Title: “The Lord Hath Been Mindful of Us!”
Text: Hebrews 2:6
Readings: Lindsay Campbell - Bob Poncer
Subject: God’s Mindfulness of Man
Date: Tuesday Evening - November 5, 1996
Tape # T-6 and T-6
Our text tonight is Hebrews 2:6. I want to talk to you about and remind you of God’s mindfulness of us. The title of my message is The Lord has been Mindful of Us. In Hebrews 2:6 the writer quotes David’s words in the eighth Psalm. In doing so, he tells us that David’s psalm was a prophecy of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the redemption of our souls by him. Tonight, I simply want to remind you of the Lord’s mindfulness of us. All that I have to say will be drawn directly from the words of our text.
Hebrews 2:6 "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?"
Let me tell you where I am going with this before we start. When I have finished preaching to you tonight, I want you to draw the same conclusion from God’s mindfulness of us that David did in Psalm 115:12.
Psalms 115:12 "The LORD hath been mindful of us: (therefore) he will bless us!”
Because God is ever mindful of his people in this world, he visits us with his grace and blesses us.
In our text (Hebrews 2:6) four things are set before us as matters of utter astonishment to all who realize them.
1. The Greatness Of Our God
2. The Insignificance Of Man.
3. God’s Mindfulness Of Man.
4. The Lord’s Visitation Of Grace.
I. First, both the psalmist and the writer of Hebrews were astonished by the consideration of THE GREATNESS OF GOD.
The root of all sin, the cause of all unbelief, and the source of all heresy in the world can be found in one thing: all men by nature have low views of God. Satan could not persuade Eve to sin until he convinced her that God was not as great as she thought he was. We would never doubt his Word if we did not question his greatness. And men would never pervert the gospel, if they did not have very low views of God. Therefore, the first message of every prophet, apostle, and preacher sent of God is, “Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:10).
If I could but make you see the greatness of God, you would worship, love him, and trust him forever.
A. David was overwhelmed by the realization of God’s greatness.
Psalms 8 " O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (2) Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. (3) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (4) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (5) For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (6) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (7) All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; (8) The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (9) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
1. The Excellency Of His Name (v. 1) - Jehovah - God who Saves!
2. The Glory Of His Being (v. 1) - “Above the heavens!” (Christ!).
3. The Purpose Of His Grace (v. 2) - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 - "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence."
4. The Work Of His Fingers (v. 3). Finger work is work that requires no strength, but great skill, and detail.
5. The Rule Of His Providence (vv. 5-9).
B. Ever entertain great thoughts of God.
Anything that lowers God’s character or lessens his greatness is a lie of satan. Do not tolerate it. Let no doctrine be believed, no sermon be heard, no song be sung, and no thought be received which in anyway detracts from the greatness of God. In all things, at all times, “Behold your God,” and know that he is great (Isa. 40:10-31). God is great!
Isaiah 40:10-31 "Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (11) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (12) Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? (13) Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? (14) With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? (15) Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. (16) And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. (17) All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. (18) To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? (19) The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. (20) He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. (21) Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? (22) It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: (23) That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. (24) Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. (25) To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (26) Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (27) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah’s message is plain and clear - GOD IS GREAT!
1. Greater than all the works he performs (vv. 12-14).
2. Greater than all the nations he has made (vv. 15-17).
3. Greater than all the gods men have invented (vv. 18-21).
4. Greater than the world he created (v. 22).
5. Greater than the greatest men the world ever produced (vv. 23-24).
6. Greater than the heavens above (vv. 25-26).
7. Greater far than all our troubles (vv. 27-31).
Great beyond description, great beyond imagination, great beyond our loftiest praise is the Lord our God!
II. In the second place, I will guarantee you this, anyone who knows and acknowledges the greatness of God, will also freely acknowledge THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF MAN.
As soon as David looked up to heaven and spoke to God of his greatness, his heart was humbled, his pride was withered, and he cried, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?”
It is impossible for anyone to have both great views of God and great views of man. Those who imagine that man is great think God is insignificant. Those who know that God is great know that man is insignificant.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Here is greatness and littleness, grandeur and nothingness, excellence and corruption, majesty and meanness, God and man.
