THE F. D. EDITOR’S LIFE VERSE
"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness"
"The Believer’s Satisfaction"
Introduction: Psalms 17 is a three-fold prayer of David, the sweet singer and psalmist of Israel. It is (1) the prayer of a sincere supplicator—17:1-4: "give ear unto my cry that goeth not out of feigned lips"; (b) the prayer of a suffering servant —17:5-14: "hide me under the shadow of thy wings. From the wicked that oppress me"; (c) the prayer of a stimulated saint—17:15: "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."
The 15th verse is a (1) A Prayer of Affirmation where David affirms God’s divine purpose; (b) A Prayer of Assurance where David asserts his divine prospects; (c) A Prayer of Aspiration where David articulates a definite priority. Based on the last phrase in this 15th verse, "I shall be satisfied when I awake thy likeness," there are three truths the editor would like to delineate.
THE THINGS WITH WHICH I MUST NEVER BE DISSATISFIED
A. I Must Never be Dissatisfied with the Claims of the Saviour on my Life. In I Cor. 6:19-20, God emphatically declared that I am not my own, that my being was purchased at great price, and that my body thus is the "temple of the Holy Ghost" who dwells in me.
Jesus Christ has a pre-eminent claim over my life because of (1) Redemption—I Peter 1:18-19: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ." (2) Remission—Rom. 3:25: "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." (3) Reconciliation—II Cor. 5:18: "For all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ Jesus."
B. I Must Never be Dissatisfied with the Confinement of Scripture over my Labors. The inerrant infallible Scriptures set the boundaries for my ministry and service for Christ. While the field is the world (Matt. 13:38), there are some divinely erected fences outside which I am never to wander in my labors for the Lord. God has set some Scriptural limitations concerning my collaboration and cooperation and no believer has the right to operate outside God’s boundaries set forth in His Word.
1. The Scripture declares that I cannot collaborate with deceiving seducers: "Be ye not therefore partakers with them"—Eph. 5:7; "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them"—Eph. 5:11; "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what concord hath Christ with Belial?"—II Cor. 6:14.
2. The Scripture declares that I cannot co-operate with disobedient saints: "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly… .and if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no fellowship with him, that he may be ashamed"—II Thess. 3:6 & 14.
These verses do not just apply to "vocational" preachers, but to every believer. In II Tim. 2:5, the Apostle Paul reminded believing saints that they must "strive lawfully" if they are going to achieve spiritual masteries for Christ; that is, they must operate within the Biblical border lines that God has given them in His inspired Word.
C. I Must Never be Dissatisfied with the Chastisement by the Spirit in my Learning [process].
In Job 5:17, the Scripture states: "Behold happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty." In that great passage of Scripture, the longest chapter in the Bible, the psalmist wrote: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes" (Ps. 119:71). The purpose of God’s chastisement is to gradually transform me into the spiritual image and likeness of His beloved Son—Rom. 8:29, Heb. 12:5-11.
There are three instruments God uses to accomplish His dual chastising and conforming work: (1) The Catalyst of Scripture—John 17:17. A catalyst is that which acts as a stimulus to bring about the desired result, and the Scripture is God’s divine catalyst. The famed 19th Baptist preacher, C. H. Spurgeon had the correct perspective about conformity to Christ when he said in essence "I want my blood to be Bibline." (2) The Crucifying of the soul—Gal. 6:14 and (3) The Chastening of the Spirit—Heb. 12:5 are two other means God utilizes to accomplish this positive and purgative goal.
THE THINGS WITH WHICH I MUST ALWAYS BE DISSATISFIED
There is a type of dissatisfaction which is spiritually sound and Scripturally legitimate. This holy dissatisfaction should be desired, longed after and sought. In aspiring for this dissatisfaction, I must carefully distinguish between discontentment with circumstances in situations (The circumstances in which God places me) and dissatisfaction with conformity to the Saviour. I must never equate human discontentment with holy dissatisfaction or confuse griping in soul with groaning in the Spirit.
A. I Must Always be Dissatisfied with My Sensual Propensities. I have a (l) nature that is sinfully bad: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?—Jer. 17:9; (2) nature that is sinfully bankrupt: "For I know that in me, (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing"—Rom. 8:17; (c) nature that is sensually bent: "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me"—Rom. 8:21.
