Sermon #1820 Miscellaneous Sermons
Text: Psalm 103:5 and Ecclesiastes 3:11
Subject: Contentment of the Reprobate and of Believers
Date: Sunday Morning — November 29, 2009
Tape # Z-75b
Reading: Genesis 32:1-33:11
I have two texts: Psalm 103:5 and Ecclesiastes 3:11. The title of my message is — Enough? Do have enough? Do I? If so, what do you call “enough”? Turn first to Psalm 103.
(Psalms 103:1-5) "A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (3) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (4) Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; (5) Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
All who are saved by the grace of God, all who are in Christ are here called upon to bless the Lord Jehovah, the Triune God, because he…
Š “Forgiveth all thine iniquities.”
Š “Healeth all thy diseases.”
Š “Redeemeth thy life from destruction.”
Š “Crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.”
Š And the Lord our God is he “who satisfieth thy mouth with good” to the constant renewing of our souls.
God’s elect are a people who, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, are satisfied with him. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood, we hunger and thirst no more. In our Father’s house, we find bread enough and to spare. Trusting Christ, we cease from our labors and find rest unto our souls. Day by day, he proves his word true, who said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Illustration: “Is Jesus enough?”
— “If he’s all you’ve got he is.”
Blessed be his name, our great God has set Christ in our hearts; and having Christ we have enough. He “satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
But there are many in this world in whose hearts God sets something else, a people to whom God in judgment gives satisfaction, but not with Christ. God puts something else in their hearts that satisfies them. Turn to Ecclesiastes 3 and I will show you.
This message was inspired by a conversation I had with our family after our Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday. Specifically, I said to our grandson Will, whose world revolves around football, basketball, baseball and golf: — “I pray every day for you, that the Lord will set your heart upon Christ. I pray everyday that he will not set the world in your heart.” Then I gave him and to the rest of the family the essence of the message I believe the Lord has given me for you.
Illustration: Phil G.
(Ecclesiastes 3:9-11) "What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? (10) I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. (11) He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Now, let’s turn back to Genesis 33. Here we have two men, two twin brothers, each is held before us as a glaring example. One exemplifies those in whose hearts God has set the world; so that having what he wanted in this world he had enough, and went to hell with it. The other exemplifies those blessed sinners who are the objects of God’s everlasting mercy, love and grace in Christ. In their hearts the Lord God has set his darling Son, and having Christ he had enough and now sits with his Savior in heaven.
Let me give you the background. You will recall that when Isaac was about to die he called Esau and told him to go out, kill a deer, and make a batch of his favorite stew, and promised when he returned that he would pass along to him the patriarchal blessing, the blessing of God’s covenant. But Esau had already sold his birthright and the blessing of it to Jacob.
Rebekah overheard the conversation between Isaac and Esau. So she called Jacob and urged him to pretend to be Esau that he might deceive Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. Because Isaac was an old man and nearly blind, their scheme worked. By the time Esau returned to Isaac, Jacob had already obtained the blessing.
Esau was enraged. He was so angry that he swore he would kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. So Jacob fled from his brother and took refuge under the roof of Rebekah’s brother Laban. Laban was probably the only man living more conniving than Jacob. But that is another story. Jacob spent fourteen years serving his uncle Laban, married his daughters Leah and Rachel, and was greatly blessed of God in everything he touched. The Lord gave him a large family, huge herds of sheep and cattle and great wealth.
After serving Laban for fourteen years, Jacob said, “I’ve had enough of this” and resolved to return to the land of his fathers. Always the schemer, on his way home, he began to make plans to appease Esau. He sent huge presents, one on the heels of another. Yet, when he heard that Esau was coming with four hundred men to meet him, he was scared to death.
Now let’s read Genesis 33:1-11 together.
Genesis 33:1-11 "And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. (2) And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. (3) And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. (4) And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. (5) And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. (6) Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. (7) And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. (8) And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. (9) And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. (10) And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. (11) Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough (Margin “all things”). And he urged him, and he took it."
I call your attention to the fact that both Esau and Jacob declare themselves content with that which they possessed. What a rare sight this is. Seldom in my life have met with men or women who were content, who had enough to satisfy them. Here are two men who were content. More than that, these two men were brothers, twin brothers; but the only thing these two men had in common was the fact that they were content with what they possessed. In every other way, these two brothers were as unalike as two brothers could be. Both said, “I have enough.” Let’s look at these two men as they are held before us here in the Book of God; and ask God the Holy Spirit to graciously open his Word to us.
