Sermon #56                                                                                                              Zechariah Series


      Title:                                                                     The Reversal


                                                            Perfect Restoration


      Text:                                 Zechariah 10:6[1]

      Subject:               The Perfect Restoration of Grace

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — May 27, 2007

      Reading: Zechariah 10

      Tape #                 Zechariah #56



The title of my message is — The Reversal or Perfect Reconciliation. You will find my text in the 10th chapter of Zechariah. But before we look at our text together, I want you to listen carefully to my introductory comments.


Repentance Commanded


In Luke 24:47 our Lord Jesus tells us that he died as our sin-atoning Substitute “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” — “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent,” and sinners must repent. — “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” I call upon you who hear my voice to repent.

  • Repentance is turning to Christ.
  • Repentance is a change of mind, a change of masters, and a change of motives.
  • You must repent of your sin (what you are), repent of your sins (what you do), and repent of your righteousness.
  • To repent is to make a complete reversal. — “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish!


But, before any sinner turn to Christ, he must be turned by Christ. Ephraim, bemoaning himself, cried, “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented” (Jeremiah 31:18-19). If, at this moment, you turn to Christ in repentance, it is because the Lord Jesus has turned you to himself by his almighty grace. If you make a reversal, he has reversed you by his grace.


Reversal Accomplished


It is this reversal of grace that the Lord Jesus says he died to accomplish. He did not say that he died so that we could tell sinners to repent, though we do. Rather, he tells us that he died that we might proclaim repentance, — “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” There is a difference. When God commands all men everywhere to repent, he commands them to turn to him. But when our Savior, by virtue of his death on the cross, commands us to preach repentance, he commands us to proclaim the turning of sinners to him. By virtue of his sin-atoning sacrifice, we proclaim liberty to the captives (Isaiah 61:1-3; Zechariah 9:11-12).


(Isaiah 61:1-3) “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”


(Zechariah 9:11-12) “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. (12) Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.”


The word repentance basically means “reversal.” And the gospel we preach proclaims a complete reversal.

·      A Reversal Accomplished.

·      A Reversal Commanded.

·      The repentance accomplished for us, the repentance we proclaim in the gospel is a reversal of all things for us by Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

·      The repentance commanded is a reversal of our thoughts, minds and attitudes about how sins are remitted.


This proclamation of reversal is the blessed proclamation of the remission of sins. Everything has been reversed for us, because he has put away (remitted) our sins! His prisoners are sent forth out of their prison, because he has remitted their sins. “And ye,” you who have been turned to him by hearing him declare that he has put away your sins “are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). Every redeemed sinner is, in his place, Christ’s missionary, his witness, telling other needy sinners “how great things the Lord hath done for us, and hath had compassion on us.


The Experience of Grace


Our experience of grace is made sure by and arises from God’s eternal purpose of grace and Christ’s accomplishments as our Substitute, when he died upon the cursed tree. But let us never imagine that one act of grace nullifies another, or is more important than another.


·      We were saved by the sovereign will and eternal purpose of God the Father from the beginning, before ever the earth was made (Romans 8:28-30; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).


(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”


·      We were saved, redeemed, justified and sanctified, when the Son of God died in our place at Calvary, even “quickened together with him,” when he rose again as our Mediator and took his seat in heaven as our Forerunner. — When our Savior cried, “It is finished,” salvation’s work was done. Sin was put away. Righteousness was brought in. Atonement was made. The redemption of our souls was accomplished.


But the purpose of God the Father is not enough to save us. Blood must be shed. Christ had to die, for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Still, something else is required. The precious blood of Christ is not enough to make us “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” If we are saved, if we are to enter into heaven’s eternal glory, something else is necessary, just as necessary as the work of the Father and the work of the Son.


·      We must be saved by the blessed work of God the Holy Spirit in the experience of grace (Titus 3:5-7).


(Titus 3:5-7) “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”


It is the experience of grace that gives the sinner hope before God. God’s purpose makes the salvation of his elect sure, but gives hope to no one. Christ’s death upon the cross is the singular basis of the sinner’s hope, but gives hope to none. It is “Christ in you,” formed in you by God the Holy Spirit in the experience of grace, that God says “is the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).


