View from the Pew – The Truth About Happiness

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: Is not having happiness a physical, mental, or spiritual problem?

Q2: “What book in the Bible is thought to be a summary of the Old Testament in song form?”

Q3: Did King David write all of the Psalms?

Q4: What do the Hebrew and Greek translations of the word “blessed” mean in English?

Q5: What are the 3 steps to sinning for a believer that are discussed in Psalm 1:1?

Q6: Should a believer ever seek counsel on essential spiritual matters from an unbeliever?

Q7: Can we EVER stand with those who are in willful disobedience with God and His order?

Q8: The Psalmist identifies a group of people: the wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers. How does the blessed believer relate to these folks?

Sermon Summary & Answers

This past Sunday, Nathan Ross brought us the first chapter and verse of Psalms. He will be doing this one Sunday a month for several months. The Psalms are thought to summarize the Old Testament in song form, which took 800 years to complete by multiple authors.

Psalm 1

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers

The word “blessed” in Hebrew means “happy.” The same word, translated from the Greek in Matthew 5:6, also means “happy.” God tells us that happiness comes through the intentional spiritual practice of NOT doing three things that will lead us away from the pursuit of righteousness. Not having happiness is most definitely a spiritual problem. Attainment of happiness or self-satisfaction seems to be one of the highest goals of humans in our society. We have been socialized to believe that we deserve to have and be whatever we can dream up. We drive toward self-sufficiency and finding the real us. This message is in stark contrast to God’s message for the believer, which is to become Christ-like and die to ourselves.

Psalm 1:1 starts by giving us the “negative approach.” That is that we must first see what is wrong before we understand how to be truly happy:

1.   Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked (a lifestyle that not only agrees with what worldly unbelievers are doing and saying but walking hand in hand with it. Letting your mind be taken captive).

2.   Do not stand in the path of sinners (Now being in the sin you took advice on, thus being in open rebellion to God).

3.   Do not sit in the seat of scoffers (becoming just like the sinning unbeliever you listened to and emulated. This is the person whose conscience is seared and is a believer in all unbelief).

As you can see, this is a progressive spiritual problem in which we are clearly being warned to stop before it gets started, or we will sin. So, what is the opposite of these negatives?

1.   Whatever shapes your mind shapes your life. Seek Godly counsel on essential spiritual matters from believers, not unbelievers, even if they are respectable, dignified people.

2.   Choose to walk in accord with the counsel of God’s Word and faithful believers.

3.   As you seek the truth and walk in the truth, you will become trusted counsel for others; a stark contrast to the scoffers.

The “blessed” man vs. the ungodly man has three opposing actions. They think differently, behave differently, and belong to different groups. Just avoiding the negatives is good, but happiness also comes from doing the positive that comes from verse two…. but that is a sermon for next month. Oh, okay, read ahead if you must.

Bottom line: if physical things and circumstances drive our happiness and all goes south, then there goes your happiness. God has a way for us to have real, unfaltering happiness in every occasion, no matter what life throws at us.

“Happiness is a by-product of doing what God tells us to do. It should never be sought after just for itself. Lasting happiness can never be found directly or gotten directly. If you seek righteousness more than happiness, you will get both; if you seek happiness, you will get neither.”

Nathan Ross

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Melissa Strautman

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1.   Spiritual
2.   Psalms
3.   No
4.   Happy
5.   Walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the path of sinners,
sitting in the seat of scoffers
6.   No
7.   No
8.   No