“What is man?” The word of God gives us many answers to that question - “What is man?”
· Ask Isaiah - “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (40:6).
· Ask David - “Verily, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5).
· Ask the Psalmist - “Men are a lie” (Psa. 62:9).
“What is man?” Do not ask philosophers what they imagine, educators what they read in books, scientists what they see in microscopes, psychologists what they see in asylums, or sociologists what they hear from tests; but ask God who made us. He declares in his Word that man is fallen, depraved, sinning, sinful, cursed, condemned, helpless, dying flesh. Men are grasshoppers before him. Men are the dust of the earth, no more. Man is a lump of clay. Man is a puff of smoke, a mist of vapor, the small dust of the balance, a drop in a bucket. Man is insignificant! All the nations of all men in all the world are less than nothing before the great and infinite God.
· Man is nothing!
· Man has nothing!
· Man can do nothing!
You are nothing. And I am nothing. No matter how many of us nothings you put together, nothing added to nothing is still just nothing. God, teach us to know our nothingness, that we may look to Christ for everything!
III. God is great. And man is nothing. Yet, God is mindful of man. Isn’t that astonishing? Let every heart be humbled and every mind attentive as we see the third thing revealed in our text - GOD’S MINDFULNESS OF MAN.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” When Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist stood before Mary, she said, Who am I “that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk. 1:43). When Mephibosheth bowed before David, he cried, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” (2 Sam. 9:8). How much more shall God’s elect, prostrate before his throne, astonished by his grace, overwhelmed with his love, ask, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?”
This is a subject too big for my mind to fathom, or for my heart to comprehend. Certainly, my tongue cannot begin to describe it. But let me just show you that God is mindful of us. If you leave here knowing that “the Lord hath been mindful of us,” I will have accomplished, by the Spirit of God, what I came here to accomplish. My message will have been blessed of God to your heart.
God’s mindfulness of his people to do them good is not something that began yesterday. There never was a time when he did not have our interests at heart. It is co-eternal with himself (Psa. 103:17).
Psalms 103:17 "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;"
It did not begin yesterday. And it will not end tomorrow. God’s mindfulness of us to do us good is eternal, immutable, unconditional, and indestructible. God has been mindful of us, he is mindful of us, and he shall forever be mindful of us, to do us good. He says, “I will not turn away from them to do them good” (Jer. 32:40).
A. God’s mindfulness of us is seen in the decree of election.
We were chosen of God in Christ to be the heirs of grace, salvation, and everlasting glory before the world began (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).
This act of God’s sovereign love is the source and fountain head of every other blessing of grace. Redemption, justification, regeneration, faith, perseverance, and glorification are the fruits of election.
Toplady wrote, “Election is the tree of life, whose leaves and fruit are for the healing of the nations.” (See Romans 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-6).
Romans 8:28-30 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Ephesians 1:3-6 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
B. God’s mindfulness of us is revealed in the everlasting covenant of redemption and grace (Heb. 8:8-12; 10:15-17).
Hebrews 8:8-12 "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (9) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (11) And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 10:15-17 "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Having determined to have a people for the glory of his own great name, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit entered into a solemn compact of grace, each pledging to the other all things necessary for the recovery of the chosen from the fall.
1. This covenant of grace was made in anticipation of the fall.
Now hear me carefully. The sin and fall of our father Adam did not take God by surprise. For reasons known only to himself, God decreed to permit the fall. But God’s decree to permit the fall in no way suggests or implies that he caused it, or that he is the Author of sin (James 1:13-14).
Many say, “If you believe that God predestinated everything that comes to pass and works all things after the counsel of his own will, then you are saying that God is the author of sin.” You may make such a conclusion if you dare, but I do not. I never heard or read a statement like that from a gospel preacher. The only people who talk so foolishly are ranting, free-will Arminians who would rather charge God with sin than bow to his sovereignty! I believe exactly what is written in the Scriptures, no more and no less.
a. Are all things predestinated by God? Without question they are (Rom. 11:36; 2 Cor. 5:18; Eph. 1:11; Jude 6).
