Sermon #1748 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “The Desire of the Rightous”
Text: Proverbs 10:24
Subject: The Purpose and Desire of Christ and His
People — The Glory of God
Date: Sunday Morning — April 20, 2008
If the Lord will enable me, I want to preach to you this morning about “The Desire of the Righteous.” You will find my text in Proverbs 10:24. You will recall that David’s last words were about God’s covenant grace and his salvation in Christ. He said concerning these things, “This is all my desire” (2 Samuel 23:5). In Psalm 145:19 David sang, “He will fulfill the desire of all them that love him.” Solomon tells us “The desire of the righteous is only good” (Proverbs 11:23). Then, in Proverbs 10:24, we read…
“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.”
“The desire of the righteous shall be granted.” — All I have experienced at the hands of my God and all I know of his free and sovereign grace in Christ inspire and constantly press upon me the pursuit of five great desires. These are the things upon which my heart is fixed, the things for which I labor, the things for which my heart groans before God.
1. The Favor of God — "I entreated thy favor with my whole heart" (Psalm 119:58). So long as I am conscious of God's favor, I am strong. No foe can terrify me. No trouble can destroy me. But there are times when God hides his face from me. Then I am troubled (Psalm 30:7). It is the awareness of God's favor that gives me peace.
2. The Image of God — I want to be like my God. The image of God is Jesus Christ. I rejoice to know that one day soon I shall be like him, perfectly holy and without sin (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). God predestinated it. Christ died to secure it (Ephesians 5:25-27). The Holy Spirit preserves me for it (Ephesians 1:13-14). But I want to live in this world in the image of God, as Christ lived in this world, loving, serving, helping and forgiving his people for the glory of God (Ephesians 4:32-5:1).
3. The Presence of God — Nothing can give me rest in this world of trouble but the conscious awareness of God's presence. I cannot lead his people (Exodus 33:14-15), endure the trials and temptations of life (Isaiah 42:10; 43:1-7), live peaceably in this world of woe, worship with his saints (Matthew 18:20), or die with confidence without the knowledge of God's presence.
4. The Will of God (Proverbs 3:5-6) — I have learned and am constantly reminded that it is never best for me to have my will. I do not know what I need, or what is best for me. My Savior taught me to pray, "Not my will, Thy will be done!" If I had my life to live over and could choose whatever I wanted, I would walk the same path, endure the same heartaches, experience the same troubles, and weep the same tears as it has been my lot to experience. All that has been has been the will of my Father. And all that shall be, I gladly leave to him.
5. The Glory of God — “The Lord be magnified” (Psalm 35:27). "Father, glorify thy name!" I truly want nothing else. In my home, in the life I live, in the affairs of the church and in the doctrine I believe and preach, the glory of God is and must be paramount! Nothing else matters. — Turn with me to the 12th chapter of John’s Gospel, and let me talk to you about the glory of God. Look at John 12:28.
(John 12:28) "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
“Father, glorify thy name.” — May God the Holy Spirit make this the relentless cry of our hearts. — “Father, glorify thy name.” Our dear Savior came into this world in our nature, for the glory of God. He lived entirely for the glory of God. He died to redeem us for the glory of God. Redeemed sinners, because we are bought with the price of Christ’s precious blood, are admonished to “in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Before I try to explain the meaning of this prayer, which was first spoken and offered to the Father by our Savior, I want us to look at the things which preceded and led up to it.
Our Lord Jesus had performed a very remarkable miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead. — The fame of that miracle spread like wildfire. Multitudes flocked to see this man, this prophet who, claiming to be the Son of God, both healed the sick and raised the dead to life by the mere word of his power. Enthusiastic crowds gathered in such huge numbers that the Pharisees exclaimed to one another, “the world hath gone after him.”
Following this and the other miracles performed by our Lord, the people wanted to make him king in Israel. As he rode into Jerusalem, a great multitude met him waving palm branches, and crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!” But our Savior passed through the streets of the ancient city in humility, riding an ass’s colt, just as the prophet Zechariah had prophesied he would.
This public manifestation, the well-known miracles, the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, and the general talk of the people stirred the interests of many. Many strangers began to ask questions about this man who was called “the Christ.”
