Isaiah 2:1-5 Jesus, Our Present and Future Hope

Advent, 2016

Isaiah 2:1-5

Jesus, Our Present and Future Hope

 

Advent is the Latin word for “coming”. It is the time in the Christian calendar when we look back and rejoice at Jesus’ first coming.

 

It is also the time we look forward with great hope in God’s promises to Jesus’ second coming.

 

This Advent, we will be studying through certain passages in Isaiah to remember and to reset our hopes on the kingdom that is here and is to come in full power at God’s appointed time.

 

A note about the Old Testament and its prophets:

Jesus taught us that he was the interpretive key to the whole Old Testament.

 

John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…”

 

Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

 

As we look to the text, keep your senses tuned to Jesus.

 

The New Testament’s reading of the Old Testament is how we are to read it.

 

The prophets of the Old Testament contain three main ingredients:

  1. They address the covenant breaking of the people through stinging indictment and accusation.

(SEE ISAIAH 1)

  1. They warn of the consequences of this folly as they speak of the judgment that has come and will yet come.
  2. They remind people of the covenant faithfulness of God, who will yet act in some conclusive way to bring about his purposes.

 

The prophets, because they are speaking from God to time and space and concerning God’s eternal plan have an immediate focus on the present when it was written, and on the future fulfillment in Jesus and his future full reign when he completes his mission. There is a dynamic nature to the Old Testament.

 

It is these latter two that we are most concerned with when we study and teach from the Old Testament. How does this passage predict, prepare, reflect or result from Jesus’ person and work?

 

With that in mind, let’s look at Isaiah 2:1-5

 

What do we see? What does it mean?

  1. Isaiah looked forward to see Jesus as God’s presence established and exalted v. 2
  2. The latter days began at Jesus’ first coming (Hebrews 1:2).
  3. The mountain of the house of the Lord is none other than Jesus (John 1:14 – skenoo – to pitch a tent, to tabernacle).

 

What makes the mountain high is not that it grows later on.

 

What makes it significant is that it has the temple.

 

What makes the temple special is God.

 

What now makes the temple obsolete is that Jesus “tabernacled” among us.

 

Jesus is God come to dwell among us, and after the resurrection, Jesus temples up in every one of his followers.

 

What do we do with this?

  1. We take courage that Jesus has done what God sent Isaiah to proclaim he would do, and rejoice that Jesus dwells in us by faith.

 

  1. Isaiah looked forward to see Jesus draw all nations to himself v. 2b-3
  2. John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
  3. The nations come to be taught Jesus’ ways.
  4. Out of Jesus’ kingdom goes his “law” …his word.
  5. Jesus, the crucified and risen King is drawing the nations to himself, and we as his

ambassadors are to teach his word and disciple the nations.

  1. Jesus will finally complete this work of drawing the nations to himself and teaching

them.

 

What do we do with this?

  1. We take heart that the gospel of the kingdom is powerful and effective. People will come to you and to us as we do his work.
  2. We are to teach his word…the law of Christ and his kingdom.
  3. We persevere in the work because Jesus will bring it to completion.
  4. This is no passive thing. This is actively obeying Jesus and believing he will then make that obedience effective.

Illustration: Colston RL group hosting on December 11 a group of our people to hang out with us and celebrate Christmas and they are not yet in the faith.

 

  1. Isaiah looked forward to peace on earth and good will among nations v. 4.
  2. Jesus is the divine mediator among nations.
  3. Daniel 4:28ff (see verse 32) He gives to one and takes from another.
  4. As Isaiah says, he settles disputes.
  5. Jesus is currently setting up and taking down nations according to his good end.
  6. Jesus will one day bring final peace (Isaiah 65).

 

What do we do with this?

  1. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9

Jesus came and made peace by the blood of his cross, therefore, those who make peace are like Jesus, the Son of God and get to be sons of God.

  1. Be a peacemaker, and trust Jesus to sort out the big stuff.

 

  1. Isaiah invites any with ears to hear to walk in Jesus’ counsel v. 5
  2. This message was applied to guilty Israel in 740 BC.
  3. Isaiah 1 as a call to renew their commitment to keeping the covenant of Sanai,

(the Law).

  1. This message is applied to us in 2016.
  2. Love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, the summary of the law made

possible by Jesus’ coming, dying and rising.

 

  1. Worship

One of the ways we walk in the counsel of the Lord is by worshiping the King.

 

 

Tony Evans Reflects on Election

Jennifer and I attended OCBF for a while when we were in graduate school in the Metroplex of DFW. I learned more than I can express while at OCBF. I have admired Tony Evans since I became a Christian. I don’t listen to a lot of big time pastors for reasons that this post is not intended to cover, but I love to listen to Tony Evans preach. He’s one of a very small hand full that I really believe has met with and been in the presence of Jesus and speaks with a “thus says the Lord” truth, reality and authority.

So, when I listened to this it brought back some fond memories of being accepted as an outsider while at OCBF and the sound instruction we received.

I hope you are encouraged, challenged and comforted by Dr. Evan’s words.

