Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah’

The Elect One

October 26, 2016

The second half of Isaiah is filled with messianic verses.  There are many good scriptures to preach on.  I have selected a few.

I.  Come:  Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

A.  Are You Buying That?

These verses are not talking about bread, milk or wine.  They are a reference to the focus of our life.  Are we focused on the things of the world, or the things of God?  In Matthew 6:33 we are told to “Seek first the kingdom of God…” .  If indeed we seek God first, then other things will come into line.

B.  The Abundant Life

Jesus offers those that follow Him abundant life.  (John 10:10)  That life does not begin at our physical death, but rather at our new birth. When we give our hearts to God and seek to walk with Him in this life, we truly have a life that is abundant.

II.  Build Up:  Isaiah 42:1-4

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

A.  My Elect One

These verses are talking about Jesus.  He is the one who will bring true justice to the earth.

B.  Restores Life

As a young person I read these verses and wondered who cared about bruised reeds, or smoldering flax?  Of course, these are symbols for something else.  The bruised reed is that person who has experienced difficulties in their life.  They have been bruised and they need to be restored.  God can bring restoration and life.  The smoldering flax is that person who has drifted away from God.  God calls to them and desires to see the fire of their faith restored.  God wants to bring life to those who seek Him. He does not give up on us.

C.  Justice

There will come a day when justice will reign on this earth.  It will not be under human leadership, but under the leadership of the Lord of Hosts.

III.  Jesus is Lord:  Isaiah 45:20-25

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
24 He shall say,
‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
25 In the Lord all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’”

    A.  Escaped From the Nations

God is Lord over all the earth.  We have been gathered from the nations to serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

    B.  No Other God

There is no other God.  There is salvation in no other name.

    C.  Every Knee Shall Bow

It is better to serve God now and we can also rejoice later.  For those who reject Christ now, they will still one day bow before Him.  For them, that day will be a day of darkness.

    D.  Righteousness and Strength

We are not clothed in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. We do not serve in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

Isaiah is a part of the Old Testament, but clearly he points to the coming Lord.  We can more fully understand the New Testament because of the prophecies that came hundreds of years earlier.

These are the sermon notes from 10/23/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

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Cease to Do Evil

June 29, 2015

Faith and works have had a turbulent history. Finding the proper relationship is important to our Christian faith.

I. Worship and Evil: Isaiah 1:10-15

“Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

12
“When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
13
Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood. ”

A. Offerings and Sin
Samuel said said to Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22) We cannot live sinful lives and then think that we can buy God’s forgiveness by giving a big offering. Certainly it is good to give offerings, but it is more important to be obedient.

B. Worship and Sin
We are supposed to worship God. It is good to gather together with other believers to worship and pray. Many traditional congregations begin their worship with a time of confession of sins and a request for forgiveness. That can be a good thing. The potential problem with this is that some may use it as an excuse to continue in sinful behavior. The thinking may be that I can do what I want throughout the week as long as I go to church on Sunday and ask for forgiveness. That is not how it works. We are not to use the sacrifice of Christ as a means to remain in our sins. It is by the power of God that we are able to escape the clutches of sin. To come together to worship God, and then purposely remain in sin brings no glory to God.

II. Cease to Do Evil: Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

I greatly appreciate the simplicity of the statement “cease to do evil, learn to do good”. Of course, we need to be able to recognize the difference between good and evil. That is something that we should turn to the Bible to identify. Our culture does not lead the way to godliness. As Christians, we should follow the Bible, not to earn our salvation, but to display our salvation. We should “let our light shine, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

We should seek justice. God is concerned about how we live in society. As Christians we should rebuke the oppressor and speak up for the oppressed. Evangelical Christians were opposed to the Social Gospel movement, which seemed to equate salvation with a good life on earth. The emphasis placed on forgiveness of sins is appropriate, but to ignore injustice is wrong. We should preach the forgiveness of sins first, and work for justice second. They are not equal concerns, but justice should not be ignored.

III. Forgiveness: Isaiah 1:18-20

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) Forgiveness is offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

However, we are also told, “If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15 We are forgiven for our past sins, but we are called, and enabled to turn away from the practice of sin.

Obedience will be rewarded, disobedience will be judged.

May God help us to cease to do evil and learn to do good, not because we are attempting to earn our salvation, but because we want to live out our salvation.

Learn to Do Good

April 3, 2014

God is not pleased with the appearance of righteousness, an outward religious facade that has no effect on our lives.  God calls us to follow Him with our whole heart, and all of our lives.

Isaiah 1:16-20

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I.  Call to Repentance:  (verses 16-17)

I very much appreciate the simplicity of the call “Cease to do evil, learn to do good.”.  We must first learn to identify what is good and what is evil.  God uses His Word and His Spirit to lead us to that truth.  Once we are able to identify good and evil, we must make the choice to cease doing evil, and do what it good.  This is not always easy, and it is a lifelong process.

We are to seek justice.  Sometimes, some in the evangelical church have had a critical attitude towards social justice.  The concern comes from what they perceive to be an abandonment of the “true” gospel by the churches that focus on the “social” gospel.  It does not have to be one or the other.  We can preach for the salvation of the  souls of humanity, while also working to make our physical life here on earth more just.

We are to rebuke the oppressor and defend the weak.  This requires wisdom, courage and strength.  God is able to help us with all of those attributes, if we will allow Him to work through us.

II.  Forgiveness:  (verse 18)

We recognize that we all have sinned.  We have fallen short of what God would have us to be.  We need His forgiveness.  The good news is that God is willing to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  We do not have to earn forgiveness, it is offered to us freely through Jesus Christ.

