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Author:Rev. Reuben Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Mt. Nasura
 Mt. Nasura, Western Australia
 frca.org.au/mountnasura/
 
Title:Come to God, the Overflowing Fountain of All Good!
Text:LD 50 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God's Providence
 
Preached:2021
Added:2021-05-23
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Ps 65:1,5,6                                                                             

Hy 1

Reading – Psalm 36; Belgic Confession, Article 1

Ps 36:2,3

Sermon – Lord’s Day 50

Ps 23:1,2,3

Hy 66:1,2,3

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Reuben Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved in Christ, you’ve probably seen a fountain before, perhaps in a city park, or at a splash pad, or by a monument. Such fountains are almost always on, day and night, year-round. Seeing those humble fountains can remind us of Lord’s Day 50, which teaches us how our heavenly Father is so faithful in providing for his children.

In this Lord’s Day we learn about the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, which the Catechism rephrases this way, “Provide us with all our bodily needs so that we may acknowledge that you are the only fountain of all good” (Q&A 125). God is a fountain, ever-flowing, never-failing, able to provide us with what we need, day and night, year after year, even until our time here on earth is done.

It’s good to be reminded of that truth, because we look at life with human eyes. That is to say, our view of things is quickly clouded: with anxiety, or with pessimism, or a lack of faith. When we take the earthly view, we start to worry, because then nothing is guaranteed.

So we must daily redirect our eyes to the Lord. Seeing God’s majesty has a way of pulling our eyes away from the stuff of earth. We come to see how great the LORD is, and how small our troubles are. Seeing more and more that God is glorious, we learn to bend our knees before him in worship and prayer and trust.

Also when we pray for daily bread, we can do so with eyes fully on him. We pray to God who has become our Father in Jesus Christ, the God who is “the only fountain of all good.” This is our theme for God’s Word based on the fourth petition,

Come to God, the overflowing fountain of all good!

  1. He is a fountain
  2. He is overflowing
  3. He is the only source of all good             

 

1) He is a fountain: Why does the Catechism speak of God as a fountain? It’s a comparison, of course. It’s using something physical in order to teach us about the invisible God. The Lord is a fountain, and that’s something we can easily picture.

Now, the fountains that we’re used to seeing are in carefully controlled settings. They’ve been put there by engineers and builders. But a true fountain is more than simply a manmade stream of water that looks pretty or gives relief on a hot day. A true fountain is actually a source of water, bringing up water from the depths of the earth. That’s what the Catechism means, and with this image it is using the language of Scripture.

Back in the Old Testament, water was essential—like it is today—but in Israel, water was a commodity that was always scarce. Israel was a dry and arid land, receiving rainfall only at certain times of the year. So new fountains, new sources of water, were always being looked for. And when they were found, wells and cisterns were constructed, so that farms and villages and cities could continue to exist.

For the Israelites, the stark reality was that without a source of water, crops would fail and people would die. But when there was a reliable spring, life was preserved, even able to thrive. We can appreciate too, how water is essential to life. And if water is life, then a fountain is nothing less than a source of life. You can see how this gave the LORD a great image for teaching the Israelites all about his constant and refreshing goodness. For dry and weary and sinful hearts, the LORD our God is a life-giving fountain!

In Psalm 87, for example, the sons of Korah sing about Jerusalem, or Zion, which was the city and earthly-dwelling place of God. They sing, “All my fountains are in Zion” (v 7). That’s a song not just about the steady streams outside the walls, those springs that gave the capital city its drinking water. Rather, this is a confession that in God, believers can find true refreshment. In Zion are the fountains of life, for there the faithful can meet the gracious LORD and receive the forgiveness of sins. From his temple, God pours out life: “All my fountains are in Zion.”

In Psalm 36, we find a similar theme. David is again singing about the house of the LORD, telling how his nearness brings so much blessing on his people. He says, “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your pleasures” (v 8). For his thirsty people, God always provides. The LORD promises that we can kneel down at his bounteous river and be satisfied.

And then in verse 9, David develops that idea of the LORD God as a bubbling source of water: “For with you is the fountain of life.” The fountain of life: what kind of life does God give? We can think about the spiritual blessings that we’ve mentioned; the LORD God in his grace makes alive our dead hearts, and He restores our withered spirits. That is part of the picture—even an essential part. But it’s not the only part.

For David also speaks about how God is the one who meets our bodily needs, the one who provides physically for his creation. Consider what he says in verse 6, “O LORD, you preserve man and beast.” God preserves us, sustains and protects. And not just us, but God sustains all his creatures, high and low: the donkey and centipede, the eagle and the kangaroo. He preserves man and beast, and He does this by being a never-ending source of blessing.

