Last week we sought to encourage you to fight for joy by fellowshiping with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and with each other because of the reality of this fellowship purchased by the coming of Jesus to die for sinners.
The season of Advent helps us to see the work of the Lord in redemptive history and take courage in the present reality of the Lord’s work in completing his work in history to finish the Great Commission and fully establish his Kingdom in a new earth at his coming.
The first week of Advent highlights the prophecy and promises of the Lord and the hope of a people waiting on the Lord’s promises.
Father punished our parents at the rebellion by excluding them from his presence and they were put at war with Father and sin corrupted all things.
As a result, all of our parent’s children, including you and I, have been born with a rebellious and sinful nature that does not love Father.
Perhaps the most devastating part of the fall is that there is nothing we can do to correct it. We can’t beat the fall. We cannot conquer our fallen state.
This is why the Father promised one who would conquer the fall and set in motion the redemption of creation and the redemption of mankind who was created in his image.
Genesis 3:15, the first Gospel, promises that the evil one would strike a blow to the one who would conquer the fall but that in that blow the promised one would crush the head of the evil one.
And throughout the entire Old Testament, the Lord breaks into the devastation of the fall with his powerful and prophetic word in the middle of the just punishment of mankind for his sin with the hopeful promise of the one who would 1. crush the head of the enemy, 2. accomplish justice and righteousness that was lost in the fall, 3. would sit as king over the people and rule them well and 4. would put an end to devastation and bring us back to Father.
Isaiah 9:6-7 is one such passage that helps us see the Lord’s prophetic foretelling of his salvation and as a result the hope given to his people.
This passage holds out the hope that the current devastation is mediated by a dawning salvation soon to be realized.
As a point of personal application: these passages hold a hope in them for us today by showing us how Father works on the grand scale of redemptive history to show us how Father works on the microscopic scale of our lives.
When the people of God are seized by the ravages of the fall Father shows that he is at work and that we can take hope that the work will be done.
When we are seized by difficulty we know that Father is at work and working sanctification in us and will complete his mission for our good and his glory. So, on a personal level, regardless of what you and I are in the middle of, Father is at work and will bring to completion his ends and our good.
On the large-scale of redemptive history verse 1 refers to Israel as the people of God under his discipline by the hand of the threatening Assyrian army.
Although Isaiah is in the present distress of the discipline, he speaks of the present discipline as the “former” time when the Lord brought contempt on the land.
This is an interesting choice of words that Lord chose to inspire. Because although Isaiah is in the present distress he refers to the present as the “former”.
I believe this indicates the surety of the Lord’s coming promise to redeem from the fall.
The Lord’s salvation is so sure that the present distress can be counted as “over”, “former”.
The Lord, in his glorious grace, looks forward to the pouring out of his redemptive work when he contrasts the distress and contempt of the “former” time with the glory of the “latter” time.
Isaiah says that the “latter” time “has made” (present tense) glorious the regions of the north (where Jesus would come from; Matthew will quote verse 2 when telling of Jesus coming from Galilee).
Again, the Lord inspires Isaiah with some cool language. In speaking about “latter” times the Lord had Isaiah tell it with present tense language. Again, the Lord’s salvation is so sure that what is yet to come will come about and one can count on it as hope in the present!
By the way, the progression of Advent is to take the surety of the promises of the coming Savior and begin to encourage us that this Savior who died, rose and ascended is coming again with the same degree of surety that he would come the first time.
What makes the day of which Isaiah is looking forward to for the people so glorious on the large-scale of redemptive history and the microscopic scale of our lives in the church?
1. Isaiah prophesies that light will overcome the darkness v. 2
A. Jesus has come and the Light of the world has overcome the darkness of the
B. Because Jesus has come we have the light of:
1. The Word
2. Indwelling Holy Spirit
3. Supernatural work of the Gospel to bring light to darkness through:
1. Preaching the Gospel
2. Doing Gospel work in addressing the brokeness of creation
3. Fellowship (unity in diversity)
4. Restoration of the Kingdom in the church that will be global
2. Isaiah prophesies that the nation will be multiplied v. 3
A. What nation will be multiplied?
Genesis 12:1-3 – the nation of the people of God composed of people from
all nations. This is what the bible calls the Kingdom of God, the church.
B. We get to have a role in building that Kingdom, the church
3. Isaiah prophesies that joy will be increased
A. Why is joy in creased?
1. The burden of sin has been broken as on the day of Midian v. 4 (Judges 6-7 in which Gideon had an improbable victory by the power of God)
a. Father has passed over the sins of those who are trusting in him
b. Father pays for the sins of those in the OT and those of us who
have trusted in him today because of the work of Jesus in the place
1. Romans 3:21-26
2. The enemy’s tools and death have been destroyed v. 5
3. The King has been given! v. 6-7
1. The King governs
2. The King is Wonderful Counselor
3. The King is Mighty God
4. The King is Everlasting Father
5. The King is Prince of Peace
6. The King’s government will never cease to grow
7. The King’s peace will never end
8. The King’s justice and righteousness will last forever
9. The Lord himself will do this work
As the Lord’s promise to his people was so sure that he spoke of the present distress as finished and the future hope as present reality, today the work of the Gospel is so complete that our current struggles are as good and complete and the future hope of the complete work of the Gospel in us is as good as done.
The coming of the Son of God has made this possible and he told us so and he proved true. Therefore we can take courage that Father is faithful and will finish his work in us and we celebrate that truth this Christmas season.