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February 19, 2017

"AN OLD TESTAMENT PICTURE OF RECONCILIATION"

TEXT: Psalm 85: 10-13 (Read vv. 1-13)
READING:  John 1: 1-17

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SUBJ: The nature of the reconciliation that God has accomplished in Christ in bringing us to a state of harmony with Him and in Him.

AIM: That we should reflect upon and pursue those things wherein we are found in such acceptable way before God and that by embracing Christ our Lord in all things.

INTR: Verse 10 of our text is one that I have often quoted, meditated on, rejoiced in, and referenced from the context of other messages while not at all being sure of its full meaning.
1. This is some of the most beautiful of Hebrew poetry and evidently has Christ in view in that reconciliation with God is clearly in view.
2. The picture here embraces the heavenly design as well as the result of His sovereign will manifested and realized in the hearts of the Lord’s people.
3. The declaration of the blessed relationship to be enjoyed in and with the Lord comes at the culmination of remembrance of past mercy attached to a plea for revival.

THESIS: It has ever been the design and desire of the Lord to dwell in perfect harmony with His people as they sense the glory of the Lord as it is realized in redemption and the Psalmist expresses that hope here.

I. Precious relationships described (v. 10)
1. In verse 7 and 8 the writer desires to see the mercy of the Lord and commits to hear what the Lord will say. It is to them that fear the Lord that salvation is said to be near!
2. We would endeavor to determine the location of these things as in Heaven or on earth.
1) The first two must of a certainty exist in Heaven in that they address things true of God.
2) The second pair may would seem to be the result of the first and realized on earth.
3. Many have seen each of these things as adversarial and then being brought together in Christ and we certainly would not divorce these things from Him and the work of reconciliation.
1) It would seem rather that the Psalmist intended that mercy and truth be seen as characteristic of God as we think of His intent and not trying to see how he could reconcile these things within Himself – that is how could he be merciful and just, rather than to see mercy as finding a way to cross over the line of justice in order to display His lovingkindness.
2) If we see righteousness and peace as coexisting as the resonating chord in the life of believers we may understand the metaphor that in the believer, they have kissed.
3) Many would see all these things in God, but as MacLaren observed the whole theme of the Psalm is harmony between heaven and earth – God and His people.
4) The first of the couplets characterizes all that God does with His people and the second characterize the life of His people.
i. Specifically as they have the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ they know Peace: And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17.

II. A reversal of position (v. 11)
1. Truth springing out of the earth looks to the likeness and image of Christ in His people (on earth as it is in Heaven). Mercy and truth are registered in hearts and find expression in works.
1) The truth that is eternal in our Triune God as a result of a divine work of regeneration and revelation begins to reach up to heaven proving an identity with its source.
2) The faithfulness of God begins and grows as a characteristic of His people.
2. The righteousness in heaven pictures a Trinitarian and loving look to those whose lives are reflecting the truth written in their hearts and minds.

III. The reciprocation which occurs (vv. 12-13)
1. The “yea” or yes here gives emphasis and the assurance of divine support in all that has gone before:
1) The provision of that which is good: For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalms 84:11
2) And see also: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
3) While the land is in view, the idea of spiritual prosperity is not lost here. It is all for His glory.
2. Righteousness in the person of Christ, His life and work, is ever before us and He will set us in His footsteps – O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23 AND A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9.
3. Through Christ and His work we have been brought into a way of likeness with Him: 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.