Sermon #61 Zechariah Series
Title: Blessed Mourning
and Sweet Bitterness
Text: Zechariah 12:10
Subject: Repentance and Faith
Date: Sunday Morning — July 22, 2007
Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Tape # Zechariah #61
“In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood,
Who fixed his languid eyes on me,
As near his cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with his death,
Though not a word he spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt,
And helped to nail him there.
A second look He gave, which said,
‘I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may’st live.’
Oh, can it be that on the tree
The Savior died for me?
My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,
To think He died for me!”
— John Newton
I want to take you back, once more, to the place called Calvary. I want us to sit down at the foot of the cross and gaze upon our crucified Redeemer, until our hearts are broken and healed by looking upon him, until we see our souls’ filth manifest in all its vileness and washed way in his precious blood, until we are made to mourn and made to rejoice for him who loved us and gave himself for us. Go with me to Zechariah 12:10. If God the Holy Spirit will speak by his Word to our hearts, we will take our seat on that spot of ground and gaze upon our all-glorious Savior in the greatest display of his greatness, grace and glory, when he suffered and died as our Substitute.
(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
That is the great promise of our God in the gospel, the promise of grace poured out upon poor, needy sinners because the Son of God died in our place upon the cursed tree.
A Great Pouring
First, the Lord Jesus here speaks of a great and mighty pouring. He says, “I will pour...” And when he pours, he pours! — “I will pour” buckets of grace. He who “delighteth in mercy” is never niggardly in dispensing mercy. No small gifts fall from his hand. He always gives liberally (James 1:15). He is rich with grace to all who call upon his name (Romans 10:12). God our Savior is abundant in kindness (Exodus 34:6). He is plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8). And with him is plenteous redemption (Psalm 130:7). Where sin abounds, his grace much more abounds (Romans 5:21). The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is exceeding abundant (1 Timothy 1:14). It overflows the banks of our need! His grace, mercy, and love are seas without a bottom. We cannot begin to imagine the riches of his grace, or the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:15-19; 3:16-19).
(Ephesians 1:15-19) “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, (16) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; (17) That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”
(Ephesians 3:16-19) “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
A Chosen People
Next (Read along with me.), this great out-pouring is promised by our God to a specific, chosen people. — “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem...” This is God’s promise to all the house of David, without exception. It is God’s promise to all the seed of our great David, the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace, in infinite and unceasing abundance is here promised to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that is to all his church.
I don’t want you to take my word for these things. I want you to see for yourself, and see clearly from the Scriptures that the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem refer to the church of God’s elect.
· God’s promises to David and his house in the Old Testament were promises concerning a house, a kingdom, a family, and a throne that would be established and stand forever (2 Samuel 7:16; Acts 2:29-36).
(2 Samuel 7:16) “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
(Acts 2:29-36) “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. (30) Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; (31) He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. (32) This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (33) Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (34) For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, (35) Until I make thy foes thy footstool. (36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
· The promise of grace and salvation is to all Israel, that is all the Israel of God, Abraham’s spiritual seed (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:13-16, 29).
(Romans 2:28-29) “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: (29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
(Galatians 3:13-16) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (15) Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. (16) Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
(Galatians 3:29) “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
(Romans 11:26) “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
· The church of God is Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22-23; Philippians 3:3).
(Galatians 4:26) “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
(Hebrews 12:22-23) “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
(Philippians 3:3) “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
The Spirit of Grace
Read on. — “I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” The gift of the Holy Spirit in salvation is the blessing God promised to Abraham and his seed in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
The God of glory has chosen and blessed a people of every tribe, nation, and tongue (Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 7:9). All “the Israel of God” shall be saved. All that the Father has given to Christ shall be called, justified, and glorified (John 6:37-39; Romans 8:29-30). He will indeed pour out the Spirit of grace, regeneration, supplication, and mercy on all the House of David, and bestow upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem “the sure mercies of David.”
God the Holy Spirit is here called “the Spirit of grace” because all grace comes to chosen redeemed sinners by him. All grace was given to us in Christ before the world began. We were predestined to obtain it from everlasting. Our Lord Jesus Christ obtained it and holds it for us by the merit of his sin-atoning blood. And it is given to us in the new birth when God the Holy Spirit comes to Christ’s ransomed ones in saving power. All the grace we enjoy in salvation comes to us in Christ by God the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of grace.”
God the Holy Spirit brings grace, reveals grace, applies grace, performs grace, imparts grace, and sustains grace in us. Grace is his work, his operation, and his gift.
And when he comes in omnipotent, saving grace he always comes as “the Spirit of supplications.” God will save his people, and save them by grace alone, and he saves them by causing them to seek him and supplicate him for grace (2 Chronicles 7:14; Zechariah 13:9; Jeremiah 29:10-13).
(2 Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
(Jeremiah 29:10-13) “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. (11) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (12) Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. (13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
(Zechariah 13:9) “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
But let no one ever forget that if we pray, if we seek the Lord, if we supplicate the throne of grace, it is the result, not the cause of the Holy Spirit coming to us. Supplication arises in the heart when the Spirit of supplications is poured into our hearts. All prayer and praise, all the groanings of our hearts, all our goings forth unto Christ in faith and hope are the result of the continual effusion of God the Holy Spirit upon us, working in us according to the good pleasure of his grace (Psalm 43:3-4; Romans 8:26-27).