Proposition: There is a contentment to be dreaded and an contentment to be desired, the contentment of damnation and the contentment of faith.
Divisions: Here are the divisions of my message.
1. Esau was a lost, reprobate man, but a content man.
2. Jacob was a believing man who was content.
3. What was the difference between Jacob and Esau?
The Contentment of Damnation
First, I want you to see that Esau was a lost, reprobate man, but a content man. His contentment was the contentment of the reprobate, the contentment of damnation. — Esau had many faults, but greed was not one of them. He was a content man. When Jacob brought all the droves of gifts to him to appease his anger and wrath, Esau said, You keep all these things. I have enough. There are some important lessons for us to learn here.
Moral excellence and spiritual grace are not the same things. — Esau was a moral man, in many respects far more moral in his behavior than Jacob. That is sometimes the case. Men and women who do not know God at all are sometimes very moral, very respectable and very impressive.
That is not usually the case. We are living in a society that is striving hard to redefine morality. These days the murder of babies, fornication, adultery and homosexuality are considered matters of individual preference. Yet, it does sometimes happen that lost, unregenerate men and women are very moral in their behavior. When that is the case, morality itself is a commendable thing.
Š Morality promotes charity, philanthropy and works of compassion for the sick, the needy and the impoverished.
Š Morality helps to preserve society.
Š A sense of moral responsibility keeps people from abusing and misusing one another.
Yet, morality does have its evil side. — I have known some very moral men and women whose morality was positively abominable because their morality was utter self-righteousness. They made the mistake of imagining that since they lived in a moral manner, they were indeed good. Do not be so foolish! — “The Lord looketh upon the heart!”
Š You who are very moral outwardly, are yet as corrupt within as the rest of us.
Š Your heart is a cesspool of iniquity.
Š Your heart, like mine, is deceitful above all things.
I am here to tell you that there is no goodness in you, none. The sooner you learn it, the better.
Esau learned many things which made him a man of exemplary moral character.
Š He learned contentment.
Š He learned to forgive injuries done to him.
Š He learned to be a man of a magnanimous spirit.
He not only forgave Jacob, he did everything he could to help and benefit him. Read the rest of this chapter, and you will see that Esau was a man of magnanimous character. I have known few like him. But Esau did not know the Lord! He did not know God! He was a lost, unregenerate, reprobate man, a man whom God had left to himself! He was one of those we read about in Ecclesiastes 3:11. The Lord God had set the world in his heart, “so that he could not find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Because the world was set in his heart, Esau was content without Christ!
I have said all that to say this: — It is absolutely impossible for any man to know the heart and spiritual condition of another man. There is a terrible tendency in us all to presume that we are smarter than God and that we really can discern between wheat and tares, that we really can distinguish sheep from goats. We cannot do so. We must make no efforts to do so. We need to quit trying to determine who is saved and who is lost, and seek to know the Lord God for ourselves.
I have said all that to say this as well: — You will have to have something better than your own morality and righteousness to find acceptance with the immaculately, infinitely holy Lord God (Matt. 5:20).
Matthew 5:20 "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
You and I can never be accepted of God until we are made perfectly righteous in Christ, made righteous by the work of God’s free grace, by…
The Contentment of Salvation
Now, second, look at Esau’s brother. Jacob. Jacob was a believing man who was content. His contentment was the contentment of grace, the contentment of salvation. Throughout the Book of God Jacob represents all of God’s elect. In fact, believers are frequently called “the sons of Jacob.”
Š The sons of Jacob are the redeemed of the Lord (Ps. 77:15).
Psalms 77:15 "Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah."
Š The sons of Jacob are those to whom the Word of the Lord is sent (1 Kings 18:31).
1 Kings 18:31 "And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:"
Š The sons of Jacob are kept and preserved in grace and life and faith in Christ by the power and grace of our unchanging God (Mal. 3:6).
Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Two Different Words
The word that Jacob used, when he said, “I have enough” and the word Esau used were two completely different words. When Jacob said, “I have enough,” he was referring to much more than his earthly, material riches. In fact, those things really had nothing at all to do with what he was talking about. If you have a marginal translation in the center column of your Bible, you will notice that Jacob said what Esau could never say. He said what every true believer can and should say, but it was something the unbeliever can never say. Jacob said, “I have all things.” Truly, that person who has all things has enough!