When Christ is formed in us by the omnipotent mercy and almighty grace of God the Holy Spirit, in the experience of grace, granting us repentance toward God, giving us faith in Christ, he makes a complete reversal of all things, restoring that which he took not away, in the complete, perfect restoration of our souls to God.


It is this reversal of all things, this perfect restoration that every chosen, redeemed sinner experiences in Christ in the sweet experience of God’s saving grace. It is described in Zechariah 10:6.


(Zechariah 10:6) “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.”


Oh, what blessedness is in store for you who yet shall be called of our God! What blessedness is ours who have been called!


God’s Salvation


Take a look at the salvation here promised by God our Savior. — “And I will strengthen the house of Judah.” — Christ is our Strength. And when we are weakest, then we are strongest, because his strength is made perfect in our weakness. He who is our Strength declares, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” — “He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD” (Zechariah 12:8), — “strengthened with all might according to his glorious power” (Colossians 1:11). — “Their strength is to sit still” (Isaiah 30:7).


Where is the saved sinner who struggled with assurance when he first believed? You had no struggle with assurance then for one reason. — You looked to Christ for everything. In your great weakness, you found him to be your Strength. You started having trouble with assurance when you got strong! — When you thought yourself strong and began to look for your strength in yourself.


I will save the house of Joseph.” — Yes, our great Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ, will save all his house. See him yonder, on his throne! He declares, “I am in the place of God, to save much people alive!


I will bring them again to place them.” — He will gather his elect out of the nations, hew them from the rock of fallen humanity and dig them from the pit of Adam’s waste, that he might place them as living stones in his temple and jewels in his crown.


Here is the reason for all this. — “For I have mercy upon them.” — “He hath have mercy on whom he will have mercy!” — Your only hope before the thrice holy God is mercy! What a blessed thing that is, because “He delighteth in mercy!


The Reversal


Read the next line. Here is the reversal. “And they shall be as though I had not cast them off.” — I want to camp here a while. — This part of our text is the promise of a complete reversal, and a perfect restoration. This is what the Lord God has promised. — “They shall be as though I had not cast them off.” Just as the nation of Israel was cast off and carried away as captives in Babylon because of their transgressions, and just as the Lord gathered them again to place them in their land, so God’s elect were cast off with all other men because of the sin and transgression of our race in Adam, that he might gather his elect unto himself in grace and place them in his holy city, the Church of his Redeemed. — “He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock” (Jeremiah 31:10). And when he gathers his elect unto Christ by the mighty power and grace of his Spirit, when he causes chosen, redeemed sinners to trust his darling Son, — “They shall be as though I had not cast them off!


What does that mean? I cannot answer that question fully; but I can give you enough of an answer from God himself to rejoice your heart forever, if God will graciously enable you to hear it. If the God of heaven deals with you in mercy, he declares, — “They shall be as though I had not cast them off!


At the present, you are far off from God by wicked works. His Word declares that you are “condemned already” and “the wrath of God abideth” upon you. But, he here promises perfect restoration to sinners who were cast off in the Garden. Not only does he make chosen sinners as though he “had not cast them off,” he makes them indescribably more noble and glorious than they ever could have been had he not cast them off.Romans 8:28 includes the Fall!


The sin and fall of our father Adam was not an accident. God ordained it, because he purposed something better for his chosen than we could have ever known or enjoyed had we not fallen. When the sinner is granted faith in Christ he is made to know, in the sweet experience of grace, some things we could never have known, had we not sinned in the Garden, had we not fallen in our father Adam.


1.    Election


Had there been no fall, had we not been cast out from the face of the Lord with our father Adam, we could never have known the wonders of electing love, sovereign mercy and distinguishing grace. But, as soon as the sinner is born of God, as soon as he trusts Christ, he knows God’s electing love toward him. — “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.


2.    Adoption


Had we never known what it is to have been cast off as an obnoxious, unwanted child, aborted from the womb, we could never have known the blessed sweetness of our adoption.


(Ezekiel 16:1-8) “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, (3) And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. (4) And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. (5) None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. (6) 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.”


