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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Title:With faith you'll always find satisfaction at God's house
Text:Psalms 65:4 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Revelation of the Gospel

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Psalm 93:1-3

Psalm 93:4 (after the law of God)

Psalm 84:1,5,6

Hymn 73:1,2

Psalm 65:1-3

Scripture reading: John 2:13-22

Text: Psalm 65:4

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

Beloved congregation of Christ,

Psalm 65:4 has been described as a mini-systematic theology.  There’s a lot packed into it.  You can compare it to a mine filled with diamonds.  This morning we’re going to be digging for gospel jewels from this mine. 

Speaking generally, it’s a Psalm of thanksgiving.  And it begins with worship for the God who has blessed his people with what they need for soul and body.  These people have gathered at his house to lift up his Name in praise for his awesome deeds.  That’s what’s happening in the first four verses.  And it’s as God’s people do this, as they’re in his house, that they realize how good it is to be in his presence.  They realize how God’s house provides satisfaction you can’t find anywhere else, a real and meaningful satisfaction.  So I preach to you God’s Word this morning and we’ll see how with faith you’ll always find satisfaction at God’s house.

We’ll consider the truth of this:

  1. In the Old Testament
  2. In Christ and his body
  3. In the age to come

Satisfaction is one of those things people always chase after.  In popular music you’ll hear the complaint, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”  In life, people talk about job satisfaction or satisfaction with their work/life balance and so on.  It seems like satisfaction is elusive for many.  But in the Bible we read about people who did find satisfaction. 

In the Old Testament, if you were chosen by God to be part of his people, and you responded in faith, there was satisfaction in that.  There was blessing or happiness in that.  God had chosen you and then he would draw you near to himself at his house.  Every Jew was called by God to draw near to worship him – initially at the tabernacle, and then later on at the temple.  This was a calling for Jewish believers, but if done in faith, it was also a delight.  It was eminently satisfying. 

When Old Testament believers would draw near to God at his house, they’d find good things.  They’d find holy things – holy means these things were completely unique.  They were things completely set apart from everything sinful and wrong in the world.  These are the things that would provide the satisfaction that eludes so many others.

In verses 1 to 3, there are good and holy things mentioned that Old Testament believers would find at God’s house.  The first is praise.  You could always praise God at home, of course.  But when you went to God’s house, you offered praise with all his people, together, corporately.  You were reminded that you were part of a people committed to praising God.  There was this good sense of solidarity in corporate worship – we’ve together been blessed by God and we together praise God.  We encourage one another to do that and keep on doing that. 

The second good and holy thing was prayer.  Again, you could always pray at home.  But in God’s house, you unite your heart in prayer with others.  Through the sacrifices, you were assured that the prayers you prayed with God’s people were heard.  There was something unique and satisfying about praying at God’s house versus praying by yourself at home. 

In verse 3, we find the third good and holy thing that satisfied at God’s house in the Old Testament.  When believers sinned, they went to God’s house and there they found atonement in the sacrifices.  Our English word “atonement” literally means “at-one-ment.”  Sin creates a barrier in your relationship with God – it separates you from God.  But when you have atonement, you and God are brought back together again into a relationship of fellowship.  That was possible in the Old Testament through the sacrifices pointing ahead to Christ.  There was atonement and forgiveness available at God’s house.  You didn’t have to carry that load of sin and guilt around with you forever.  It was a relief. It was a good thing that you could find peace and reconciliation in God’s presence. 

So when an Old Testament believer went up to the tabernacle or later on the temple, he or she could expect to come away feeling satisfied.  They’d be filled with good things, unique and holy things unavailable anywhere else.  However, that wasn’t automatic.  You wouldn’t be automatically satisfied going up to God’s house.  You couldn’t just do it in a ritualistic kind of way and expect to be satisfied.  No, there had to be faith.  You had to believe in God and trust in his promises.  Faith has always been the way to spiritual blessing and satisfaction.  It was that way for Old Testament believers too.  They had to place their trust in God that he would accept their praises, hear their prayers, and forgive their sins.  As it says in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  So to find satisfaction at God’s house, there had to be faith.

Now if all these things were true for Old Testament believers, they’re even more true for us today.  That begins with realizing the temple is still around.  But it’s not the same temple as in Old Testament times.  The Old Testament temple was never meant to be a permanent structure.  While each version of the temple was built solid with huge stones, it was always meant to be a temporary set-up.  This is because it was pointing ahead to something far better, actually someone far better.