Thank you Dr. Evans!

Restoration Rome Christmas Offering

Back a couple of weeks on Orphan Sunday, we talked about God’s heart for the orphan. We also shared about our work, Restoration Rome, and the necessity for community collaboration to make this hub of foster care and adoption services thrive.

We talk in our spiritual DNA about working WITH the city NOT FOR the city. Well, in partnership with Rome/Floyd County and their giving SE Elementary School to Restoration Rome, we have been working hard to put together the work necessary to facilitate reunification where right, adoption where needed and a host of other partners to eradicate the foster care crisis in NW Georgia. The repairing of this problem in our region would bring about much in economic impact as well as spiritual renewal to say the least. This is working WITH what God has ordained in his governing of all things and his establishment of government to engage the domains of our society.

We are still just under 400 children in care with 29 homes to service the kids. The reported cases per month, however, has been rising. This creates many strains on agencies and their ability to manage all of the cases in our region. Most of these children are transported out of their familiar county, away from friends and familiar surroundings, school and anything that is normal. We must have more homes, better processes of getting, training and keeping foster parents, services to biological parents who need them accessible and a host of other necessities.

We are making strides. With partnership from Lowes, much construction is underway in and around the community center work that is currently ongoing in order to construct the visitation center and the medical clinic. The labor to deconstruct was donated by Lowes, and the labor to construct has been donated by Carpenters for Christ. We just need to raise the funds for building materials. The estimated cost is coming in at around 200k.

What we are challenging pastors and other congregations to do is forgo just one Christmas present per person and give the cost of that present to Restoration Rome.

How can you do that?

  1. Don’t give your tithe for your church to this. Give this IN ADDITION TO YOUR TITHE. By all means, give to God what his first. Give that off the top to the Lord in your local church. We are not interested in robbing God by robbing what his his through the local church. Give this in addition to your tithe. Be generous.Proverbs 11:24-25  says, (ESV) “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
    25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered.”
  2. Bring your offering for Restoration Rome on Sunday morning, December 25th, and give them in the offering at your church. Checks can be made out to “Restoration Rome”. If your church is not aware of this opportunity, and is not participating, then you can mail them to PO Box 707, Rome, GA 30162. If you attend TRC, you can give them at our designated location at worship that morning (more to come for TRC on that). If you won’t be at worship on Christmas morning, you can bring your offering the next week.
  3. You can give right here also Restoration Rome
  4. We will update you on the amount raised for this most vital work after all has been tallied.

Every church and every Christian can have an impact. Not all will foster or adopt, but all can give. Would you consider being part of this effort?

 

Repent and Pray

It’s completely unpopular and frowned upon in some Christian circles to use the language of repentance. However, I’m one who still believes the Christian Scriptures, the Bible, to be infallible and inerrant. I believe Scripture is the “Manual”. The Bible is our instruction book on who God is, how to know him, how to follow him and what to obey in order to see Jesus’ kingdom fully come in power and glory.

We’ve been without rain for a long time. It’s dry. The fires are continuing to burn. The air has been smokey. The wind will blow a lot today. Fires could get worse. It has rained a tiny bit in the mountains and the cars had some sprinkles on them this morning. But it’s gone with no rains on the radar.

Lots of folks have been encouraging everyone to pray, and I say “YES”! Please pray. However, since the Manual is our instruction book I am left with a thought of “incomplete”. Pray, yes! But the text also says a lot about something that goes with prayer like a hand in a glove, socks and shoes, hammer and nails…you get the point. The text is also full of admonitions to repent and pray. Repent and pray. Repent and pray. I just did a handy-dandy little search with a little computer bible tool for the words “repent” and “pray”. They really go together. It’s worth looking up.

So, let me encourage all of us as we call out for rain to also reflect on ways we are not following Jesus as well as we should. What are the clear ways we can and should shed unnecessary things for obedient things? What are some actions we need to take that we know we need to take? What are some hidden things that we believe no one sees that God sees that we need to lay down? What are some attitudes that need to be corrected? What are some relationships that can and should be mended? Are we in fellowship with believers in covenant in a local church? Are we seeking the Lord Jesus in his Word and walking in obedience to the Spirit?

You get the point. Pray, yes. Add repentance to that mix.

Revelation 2:1-7:

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”

There is no mention of praying in that passage. I’m sure it’s safe to assume we can pray too, But Jesus is concerned with these cats acting in righteousness first. It’s in the Manual.

I know some will cringe at the use of a passage like this. It’s just not en vogue to use the bible to address our needs much less to talk about what we need to do in order to, perhaps, get some rain. But talk of prayer without repentance is perhaps incomplete. So, here is a little perspective that I hope will help as you seek the Lord for our region, state and neighboring states.

 

God Cares for the Orphan: Restoration Rome

Orphan Sunday

November 13, 2016

“The call to care for orphans, like some many things in Scripture, is a call to walk in faith.” – Russell Moore

This is because there is no manual or conference or counselor with systematized advice and practice that can address the myriad of challenges that will come with caring for the fatherless.

We have the challenge we have because of the curse. It has affected everything.

