Isaiah 40:1-11…Take Comfort!

Advent 2017

December 10, 2017

Isaiah 40:1-11

NOTE: THESE NOTES ACCOMPANY A SPOKEN SERMON. THEY ARE NOT A FULL MANUSCRIPT OF WHAT IS SPOKEN IN TRC’S WORSHIP SERVICE.

Introductory Reminder: Jesus is the interpretive key to the whole Old Testament.

 

“All facts in the universe, including the facts of the bible, must be interpreted in the light of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.”[1]

 

In Advent, we celebrate his coming to reveal completely in himself the Father and salvation and bring the kingdom as well as give us the hope that all will finally be set right.

 

Some key examples of how we are to read and understand the Old Testament and Israel:

Jesus in his post-resurrection instruction to his people: Luke 24:44-47 (ESV) Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

 

All Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in Jesus: Acts 13:32-33 (ESV) And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus…

 

Jesus is the obedient Israel/Son of God: Exodus 4:22 (ESV) Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son,…

Luke 3:21-22 (ESV) Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

 

So, when we come to our Advent passage today, we don’t have to do interpretive gymnastics to make something out of it.

 

We don’t read this passage and conclude it means something for Israel and we are left trying to figure out if there are some scraps for us Gentile dogs. No!

 

Jesus is the obedience Israel.

 

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies.

 

>>>All the Old Testament points to the saving Christ, his work and the need for us to repent, believe and make this good news available to all nations.

 

Isaiah 40:1-11

A little background:

While Isaiah 1–39 emphasizes God’s judgment on His people, Isaiah 40–66 sounds a note of comfort and redemption.[2]

 

Isaiah 40-66 was written to encourage the Jewish remnant that would be delivered from the Babylonian captivity after their seventy years of captivity. Isaiah wrote this amazing prophecy over 150 years before the remnant would ever need it for their encouragement.[3]

 

Why? Because God was writing to more than national/political Israel. He was writing to us!

 

So, what do we see, what does it mean, and how do we obey Isaiah 40:1-11 this Advent season?

 

Take comfort because justice has been done and sin has been pardoned. Isaiah 40:1-2

 

  • One of the ways the Old Testament points us to the gospel is through patterns.
    • God’s established gospel pattern is that God does justice through payment for sin and then pardons his people by grace through faith in his promise.

 

  • God will satisfy his wrath in bringing about Justice on Israel and Judah for their failure in regard to God’s law and their morality relating to the law, but those who he preserves by repentance and faith are pardoned and given new life in the land.

 

  • God in Jesus Christ satisfies his wrath at sin on Jesus and he pardons his elect by grace through faith in Jesus.

 

Take comfort because God himself comes to reign (kingdom) globally and to save his elect who will repent. Isaiah 40:3-5

This passage is quoted in the New Testament as applied to John the Baptist’s ministry to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry by declaring the necessity to repent (See Luke 3:1-6).

 

  • God does not simply zap us and make all things well. No. God himself comes. God, the Lord Jesus, who walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in the cool of the day. God, the Lord Jesus who Jude says led Israel out of Egypt. God himself, the Lord Jesus who sits on the throne in Isaiah 6. God, the Lord Jesus who walks with Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the fiery furnace comes in person!

 

  • God comes to establish his rule as the rightful king.

 

  • The language Isaiah uses is that of a conquering king having a level highway constructed for his entrance into his newly conquered territory.

 

  • Jesus is the Savior and King and Faithfully Present Priest.

 

  • Jesus’ rule is absolutely global.

 

Take comfort because man can’t save himself, but God’s sure word (promise) stands fast that he will end hardship and pay for sin (see verse 2). Isaiah 40:6-8

 

  • Man is like grass that withers when a hot breeze hits it. In this instance, it’s the Lord who sends his holy breath on it, and man simply can’t stand up under such holiness.

 

  • The reason this is good news is because the entire action of this passage is coming from God not man.

 

  • God preserves not man. God pardons not man. God makes a promise and keeps it not man.

 

  • We can take comfort because God’s history is filled with written examples and unwritten examples of God keeping his word.

 

  • Adam and Eve / Noah / Abraham / Isaac / Jacob / Moses / Joshua / Saul / David…You and me.

 

Take comfort because God himself is the good news. 40:9-11

 

  • The city (spiritually and physically) is personified as being a herald who has a message of good news.

 

  • What is the good news? Look at your God!
  • He comes personally and is mighty.
  • He rules.
  • He shepherds his people.
  • He gathers his people.
  • He carries his people.
  • He leads his people.

 

  • Who is the city of God? Who is the temple of God?

 

1 Peter 2:1-6 (ESV) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

 

  • There is no temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem for a political entity.

 

  • We are the temple. We are the people of God. God’s rule is not established in one city. It is established in elect souls from all nations.

 

  • That truth is a reality and becoming a global movement that Jesus will complete and return to cap it off in victory.

 

How do we obey?

 

  1. Take comfort because Jesus has taken care of our sin.

 

  1. Prepare, make ready, Jesus has come and is coming again.

Matthew 24:44 (ESV) Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 

Luke 12:35-40 (ESV) Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

 

  1. Do not be confident in your own righteousness, trust God’s promise of salvation for all who believe.

 

  1. Proclaim the good news of Jesus, our great God who shepherds his people.

[1] Graeme Goldsworthy, According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 72.

 

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993), Is 40–66.

 

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993), Is 40–66.

Work With The City Of Rome Not For The City Of Rome

Our DNA is KDSC…The gospel of the kingdom (K) makes disciples (D) who hear and obey, and those disciples engage in their God-given domains of society (S) and from there Jesus powerfully builds his church (C).

