come into our homes via the television or the internet. They can come in through chat rooms and texting.
app. Don't become a scorner. That bitter life knows nothing of true happiness.
YOU CAN'T BE WORLDLY AND BE HAPPY!
II. You can't ignore God's law and be happy.
A. You must love God's Word.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
exp. The happy person has a love for God's Word.
notice: There is great unhappiness in our world and there is a great disdain for God's Word. Is that a coincidence? We have more than any other generation but it hasn't BOUGHT happiness.
question: On a scale of 1-10 how much do you love God's word? On a scale of 1-10 how happy are you? THAT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. THAT IS BIBLE!
song: If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, let Jesus come into your heart.
app. Those who love God's Word are those who love the God of the Word. To love Jesus is to love His Word. Are you delighting in Him!
B. You must think often upon God's Word.
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
exp. Meditating is to think about it over and over again.
ill. It is like a cow's digestive tract. The regurgitate their food to get more out of it and then they do it again. (4 compartments in their stomach)
ill. When I was dating my wife, I had no difficulty meditating upon her. She was often on my mind.
app. How often do you find yourself thinking about God and His Word. How often does Scripture get replayed in your heart and mind? If you want to be happy. Love God and His Word. Think often upon it. YOU CAN'T IGNORE GOD'S LAW AND BE HAPPY.
III. You can't be planted outside God's garden and be happy.
exp. If you are not saved, you don't know what this is all about. Believer, if you aren't abiding in Him, you are missing the blessing as well.
A. Inside God's garden is an abundance of water.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
exp. If you were a tree, which would you like to be. A tree in the dessert or a tree in the Amazon rain forest. The dessert tree just barely stays alive while the rain forest tree flourishes.
app. If you aren't flourishing, why don't you get connected or better connected to Jesus, who is the Water of Life.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
question: Do you find yourself thirsty or are you abiding in Him?
B. In God's garden is good fruit.
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
exp. There is a rich harvest to those who are connected to the water of life.
ill. Climbing North Berwick Law. Watching the farmer watering his crop. It's suprising that you would need to do that in Scotland and yet it is vital that the right about of moisture is given. Fruit is dependent upon a good water source.
app. How fruitful is your life? What good things have you done. Whose life have you impacted? What evidence is there in you that you are a fruitful child of God?
note: What farmer is going to be happy at the harvest - the barren wasteland farmer - or the well watered field farmer?
app. You aren't going to be happy if your life doesn't amount to anything. Real life is about serving God!
C. In God's garden is no death.
his leaf also shall not wither;
exp. Those in God's garden are vitally alive. There is security within His garden.
ill. What does God do with dead fruitless trees?
Mt 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
app. How alive are you? Are you vital because you are connected to Jesus or is there in your heart an awareness of deadness? YOU CAN BE CONNECTED TO JESUS TODAY!
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
D. In God's garden is success and prosperity.
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
exp. Those who are happy in Jesus find prosperity in every area of their life.
note: This is not the health and wealth Gospel. This is the state of a sheep that has God as it's Shepherd. As long as you walk with the Shepherd, you are blessed by His care.
ill. Psalm 23: 1 ¶ «A Psalm of David.» The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
app. Is your life prosperous this morning? If not, could it be that you have strayed from God's garden or have never entered into His garden?
IV. You can't be ungodly and be happy.
A. Outside God's garden is waste and death.
4 ¶ The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
exp. This is a fact. You could be Donald Trump and be as unhappy as he looks though he has great riches. Why! Because the ungodly though they may appear blessed are really not blessed. They may be able to build themselves synthetic walled gardens but they don't have God in their empty garden and there is NO SATISFACTION OUTSIDE OF HIM.\
ill. Budgees - flight cages - cleaning out the chaff. Empty, worthless, no fruit, NO LIFE, just WASTE AND DEATH.
app. Don't be deceived. The ungodly are outside God's garden and they have NO GOOD FRUIT IN THEIR LIFE.
B. Outside God's garden is eternal failure.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
exp. They aren't going to pass examination when the Harvester separates the wheat and the tares.
ill. The wheat and the tares - Matthew 13: 24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
app. God woun't get it wrong. The ungodly will no way pass the judgment of God.
C. Outside God's garden is contamination.
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
exp. The congregation of the righteous will be in Heaven with God for all eternity. No ungodly, unrepentant sinner, will get into that sanctified assembly.
Matthew 22: 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
app. How unhappy the end of the ungodly. No matter how apparently happy in life, there will be sorrow for all of eternity to those outside of the garden of God!
VI. You can't avoid God's way and be happy.
exp. There are two ways a man can go. All of us are on one Way or the other. Only one is the happy way.
A. God's way is the righteous way.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:
B. The ungodly way is CERTAIN destruction.
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Matthew 7: 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
exp. What does your fruit say of the way of your life? If you have wicked fruit, you have misssed the happy way. You aren't going God's way and there is no way you can be happy outside of that way.
app. Why not chose to go the way of God this morning. Jesus died to make the way of Happiness? Won't you turn to him confessing how unsatisfied you are with your life of wickedness? He will give you his HAPPY LIFE!
conclusion: The guardian article is right. Happiness is the greatest social need. BECAUSE THE GREATEST SOCIAL NEED IS JESUS CHRIST. HAPPINESS IS ONLY FOUND IN GOD.
How happy are you this morning? Do you have a good relationship with God by faith in His Son Jesus? Have you turned on the keys to happiness in Psalm 1.
· You can't be worldly and be happy.
· You can't ignore God's law and be happy.
· You can't be planted outside God's garden and be happy.
· You can't be ungodly and be happy.
· You can't avoide God's way and be happy.
"Blessed is the man...." Are you that man today? If not you can be. Come to the fountain of life this morning and be planted in God's garden.