The Good Cheers of Jesus

Matthew

The Good Cheers of Jesus

November 22nd, 1964 @ 7:30 PM

Matthew 9:1-8

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Print Sermon
Downloadable Media
  
Play Audio

Show References:
ON OFF

THE GOOD CHEERS OF JESUS

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 9:1-8

11-22-64    7:30 p.m.

 

You are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and you have just heard the announcement made of our incomparable and God-given stewardship victory.  We have subscribed over $1,522,000 to God’s work in the earth for the new year.

These Sunday evening services, I am preaching through the life of Christ.  And I did not plan it this way; it just came out this way.  Three times the Lord used the word, “Be of good cheer,” three times, and the sermon tonight is entitled The Good Cheers of Jesus.  Now we shall read together the first one: turn to Matthew chapter 9, verses 1 through 8; the second one is found in Mark, and the third one is found in John.  And we shall read together out loud, all of us, the ninth chapter of Matthew, the first eight verses.  Let us all share our Bibles, and all of us read it out loud together, Matthew chapter 9, the first eight verses.  Now together:

And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city.

And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed:  and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This Man blasphemeth.

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.

And he arose, and departed to his house.

And when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

[Matthew 9:1-8]

This is the first good cheer of Jesus:  “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”  The Lord grants to us liberty and freedom from the judgment upon our sins.  There’s not one of us but has sinned; but we don’t bear the eternal damnation and perdition that follows with it, the judgment of God upon it.  “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

The second time the Lord used that word is in the story of the disciples caught in a storm at midnight on the sea.  And when they found themselves helpless before it, Jesus came to them walking on the water [Mark 6:48].  That made them even more terrified:  they thought they were seeing a spirit [Mark 6:49].  And He talked with them, and saith unto them, “Be of good cheer:  it is I; be not afraid” [Mark 6:50].  So the second good cheer has to do with the weakness of our humanity.

The third one is in the conclusion, the last words that He spoke, in those precious chapters when our Lord spoke to His disciples in the upper room.  And after He sought to comfort them in the announcement that He was going away, and after He had said these words, He closed it with this:  “In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].  So it includes the judgment upon our sins, “Be of good cheer” [Matthew 9:2].  It includes the weakness of our humanity, “Be of good cheer” [Mark 6:50].  And it includes the difficulty and the opposition and the trial that we know in the world, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

So the first, “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” [Matthew 9:2].  Time will not forgive a man’s sins.  A moralist could say, “Now from this day onward you must never fall into dereliction, there must be no mistake in your life, you must be perfect and above reproach, you must sin no longer.”  He could say that to me, but how would it help, because of the sins that are past?  The Old Testament covenant read, “God requireth that which is past” [Ecclesiastes 3:15], and however I might be perfect from this moment onward, what of the days of my life that are stained?  I know it, God knows it; for me to stand here and to disavow it would be plainly and evidently to misrepresent my life.  I have sinned; we all have sinned [2 Chronicles 6:36; Romans 3:23].  Time does not forgive it: the sins of our lives are as apparent and as vivid before God, to whom all things are present, they are as vivid now as they were the day that I committed them.

In the forty-ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis, the sons of Israel are gathered round, and he is picking out the one to receive the blessing, and he starts with his eldest son, Reuben, and addresses Reuben, and then reminds Reuben of a sin that he had committed more than forty years before.  It was as livid and as vivid and as stark as the day that Reuben had committed it [Genesis 35:22; Deuteronomy 27:20], though he had fallen into it forty years before [Genesis 49:3-4].  Time does not forgive.

Life does not forgive.  One of my men in a pastorate said to me, in so sad a way, “Oh, would to God, would to God I could live my life over again, would to God!”  But he can’t; life doesn’t forgive.  Opportunity doesn’t forgive.  It has given rise to an adage, a saying, “Opportunity knocks but once.”  Opportunity doesn’t forgive.  Our bodies do not forgive.  The record of dissipation written in our lives, and in some bodies especially:  they carry to the grave, the scars stay there forever.  And society doesn’t forgive.  One of the most poignant things I ever looked upon in my life was in a penitentiary, a section where the lifers were kept; men who were condemned, incarceration all the days of their lives.  And there were white-headed men sitting at machines, making overalls.  The rest of the days of their lives, paying a debt to society that never forgives.