3.    Redemption


Had there been no fall, had we not been cast away with Adam, we could never have known the sweetness of redemption by the precious blood of Christ. But as soon as the sinner experiences God’s grace in the new birth, he learns something of the blessedness of being redeemed from the curse.


The curse is clean gone forever, through him who was made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). The anger of God is removed from us forever. As soon as the sinner looks to Christ, God says to the believing soul, “Fury is not in me” (Isaiah 27:4).


(Isaiah 51:21-22) “Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: (22) Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.”


4.    Forgiveness


Had we never been cast off as guilty sinners, we could never have known the sweet blessedness of forgiveness. But as soon as a sinner looks to Christ, he obtains blessed forgiveness (Psalm 130:4; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:1-5).


(Psalms 130:4) “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”


(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


(Psalms 32:1-5) Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”


In Christ we are so fully, so completely, so absolutely, so perpetually forgiven of all sin that we are

·      Altogether without Sin.

·      Perfectly Justified.

·      Completely Righteous.

·      Entirely Guiltless before God.


5.    New Creation


Had we not been cast off in the ruin of God’s creation by the entrance of sin into it, we could never have known what it is to be made new creatures in Christ. But when sinners are born of God, they are made new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 3:5-10). When our blessed Savior declares, “They shall be as though I had not cast them off,” this is what he means for us to understand.


(2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”


This is one of those blessed promises Peter spoke of by which we have been made “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” — “They shall be as though I had not cast them off!


(2 Peter 1:3-4) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”


(1 John 3:5-10) “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”


In the new birth God the Holy Spirit creates in us a new life, a life Adam could never have known in the Garden. He forms Christ in us, puts righteousness in us, makes us righteous, pure and holy, puts in us a spirit in which there is no guile, and makes us “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”. This new man is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. — This is that “holiness” we must have, “without it no man shall see the Lord.” It is written, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).


6.    Communion


Here is something else. When Adam walked in innocence, he walked with God in the Garden, but he never had communion with him. He never could have enjoyed communion with him in that state. But, as soon as sinners are born of God, as soon as we are brought into union with Christ in the blessed experience of grace, we have fellowship with God, who is light. — “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). — God beholding us in his Son and beholding nothing but his Son in us, sees nothing amiss.


7.    Safety


In his state of innocence Adam had life; but was always in danger of losing it. He lived with the conscience awareness that he might die. But, as soon as the sinner is gathered in the arms of the Good Shepherd, he says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish!” Once gathered by grace, we are forever safe. — “They shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them” (Ezekiel 34:27).


8.    Better Garden


Added to all this is the fact that outcast sinners, when they are gathered by grace, are assured that we shall be gathered into a better garden (Isaiah 35:10; 51:11; Revelation 21:1-5, 27).


(Isaiah 35:10) “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”


(Isaiah 51:11) “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”


(Revelation 21:1-5) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”


(Revelation 21:27) “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”


Assurance and Encouragement


Go back to our text. I want you to look at the last two lines of Zechariah 10:6, and I will be done.


(Zechariah 10:6) “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.”


Here is both the reason for all these things and the assurance of them — “For I am the LORD their God.” In the very last line of our text, the Lord God makes a promise I want you to hear. — “And I will hear them.” I think it is safe to assume two things from those words: (1.) If you pray for his mercy, God will give it. (2.) If you pray for his mercy, it is because God has given you his mercy.


(Zechariah 10:1) “Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.”


Call upon him, and he will hear you. He has declared, concerning all who call upon him for mercy, grace, salvation and eternal life, “I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” He declares, “I have mercy upon them.” He has sworn, “I will hear them and give them showers of rain!” — “And they shall be as though I had not cast them off!” That is the reversal, the perfect restoration the Son of God has sent me to preach to you. That is the reversal, the perfect restoration that is yours forever, if you want it. It is written, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!” Believe on the Son of God and go home today with everything completely reversed by Christ, in the perfect restoration of grace, a new creation in Christ, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.





Don Fortner



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[1] A Message from this Text preached at Redeemer Baptist Church, Louisville, KY — (FRI – 05/25/07)