We read from John 2 and there Jesus explicitly says that he is the fulfillment of the Old Testament temple.  And actually that’s not the first time we find that mentioned in John’s gospel.  It was already in John 1, when John wrote that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”  Literally, it says he tabernacled with us.  Similarly, in Colossians 1:19, the Holy Spirit says that in Christ “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”  The place where God dwelt in the Old Testament was called the temple.  In the New Testament, Jesus has become the temple of God.  In him, in his very being, the fullness of God dwells. 

So now when we as Christians go back to Psalm 65, we have to sing it and read it in that light.  When we see Christ as the New Testament temple, then Psalm 65 becomes so much richer and deeper for us.  Let’s see how just with verse 4. 

“Blessed is the one you choose and bring near to dwell in your courts!”  With our eye on Jesus, we could paraphrase that, “Blessed is the one you choose in Christ and bring near to dwell in him!”  Our election is in Christ.  The classic passage about election is in Ephesians 1 and it says that God chose us “in him” [in Christ] “before the foundation of the world.”  That means our election is only through what Christ would do in his perfect life, death on the cross, and resurrection.

That election leads everyone involved to dwell in Christ.  Everyone who has been chosen by God will have faith in Jesus Christ and be united to him.  They will become one with him spiritually speaking.  Election in Christ leads to union with Christ.  That’s the ultimate meaning of “dwelling in God’s courts.”  It’s dwelling in Christ now as Christians. 

That leads to satisfaction.  If we paraphrase the next part of verse 4, “We shall be satisfied with the goodness and holiness of Jesus Christ.”  He is the house, the temple where Christians find their greatest satisfaction.  Through him and in him, we have the confidence that our praise to God is acceptable.  Through Christ and in him, we have the confidence that our prayers are heard by God and always answered by him.  Last but not least, we have the confidence in Christ that all our transgressions have been fully atoned for.  We have the satisfaction of knowing the gospel, the good news that in Christ our burden of sin and guilt is gone and we’re restored to fellowship and peace with God.

But just as with the Old Testament temple, this satisfaction doesn’t come automatically.  God promises these rich blessings to those who are in Christ, but to be in Christ in a saving way, you must have faith.  You can’t receive Christ’s blessings, you can’t be satisfied in him, you can’t dwell in him, unless you’re placing all your hope and trust in him alone for your spiritual well-being now and for eternity.  Faith is the only way to find satisfaction at God’s house.  Faith is the only way to find satisfaction in Jesus Christ.  So, loved ones, I ask you:  in whom are you placing your faith and trust?  God calls you to make sure it’s in Christ alone. 

When you’re in Christ by faith, when you’re united to him, then that adds another beautiful level of meaning to Psalm 65.  If Christ is the temple of God in the New Testament, then it makes perfect sense that his body would also be regarded as the temple of God.  The church is the body of Christ.  And in the New Testament, we do find several places where the church is now called the temple of God.  A good example is in 1 Corinthians 3.  It says God’s temple is holy and the church is that temple.  That’s not talking about a building, but about the people who are the body of Christ.  If Christ is the temple, if we are in Christ, if we are Christ’s body, then we’re also the temple of God.  God is dwelling in us and among us through his Holy Spirit. 

So if we take that into account as we sing or read Psalm 65, then it sounds something like this:  “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near to be a part of your church!  We shall be satisfied with the good and holy things we receive in the church.”  What are those good and holy things?  Much the same as with the Old Testament people of God.  We’re blessed in praising him with our brothers and sisters.  We’re blessed in being able to pray together.  Most of all we’re blessed with the gospel.  When the church gathers for worship, what’s at the center of that is the good news of what Jesus has done for us.  We hear about it in the preaching of God’s Word and then we see it and even taste it in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  God’s house has good and holy things to satisfy us. 

But again, this is only when we approach God’s house, when we approach public worship, with faith in our hearts.  If we simply come to church ritualistically, robotically, mindlessly, there’s no satisfaction to be found.  If the preaching just goes in one ear and out the other, there’s no blessing in it for us.  If we approach the Lord’s Supper casually and without giving it any thought, it’s not going to be a good thing for us.  Satisfaction at God’s house only comes to those with faith.  Satisfaction at God’s house only comes to those who hear the preaching and turn their hearts to Christ, who look at the Lord’s Supper and believe that Christ suffered and died for the forgiveness of all their sins.  Loved ones, also today faith is essential to find satisfaction at God’s house. 