Updated statistics: Rome/Floyd County DFCS statistics

391 Children in care

156 New cases reported in October

29 Foster homes in Floyd County

If we are going to care for the fatherless, we must have a doctrinal framework that will dictate our actions.

What is that framework?

 A. Believe God (The Best Father) cares for the orphan

Orphan

A “word coming from a Hebrew root meaning “to be alone” or “bereaved,” often rendered as “fatherless.” The idea describes any person who is without legal standing in the covenant community of Israel, who is unprotected or needy, and who is especially exposed to oppression, as well as one bereft of one or both earthly parents (cf. Lam 5:3). Since God has a special concern for the fatherless (Ex 22:22–24; Dt 10:18; Pss 10:14, 18; 27:10; 68:5; 146:9; Is 1:17; Hos 14:3), OT legislation made special provision for them by protecting their rights of inheritance (Nm 27:7–11; Dt 24:17; Prv 23:10); ensuring their freedom to glean the fields and vineyards (Dt 24:19–21); allowing their participation in the great annual feasts (Dt 16:11, 14); and allotting them a portion of the tithe crops collected every three years (Dt 14:29; 26:12). Strong condemnation awaits those who oppress them (Dt 24:17; 27:19; Mal 3:5). While the orphans of Israel were sometimes aided by friends and relatives (Jb 29:12; 31:17), there was general failure to meet the requirements of the Law as is witnessed by the accusations of the inspired writers (Jb 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; Ps 94:6; Is 1:23; 10:2; Jer 5:28; Ez 22:7). Consequently, the prophets never tire of pleading the orphan’s cause (Jer 7:6; 22:3; Zec 7:10). The word is used only twice in the NT; once in a general sense to describe those who are “desolate” or “comfortless” (Jn 14:18), and once in the specific sense to describe the “fatherless” (Jas 1:27). In the spirit of an OT prophet, James declares that true religion involves the care of orphans.”[1]

  1. Exodus 22:21-24

21 You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

  1. Deuteronomy 10:18

18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

B. Grow into a more complete understanding of the gospel: Adoption as a facet of the gospel message.

  1. We never leave the bible’s teaching of “justification”, but we also never leave the bible’s teaching on adoption.

Salvation in the bible is like a diamond. It has facets that we are to enjoy and are to determine our enjoyment of God as we experience them.

Adoption is a facet (one side of something many-sided) of our salvation.

Justification reminds us we are made right. Adoption reminds us we are made children.

  1. Romans 8:12-17, 23

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

C. Know that caring for the fatherless is a call to suffer: We get to identify with Jesus as we take on the suffering of others

  1. Suffering is not only the worst case scenario for missionaries.

Suffering is any difficulty incurred because one has obeyed Jesus. Suffering is not to be judged by severity, but by presence of difficulty due to obeying God and living by the values of God’s kingdom.

Suffering can’t be avoided. Suffering is part of the curse. The difference for the Christian is that in Christ suffering is redeemed AND a means of receiving the grace of God in special ways as we set right what the curse set crooked.  

  1. Philippians 3:8-11

8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

D. Know that caring for the fatherless requires the whole church to do its individual part

  1. This means that we all have a role.

You may not be a foster parent or an adoptive parent, but if you are in community you have a role.

James 1:27 applies to the whole church. Just as we have to make sense of the Great Commission for every disciple, we have to make sense of James 1:27 for every disciple.

Your role will be determined by your relationships, your gifting by the Spirit in community, and a general desire to love each other as Jesus taught us.

  1. There is no “one” way to address it our challenge. It’s a “yes” / “and” type of work.

This work is multi-faceted. This work requires multiple solutions to a complex problem from legislation, to infrastructure, to organizational change, to boots on the ground taking kids and so on.

This is why every disciple in every domain can have a role.

If your domain is law, your services can be helpful. Serve the legal needs of children who need advocates in court.

If your domain is education, your services can be helpful. Serve the educational needs of kids who are behind due to upheaval by tutoring etc.

If your domain is medicine, your services can be helpful. Help provide care for kids who have extended needs as a service.

If your domain is business, your services can be helpful. What about young men and women who age out of the system? Where will they get training or an opportunity?

  1. This means that the work is not optional.

The whole church of Jesus must make sense of the Scripture’s clear teaching on this issue.

What is TRC doing?

We started Global Impact for working overseas and doing local engagement as well. Restoration Rome is a work of Global Impact.

By working with the city of Rome and the incredibly hard work of Jeff and Mary Margaret Mauer, we have a central location for addressing many facets of the challenge of our town.

  1. Restoration Rome Q & A
  2. What is the vision of Restoration Rome?
  3. How will RR, when up and running, affect the foster care/adoption crisis in Rome/Floyd County?
  4. What is the current status of the facility and what “ministries” are going into the space?
  5. What other ministries/services will be going into the building?
  6. How can people receive information and updates so they can know what is happening?
  7. How can TRC people come and serve?
  1. compare

OT Old Testament

NT New Testament

OT Old Testament

[1] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1595–1596.