We’ve yet to see a church multiplication movement come from disciples making disciples inside their domains in the west, but we are pounding at it as best we can here in Rome and Floyd County.

We believe it is our job to not simply to start churches or start ministries, but to release TRC members to engage their domains that God has strategically placed them in to heal what’s broken and make disciples. This is a primary tactic of our strategy.

In our “DOMAINS” thinking there are four key shifts:

  1. From needs to assets
  2. From programs to domain engagement
  3. From working for the city to working with the city
  4. From managing projects to leading members

Key shift number 3 applies to my purpose for writing this post…We don’t go tell the city what it needs. We join with the city working from within to heal and make Jesus known.

By God’s grace I get to serve Rome/Floyd County as Board Chair for the Division of Family and Children Services. This agency gets negative press much of the time, but does the dirty work many want to simply ignore. These folks work hard, and they do it for the love of serving not because they are getting rich.

We have way more children in care in Rome/Floyd County than we should, and these amazing workers assess need and publish a Christmas list for the kids in care in our city.

As of yesterday, there were 57 children who needed gifts for Christmas. Would you take a look at this list and make sure there are none who fail to feel the Love of Jesus this year?

This goes way beyond Three Rivers Church to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus to do something.

Let’s see what the Lord puts in your heart to do.

Cheerful Givers

May the peace of Jesus the Christ fill your hearts this Christmas.

 

 

Generosity: God is the owner of everything

Good day! About a month ago Bob Roberts introduced us GlocalNet guys to Brian Kluth and some fantastic resources on generosity. The timing was perfect because its been an issue on my heart as we are trying to emphasize and teach our sons about giving generously and the biblical principle of sowing and reaping.

On the linked website above you can find “Experiencing God As Your Provider” and “40 Day Spiritual Journey To A More Generous Life”. I’d suggest you go and get those resources.

Here, for some weeks I’d like to share some of that with you. Why?

First, giving is a biblical command. It’s not optional.

Second, God has wired his universe with the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. False teaching abound that totally rip that general revelation from its biblical roots. One is karma, another is prosperity theology and another is poverty theology. Karma says, “what goes around comes around.” Prosperity theology says that if we give to God he will give us financial and health benefits in riches and super human power. Poverty theology is the opposite of prosperity theology, and it says that being poor and having less is more holy and we should never see abundance and a blessing from God. All that is garbage.

Third, I have noticed that there are covenant members who never give. For whatever reason, that’s sin on two levels. One, they agreed to give with their word and covenant promise. Two, never giving has as its root the belief that resources belong to the person not God.

Fourth, lack of generosity in finances, time and skills will result in a lack of power to overcome sin. In a chapter on cheerful giving, Paul says this, 2 Corinthians 9:10 (ESV) “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” So, God gives, increases giving to us and we are to turn and give it away and the direct result of harvest is righteousness. Not first finances or health but holiness.

Finally, giving is an act of worship. In the Old Testament, part of the worship liturgy for the people was bringing their tithes and offerings to God. By the way the tithe was 10% of everything not merely 10%. So, it worked out to around 25% +. So, if you want to have the tithe as the standard, then get after it!

So, I’d like to simply place some Scripture passages here that match the title of this post, “God is the owner of everything”.

NOTE: I’m taking this title and Scripture passages from Brian’s work “40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life”. The above points are my own work. Any applications are my work. Please go to the link above to purchase this fantastic devotional guide.

Psalms 50:10-12 (ESV) For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.

Haggai 2:8 (ESV) The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts.

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV) Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Leviticus 25:23 (ESV) The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.

1 Chronicles 29:14 (ESV) But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.

Psalms 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,

Wow! If Jesus owns everything, then who am I?

  1. I’m a manager not an owner. If I change my vocabulary, that means the resources entrusted to me are to be handled differently. How does a manager differ from an owner with finances, time and skill?
  2. I should be known for being generous with money, time and skill. There is no one who is a follower of Jesus who should not be giving, serving and applying their ability to the local church. For another post later, but the local church is the locus for all the Christian’s giving and other worthy causes should come after that. Paul set that standard in his teaching in the New Testament. Generosity is not just with money. It’s not just with time. It’s not just with skill. Generosity is with everything. Just like the tithe applied to spices, gold, silver, cattle, grain etc. so giving for the Christian applies to everything.
  3. I should be a servant of others with willing and joyful generosity. Don’t walk in sour like you woke yourself up. Jesus did that for you (See Psalm 3:5). He entrusted to you life, so manage it with precision, delight and a servant to others attitude. Sour people are not fun, and they are misers with all things that belong to God.
  4. No ministry of the church should ever lack in bodies and effort. Children’s ministry, student ministry, RL-Group hosting, engaging one’s domain with the gospel of the kingdom, corporate worship attendance, etc. I’m so proud of my wife. Although we have students now, she still serves in children’s ministry. My sons give their time to work in children’s ministry, and they love it. John Mark has the ability to make little toddlers having separation anxiety relax. They’ll sit in his lap as he reads a book to them as they settle in, and that’s a stewardship of his time and ability. Generosity. There are many more who do such in our church. Mike week in and week out gets the monitors set up for the mother’s room, and no one usually notices. But Mike just does it. Generosity.

You see? If it’s all God’s then that changes how I manage all things. If I approach them as an owner, I can sparingly give money, time and skill based on the perceived value of products received. If I don’t perceive it as being worth my whatever, then I’ll withhold it. If I see those things as entrusted by God to me, then I’ll gladly do whatever because even my breath is not my own. I’ve been bought with a price, so I’m to glorify God with even my body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

May the Lord make us a generous people who pour themselves out for King and kingdom.