John Gill, in his commentary says that Jacob’s words here mean I have “a sufficiency of all good things,…or ‘I have all things’, all kind of good things, everything that was necessary for him; the expression is stronger than Esau's; and indeed Jacob had besides a large share of temporal mercies, all spiritual ones; God was his covenant God and Father, Christ was his Redeemer, the Spirit his sanctifier; he had all grace bestowed on him, and was an heir of glory.”
My brother, whatever your outward circumstances may be, my sister, whatever your present condition is, I want you to understand that Jacob’s lot is your lot, and a good lot it is. Be sure you understand these two things. Oh, may God be pleased to seal them to our hearts!
1. “All things are of God” (2 Cor. 5:18).
Proverbs 16:4 "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."
Proverbs 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."
Romans 8:28 "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."
Romans 11:36 "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
Illustration: The Throne, The Rainbow, The Book and The Lamb (Rev. 4, 5, and 10).
2. “All things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21).
Š All Things Temporal — Good and Evil (Rom. 8:28; Pro. 12:21; Ps. 57:2-3).
Proverbs 12:21 "There shall no evil happen to the just."
Romans 8:28 "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."
Psalms 57:2-3 "I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. (3) He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth."
Š All Things Spiritual (Eph. 1:3-6).
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."
Š All Things Eternal (Rom. 8:16-17)
Romans 8:16-17 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Third, what was the difference between Jacob and Esau? When you understand the difference between Jacob and Esau, you will understand the difference between God’s elect and the unbelieving in all ages, times and circumstances.
Esau was a lost, unregenerate, reprobate man, a man who found everything he wanted in the world. I understand the teachings of Holy Scripture regarding the sovereign, eternal, unalterable purpose of our God and rejoice in it. I will deal with that in a few minutes. For now, let me just say this — Esau was a lost man, not because God would not save him, but because he chose the world and the lusts of his flesh rather than Christ.
Hear me, my friend. — If you perish in your sins, if you die without Christ, it will be your own fault alone, no one else’s. You will not be able to blame your eternal ruin on the purpose of God. If you are saved, that will be God’s work and God’s work alone. If you are lost, that will be your fault and your fault alone!
Esau despised Christ and the gospel of God’s free, saving grace in Christ. That is what was represented in the birthright he despised (Gen. 25:30-34).
Genesis 25:30-34 "And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. (31) And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. (32) And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (33) And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. (34) Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."
God left Esau to himself. Because Esau despised God’s birthright, because he despised God’s Son, because he counted Christ a common worthless thing, God left him to himself.
Moreover, the Lord God put the world in Esau’s heart to blind him (Ecc. 3:11).
Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Jacob was a man blessed of God as the everlasting object of his free grace in Christ. — I remind you again, all that the Scripture says about Jacob as the object of God’s grace is true of all God’s elect. We are the sons of Jacob. As such, we gladly acknowledge that the only difference between Jacob and Esau is the difference that grace has made. “By the grace of God I am what am!” This is the difference between Jacob and Esau. This is the difference between you who believe and those who do not believe. See that you get it (1 Cor. 4:7).
1 Corinthians 4:7 "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
God loved Jacob (Rom. 9:10-26).
Romans 9:10-26 "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (11) (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."
The Lord chose Jacob (Ps. 135:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; John 15:16).
Psalms 135:4 "For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure."
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The Lord stopped Jacob in his way and revealed himself to him at Bethel. You will recall that back in Genesis 28 Jacob was running away. But he ran smack into God! He ran into God because God put himself in the way! God met Jacob at Bethel (the house of God) and revealed himself, his grace, his mercy and his glory in Christ. Oh, how I thank God that he crossed my path, stopped me in my mad rush to hell, and revealed his Son in me!
God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, wrestled with Jacob, made him confess who and what he was, and gave him a new name (Gen. 32:24-31).
Genesis 32:24-31 "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (25) And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (26) And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (27) And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. (28) And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (29) And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (30) And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (31) And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh."
Š Beloved, now are we the sons of God.
Š In Christ, all things are new. Christ has given us a new name, put us in a new family and made us partakers of a new covenant!
The Lord God led Jacob all his life. — He said, “I am with thee and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of!” Child of God, that is precisely God’s promise to you and me (1 Thess. 5:24; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 13:5).
Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
1. This is your responsibility — You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You must choose him!
2. This is your only hope and mine — GRACE!
3. Here is the thankful testimony of every true believer. Every son of Jacob testifies, — “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
Psalms 115:1 "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake."
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