Certain Greeks asked Philip to introduce them to the Master, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus” (v. 21). — Obviously, these men did not simply desire to physically see the Lord. They could do that without Philip’s assistance. These Greeks wanted to know the Christ of whom they had heard so much.
The sight of these Greeks must have brought joy to the Savior’s heart. Here were men coming out of great darkness to him who is the Light of the world. These were Gentiles arising to seek their Savior. He must have looked upon these strangers with delight, regarding them as representatives of the countless multitudes who would come to him from the ends of the earth and the islands of the seas to behold the glory of God in his face. How his heart must have laughed with joy! This was the joy set before him, for which he was about to endure the cross, despising the shame.
Then, as he began to address the crowds before him, a solemn thought seems to have seized his mind. — Let me tell you what I think might have gone through his mind. He seems to have thought to himself — “Multitudes are to be gathered unto me. Both Jew and Gentile shall be saved by me. But they cannot be born into my kingdom without my soul’s travail. They cannot be saved until I have satisfied the justice of God for them. These people cannot live until I die and redeem them with my life’s precious blood.”
This fact came vividly before the Savior’s heart and mind. It rushed upon his soul like a raging storm. He saw that he could not become the seed of a great harvest until he first fell into the ground and died. That is what he says in verse twenty-four.
(John 12:24) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
He was and is that one grain of wheat upon whom all depended. He must be slain and buried in the earth, or else he must abide alone and have no fruit. Apart from his death as our Substitute there is no way for the holy Lord God to save fallen, guilty sinners. Justice must be satisfied, or sinners could never be saved.
Our Savior saw the vicarious sufferings he must endure as the sinner’s Substitute, how that he must be made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; and his soul was exceedingly troubled. He said, in verse twenty-seven, — “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
Yet, we must never imagine that our Savior dreaded death. — He certainly did not dread death itself. His courage and strength of mind was infinitely superior to that possessed by any of his servants, many of whom have welcomed death. We have read of many of the martyrs who endured death in the most terrifying forms imaginable without fear, even expressing delight and glorifying God in their mortal agony. I have seen many of God’s saints leave this world, welcoming death as a blessed thing. Our Lord was not less courageous or weaker than they.
He did not fear death itself; but his was a very peculiar death. Death is the penalty for sin; but he knew no sin. Death is the curse of God’s broken law; but he never broke the law. Death is the out-pouring of Divine wrath upon fallen man; but he is the delight of his Father’s heart. Death had no claim upon him. He is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Yet, the Son of God died as the Sin-bearer. His death was the vindication of God’s holiness and the satisfaction of his justice. Our Lord Jesus Christ died voluntarily, as our Sacrifice and sin-atoning Substitute. Yet, he died in the place of sinners, being made sin, being made the Object of his Father’s holy wrath and furious justice.
This is altogether different from the death that we must die as pardoned, justified believers. We shall have the privilege of passing out of this world resting upon the atonement of Christ, sustained with the confidence that we are reconciled to God by the blood of the cross. Our Lord was called upon to die bearing the enormous load of our guilt! The dark hue of human corruption, sin, and guilt must soon blacken his holy soul! He must be made sin for us! His sensitive, holy soul must be made guilty before his Father!
When we die, our death is precious in the eyes of the Lord. When Christ died, his death was peculiarly and distinctly cursed by God (Galatians 3:13). He died the cursed death of the cross that all the blessings of God’s free grace might flow down to his redeemed people through the merits of his blood.
Not one of us can perceive the agony our Redeemer endured for us when he died in our place at Calvary. Yet, he saw it all clearly, even before it took place. He knew exactly what lay before him, what he must do, and what he must suffer, in order to “see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.” When he began to anticipate the horror of bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, there was a struggle in his soul. That struggle was witnessed by the crowds gathered before him and is here recorded by John for our learning.
The Greeks wanted to see Jesus; and see him they did. They saw him as no one had ever seen him. They saw him and heard him “in the days of his flesh” offering “up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death.” Yes, as the Spirit of God tells us in Hebrews 5:7, they saw the Lord Jesus Christ in fear! They must have been astonished by what they saw. They expected to see a King; and they did behold his royal soul; but they saw him in a depth of grief that no words can describe. They wanted to see the greatness of his spirit and the power of his mind. They did see it; but it was a greatness of spirit and a power of mind that filled the incarnate God with agony!
On this public occasion, our Savior seems to have rehearsed that which later took place in Gethsemane. His soul was troubled. His heart was heavy. His spirit was in agony. In his inmost being, the Son of Man was going through a time of deep, deep distress and great trouble! Our text is the culminating point of his trouble, the climax of his anguish, and the conquest of his of his soul over his distress. — “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
When he had spoken those words, reminding himself of his purpose in life, to accomplish the will of God, he seems to have shaken himself free of fear. He emerged victorious, with his face set like a flint, he was determined to go forward to the bitter, but glorious end. This was his prayer, his motive, his rule of life, and the desire of his heart and soul in all things and at all times — “Father, glorify thy name.”
Proposition: Using our Savior’s own words and example, I want us to see that as the glory of God is the ultimate end of all things, it ought to be the constant motive and ambition of our hearts in all things.
Our Lord Jesus Christ sought the glory of God above all else. May he give us grace to walk in his steps. This was his prayer, when his soul was troubled. This is my prayer for the new year. I trust it is yours as well. “Father, glorify thy name.”
I see three things in our text which I want to bring before you in this message. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher, as we meditate upon this brief prayer that fell from the lips of the Son of God.
1. A Prayer of Faith.
2. A Promise from Heaven.
3. A Principle of Grace.
A Prayer of Faith
First, here is a prayer of faith. — “Father, glorify thy name.” — Our Lord Jesus Christ, above all others, lived in this world by faith, believing God. His faith in God was exemplified in his perfect faithfulness to God in all things as a man. Both his faith and his faithfulness are displayed in this prayer.
This is a prayer that arose from our Savior’s great trouble of soul as a man. — I am always fearful when I try to speak about the inner conflicts of our Redeemer’s holy soul. Jealousy for his honor makes me reluctant to speak of such things. Yet, this event and this prayer is recorded here by Divine inspiration for our learning.
Our Savior’s great soul was full of trouble. His heart was heavy. Here is God the Son, the Savior of the world, bowed down with woe! His mind, his soul, his heart in conflict, vexed him. He who could heal diseases with the touch of his hand, cast out demons with a word, calm the raging sea and tempestuous winds, and call the dead back to life again, is in agony! How can such a thing as this be explained?
· He knew what lay before him in Gethsemane.
· He knew what Judas was about to do.
· He knew how Peter would deny him.
· He knew how his disciples would all forsake him.
· He knew that he must soon be made sin for us! The weight of our sins began to press upon his soul. Our Redeemer knew full well what he must suffer for his elect. — The Transfer of Sin! The Out-pouring of Divine Wrath! — The Abandonment of His Father (Matthew 27:46; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
(Lamentations 1:12) “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
I find here both a deep mystery and a comforting truth. Though our Savior suffered trouble and fear, he knew no sin. There was trouble in his soul, but no doubt in his heart; — fear, but no fretting or cowardice; — distress, but no despair; — sorrow, but no unbelief. Our Savior entered into our manhood fully. He experienced everything we experience, every trial, every temptation, and every heartache. Though he knew no sin and did no sin, though he was altogether without sin, he was now about to be made sin for us. If he would be our merciful and faithful High Priest, if he would be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, if he would be able to succor them that are tempted, he must be made sin for us. Blessed be his name, our all-glorious Christ is a merciful and faithful, sympathizing High Priest, in all things touched with the feeling of our infirmities!
(Hebrews 2:9-10) “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (10) For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
(Hebrews 2:17-18) “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
Our Redeemer overcame his great trouble of soul with the determination of his committed, consecrated heart.
(John 12:27-28) “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (28) Father, glorify thy name.”
The time of his suffering and sorrow had been appointed for him; and he knew it. — “The hour is come.” He had come to Jerusalem specifically because his hour had come. The hour…
· Appointed to Him by the Father’s Decree.
· Agreed to in the Covenant of Grace (John 10:16-18).
· For Which He Came into the World.
(Hebrews 10:5-10) “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ was determined to suffer all the wrath of God for us at the appointed hour.
(Isaiah 50:5-7) “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
(Matthew 27:34) “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.”
Be sure you understand how Christ died. He did not die as a helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control, but as a voluntary, vicarious, victorious Redeemer and Substitute.