So what should you do if you’re not currently finding satisfaction in coming to church, to God’s house?  What if church is something to be endured rather than enjoyed, a mere duty rather than a delight?  The first step is to recognize that if you consider yourself a Christian, it shouldn’t be this way.  You shouldn’t want it to be this way.  You should say to yourself, “I wish it were different.  I wish I could be satisfied with the good and holy things at God’s house.”  If you can say that, then you can also pray for it to be different.  You can pray for God to change your heart through his Holy Spirit.  God is sovereign over your heart.  He can change it – so ask him to change it.  Pray and say, “I want to have that positive attitude about your house that I find in Psalm 65.  I want to be eager to go to church twice every Sunday to hear the gospel and to be with your people.  Please work that in my heart.”  God loves to hear prayers like that and when you pray in Christ, he’ll hear and answer.  It may not be right away, but wait on the LORD and he will act.

There’s one last way the New Testament enriches our understanding of Psalm 65:4.  The Bible begins with God dwelling with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  When you get to the book of Revelation, all of that comes full circle.  In Revelation 21, heaven comes down to earth and a loud voice is heard saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.”  God fills the new creation with his glorious and blessed presence.  The whole new creation becomes the temple – a place where God dwells, a place where God is worshipped by all.  Revelation 21 gives the ultimate and final fulfillment of Psalm 65:4.

So when we sing or read Psalm 65:4 with that in mind, it turns out something like this:  “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near to dwell in the new creation!  We shall be satisfied with the good and holy things you give us when you dwell with us in the new heavens and new earth.”  Do you know what’s the best thing we’ll be satisfied with in the new creation?  It’s actually not a thing, but a person.  We’ll be satisfied to have the most intimate communion with Jesus.  We’ll be able to dwell with him, body and soul, into eternity.  We’ll experience his love like we never have before.  We’ll experience the joy of his presence in ways that are unimaginable right now.  There’ll be nothing to disturb our peace and fellowship with him.  That’s when we’re really going to have the greatest level of satisfaction possible for a human being.  It’s something awesome, something to look forward to with eager anticipation. 

And again, that doesn’t come to anyone apart from faith in Jesus Christ.  If you think about it, it makes sense.  If the highest joy in the age to come is communion with Christ, why would God grant that joy to anyone who hasn’t already tasted it to some degree already on this earth?  Or to put it another way, why would anyone who hasn’t loved Christ and believed in him here want to spend eternity with him in close fellowship?  If you’ve disregarded Jesus your whole life, ignored him, or failed to appreciate him, why would that change after you die?  Listen carefully here:  regeneration doesn’t happen in the afterlife.  Nobody suddenly realizes the value of Jesus after they’ve taken their last breath and left this world.  Being born again is something that only happens here in this world.  Those who are born again place their faith and trust in Christ.  Then they want to be where he is.  So let me encourage you again to throw yourself on the only Saviour Jesus.  Having done that, you can be sure the age to come will bring you infinite satisfaction at God’s house.

Our satisfaction with God’s house doesn’t have to do with the house as such.  It entirely has to do with the one who dwells there – with God himself.  It’s been said that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  When we find our greatest satisfaction in Christ right now, God is most glorified right here.  At the end, when we find the ultimate infinite satisfaction in communion with Christ forever, God will be most glorified then.  So you see, Psalm 65:4 is so deep.  It leads us to see that our satisfaction and God’s glory, the worship of God, are intricately linked in Jesus Christ.  As we trust in him, we’ll be satisfied, and God will be glorified.  AMEN.


O God of our salvation,

We praise your name for the mercy of your choosing, for the goodness of your house, for the holiness of your temple.  We praise you for Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of all these.  Thank you for choosing believers in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world.  Thank you for the satisfaction we have in Christ, especially for what we have in his atonement on the cross in our place.  We’re so blessed and we’re so thankful.  We pray that you will continue to satisfy us with the gospel of what our Saviour has done.  Please work faith in our hearts with your Holy Spirit that we may always be satisfied in Jesus and so give the most glory to you.  We pray for the great day to arrive when heaven comes down to earth and you make your dwelling with men.  We look forward to that intimate, infinite communion with our beloved Lord Jesus when we’ll be satisfied like we’ve never been.  Help us in faith to wait for that day and live in anticipation of it.                                            

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

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