III.  Consequences (verses 19-20)

Our actions have consequences.  If we are rebellious and choose to remain in our sinful ways, then we can expect destruction.  Bad things will continue to happen to us.  It is one of the ways that God uses to try to correct us.  If we are willing to repent, and learn to be obedient, we can expect God to bless us.

This does not mean that the life of the sinner will be only destruction, and the life of the obedient will be only blessings.  Our lives are a mixed bag of blessings and tests.  It does mean that believer should be able to have a sense of the blessing of God on their life, while the unbeliever should have a sense of coming judgement.

God continues to call out to us.  Repent!  Believe the gospel!  Cease to do evil!  Learn to do good!

These are the sermon notes from 3/30/14.  Any advertisement that may appear is placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any financial support from them.

Preach the Good News

January 3, 2013

These are the sermon notes from 12/30/12.

Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

It is common for prophetic words to have multiple applications.  These verses could originally have been applied to Isaiah himself.  Later, they were applied to Jesus.  Today, I believe that we can apply them to ourselves.

We have the Spirit of the Lord within our hearts.  As Christians we believe that we have been ‘born again’ , that the Spirit of God dwells within our hearts through our faith in Jesus.

The disciples were charged to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”  As modern disciples of Jesus, we too, are expected to share the good news of salvation in Jesus.

The message that we bring is able to heal the broken-hearted. There are many people in our world today that need their hearts to be healed.

Our message is able to set people free.  In Christ, we are set free from the penalty of sin.  We are set free from trying to earn our salvation by being good enough.  We are set free from the bonds of sin, in that God will give us the power to change the way that we think and act.  Old habits can be broken.  We are new creations in Christ.

Could 2013 be the year that Christ returns?  Of course that is possible, but we do not make any predictions, for no man knows the time that Christ will return.  Remember, that the Day of the Lord will be a time of rejoicing for those who believe, but a time of mourning for those who have rejected the offer of forgiveness in Christ.

We offer comfort to those who mourn.  We do not mourn as those who have no hope, but we believe in a life that goes beyond the grave.  In the tests and trials of this life we believe that God will give us wisdom and strength, that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Our lives should be marked by joy, praise, and righteousness.  This is part of the abundant life that Christ has promised to his followers.

This message is indeed good news to those who believe.

The Best Gift Ever

December 27, 2012

These are the sermon notes from 12/23/12.

We probably all have gifts that we have received in the past that stand out from all the other gifts that we have received.  God himself, has given us the very best gift.

I.  Make the Right Choice Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

It is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of material things.  Material things, however, will not satisfy the longing in our soul.  We have been created to live in a relationship with God and unless that relationship is healthy, we will not be content.  We must remember to “seek first, the kingdom of God”.

II.  Restoration Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

God offers us forgiveness for our sins.  He longs for us to return to Him.  Remember the story of the prodigal son.  God, our heavenly father, is waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him.

III.  The Word Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Once we have been restored in our relationship with God we need to make spending time in the Bible a priority in our lives.   God’s Word will have a lasting, favorable impact on our lives.

IV.  Blessings Isaiah 55:12-13

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

As we live our lives in a relationship with God we will experience the blessings of the Lord.  These blessings come in a whole variety of different forms, but we can be assured that God is good to His people.

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  That is the best gift ever!

The Challenge of Christmas

December 6, 2012

These are the sermon notes from December 2, 2012.

I.  Call to Repentance: Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

These verses are a call to action.  We are not simply to feel bad about our shortcomings, we are to do something.  We should change our ways.

We are to cease doing evil.  The first step in ceasing to do evil is to be able to recognize what is evil.  God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit.  By the Word and the Spirit we are able to learn to recognize evil.  Then the Holy Spirit will also give us the strength to change our ways.  Sometimes this change happens quickly, and sometimes it takes a while to learn new habits.  God understands, and is patient with us.

We are to learn to do good.  A new life is not just about not doing evil, it is learning to do good.  God is a just God, and is concerned with justice in our society.  We, as Christians, should also be concerned with justice.

There are two types of justice: criminal, and distributive.  As Christians we should use what influence we have in society to work towards justice for all.  Whether that means appropriate punishment for crimes, or protection from harassment for the innocent.  Distributive justice is the fair distribution of burdens and benefits.  We might not all agree about how to achieve distributive justice, or exactly what that would look like, but we should agree that it is important, and try to work toward that ideal.  We are to rebuke the oppressor, and take care of the needy.  It is also important as we work toward that goal, to treat one another with respect, recognizing that we may have honest disagreements about these important matters.

II.  Offer of Forgiveness: Isaiah 1:18-20

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The message of Christmas is that Christ came to earth so that our sins might be forgiven.  Those who respond to the message of salvation are forgiven.  John 3:16-17 says  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Not all will listen to the message.  For them, there remains only judgement.  John 3:18-20 reads “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

III.  The Challenge of Christmas  III John 11

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, buthe who does evil has not seen God.

The message of the early church was simply put “Repent and believe the gospel.”  The Greek language was not real concerned with the order of words, and so it is acceptable for us to think of this as believe and repent.  We believe in Jesus and are called to repentance: to cease to do evil and learn to do good.  One of the best ways that we can learn to do good, is to imitate good.  The best one to imitate for good,  is to imitate Christ.  That would be the challenge of Christmas.  Christ came to earth to show us the Father, we are now called to imitate Christ.

The message of Christmas is that Christ has come.

The challenge of Christmas is to imitate Christ.