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Jun 06, 2021

Repentance: A No That Is A Yes

Repentance: A No That Is A Yes

Passage: Psalms

Speaker: Andrew Kerhoulas

Series: Ascend

Keywords: deliver, repentance, dissatisfaction with the world, longing for home, upward call of god

All summer we’ll move our way through the collection of biblical songs known as the Psalms of Ascent (Pss 120-134). These were songs which were sung by God’s people during the uphill journey to worship in Jerusalem, which resided on the highest point in Palestine. The ascent was literal but it was also metaphorical, directing the pilgrims to live upward towards God. These songs have provided lyrical content for the upward call of Jesus’ followers for centuries. And after our most disorienting year, we need to learn to live these songs afresh, reminded that Jesus has called us further up and further in. The first song teaches us that this world doesn’t satisfy us nor is it safe. We remember that the disciple must turn from the world and its ways and turn to Jesus as we follow him. The journey of discipleship begins with repentance, a no that is a yes.

Readings & Lyrics

PREPARATION: Matthew 16:24-25
LEADER: 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

ALL: 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.


PRAYER OF CONFESSION (adapted from The Service for the Lord’s Day)
ALL: O Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, mind, and strength. And have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

In your great mercy, forgive us, renew us, compel us and lead us.
That we may delight in your will. Walk in your ways. Find joy in your Word.
Through the finished work of Christ. Amen

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. 2 Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

BENEDICTION: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
LEADER: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ALL: He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.


  • Psalm 16:11
  • Psalm 84:5-7 
  • Isaiah 35:8
  • Matthew 5:14-16
  • Matthew 7:13-14
  • Matthew 16:24-25
  • Mark 1:15  
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
  • Philippians 3:14
  • 1 Peter 2:11-12
  • Jude 1:24


InView Media Album


  • Does it surprise you that Psalm 120 is the first psalm of ascent? Why or why not?
  • Do you think the basic message of the song is important to sing as a disciple of Jesus? Explain.
  • Which part of the song, the no or the yes is harder for you lately? Ask God to help you identify the reasons why that’s the case, and, in turn, what you may need to repent of.
  • How does the gospel-- who Jesus was, what he did, and what he brings--compel you to press on towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ (Phil 3:14)?


  • “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.” Adam Grant
  • “Such dissatisfaction with the world as it is is preparation for traveling in the way of Christian discipleship. This dissatisfaction, coupled with longing for peace and truth, can set us on a pilgrim path to wholeness in God...A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace.” Eugene Peterson
  • “The distress that begins and ends the song is the painful awakening to the no-longer-avoidable reality that we have been lied to. The world, in fact, is not as it has been represented to us. Things are not all right as they are, and they are not getting any better...How can we keep on believing this after so many centuries of evidence to the contrary is difficult to comprehend, but nothing we do and nothing anyone else does to us seems to disenchant us from the spell of the lie.” Eugene Peterson
  • “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now...Come further up, come further in!” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle