Why Not Enjoy Life!
Reading Psalm 23v6.
Preacher Ken Humphries
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Here's a striking statement. "Satan has no happy old people!" I would agree
Now he has some happy young people, the young people of today live high, wide and handsome. They can enjoy life to the full in many and varied ways and have a great deal of happiness. Note! That happiness depends on happenings! It brings joy entering into the event of the evening; it brings joy looking forward to the next event to come, so that happiness is always linked to happenings. But there always has to be something else, the next event, the next drink, the next fix, the next dance, the next night out. And the reason for that happiness is, not to be a killjoy; Satan always gives the best first. (Repeat) Yes, you have a great many happy young people but not too many happy old people. Why should that be? Well, there is a simple answer.
Sin always takes you further than you want to go, sin will cost you dearer that you want to pay, and sin will keep you longer that you want to stay.
"Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel".
That is, with Satan it always starts out sweet but never ends that way. Satan is a counterfeit, a deceiver and guilty of false advertising.
Years ago one of the local newspapers would advertise a beer with this caption. "It doesn't get any better that this". They were right, it always gets worse. I mean, they never show the add showing the man who believed their advertisement and because he could not leave it alone has broken up his family. Nor do they show the person in a drunken stupor trying to drive home and killing the little boy in someone else's family. Nor do they show him selling his wife's possessions to get some more of the same, depriving her.
You see Satan gives the best first and it just keeps going down hill from there on. Whereas Jesus gives the best first and it just gets better and better from there in. the Psalmist says, "Surely goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life and (then) I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." WOW!
Dr Harry Ironside tells, when he was Pastor of Moody Memorial Church Chicago, a lady came to his office one day to see him. Dr. Ironside, said the dear lady, I have a real problem, well tell me what it is dear lady said the wise Pastor. Dr. Ironside, there are two men following me. When I go to the store, when I ride on a streetcar, wherever I go they are always there, always behind me. Have you informed the police? Asked Dr. Ironside, Oh, Yes, but they say there is no one there. Dear lady, said the good doctor, don’t you know you are wonderfully blessed to have those two follow you wherever you go? Don’t you know who those two are? No! Do you? She replied. Oh yes, they are David's friends, goodness and mercy. God has sent them to be with you all the days of your life. From that moment on, every day she would leave the house she would look for goodness and mercy, making sure they were there. On arrival home she would invite them in and until she went to meet the shepherd she learned to enjoy the company of goodness and mercy.
I'm enjoying what Jesus has given to date but I'm having a hard time waiting to see what's coming. David reminds us that "goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives" if we are the sheep of God's pasture and have given over control to the good shepherd to lead us safely to our eternal home. Can I ask you if you have that wonderful assurance? Do you really know the company of goodness and mercy with all the days of your life? Well, how can I know? Oh, I'll tell you how you know! You will be full of goodness and mercy, you will be good hearted and full of mercy towards everyone. Next question! Following that are you going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever? Is this the absolute assurance of your heart, I will dwell in the house of the Lord always!
1. There Is A Wonderful Certainty Here! "Surely"
No ifs, ands or buts about it, it can be a sure thing. Have you that assurance?
One of the most precious passages of Scripture is John 14. Do you know, in that lovely chapter Jesus confirms what David the Psalmist says?
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Now let me stop right there! Jesus Christ was truth incarnate, He never did lie, He never could lie, He, always told the truth. He said if it were not so I would have told you! Friends, Jesus Christ would not for a moment let the hope of heaven go beating in your heart if it were a lie, a hoax, a fond delusion, He's greater than that, He's truer than that. He is Holy God! Praise His name!
A. He Reminds Us Heaven Is A Present Place:
Heaven is not merely a state of mind; it is a real place. It's not a condition of one's imagination; it’s a place more real than your city, town or village. It’s a place so real that Jesus is there in a resurrected body. I mean He's there! Now!
Heaven is a place on God's map!
You might say, well, where is heaven? We say it's up there but if you were in Australia where is heaven, they are down under us so where is heaven for them. Some of the brains of this world say we are all askew with our cosmology, we don’t know where heaven is. Well, when the Bible says Jesus came down from heaven and this Jesus whom you see going up into heaven, that's good enough for me. There is one place on globe and it's always up and that's North. It's not by accident that we always say up north and down south.
Wherever you are based on this planet there is, that polar star and the compass always finds it by pointing north. Now it may surprise you to think of heaven being in the north. Isa. 14v13.
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
There is a place, and wherever you are on this planet it's northward, above the stars of God, called heaven. It’s a very real place. Paul went there, he called it the third heaven. 2Cor. 12v2.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.
He was caught up! And you can go there in the body or out of the body.
Jesus is there in a resurrected body. Enoch is there in a body! Elijah is there in a body! Millions are there without a body waiting for the redemption of the body. Heaven is a present place! David knew of this place called heaven! Jesus knew of this place called heaven! Paul knew of this place called heaven! And dear friend, when the day of your life comes to an end if you are saved you will be caught up into heaven. 2 Cor. 5v6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
B. He Reminds Us Heaven Is A Perfect Place:
Now sometimes people will say to me, Pastor, what will heaven really be like? Will we sleep in beds? Will we prepare meals? Will we comb our hair? Will we see back to earth? What will heaven really be like? Well, I cannot tell you, I really do not know and do you know what? Those things honestly do not bother me. For the Bible says 1 John 3v2 "Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
Let me tell you what you need to know about heaven! It’s going to be the presence of all that is good and the absence of all that is evil!
Heaven is going to be all that the loving heart of God can convene and all that omnipotent hand of God can prepare!
Anyone can devise a plan by which good people may go to heaven. Only God can devise a plan whereby sinners, who are his enemies, can go to heaven. End Quote! Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952).
C. He Reminds Us Heaven Is A Purposeful Place:
A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. C. S. Lewis.
Don’t get the idea when you go to heaven your going to be given a woolly robe, a rustic halo and a harp to sit on a cloud all day and play. That’s not what heaven is all about at all, that's not the idea that comes from the word of God at all. Rev. 7v15 "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
A missionary wrote me: "Sometimes adversity tempts me to discouragement in the face of seeming failure. But I take courage and press on anew, as I remember that God does not hold me responsible for success, but for faithfulness." Jesus never said, "Well done, you successful servant." Corrie Ten Boom in Each New Day. Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 3. See: Mt 21:28; 24:45; Jn 4:36; 1 Co 15:58.
Now all of us who love the Lord desire to serve Him better than we do.
Every time I preach I wish I had preached better. Every time I pray I wish I had more power in my praying. I continually wish I had more compassion, more beauty, more tears, and more unction that I might glory in His wonderful name.
But something always stops me. Sometimes it’s myself, sometimes it's Satan, and sometimes it’s the saints.
But praise God one of these days I will serve Him as I have never served before, and you know something friends, I'm glad, so glad of these days upon earth to practice my service. All the talk of the tennis players this last two weeks has been their time to practice. We need more practice, but because of the rain they were hindered and it had a profound effect on the end result and the reward they received.
Jesus said Rev. 22v12 "And, Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
2. There Is A Wonderful Company Here! “I will dwell in the house of the Lord”
He’s not simply speaking of a building here rather; he is speaking of the ‘household’ of God or indeed the dwelling place of God’s people. I believe that is what Jesus meant in John 14 when He said: “In my fathers house are many mansions” or dwelling places, that is a dwelling place for the people of God’s household. All of the saints of God will dwell there forever. And yes its true to say that Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 14 about a ‘New Peace’, a ‘New Place’ and a ‘New Pledge’ in my humble opinion he wanted them to focus on who would be there not only that there would be a place but that there would be a place peopled by a wonderful company with Jesus Christ as the centre of interest, love, service, praise and worship.
Our normal, ordinary view of salvation is hopelessly and ridiculously inadequate. Our trouble is that we always start with ourselves instead of starting with God. Instead of going to the Bible and looking at its revelation and discovering there what salvation means, I start with myself and certain things that I want and desire, certain benefits that I always want to enjoy in this life and in this world.
I want forgiveness of sins; I want peace of conscience and of mind; I want enjoyment and happiness; I want to be delivered from certain sins; I want guidance; I want this and that; and my whole conception of salvation is reduced to that level. ...
The most wonderful thing of all is not that my sins have been forgiven, or that I may enjoy certain experiences and blessing as a Christian. The thing that should astound me ... is that I am a child of God, one of God's people. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Safe in the World. Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 7. See: Exod.19v5. Deut.14v2. 1Peter1v2.
What a wonderful thing to be a part of the family of God and to know we will live with that family forever and ever. There is such a place as heaven. No truth is more certain in the whole cannon of Scripture than this: “There remaineth…a rest to the people of God” (Heb.4v9). This earth is not our rest; it cannot be; there is not a man or woman living that finds it so or ever will.
Build your happiness on this earth if you have a mind to, single out those things that you particularly like and even love that at this present time make life enjoyable or even tolerable. Take money, property, lands, learning, health, beauty, honour, position, power and friends; take everything you can think of and yet I dare to tell you even then you will not find rest. I would be convinced that a number of years down the road of life you will find as Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes did, all is empty, hollow, unsatisfying in fact as Solomon said all is vanity and vexation of spirit. This world is not the place were we will find lasting rest.