(John 10:16-18) “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Illustration: “Whom seek ye?”
The cause of our Lord’s holy determination is evident. — Why was he resolved to die? Was it to save men? Indeed, it was. Yet, that was not the chief reason. His prayer here is not, “Father, save thy people,” but “Father, glorify thy name.” This is what I want us to see: The primary object of our Savior’s life, that which inspired, motivated, and invigorated his holy soul, was and is the glory of the Father. — He came into the world for the glory of his Father. — He lived here for the glory of his Father. — He died at Calvary for the glory of his Father. — He reigns upon his throne for the glory of his Father. — He saves sinners for the glory of his Father.
A Promise from Heaven
Second, our text reveals a promise from heaven. — “Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” — The grand result of our Savior’s life, death, resurrection and exaltation is the glory of God. Here the Father speaks from heaven both of the past and the future.
Three times, during the days of our Lord’s earthly life and ministry, we hear the Father speak from heaven. All three times, the issue at hand was the death of Christ his Son as our Substitute.
· His Baptism (Matthew 3).
· His Transfiguration (Matthew 17).
· His Trouble (John 12).
In all the past, our heavenly Father declares that he has glorified himself. — Without a doubt, the primary thing declared here is that the Father was glorified in all things done by the Son. The glory of the Father is always in the Son; and the glory of the Son is always in the Father.
(John 13:31-32) “Therefore, when (Judas) was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. (32) If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.”
Therefore, we are assured by Christ himself that all who honor the Son honor the Father also.
(John 5:20-24) “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. (21) For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (22) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (23) That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (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.”
· God’s primary purpose in all things is his own glory.
(Psalms 106:8) “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.”
(Proverbs 16:4) “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
(Romans 11:36) “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
(Revelation 4:11) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
· God glorified himself in the covenant of grace.
· God glorified himself in the creation of the world.
· He glorified himself in all the laws and ceremonies and events of Old Testament history.
· He glorified himself in the incarnation and birth of his Son.
· God glorified himself in the life of his Son upon the earth. — Christ is the Revelation of the Triune God. — Christ is the Embodiment of the Triune God. — Christ is the Fulness of the Triune God. — Christ is the Glory of God. — Jesus Christ, the Man, is himself God!
Yet, in our text, the Father also speaks to the Son a word of promise, saying, “I will glorify my name again.” — This promise filled our Savior with joy and courage. Let it do the same for you. Is your soul downcast? Are you concerned about the future? Hear the promise of God and take comfort. — “I will glorify it again.”
God’s name was glorified in and by the death of his Son as our Substitute. If you will read the context carefully, you will see that the glory of God is vitally connected with the cross of Christ.
(John 12:29-33) “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (30) Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. (31) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
(Psalms 85:9-13) “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. (10) Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (11) Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (12) Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. (13) Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.”
God’s name was glorified by our Savior’s resurrection and ascension.
(Psalms 68:18-20) “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (19) Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. (20) He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.”
God’s name is glorified in Christ by the preaching of the gospel.
· Our Message Glorifies Him (Isaiah 40 and 45).
· The Preaching of this Message Glorifies Him.
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16) “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
God’s name is glorified in the salvation of sinners by Christ.
(Ephesians 2:7-9) “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Blessed be his name, there is a day coming when God almighty will glorify his name in and by all things.
If I am in Christ, if you are in him, we may take this word in the most personal way possible, applying it to ourselves in every detail of our lives.
· In all that is past, God has glorified himself.
· In all that shall come, our God will glorify himself.
A Principle of Grace
Third, I see in our text a principle of grace. Children of God, listen to me now. Here is the principle by which our Savior lived in this world. It is the principle by which we should always strive to live. — “Father, glorify thy name.”
Let this ever be the prayer, desire, ambition, and governing principle of our lives in this world. — “Father, glorify thy name.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Then, let us live in the expectation of his promise being fulfilled. — “I will glorify it again.”
Would you glorify God? Are you interested in the glory of God? Let me give you four simple words of direction. Do these four things and you will glorify the name of God.
As we anticipate that which lies before us in the providence of God, let us make this our daily prayer. — “Father, glorify thy name.” That is the desire of the righteous; and “the desire of the righteous shall be granted.”
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