The Gospel River
1. The Gospel is like pure, healing water: (John 4:10,14; 5:4; 7:38)
As pure water the Gospel:
Washes unclean sinners in regeneration and conversion
It cleanses believers through progressive sanctification and "washing of water by the Word." (Eph.5:26)
It cleanses the earth and its communities that lie in its path; and brings law and order and justice; it brings morality and decency; it brings honor and dignity wherever it flows.
2. The Gospel is like a crystal clear river:
Vs.1-2 It springs forth from the House of God; from the mount of God- even from Mount Zion; from the Holy of Holies in Heaven itself; from the fountain of all Grace; from the very Throne of God. Beloved, the Gospel had no earthly origin, but heavenly- even from eternity!
It flows from the house of God, from he mercy seat where the Lamb of God sprinkled His own blood; from under the alter of sacrifice where Jesus was offered as the sin sacrifice for His people.
The Gospel flows from under the threshold of the door of the house of God; through Christ who is the door; and from the doors of His churches, which are as well springs of water in a parched desert land.
3. Like a river, the Gospel started out small and became a mighty river:
Vs.3-5 The Gospel started out small; through the unseen channels of the Spirit of God; through the Old Testament springs and wells of types and shadows; as unnoticed and unrevealed to the world. It was even a mystery to the people of God.
The Gospel came to the surface when Mary, the mother of Jesus, brought forth "Child of the Holy Spirit".
It picked up volume and speed as John the Baptist preached in the wilderness, preparing a path for the Gospel river to flow.
With the outset of Jesus' public ministry, the Gospel took the form of a small river, and began to fill the riverbed that John the Baptist and the prophets of old had prepared.
Through our Lord's public ministry the Gospel river grew deeper and broader as great multitudes believed.
Then Jesus died on the cross; was buried and rose again, which is the heart of the Gospel, which fulfilled all that was necessary for lost sinners to be saved.
After this a great and mighty rain fell from heaven, which in the Bible is likened to great overflowing flood. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem. From that time forward, the Gospel river flowed in every direction. As a mighty river that overflows is banks, the Gospel river sought out new channels to divert the ever-rising waters of the flood.
It flowed to the east, that is, into Asia; it then flowed into the dead sea; and inevitably, the Gospel flowed into every sea and ocean of the world.
Vs.6 The Gospel river was a great wonder- an amazing thing for the minds and hearts of men to consider! What other event in history has had such a far reaching and lasting affect on this world as the Gospel?
4. The Gospel River had wonderful effects upon the lands and seas where it flowed:
Vs.8-9 The Gospel river brings healing and new life to a land- that is, it brings the blessings of God upon the lands and nations that receive it, removing the curse brought about by idolatry and atheism. Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Vs.10 There will be fishing boats out on the seas- places where fishermen will spread their nets- that is, there will be the Lord's churches from which the Gospel will go forth into all the world.
Vs.10 Again, in Verse 10, there will be all kinds of fish caught in the net. People of all kinds, and colors, and social backgrounds throughout the seas of the world, will be saved by the Gospel net! There number shall be "exceeding many"!
Vs.7 & 12 There will be many trees of all kinds; which were planted and miraculously grew up as a result of the Gospel river; these trees may also be representative of churches, or of individual Christians, as Psalm 1 tells us that God's people, who love his law (or his Word), shall be like trees planted by the rivers of water, who bringeth forth fruit in their season, and who's leaf shall not wither.
The fruit of these trees shall be for spiritual food for the nations- that through eating the fruit the lost would be saved. Like as Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and died, people will eat of this fruit and live.
The fruit of the tress, as the trees themselves, is perpetual, and diverse in kind. Within the fruit is contained all the manifold graces of the Gospel from which it was derived. The fruit therefore, is able to supply all the diverse spiritual needs of both the lost and saved.
The leaves of the trees don't fade- as an evergreen, their leaves of healing and blessing are also perpetual.
5. There will be places where the Gospel river won't reach.
Vs.11 There will be places, known only to God Himself, where the Gospel will not reach. There will be peoples and villages and cities where God will not cause the Gospel river to flow. There are reprobate nations and peoples that God will give to salt; that is, that He will not send the healing waters.
Yes, there will be individual sinners, to whom God will never send to Glorious Gospel river. They will never know, never see, never taste of the healing waters. Herein is reprobation. Certainly God has the right to send His Gospel where He will, and to heal and save whom He will; and whom He will He will hardeneth. It is God's business if He has vessels on honor and vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.
Which one are you this morning? As the Gospel river flows from this place this morning, will its waters heal your soul. Will you be caught in the Gospel net? Will you be as a tree planted by the river of the waters of life?