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.

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