Well, what of the judgment upon a man’s sins?  Does he bear it forever?  Is he bound forever?  Is he chained forever?  Is there something God shall charge us with forever and ever?  Is there no liberty and no freedom from sin?  A smithy in medieval days boasted that the chains that he made could never be broken.  He fell upon evil days himself, and was cast into a dungeon, and weighted down with chains.  And in the little light that came through a small window of the dungeon, he examined each one of the links.  And as he held them in his hand, they had a familiar weight.  And looking at them closely, they were chains that he had forged himself, and his boast was the chains he made could never be broken.  Is that with our human lives: the chains we forge in our sins drown us, and destroy us, and condemn us, and damn us forever?  That’s the meaning and the incomparable meaning of the first good cheer of Jesus:  “Be of good cheer, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” [Matthew 9:2].

One of the songs they sang tonight, glorious Charles Wesley wrote it:

O for a thousand tongues to sing

My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of His grace!

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

He sets the prisoner free;

His blood can make the foulest clean,

His blood availed for me.

[“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”]

“Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” [Matthew 9:2].

The second good cheer of Jesus:

And He saw the disciples toiling in rowing; the wind was contrary:  and in the fourth watch of the night He cometh to them . . . And when they saw Him, they supposed it had been a spirit, and they cried out . . . And immediately He talked with them, and said unto them, Be of good cheer:  it is I; be not afraid.

[Mark 6:48-50]

 

What a picture of the weakness and the helplessness of our humanity.  And it’s in the night, and the winds are howling, and the waves are roaring, and it’s nighttime; and they are toiling in rowing.  However they try, and however they expend effort and thought and peer through the darkness, they are as lost as they were to begin with, and as helpless before the raging sea.  And then as though they were not terrified enough, they see someone walking on the water.  Nobody walks on the water!  And when they saw that apparition, they thought it had been a spirit, and they were the more afraid [Mark 6:49].  You know, if there is one characteristic that all humanity has in common it is this:  humanity is afraid!

In Africa, those natives will worship a devil-house.  It’ll be in front of the compound; worshiping the devil, the evil spirit.  In Siam, those guards for those glorious and gorgeous porcelain temples are the most fierce looking things that you could imagine, to drive evil spirits away.  In the Orient, every house will have a roof go upward, in order to slant outward the evil spirits that they not come nigh.  The basic philosophy of modern Western culture and civilization is existentialism, and existentialism is a philosophy of fear and despair.  We are alone and men are afraid, and this is the basic culture and philosophy of modern civilization.

Oh, the precious meaning! “And the Lord spoke with them, and said unto them, Be of good cheer, be of good cheer:  it is I; be not afraid” [Mark 6:50].

Fierce was the wild billow, dark was the night;

Oars labored heavily, foam glimmered white.

Trembled the mariners; peril was nigh:

Then said the God of gods, “Peace:  it is I.”

Ridge of the mountain wave, lower thy crest;

Wail of Euroclydon, be thou at rest.

Sorrow can never be, darkness must fly,

When saith the Light of light, “Peace:  it is I.”

Jesus, Deliverer!  Come Thou to me:

Soothe Thou my voyaging over Life’s sea!

Thou, when the storm of Death roars, sweeping by,

Whisper, O Life of life, “Peace:  it is I.”

[“Fierce was the Wild Billow”; St. Anatolius]

“Be of good cheer:  it is I; be not afraid” [Mark 6:50].

I think that’s the spirit and the meaning of that beautiful, old, colored spiritual:

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;

When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea

Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.

In trials and tribulations, stand by me;

In trials and tribulations, stand by me;

When the hosts of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail

O Thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.

In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;

In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;

When I do the best I can, and my friends misunderstand

Thou who knowest all about me, stand by me.

When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;

When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;

When my life becomes a burden, and I’m nearing chilly J’rdan

Did you ever hear these young fellows sing that song?  They pronounce it “Jordan.”  No old-timer ever said “Jordan” in his life, never.  They said, “J’rdan!”

When my life becomes a burden, and I’m nearing chilly J’rdan

O Thou Lily of the Valley, stand by me.

[“When the Storms of Life are Raging”; Charles A. Tindley]

That’s what He meant, “Be of good cheer:  it is I; be not afraid” [Mark 6:50].

And the last one, “In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].  Saying to His disciples He would soon be taken away, then comforting them, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me” [John 14:1].  “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” [John 14:18].  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman [John 15:1]…Abide in Me, and I in you [John 15:4] . . . I am the vine, ye are the branches…” [John 15:5].