Romans 11:36 "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
2 Corinthians 5:18 "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"
Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
b. Is God the cause and author of man’s sin, unbelief, and eternal condemnation? He absolutely is not (Jude 1:13-14; John 5:40; 3:18, 36; Matt. 11:25-30; 23:37-38).
c. Does God use and overrule the sin and unbelief of men and demons for the good of his people and the glory of his own name? He most certainly and wisely does (Psa. 76:10; Rom. 8:28).
Illustration: God did not make Pharoah pursue Israel. But he
used it and ordained to use it.
God did not make satan torment Job. But he used
it and ordained to use it.
God did not make the Jews crucify his Son. But
he used it and ordained to use it.
God did not make Adam sin and fall. But he used
it and ordained to use it.
We will not second guess God. We simply bow before him in reverent adoration of his wisdom, justice, sovereignty, and goodness, and worship him. And we will not alter his Word to please men and women who despise his glorious sovereignty.
In anticipation of the fall, grace was given us in Christ, the Surety of the covenant, before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9).
2. This blessed covenant of grace was ordered in all things and sure from eternity (2 Sam. 23:5).
The fall was as sure and certain as the recovery of God’s elect from the fall (Gen. 2:17). The crucifixion of Christ was as sure and certain as the redemption accomplished by Christ (Acts 2:23). And the eternal ruin of unbelievers was as sure and certain as the salvation of believers (Rom. 9:21; 1 Pet. 2:8; Jude 4). But the cause of the fall is in Adam. The cause of our recovery is God. The cause of Christ’s crucifixion is in the Jews. The cause of redemption is God. The cause of unbelief is in man. The cause of faith is God. The cause of eternal ruin is the sin of man. The cause of eternal salvation is the grace of God.
C. God’s mindfulness of his elect is even seen in his actually permitting the fall of Adam.
We have a proverb that says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But in this case the proverb is altogether wrong. Had it been best for sin never to have entered the world, God would not have allowed it. Had it been best for Adam not to have fallen, God would not have permitted it.
Satan did not sneak into the garden unnoticed. He did not overpower Omnipotence and snatch Adam from the hands of God. He tricked mother Eve, caught father Adam in a snare, and polluted our race. But he did not trick God, catch him in a snare, or disrupt his plans.
1. God was mindful of us when we fell - He allowed us to fall because he had something better in store for us than we could ever known in Eden - Adoption, Redemption, Restoration, and Glory.
We could never have known the grace and glory of God in Christ as we now know it, and shall know it in heaven, had we never fallen in Adam. In the garden, in the first creation, in Adam, God made man a little lower than the angels. But in the new creation, in regeneration, in Christ, he has crowned man with glory and honor that can never be known by the angels.
· I might envy the angels of heaven, because they have never known sin.
· But the angels of heaven might envy me, because they have never known redemption.
2. So mindful was God of us in the fall that he would not expel our fallen parents from the garden until first he had preached the gospel to them and shown them how he would redeem us (Gen. 3:15-21).
1st, The Lord sought and found the fallen pair.
2nd, He promised a Redeemer and Redemption.
3rd, He stripped them of their fig leaf aprons.
4th, He killed an innocent victim for them.
5th, He clothed them in the skins of the slain sacrifice.
D. God’s mindfulness of us was proved by his patience and providential care of us throughout the days of our sin, rebellion, and unbelief (Jude 1).
Jude 1:1 "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"
During the whole time of our unregeneracy, though we were not mindful of him, “The Lord hath been mindful of us.” He preserved us for Christ, by special providence, unto the appointed time of our calling and conversion by his almighty grace. Every elect sinner is immortal in this world until he is born again!
Illustration: The Jailor (Acts 16:27-31).
Gomer (Hos. 2:8).
Onesimus (Philemon 1-16).
The Prodigal (Lk. 16).