(Psalms 43:3-4) “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. (4) Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.”
(Romans 8:26-27) “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
· He shows us our need.
· He stirs us up to pray, puts prayer in our hearts.
· He supplies us with arguments to urge our cause, and puts words in our mouths with which to plea.
· He gives us fervency in prayer.
· He gives us faith to believe God.
The Look ofFaith
Look at out text again. — “I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications. — And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” This is the sure result of God the Holy Spirit coming upon a sinner in saving power. When he comes, we look to Christ in faith.
Our Lord said in Isaiah 45:22, — “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” The look of faith is the look of the soul, the look of the heart, not the look of our eyes. Our saving connection with Christ has nothing to do with our natural eyes, ears, and hands, but with the mind and heart. It is to hear him in the mind, look to him in the will, love and believe him in the heart.
You do not need a college degree to look! You may not be able to read, but you can look. You may be destitute of virtue, but you can look. You may have no merit, but you can look. Looking only requires my personal interest and attention. Someone else can pray for me, but no one can look for me. I must look to Christ myself. I look not to his disciples, his church, nor his law; I am exhorted to look to him (Jeremiah 29:13). Salvation is in him (1 John 5:1, 10-12).
(1 John 5:1) “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
(1 John 5:10-12) “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Now mark these words. — “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” Looking on Christ by faith, by the Spirit of grace and supplication we see something that is overwhelming. We are made to see that we pierced the Lamb of God. I pierced him! Who sent our Lord to the tree? What held him there? It was not the nails, nor human weakness, nor the soldiers.
“‘Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear!”
— Isaac Watts.
He did no sin, had no sin, and knew no sin. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but he was altogether unacquainted with sin. Yet, He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. And when he was made sin for us, Divine Justice cried, “Nail him to the tree. Sin must be punished!” So when the question is asked, “Who crucified Christ?” I reply, “It was me! The holy Lord God pierced him for my sins!” (Isaiah 53:4-10)
(Isaiah 53:4-10) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
I see the crowd in Pilate’s hall,
I mark the angry men;
Their shouts of “Crucify!” appall,
With blasphemies between.
And of that shouting multitude
I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude,
I recognize my own.
I see the scourges tear his back,
I see the piercing crown,
And of that crowd who smite and mock
I feel that I am one.
Around yon cross, the throng I see,
Mocking the Sufferer’s groan,
Yet, my own voice, it seems to me,
There mocked my Lord alone.
‘Twas I that shed the sacred blood,
I nailed him to the tree,
I crucified the Christ of God,
I joined the revelry!
Yet, not the less that blood avails
To cleanse away my sin,
And not the less that cross prevails
To give me peace within.
Be sure you do not miss this next thing. “And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Repentance is the result of looking, the result of faith, not a condition that qualifies us to look, not a prerequisite to faith. I know that we cannot have repentance without faith, and cannot have faith without repentance. Still, I know that repentance, true mourning for sin comes as a result of God the Holy Spirit revealing the crucified Christ in us and to us (Isaiah 6:1-5; Job 42:4-6).
(Job 42:4-6) “Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. (5) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
(Isaiah 6:1-5) “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (2) Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (4) And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Bro. Henry Mahan wrote, “True mourning for sin has a distinct and constant reference to the Lord Jesus. If I hate sin because I am exposed, I have not repented; I merely regret that I have been found out. If I hate sin because of judgment and hell, I have not repented; I merely regret that God is just. But if I see sin as a hateful offense against my Lord, and I see my sin as crucifying Him, then I mourn with a truly broken and repentant heart (Psalm 51:3-4). True mourning is a great bitterness, as one mourns the death of his firstborn. Someone said…
‘Lord, let me weep for naught but sin
And after none but Thee;
Then I would (Oh, that I might!)
A constant weeper be!’
A broken heart over sin is a work of the Spirit of God and will be healed (Psalm 51:17; 34:18).”
(Psalms 34:18) “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
(Psalms 51:17) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
The more we see of Christ, the more we see of ourselves. It is the revelation of Christ as our sin-atoning Redeemer that produces true worship, true repentance, true faith, and everlasting salvation (John 6:40).
(John 6:40) “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
A Fountain Opened
Now, if you will skip down to Zechariah 13:1, I will show you what will happen when you look to Christ. — His saving efficacy and fulness will be opened before you and opened for you, for your cleansing and the uncleanness of your soul.
(Zechariah 13:1) “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains!
Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
‘Til all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more!
The phrase “in that day” might refer to several times.
· The fountain was opened when God purposed to save us.
· The fountain was opened to all Old Testament believers.
· The fountain was opened when our Lord died.
· The fountain was opened when I believed.
Thank God, that fountain will still be open in the great day of our Lord; for we have been saved, by his grace are being saved, and now is our salvation is nearer than when we believed. And the whole of the redemptive work is because he loved us and gave himself for us (Revelation 5: 9-10).
(Revelation 5:9-10) “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com