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March 5, 2017

"AN IRRESISTIBLE BLESSING"

TEXT: Isaiah 26:
READING:  2 Thessalonians 2: 1-17

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SUBJ: Blessedness perceived in election, effectual calling, and a living relationship with the Lord and that enjoyed in the way of praise, worship, and service.

AIM: That we might cultivate in ourselves the sense of divine graciousness and participate fully in that which the blood of Christ has purchased and provided.

INTR: It has not been too long ago that we preached from Psalm 32:1-5 and entitled it “Another Beatitude,” noting that several places in the Psalms are beatific, at least 14 of them.
1. We do well to investigate the cause of blessedness or happiness in that losing sight of such things often results in forfeiture of the most delightful relationships in the Lord.
2. It is to be realized, in reading both the accounts of his life and his Psalms, that David was a complex man with deep experiences in both forgiveness and devotion.
3. We would pursue a rather comprehensive picture of the blessedness that he knew and that we should pursue as we face the rigors of this present world.

THESIS: When the truths of God’s word and work are brought to our experience in His presence there is true blessedness and so we should pursue these things diligently.

I. The place of praise and prayer (vv. 1-2)
1. Zion pictures to us the dwelling place of God with His people and it may be seen in many aspects even today – an example might be the relationship we cultivate in this place – Praise waits there:
1) Wherever the Lord’s people meet, praise for Him is the expectation and the primary occupation. They wait for a signal from Him.
2) Some read it: “praise is silent for thee” indicating either that
i. The praise of men and angels is as silence to Him or
ii. That a silent solemnness occurs in His presence.
3) It is certain that where there is true salvation there is praise and adoration that will find a way of response to His presence and in the presence of all who so worship.
2. Unto thee shall the vow be performed is regarding any commitment made in the name of true religion
1) We, as believers, are under covenant such as is the product of faith and submission to Him
2) So, whatever we may endeavor to do it is to Him just as all sin is against Him!
3. David addresses the Lord under the title “O thou who hearest prayer.”
1) It is that sweetest of realizations that we are never alone and that as His we are heard even if not answered at the moment
2) It is the same for all who come and will come – no multiple ways of salvation are of approach unto Him – perhaps anticipating at this time the salvation of Gentiles.
3) Spurgeon: ”To come to God is the life of true religion; we come weeping in conversion, hoping in supplication, rejoicing in praise, and delighting in service.”

II. The place where we are found (v. 3)
1. The confession of David indicates that which is common to all in that we are powerless against sin in either:
1) The besetting sin within or
2) The attacks of the enemy without
2. But, His reference to our transgressions, faith addresses the ability of the Lord to purge or cleanse them away
1) Certainly, the substitute is in view at this time in that worship involved sacrifice
2) If we are not as David, in this regard, we are missing the gravity of sin!

III. The only place where blessedness may be known (v.4)
1. As we have already noted, the things observed early in the Psalm lead to a proper assessment of our standing before the Lord and should be cultivated in our experience.
2. We have in this verse a compendium of essential Bible doctrine:
1) Election – And we are reminded of such passages as: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1 Peter 1:2 and 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: Ephesians 1:4.
i. Wherein we sense the eternal love of God put into action on His part.
ii. We do not understand but rejoice to be included undeserved as we are.
2) Effectual calling – Wherein we understand that He is the cause of action on our part and not a self-motivation out of a depraved heart – He changes, suits, and effects the wooing that is irresistible.
i. We surely understand: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 and
ii. Experience: The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
3) Access – It is essential that we come into the presence of the King in awe every aspect of His appearance to us. He is our friend and as we draw nigh to Him, He draws nigh to us and each encounter and each thought demands that we see Him as He is to whatever degree we are able – read Isaiah 6 often!
4) Acceptance – That we are in His presence ever is to be reminded of the great price to bring us there. Where is the wonder as I realize who I am and who He is!
5) Sonship – We dwell in His courts and are counted in the household of God – called the Sons of God!
3. All of this fills us with wonder, but there are many who hearing of it are unaffected and have no desire for such happiness. They rather choose the things of this world and dwell contentedly in the land of “no hope.”
1) We are satisfied – literally filled with a sense of completion and delight in all that pertains to Him
2) And that is the place of Holiness: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalms 23:6.