All of his goodness streams from what David calls the LORD’s “river of pleasures.” From God’s delightful river come all the waters that fall and flow on the earth. Sent as autumn rains or winter snow or summer time hail, these waters feed the streams and rivers and dams, and these waters give life wherever they flow.

This is what it says in Psalm 104, “God waters the mountains from his upper chamber.” Or Job 38, “The LORD cuts a channel for the torrents of rain.” The LORD God is literally a fountain of water for the earth.

When we enjoy the gift of rain, and we see the land soaking in the waters dropped on us from heaven, we certainly appreciate this gift. Every drop has been sent by the Fountain in heaven above! Without this water, we’d be in serious trouble. If God withheld rain from this land, eventually we would struggle to put food onto our tables and drink into our cups. But God sends rain, so the earth can be fruitful, so physical life can continue.

And God isn’t only the source of the water so necessary to daily existence. He is the source of every blessing we have! James writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (1:17). “Every good gift is from above” means that God in heaven is the source.

We know that, right? Yet we need reminding. So quickly we forget the source, and instead we put our trust in what is visible. So easily we look to creatures, and not to the Creator. Our tendency is to count on ourselves, on our hard work, our business smarts, and careful planning and wise investing. The human view is that we did it. When we are enjoying security and peace, when we are blessed with health and wealth and happiness, the awareness of God’s mercies quickly fades.

Have you ever noticed how quickly we can push God to the edges of our mind? He is forgotten. Ignored. Overlooked. But He is the Fountain! So did you thank God today? And yesterday? Did you ask for God’s blessing on your work this past week, or did you pretend that you could do it without him?

Taking this perspective on our daily bread is wrong. It shows our native pride and ingratitude. We’re trying to be self-sufficient when we never can be. We’re depriving God of the praise and thankfulness that are due him as the Fountain of all good. Let us learn not to trust in ourselves, or in whatever else we have found as consolation and security. But learn to acknowledge God, and learn to rely on God.

Whether you are enjoying times of plenty right now, or you are suffering from some kind of shortage, you can always go to the Fountain. In your times of desperate need, when you are tired and worn out and despairing, you can go the Fountain. And in times when you are enjoying prosperity and blessing, you should also kneel before the Fountain, and then thank your Father in heaven. For it all comes from him, for Jesus’s sake. Whatever our circumstance, we can always go to him, because...

 

2) He is overflowing: When the Catechism says that God the Father is the fountain of all good, it’s not the only one of our confessions to do so. This image for God is found also in Article 1 of the Belgic Confession. That first article sets a good tone for the whole confession, for it begins by focusing on the LORD and his attributes.

After saying that God is eternal and incomprehensible, infinite and almighty, perfectly wise, just and good, the confession ends with this. It’s even the high-point, the climax of what we know about the LORD: “[God is] the overflowing fountain of all good.”

God is a fountain, and the confession says, He is overflowing. We tend to think that when something overflows, there’s a problem. Imagine you were having someone over for a coffee this morning, and you were leaning over to give them a top-up. You were so involved in your conversation about the sermon that you fill their cup up too much. Overflowing all over the carpet! But God’s overflowing fountain is a rich comfort. It means his goodness will never run out. He’ll generously and constantly send what we need.

In this regard, the fountains we see around the place aren’t a perfect comparison. Most of these man-made fountains don’t overflow at all but are carefully regulated. A typical fountain also isn’t constant, but maybe gets turned off for a service. What’s more, their water is merely ‘recycled,’ pumped up and through, over and over.

Yet think about the truth that our God overflows. The God we’re allowed to call on every day is a source of unending generosity. We can’t exhaust him. We can’t deplete or diminish him by our requests. If we trust in him and seek him with our whole heart, we won’t ever walk away from God unsatisfied. He doesn’t ever shut down.

Nor does God send ‘recycled’ blessings, like a fountain on endless repeat. It’s certainly true that we sometimes stop appreciating his gifts, and we begin to take them for granted: “Same old gifts, every day. Same ordinary blessings as yesterday.” But if our eyes are opened and our heart is humble, we’ll see the truth of what is described in Lamentations 3: “God’s mercies are new every morning—great is his faithfulness!”

Even if we’ve always had three meals per day, and a house to live in, and people to love—and a Saviour to save us, and a Spirit to fill us—to us these blessings should be fresh, each new day. Every morning that we get out of bed, we are stepping a world that God has preserved for us, into a day that He has prepared. And for that we praise him!

David sings of this in Psalm 23. And it should be true of every believer, that when I am filled from the fountain of God, “my cup overflows; surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (vv 5-6). God’s generosity abounds, and my cup overflows. So keep praying to this good God, day after day, expecting everything that you need.

And why does God hear and answer us? Is this “heavenly fountain” like a kind of wishing well, perhaps, where people throw in their coins for good luck. They think it’s only if they give to the fountain that they’ll receive anything in return.