My evil sinful nature has a natural propensity to lean in the wrong direction and blow the wrong way. I have something in me that is sinfully carnal, Scripturally corrupt and sensually craved. The 17th century English theologian Thomas Boston aptly portrayed this truth when he penned a book called The Crook in the Lot. Boston declared that we all have a natural crook in our spiritual lot which originated with the fall of Adam and came to us via our sinful nature; that it is automatically bent towards sin and that only God can change/correct that "crook" in our lot.
B. I Must Always be Dissatisfied with my Sinful Prayerlessness. F. B. Meyer, the noted 19th Century Baptist expositor wrote that "nothing is a sure gauge of our spiritual state more than our prayers." C. H. Spurgeon aptly stated the priority of prayer when he said, "Whatever God has made prominent in His Word He intended to be prominent in our lives."
The inerrant Word makes it plain that (1) Prayer is a precept of Scripture: "And he spake a parable unto this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint"—Luke 18:1; (2) Prayer is a Privilege of Saints: "The prayer of the upright is his delight"—Prov. 15:1; (3) Prayer is a Priority for Service: "We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word"—Acts 6:4.
There are several tragedies related to prayer: (1) The Tragedy of Unclean Prayer: Polluted Prayer: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me"—Ps. 66:18: (2) The Tragedy of Untruthful Prayer: Pretended Prayer: The hypocrites prayer in Luke 18:11-12; (3) The Tragedy of Unthinking Prayer: Purposeless Prayer: "I will pray with the sprit, I will pray with the understanding also"—I Cor. 14:15; (4) The Tragedy of Unthankful Prayer: Prideful Prayer: "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God"—Phil. 4:6; (5) The Tragedy of Unproductive Prayer: Profitless Prayer: going through the motions—Matt. 6:6; (6) The Tragedy of Unscriptural Prayer: Perverted Prayer: I John 5:14; (7) The Tragedy of Unoffered Prayer: Postponed Prayer: "But God forbid that I should sin in ceasing to pray for you"—I Sam. 12:23.
C. I Must Always be Dissatisfied with my Spiritual Progress. I must always be discontent with the lack of my degree of conformity to the image of Christ—Rom. 8:29. I must never be satisfied with my present spiritual attainment. Always maintaining a heavenly eyesight and thinking, I must be constantly contemplating eternal verities.
Like the Apostle Paul, I must say, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"—Phil. 3:13-14. One believer has pertinently said, "You will eventually become like that which you contemplate."
THE THINGS WITH WHICH I SHALL ULTIMATELY BE SATISFIED
A. I Shall be Satisfied with my Geographical Location. In Rev. 20:1-2 the Apostle John wrote: "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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." The song "This World is not my Home, I’m Just a Passin’ Through" is a Biblically based musical piece.
(l) I will be satisfied with the surroundings about that city: cp. Rev. 21:10, 18-21, and Rev. 22:1-4. "The Pearly White City" and "No Night There" are great gospel songs that beautifully portray this fact. (2) I will be satisfied with the saints inside that city: Rev. 21;8 & 27 make it abundantly plain that no Christ-rejecting unconverted sinners will be found within the gates of that glorious city. Yes, it is a fact that all the genuine saints will be both likeable and lovable up there! (3) I will be satisfied with the society governing that city. This magnificent city will be run by the Lamb who also is the Lion! Though saints will have the privilege of co-reigning with our Lord—Rev. 20:4-6, the King of Kings will reign in theocratic glory without challenge!
B. I Shall be Satisfied with my Glorifying Labors. While heaven will be a place of rest from wearisome earthly labors—Rev. 14:13, God’s saints will invest their time in heavenly employment, "his servants shall serve him"—Rev. 22:32, eternally employed in the magnification, praise and worship of heaven’s King. All our abilities, talents, powers and time will be devoted totally to Christ’s magnification, without any sinful weaknesses to hinder this divine employment.
C. I Shall be Satisfied with my Godly Likeness: "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness"—Ps. 17:15. God’s purpose is to conform believing saints into the spiritual image of Christ: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son"—Rom. 8:29. The "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"—II Cor. 4:5 will be perfectly reflected in the lives of conformed transformed saints. Glory to God—what a prospect!
Conclusion: The gospel chorus writer correctly penned the aspiring saint’s goal when he wrote: "My desire to be like Jesus, my desire to be like Him. His Spirit fills me, His love o’erwhelms me; in deed and word to be like Him."
Thought: "God wants us to live down here like we’re going to live up there." Dear Saints, let’s get started NOW! D. J.
PS: This writer begins each day by quoting Ps. 17:15 and repeats it numerous times throughout the day, particularly in his daily exercise prayer walks.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – June/July 2008 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|