 

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

They shall put you out of the synagogues:

the time cometh, yea, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service

[John 16:1-2]

 

 Forty years later the apostle Paul, one of His apostles, wrote, “Yea, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” [2 Timothy 3:12].  And then He closed:  “In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Oh, what a preciousness and a blessedness the Lord affords us here.  He knew all of the consolations afforded of heaven, He knew all of the comforts that God could bestow upon His people; what does He speak of?  Does He speak of heavenly secrets?  Does He speak of things that are kept in the breast of God?  No.  He offers Himself, “In the world ye shall have tribulation:  I—be of good cheer, I…” [John 16:33].  He offers Himself.  Oh, how meaningful!  When trials come, and tribulation comes, and despair comes—and all the things to which flesh is heir to—when we’re overwhelmed. let us take ourselves to Jesus. Let us find our hope and our strength and our comfort in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.”

I went to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place, and He hath made me glad.

[“I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”; Horatius Bonar]

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

And what an amazing thing for our Savior to avow, “I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].  Oh!  Had Napoleon said that, I could understand.  Standing on Europe, the whole nations of the civilized European world under his heel, shaping at will the map of Europe, crushing nations—had Napoleon said that, I could understand it, “I have overcome the world.”  Had Alexander the Great said that, I could understand it.  Having rifled the palaces of Persia and taken their kings captive, “I have overcome the world,” I could understand that.  Had Julius Caesar said it, had Augustus said it, had Genghis Khan said, had Tamerlane said it, “I have overcome the world”; I could understand that.  But who is this speaking?  This despised Nazarene, dressed in a peasant’s garb, with no place to lay His head, no worldly glory, no army, no credentials in any court, soon to be betrayed [Matthew 26:14-16, 47-49], crucified, dying a felon’s death [Matthew 27:32-50], who is this saying, “I have overcome the world”?  Why, bless my soul, bless my soul. This is the King of glory, “I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

He overcame the world in His life.  It was never so seen in Israel, the life of our blessed Lord [Matthew 9:33].  No wonder they begin time with Him:  before His day it is “before Christ” [B.C.]; after His day, it’s anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord” [A.D.].  He overcame the world in His life.  He overcame the world in His death [John 16:33].

Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut His glories in

When Christ the mighty Maker died

For man the creature’s sin.

[“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?”; Isaac Watts]

And He overcame the world in His resurrection.

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,

Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,

He arose a victor o’er the dark domain,

And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.

He arose!  He arose!

Hallelujah!  Christ arose!

[“Christ Arose,” Robert Lowry]

He overcame the world in His resurrection.  And He overcomes the world in His glorious and triumphant return.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending

Once for favored sinners slain;

Thousand thousand saints attending,

Swell the triumph of His train:

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

God appears on earth to reign.

[“Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending”; John Cennick, Charles Wesley]

“Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Oh, with the glory that attends the Christian life, who could help but shout, and sing, and clap his hands, and praise God, and live rejoicing every day?  Isn’t it grand to be a Christian?  Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and all day Sunday, God be praised for the preciousness of the gift of His love and grace in Christ Jesus.  “Be of good cheer.  Be of good cheer.”

Now while we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody you, to give himself to Jesus, make it tonight, make it tonight.  “Here I come, pastor, and here I am.  Tonight, I look in faith to Jesus and I open my heart to Him, and I take Him as my Savior.  Here I am.”  A family you, to come into the fellowship of the church; a couple you, one somebody you, “Oh, preacher, I love the Lord too, and here I come.  I love this wonderful church, the household of faith, the people of God, and here I come.”  As the Spirit shall say the word, shall press the appeal, make that decision for God tonight and come, “Here I am, here I am.”  While we stand and while we sing.

THE GOOD CHEERS OF JESUS

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 6:44-51, John 16:33

11-22-64

I.          “Be of good cheer…thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Matthew 9:2)

A.  Can Jesus forgive sin?

1. Time will not forgive (Ecclesiastes 3:15, Genesis :3-4)

2. Life will not forgive

3. Opportunity will not forgive

4. Bodies will not forgive

5. Society will not forgive

B.  Chained and bound forever to the judgment, penalty of our sins?

C.  The sublime meaning of this “be of good cheer”

II.         “Be of good cheer, it is I.” (Mark 6:50)

A.  A picture of human helplessness

1. In the dark, winds howling, heavy seas

2. Toiling, striving to no avail

3. Fear of the unknown

B.  Reassuring words of Jesus

III.        “Be of good cheer…I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

A. The universal comfort (John 14:1, 18, 15:1-5, 16:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:12)

      1. He offers Himself

B.  He has overcome the world

1.  In His life

2.  In His works, teachings, doctrines

3.  In His death

4. In His resurrection

5.  In His glorious return