There is a beautiful text in 1 Cor.15v19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
This life, so full of trouble, sorrow and care; this life with all its anxiety, labour and toil; this life of losses, bereavements, partings and separations; this life with all its sickness, pain, sorrow, mourning and woe; this life of which even Elijah became so tired off that he requested God to let him die. Surely we would be totally crushed to the very earth with misery if this life were all there was. If I thought there was nothing for me beyond the dark, cold, silent, lonely grave, I would most definitely be saying it would be better for me I had never been born.
Praise God! This is not all. I am persuaded through God’s wonderful word there is a glorious rest beyond the tomb; this old earth is only the training ground for eternity, these graves are but the stepping-stones to heaven. This poor, broken body will arise; this corruptible will put on incorruption, this mortal will put on immorality, and be with Christ forever. Yes, heaven is truth and no lie and whatever sort of place heaven is going to be no doubt it will be absolutely wonderful. Heaven shall be a place of perfect rest and peace, there will be no more conflict with the world, the flesh or the devil, warfare will be ended, the fight finished, at last the armour laid aside; no vile earthly body now to contend with, no evil temptation to trip up, no sin to overcome, surely this will be rest perfect rest.
But who is that wonderful company with whom we will spend eternity?
Rev. 21v27 “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
A short account of the company with whom we will dwell throughout the endless ages of eternity reminds us we are all of the same kind. “They who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” their names I do not know but their characters I do know. They are all repentant souls. They have been convicted of their sin and as unworthy sinners they have repented and forsaken their sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour. They have marvelled at the amazing work of grace he did in their lives and surrendered to Him completely for the rest of their living days. They came to know of a fact that they were born of the Holy Spirit and set apart for worship, they have put off the old man with all his corrupt deeds and put on the new man, which is a man after God’s own heart. A new heart and a new nature has been given them, they have learned to bring forth fruits unto righteousness as proof of a true work of God in their lives.
They may have failed and fallen, they may have been defiled and vile persons but they have repented and believed and now they are written in the Lamb’s book of life. They come from different nations and different ages, they have never seen each other’s faces but one think they have in common; they have repented and believed and are the redeemed of the Lord, their names are in the Lamb’s book of life. These are the people who enter heaven nothing can keep them out. Oh, what a glorious company who surround the throne of God in heaven. Who can number this great congregation? Who can rejoice for all eternity like they? Who can praise and worship as this throng? Who will serve him throughout the countless ages, as this great company will do? What a wonderful company with whom to spend eternity!
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Egypt and the tombs and pyramids, study what was required to construct some of those monuments. Some studies revealed that it required the efforts of one hundred thousand workers for forty years to build one of the great pyramids. As you tour the area there, you can't help but ask why. Why so much effort? Why would somebody put that amount of emphasis on a tomb, on the afterlife? The answer is that the Egyptians understood full well they would spend a lot more time in the afterlife than they would spend in this life. Granted, some of their conceptions of what would happen in the afterlife were a little skewed. But the point is, they understood to the core of their being that the afterlife was a whole lot more important than this life, and so they prepared for the afterlife during this life. God had placed eternity in their hearts.
My brothers and sisters, you are part of that great company the will populate heaven. There you will meet the saints of Biblical days, there you will see those ministers whose faith and power you have long admired, there we will see one another round the throne of our glorious Saviour never to be parted from Him again. May I tell you today, if I see you there my heart will rejoice with great rejoicing enough to burst. When that roll is called up yonder I will be listening for your name and will then I trust want to seek you out and look upon your saintly face knowing I played a very small part in the life now in eternal bliss.
3. There Is A Wonderful Constancy Here! “Forever”
Think on this, I often have: Eternity will not be long enough to learn all he is, or to praise him for all he has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with him, and we desire nothing more. Forever with the Lord! What an amazing concept, the heart and mind can scarcely comprehend the wonder of it.
Sheep are nomadic. If not wandering they are being led by the shepherd beside still waters and into green pastures, through the dark valleys over hill and over moor, they never seem to want to settle down in one place and so it is with the “sheep of His pasture” this world is not our home we are simply passing through this waste hollowing of a world making our way to our eternal dwelling place where we will settle forever never more with a desire to roam and wander, we will, well and truly, be home!
Hebrews 11v8-10 reminds us that even “Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place, which he should afterward receive as an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out not knowing where he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, even in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
One-day beloved we will settle down in the house of the Lord forever, what an amazing day that will be. Oh that we may get sight of this glorious thought.
He who has no vision of eternity will never get a true hold of time.
How completely, satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in his heart. For him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. A. W. Tozer.