Sermon #1345                                                      Miscellaneous Notes


            Title:               “GOOD NEWS FROM A FAR COUNTRY”

            Text:               Proverbs 25:25

            Reading:         Psalm 92 and 93

            Subject:          Comfort in a World of Woe

            Date:               Sunday Morning - May 23, 1999[1]

            Tape #             V-28a



Proverbs 25:25  "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."


            I have come hear this morning with “good news from a far country.” Our text says, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” But the analogy used is a little difficult for us to grasp.


What do any of us really know about what cold waters are to a thirsty soul? I doubt that any of us have ever really been thirsty.


Illustrations: Walter Groover

                            Hagar and Ishmael


Genesis 21:14-19  "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink."


            In these days of cellular telephones, fax machines, and electronic pagers, we cannot really grasp the idea of receiving good news from a far country, either. Just try to imagine what it was like 150 yeas ago for a person to receive a letter from a wife, husband or child they had not seen or heard from in six months, a year, or, perhaps, two or three years.


Illustration: The Pony Express – Rescue, CA


            When we are separated from our families for a long time, nothing is more refreshing than good news from them. When Jacobs sons came back from Egypt, they brought their father gold, silver, and corn in great abundance; but nothing could compare with the good news by which the old man’s heart was revived – Joseph is yet alive” (Gen. 45:26).


Proposition: Good news, like water to a thirsty soul, is refreshing, comforting, and invigorating.


Divisions:     Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances are, whatever condition you are in, I have good news for you today.


1.    Good News for Helpless Sinners from the God of All Grace

2.    Good News for Weary Pilgrims from the Homeland

3.    Good News for the Church Above from the Church Here Below


I.     I am the messenger of good news today. – I have GOOD NEWS FOR POOR, HELPLESS, NEEDY SINNERS FROM THE GOD OF ALL GRACE.


            Some of you are yet without God, without Christ, and without hope. You are afar off from God, so far off from God that you cannot get back to him, except he come to you and fetch you back to himself by his almighty, irresistible grace. Your sin has you in bondage. Like the prodigal son, of whom our Lord spoke, you are in a far country. You have wasted your life and all your substance in the riotous living, walking after the lusts of your own flesh. Like that woman with the issue of blood, you have spent all your living on physicians of no value; and you are yet unclean, defiled, and corrupt in your soul.


Have I described you? If there is sitting in this assembly a lost, helpless, cursed, condemned, doomed, damned sinner, sinking into hell, will you give me your attention? I have good news for you. Oh, may God now cause you to hear it!


A.  The great and glorious Lord God against whom you have sinned is as gracious as he is great.


            It is true, God is infinitely holy, absolutely perfect, strictly just, and immutably true. He will not, indeed, he cannot tolerate sin. He will not allow iniquity to go unpunished. “The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.” The holy, just, good, and true God must punish sin. Still, there is hope for sinners like you and me, because God is as gracious as he is good, as merciful as he is just, as good as he is true, as kind as he is holy! “HE DELIGHTETH IN MERCY!”


1.    It is the glory of God to forgive iniquity, transgression and sin.


Exodus 33:18-19  "And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."


Exodus 34:5-7  "And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."


2.    This great gracious God is omnipotent.


            That simply means he has the power and ability to do anything he desires. His grace is omnipotent, irresistible grace. That means that my God can even save you. For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk. 1:37).


B.  This great, gracious God has made a way for sinners to return to him in perfect reconciliation.


John 10:9  "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."


John 14:6  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."


Hebrews 7:25  "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."


1.    God, in his infinite wisdom, found a way to save sinners without compromising his holy character.


Romans 3:24-26  "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."


Illustration: The One Room School – “Deliver him from going

                     down to the pit; for I have found a ransom!”


2.    The Lord Jesus Christ has obtained eternal redemption for every sinner who comes to God by him (Heb; 9:12).


C. The Lord God has sent me here to you, as his messenger, with his message of justice and grace, to call you to Christ.


            “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” O Spirit of God, help me now, to persuade sinners to flee away to Christ. This is my message, the message God has sent me to proclaim. – “All things are ready!”


1.    The work of redemption is accomplished.


Isaiah 40:1-2  "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."


Romans 10:1-13  "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."


2.    I call you now to be reconciled to God.


2 Corinthians 5:18-21  "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


a.    Christ is ready to save.

b.   God the Father is ready to receive.

c.    The Holy Spirit is ready to comfort.