E. And how God has been mindful of us since the time of our calling!
He was mindful of us in old eternity, mindful of us when we fell in Adam, mindful of us throughout the days of our rebellion, until the time of our calling from death to life by the almighty, irresistible power and grace of his Spirit. But since that day, our God has constantly been mindful of us. He declares, “I will not forget thee” (Isa. 49:15); and he never has!
God’s mindfulness of us is seen in his maintaining his work of grace in us and carrying it on, infallibly, unto the perfection of everlasting glory. Our faithfulness to God is the result of his mindfulness of us.
1. He preserves us amidst the corruption of our hearts, the temptations of satan, and the allurements of the world.
2. He remembers that we are dust and gives us grace sufficient for every need.
3. He is ever mindful of us when we fall (Mk. 16:7). Peter - He restores!
NOTE: There is only one thing God is not mindful of. He is not mindful of our sin, because he is ever mindful of the blood of his dear Son! (Rom. 4:8).
1. God is mindful of us, not because of anything in us, but for his own name’s sake. We love things because they are lovely. God loves us to make us lovely!
2. If God is so mindful of us, then let us ever be mindful of him.
· Mindful of his truth.
· Mindful of his love.
· Mindful of his Word.
· Mindful of his ordinances.
· Mindful of his providence.
· Mindful of his people.
· Mindful of his honor.
Psalms 115:12 "The LORD hath been mindful of us: (therefore) he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron."
PART II DIVINE VISITATIONS
IV. FOURTHLY, OUR TEXT CALLS OUR ATTENTION TO THE LORD’S VISITATION OF GRACE.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?” David was astonished that a God so great should be mindful of men so insignificant, worthless, and sinful as we are. But there was something even more astonishing to him than God’s mindfulness of man, and that is God’s gracious visitations to his people. God visits man in grace. O wonder of wonders! Here we are challenged to the deepest admiration and the warmest praise. “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?”
I can easily understand God visiting men in wrath. We all deserve that. But our text is talking about God visiting men who deserve his wrath in grace!
This word, “visit,” means much more than just “dropping by.” It means to show mercy, to refresh, to deliver, and to bless.” “Naomi heard how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread” (Ruth 1:6). “The Lord visited Sarah” to fulfill his promise (Gen. 21:1-2). The blessings of God’s providential grace are called “visitations of the Lord.” because:
1. In them God comes to us.
2. They are free. A visit is the freest thing in the world.
A visitation is also an act of care, instruction, comfort, and direction (Acts 15:36; James 1:27; Job 7:17-18).
Job 7:17-18 "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? (18) And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?"
Acts 15:36 "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do."
James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
So, when God visits men he comes to be merciful, to bless, to deliver, to comfort, and to care for his people.
Let me show you, from the Scriptures, eight of our God’s visitations with his people.
A. First, and foremost, The Lord our God visited us with redemption by the incarnation of Christ (Lk. 1:68).
Luke 1:68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,"
This is the primary meaning of our text. It is a declaration of Christ’s incarnation. It is a quotation from Psalm 2, which was a prophecy of that great event for which the world was made (Matt. 21:16; Heb. 2:6-9).
Matthew 21:16 "And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"
Hebrews 2:6-9 "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (7) Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (8) Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (9) 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."
1. The Lord of glory assumed our nature (Heb. 1:1-3).
Hebrews 1:1-3 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
God came down here to dwell with men, so that men mighty forever dwell with God.
2. Christ Jesus came into this world so that he might save his people by his obedience to God as our Substitute.
· Righteousness (Rom. 5:19).
· Redemption (Rom. 3:24-26).
· Grace (Matt. 1:21).
Though our Lord has now returned to heaven and sits upon the throne above, yet he has promised to visit us continually with his grace. His visits are invisible, and they are spiritual, but they are real visitations from our God.
B. So, secondly, Christ our God visits his elect at the appointed time of mercy with his irresistible grace in regeneration and conversion (Eph. 2:1-5).
Ephesians 2:1-5 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"
Just as he once visited the tomb of Lazarus to give life to the man he loved, our Lord visits his spiritually dead people to give them eternal life by the power of his Spirit (Ezek. 16:6-14).