Our God is a fountain who sends constant blessing because that’s who God is. He doesn’t need us to make some meagre contribution before He hears our prayers. He doesn’t require that we earn his favour. We come to God empty-handed, but we get to come in boldness, because we know He’ll answer for the sake of Christ.

Romans 8 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (v 32). For Jesus’s sake, He will give all things, whatever is required to serve him, for as long as we need it.

Picture his blessings as overflowing from God to us, and then overflowing from us, to those around us. If everything that we have is from God, then we can’t hold onto it ourselves. He wants us to help one another in times of struggle. He wants us to build the church. He wants us to assist our neighbors and our city and even the people who are suffering around the world. There’s a world of need, awaiting our response.

In Colossians 2, Paul speaks of how we as God’s children ought to be “overflowing with thankfulness” (v 7). Something that is overflowing cannot be hidden; it’s something you can hardly even control. If we’re thankful, overflowing with thankfulness to God as we should be, then it’s going to show!

Sometimes our gratitude is less like an overflow, and more like a dribble—a small trickle over the edge that quickly gets wiped up. We give a bit here. A bit there, because we have some left. But the Spirit says even if we have just a little from God, we should overflow. In whatever way God has blessed us, we can pour out gifts to our God in heaven!

And there’s an amazing truth here. Those who are generous God will bless even more! When we give, we never end up with less than what we had. It is God’s promise that when we faithfully give, He will overflow towards us.

Think of Proverbs 9, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (vv 9-10). Even if you don’t have barns and vats, God will keep overflowing towards you. He will find ways to shower you with his grace. These gifts never fade, coming from God who...

 

3) He is the only source of all good: There’s one more word we want to focus on in this Lord’s Day. You might underline the word “only.” This is a word which excludes every other god and which undermines every other security. For our life there is no other source, and no other refuge! And we have to acknowledge this in the way that we think about our possessions, and in the way we treat our possessions: “All that I have is only from God.”

This is a good lesson to learn, because as we begin to trust God in small things, we can trust him in things that are eternal. Your daily working and spending, your weekly deciding and doing, how you are busy with all the stuff of life—this is the classroom of faith. Through these small things we learn about God and his faithfulness. God provides our material things for a purpose, so that we realize we may always turn to him and depend only on him.

For just as God provides for our bodies, so He’ll provide for our souls! From the same fountain that all our daily needs were filled—from that same overflowing “fountain of life” and “river of pleasures”—we can receive abundant grace and mercy in Christ.

Consider Isaiah 12, where Israel is looking forward to the day of her redemption. After long years of guilt and punishment, they’re ready for deliverance. And in Isaiah 12:3, notice the image that is used to describe what God would give them in the Christ, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Redemption would be like drinking from a refreshing well; it would be like a life-giving fountain after years of drought.

And who is this everlasting, life-giving spring? Think of what Jesus said to the woman sitting at the well in John 4. He said, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again” (4:13). Christ means that all the things of this life will only last so long, not just water but everything.

For instance, we’ll eat a good dinner this evening, but then we’ll need to eat again tomorrow morning. And we might have some fine earthly goods right now, but every one of them will fade. Your car will wear out, your home will crumble, your phone will become obsolete. More than that, our bodies and our minds will wear out. Nothing here below will be able to satisfy our longing forever: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.”

Yet in the fountain of God’s grace, we have an everlasting hope. This is what Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…The water I give him will become in him a fountain of water, springing up into everlasting life” (v 14). True life can only come from the fountain of Christ!

That is something to think about when we sit down for another meal, or as we earn another paycheque, or as we do another big grocery shopping trip to the supermarket. Think about how we might have our daily bread, might even have much more than we actually need, but if we’re not eating from Jesus, the Bread of Life, then it’s all a waste.

You might have all your physical desires richly supplied—you might even live in a kind of luxury—but if you haven’t been made rich in Christ, then it’s all for nothing. Remember that God has given us this physical life so that we turn to him in faith. He has given us life so that we run to him, the only Fountain!

We even hear this in final chapter of the Bible, in Revelation 22. It ends with the call that we turn our eyes away from the things of this world, not seeking our delight in what is here below, but drinking deeply of God. The urgent call is that we come to God in Christ, who is the only fountain: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come,” it says, “And whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (22:17).

Whether you have much or little, whether you’re young or old, while you have life, you need to go to God through Christ. Go to the fountain that is overflowing with the water of life. Go to him, confident that this God can provide for you—He can provide food and drink, grace and mercy, Word and Spirit—for body and soul. God can provide for you every day, and in every way. Trust in him, for He is the only fountain, and the overflowing fountain, of all good!  Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Reuben Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2021, Rev. Reuben Bredenhof

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