Sunday, July 07, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "A Cool Drink of Good News"

RGB Stock Photo
“A Cool Drink of Good News”
July 7, 2013 :: Proverbs 25:25

We’ve reached (or almost reached) that part of the year that my son Drew calls “The Dead of Summer” when it’s so hot outside!  You leave the windows open all night and the house doesn’t really cool down and then in the middle of the day, everything just cooks.

And then there’s this.

Remember a month or so ago I put out a tray of honey and ate it right in front of you?

What do you think I’m going to do with this water?

Not pour it the floor!

What does Proverbs 25:25 say?

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

You know me enough by now to know that I’m going to repeat that proverb over and over and over again as this sermon progresses.

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

There is a reason why I repeat the proverbs over and over again.

That’s how they are designed. The proverbs are designed to be like a stick of gum or a hard candy that you put into your mouth and then suck on it for hours. Soaking the sweetness of the truth embedded in the proverb.

Proverbs are deceptively simple. Many of them were written by men for men. By older men to teach younger men with short attention spans but who needed to be moved from foolish to wise. And the proverb was the tool.

This one says, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

I’m going to call today’s message, “A Cool Drink of Good News.”

Do you see the picture in your head?

Verse 25 says that there is a weary soul. An exhausted person. Someone who is deprived of energy. Someone who is perhaps in a desert or a wilderness and is quite literally dying of thirst.

Do you feel it yet?

Maybe they’ve been working outside.

Two weeks ago on the hottest day in June, I mowed my lawn at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Monday.

Not the smartest thing I’d ever done, but I knew that I would not be getting my lawn mowed unless I mowed it that day at that time.

And when I was done, my face was so red! It looked like it had been boiled like a lobster.

And what did I need at that moment?

A cold glass of water. In fact, many cold glasses of water!

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

There is nothing like a glass of cold water for a weary person who needs refreshment and revival.

That’s the picture.

Now, what’s the picture of?

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

Good news from a distant land.

Commentator Bruce Walke says this about Proverbs 25:25, “In the biblical world news traveled agonizingly slow and was delivered with great difficulty, so that extending the distance to a far-off land heightens the refreshment.” (Proverbs 15-31, pg. 335).

The picture in the second half of the verse is someone who is thirsty for good news.

Someone who has been waiting and waiting to hear if things are good far away.

Perhaps, someone you care about. How are they?
Perhaps, a treaty has been signed or war has begun. Which is it?
Perhaps, a business deal has been completed. How did it go?

Wondering, waiting, longing for good news.

And then it arrives, and it is so refreshing. It’s like cold water to a weary soul.

Down in New Orleans, there was no cold water in the tap.

We were staying a downtown conference center hotel, but if you turned on the cold tap and ran it and ran it and ran it forever, you would never get cold water.

If you wanted cold water, you had to go out to the hallway and get ice from the machine.

Now, imagine there is no ice in the machine.

There were no ice machines in Solomon’s day.

And they lived in an arid climate.

And it gets hot there. Hotter than here.

And you’re thirsty. So thirsty.

Are you thirsty yet?

It’s just water, but what a difference water makes to a thirsty soul.

That’s how good news is coming from a distant land.


Why is this in the book of Proverbs?

I mean, I know it’s true. We can all relate to it.

But how is it divine revelation?

How does it teach us wisdom?

Every Wednesday night in our Youth Boys class, I tell the boys that the Proverbs are not just for information, they are for transformation.

They are wisdom. The Proverbs teach us how to live wisely in God’s world.

To really get them you need the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of all wisdom.

How is this wisdom?

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

To be honest, I’m not 100% certain, but I have few ideas.

First, this proverb is trying to get us to understand how people experience life.

People are thirsty for good news.

In fact, if they are waiting for good news and have waited for any length of time then they might be dying of thirst.

They might be parched. They might be anxious for a good word.

And if the people in our lives are that thirsty, then we should probably learn to be patient with them.  Understanding, sympathetic, compassionate.

And when their good news comes, we should rejoice with them with all of our might!

Because it’s like cold water to a weary soul for them to get good news from a distant land.

And if their news comes back, and it’s not good. We should mourn with those who mourn.

Because that’s like boiling muddy water for a weary soul to get bad news after a ong wait.

There are a number of people in our church family right now who have big things that they are waiting. Big things that might be good news or might turn out to be bad news.

We need to come alongside those folks and pray for them and support them and be patient with them as they wait.

And then rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

I think here of Joseph in the book of Genesis, when his brothers come from a far away land and tell him that his father and his brother Benjamin are still alive.

And he weeps for joy. It’s like a cool drink of good news.

That’s one application. Here’s another.

If that’s the effect that good news has on a weary soul, then we should do everything we can to be the bearers of good news.

If good news is like a cold drink of water to an exhausted soul, then we should want to be purveyors of good news. Spreading it around like it’s going out of style.

Because people are thirsty for good news.

We should be bring them a drink.

That’s why we give money to send kids up to Miracle Mountain Ranch to introduce them to the good news of Jesus Christ.

That’s why we are sending a missions team to Oaxaca Mexico this February to send the good news to parched people.

That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of the EFCA, an association of churches that understand that the gospel (the good news) is refreshing water for worn out people.

We need to take that water to the people who need it.

At our Good News Cruise this year, we’ll be giving away free water. And we should put this verse on each bottle!

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

And there is no new better than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

He came from a far country. He came from Heaven above and became one of us.

And He lived a perfect life.

And then He died in our place.

So that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

All this week when we were in New Orleans, I thought about what I would say this morning to you.

I thought about telling you about the worship times, and the preaching, and training tracks, and the meetings, and the good food, and the relationships, and the good people that we got to hang out with.

But what kept coming back to me to tell you this Sunday is that Jesus loves you.

Jesus loves you.

While I was at the conference, I few different times, it struck me especially during the singing in multiple languages all at once, which wasn’t as confusing as it sounds, it was all blended together. It struck me that Jesus loves me.

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

That verse says that the Son of God, that’s Jesus, loved me.

Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.

Do you need to hear that today?

I need to hear that today.

Jesus loves you.

Isn’t that a cool refreshing drink of good news?

Let’s drink it down and let’s take it to others.

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

Here’s some good news from far away and long ago.

Jesus loves you and gave Himself for you.

Starting tomorrow, our family leaves for a one-month vacation. We are hopping on a train in Altoona and going out West to see Heather’s family.

Heather’s dad has just gotten engaged to be married to someone that Heather has always known and loved. And we’re going to get to see her as well as everyone else in the family in that part of the world.

I thought about what I would say to you since I won’t get to preach for you for a whole month.

Trust the Lord. Press on in faith.
Don’t stop coming to church just because I’m not here. Church is not Pastor Matt.

You are the church. Come and worship and share your faith and love with others for the next month. You’re going to have some great preachers while I’m gone, both Jeff Powell and Tim McGill who is going to do a 3 week series.

Those are some of the things I would say to you as I leave but expect to come back.

This is what Jesus said when He was going away and though He would come back shortly from the dead, things would never be the same again.

He said, “This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Jesus loves you and gave Himself for you.

He said, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Jesus loves you and gave Himself for you.

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”

Receive the good news into your soul and share it with others.