Ezekiel 16:6-14 "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. (7) I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. (8) Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. (9) Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. (10) I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. (11) I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. (12) And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. (13) Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. (14) And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD."
1. Christ gives life to whom he will (John 5:20).
2. He gives life as a matter of pure, free, sovereign grace (Rom. 9:16).
3. His life giving grace is irresistible and effectual (Psa. 65:4).
Illustration: “Lazarus, come forth!”
C. Thirdly, God graciously visits us in the acts of his good providence (Psa. 17:3; 89:32).
Psalms 17:3 "Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress."
Psalms 89:32 "Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes."
Affliction is the believer’s lot in this world. It is a visitation from heaven. And it is a needful visitation (Psa. 119:67, 71).
Psalms 119:67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word."
Psalms 119:71 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
Our hearts are fashioned to this world
By strong and various ties;
But every sorrow cuts the strings,
And urges us to rise.
Toplady said, “Afflictions are as nails, driven by the hand of grace, which crucify us to the world.”
The farmer plows his fields and the gardener prunes his trees to make them fruitful. The jeweller cuts and buffs his diamonds to make them shine brighter. The refiner throws his gold into the raging furnace to make it pure. And God afflicts his people to make them better (Heb. 10:5-11).
Hebrews 10:5-11 "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. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:"
Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials bring me to his feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.
D. Fourthly, our God constantly visits us with his preserving, sustaining grace (Isa. 41:10).
Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
· “I am with thee.”
· “I am thy God.’
· “I will strengthen thee.”
· “I will help thee.”
· “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
E. In the fifth place, God visits us with daily renewing, transforming grace, causing us to grow in grace in conformity to Christ (Phil. 2:13; Heb. 6:1-3).
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Hebrews 6:1-3 "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (3) And this will we do, if God permit."
We are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. But we cannot grow in grace unless God supplies us with grace. We are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. But we cannot be transformed unless God renews us by his grace. We are commanded to put off the old man and put on the new. But we cannot unless God subdues the old and strengthens the new. And he will do it. In this world God graciously causes his people to grow up and mature in conformity to the image of Christ. Our sancitfication is not a progressive work; but it is a continual work. We do not grow more holy before God; but we do grow in holiness. Grace causes believers to grow…
· In Faith.
· On Faithfulness.
· In Love.
· On Commitment.
· In Patience.
· In Hope.
NOTE: 1. The old man never gets better.
2. The new man never increases in righteousness.
3. But we do grow in grace, just as our Savior
grew in the perfection of his manhood (Lk.
Luke 1:80 "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel."
F. Sixthly, the Lord visits his people in the ordinances of public worship (Matt. 18:20; Song of Sol. 2:9).
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Song of Songs 2:9 "My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice."
The Son of God visits us in our worship services by…
· The Preaching Of The Gospel.
· The Songs Of His People.
· The Lord’s Table.
Sweet and precious beyond expression are those visitations of God to our hearts by the influence of his Spirit, by which he seals to our hearts...
· His Electing Love.
· Redeeming Blood.
· Adopting Mercy.
· Saving Grace.
· Free Justification.
G. Again, the Lord graciously visits his saints when he calls them away from earth to heaven.
To the believer death is no more than a friendly visit from the God of love. It is Christ coming to carry us home (John 14:1-3).
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."
What bursts of joy, what scenes of glory, what beams of light, what revelations of grace, what covenant promises, what blessed assurances flood the souls of God’s elect when Christ, our Bridegroom, comes calling!
· God smiles with everlasting love.
· Christ beckons us to come.
· The Spirit gently pulls our souls from our bodies.
· The angels of God convey us home.
· And the saints on the other side welcome us with shouts of joy, when we enter the heavenly Jerusalem.
H. Then, there is a day coming when God will pay his people one more gracious visit (Isa. 43:5).
Isaiah 43:5 "Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west."
On the day of resurrection our great God and Savior will gather our dust and raise us up in incorruptible glory (Rom. 8:11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-58).
Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17)
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall
we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
ILLUSTRATION: The Robin’s Eggs
May our great God visit many here with his salvation.