Illustration: The Prodigal -- The Ring—The Robe—The

                              Shoes—The Fatted Calf


            To thirsty souls, this is good news from the God of all grace. It will be the fountain of living water to refresh your soul forever. If you are not thirsty, it will seem to you to be a whole lot of bother about nothing.


II. Second, I have Good News for Weary Pilgrims from Our Homeland.


            You and I who are believers are strangers and pilgrims in this world. The longer we travel in this strange land, the stranger it seems to us. Our homeland is heaven above, The City Foursquare, The Heavenly Jerusalem. We are citizens of the New Jerusalem. I have been reading about our motherland this week; and all the news from the homeland is good news.


A.  All of you who trust Christ have the same source of information that I have.


            The good news I am relating comes to us from heaven by God the Holy Ghost, by the Spirit’s gracious illumination, through the pages of Holy Scripture. Here, in the Book of God, we see our Savior. Here, we hear the whispers of our Savior’s love. Here, we learn of him.


John 14:16-26  "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."


John 16:13-14  "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."


1.    Children of God, see to it that you stay in regular contact with the homeland.


            Keep up refreshing communication with heaven. It really is possible for men and women to walk with God, to walk with God himself, in intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in the communion of the Holy Spirit. – Enoch did!


a.    Trust Christ! --For all things and in all things!

b.   In everything give thanks.

c.    Pray without ceasing.

d.   Read the Word of God with great care.


2.    Sometimes, our sweet communication with the homeland breaks down.


            When that happens, when sweet communion with Christ in heaven is interrupted, it is always our fault. But it will be doubly refreshing when it is renewed.


Psalms 85:4-7  "Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. 5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? 6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? 7 Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation."


Song of Songs 3:1-5  "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. 2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. 3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? 4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. 5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."


B.  Let me tell you what good news I have gotten directly from heaven for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this morning


1.    The Lord our God is still on his throne (Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rom. 8:28; 11:36).


2.    The Lord Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, is still in heaven.


·        Preparing a Place for Us!

·        Representing Us!

·        Interceding for Us!


3.    God the Holy Spirit, our divine Comforter, is still with us. –“If God be for us, who can be against us?”


4.    All the interests of our souls, both in heaven and upon the earth, for time and eternity, are perfectly safe.


Psalms 138:7-8  "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. 8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands."


·        The providence of God is sure.

·        The promises of God are secure.

·        The people of God are safe.


5.    There are many just like you and me with Christ in the Father’s house already…


·        A fallen David is there.

·        A doubting Thomas is there.

·        An angry Moses is there.

·        A feeble Philip is there.

·        An impetuous Peter is there.

·        A righteous Lot is there!



6.    You and I are wanted there.


            Imagine that, you and I are wanted in heaven!


a.    God the Father wants us there, that he might show forth the glory of his grace in us.

b.   God the Son wants us there, that he might see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.

c.    God the Spirit wants us there, that he might glorify the Son who redeemed us.

d.   The angels of God want us there, that they may hear from our lips the story of redeeming love, saving grace, and covenant faithfulness.

e.    The saints of God, our brethren in heaven want us there, because without us they cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40).


            The family of God in heaven cannot be complete without us. The body of Christ cannot be full without us. The saints who have gone before us cannot be glorified without us.


Hebrews 12:1-2  "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."


7.    Son, our Lord Jesus Christ will come again to bring us home.


John 14:1-3  "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."


·        At Death

·        At The Second Advent


            I told you I had good news for you. Hear he good news. Receive it with joy. Carry it in your heart. Let the attractions of heaven lift you above this distractions of this world.


Colossians 3:1-3  "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."



III. Third, I have Good News For The Church In Heaven Above From The Church Here Below.


            Our friends, our brothers and sisters, who have already been gathered up into heaven, are far more interested in what is going on with us down here than we ever imagine. We do not pray to the saints. We do not, in any way idolize them, or make them objects of worship; but we must not ignore them.


            There is joy in heaven, in the presence of the angels, every time a sinner repents, joy in the triune God and joy among the saints, because of the blessings of God upon his church in this world (k. 15:7, 10).


            Yes, I even have good news for our brothers and sisters in heaven, seated yonder around God’s throne.


A.  Chosen, redeemed sinners are still being called out of the four corners of the earth.


B.  God’s saints are still running their race with patience.


C. Churches are still being built, and the gospel is still running well.


D. God’s saints are growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ.


·        Some are growing old, but growing gracious.

·        Some are growing weak in the flesh, but growing strong in grace.


E.  God’s saints, some of us, will soon be coming home.


Illustration: -- The Robin’s Eggs

[1] San Jose, CA – 7-5-99