Thursday, August 4, 2016

Assurance (Isaiah 43): I love you

"Since you are precious and honored in my sight,  and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life" (Isa 43:4).
  1. I have redeemed you (1-7).
  2. You are witnesses of my love (8-13).
  3. I am doing a new thing (14-21).
  4. I remember your sins no more (22-28).
Derek Kidner, Barry Webb
  1. Grace abounding (1-21).
    • Fear not (1-7).
    • You are my witnesses (8-13).
    • I am the Lord ... your King (14-15).
    • See, I am doing a new thing (16-21).
  2. Grace despised (22-28).
Isaiah 43 is a reaffirmation of Israel's calling to be the Lord's servant. The fact that God has pointed to another and greater Servant (Isa 42:1ff) does not mean that Israel's own servant role has been abrogated. Quite the reverse. It is confirmed here in the strongest possible terms (Isa 43:10; 44:1-2).

"But now" (Isa 43:1) is a feature of these chapters. This same Hebrew expression is found repeated in Isa 44:1; 49:5; 52:5; 64:8. It expresses the love of God, continually rebuffed yet continually returns with the initiative. Notice the shift in tone from Isa 42:25 to Isa 43:1. It is breathtaking. What is God to do after the looting and plundering (Isa 42:24)? What God will now do is grace. There is nothing the Judeans have to do in advance for this grace to become available to them. They do not have to repent or promise to change their ways. God simply declares, as in Isa 40:1-2, that he has "redeemed" them. It is a completed fact (Rom 5:8).

Fear not (43:1-7). These verses in eloquent detail give Israel the assurance Christ gives to, the church, that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. The ominous word "flames" (Isa 43:2) from the closing verse of the previous chapter (Isa 42:25) is countered with the steadying exhortation "Do not fear" (Isa 43:1). There are some of the tenderest words here that God ever spoke to his children: "you are mine" (Isa 43:1b), "you are precious and honored in my sight" (Isa 43:4a), "I love you" (Isa 43:4a), "I am with you" (Isa 43:4). They are addressed to people far from home, still in the midst of deep waters, rivers, fire and flames (Isa 43:2). They have many  more trials to face before they reach their final rest. There is no promise of a quick fix or a trouble-free future, but of God's sustaining presence right through to the journey's end (Isa 43:5-6), come what may. God's people are still today like aliens and exiles in a violent, visious hostile world (1 Pet 2:11; Jas 1:1). But God promises to never leave or forsake them or us until he brings us home (Dt 31:6; Heb 13:5-6; Mt 28:20).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The First Servant Song (Isaiah 42)

Hope, Trust and Wait on the Lord (Isa 40:31): "Even if the enemy's foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not His saints. Live by the day—ay, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the needs of human help." Charles Spurgeon.

42:1-25 (The Servant Saves)
  1. God's chosen servant will establish justice on earth (1-4) [Will "not" occurs 7 times in 2-4.]
    1. God prepares the servant to bring justice (1)
    2. What the servant will not do to bring justice (2-3)
    3. The servant will not fail to bring justice to all (4)
  2. God's servant will be a covenant and light (5-9)
    1. God the Creator speaks (5)
    2. The servant's mission (6-7)
    3. God's name is glorified (8-9)
  3. Sing a hymn of praise to glorify God (10-13)
    1. Call for people to sing God's praise (10-11)
    2. Reason for praising God (13)
  4. God will deliver and forgive the sins of his blind servants (14-25)
    1. The blind are not forsaken (14-17)
      1. A time of divine silence (14)
      2. A time of destruction (15)
      3. A time for guidance and light (16)
      4. Shame for those who trust idols (17)
    2. The blind servant's sins result in punishment (18-25)
      1. Israel is my blind servant (18-20)
      2. God gave them his law (21)
      3. The people were plundered (22)
      4. Will anyone listen (23)
      5. God plundered Jacob for not obeying his law (24)
      6. God sent war; Israel did not understand (25)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Communities defined by Guilt or Shame


 

GUILT-based

SHAME-based

Normal defined by

Rules and laws

Relationships and roles

Behavior guided by

Internal conscience

External community

Violations produce

Guilt

Shame

Core problem

"I made a mistake" (action)

"I am a mistake"

(being)

Violations affect

The transgressor

The group

Violator's response

Justify or apologize

Hide or cover

Public's response

Punish to serve justice

Exclude to remove shame

Way for resolution

Forgiveness

Restoration


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Comfort, Fear, Servant, Assurance (Isaiah 40-43)

  1. Comfort (Isaiah 40): Wait on the Lord.
  2. Fear (Isaiah 41): I am with you.
  3. Servant (Isaiah 42): Justice to the nations.
  4. Assurance (Isaiah 43): I love you.
Isaiah 1-39 (Trust); Isaiah 40-55 (Grace); Isaiah 56-66 (Power)

Comfort (Isaiah 40): Wait on the Lord
  1. The God of comfort (1-11)
  2. The incomparable God (12-26)
  3. The God who makes man fly (27-31)
Fear (Isaiah 41): I am with you
  1. Living in fear (1-7): God predicts the rise of one from the east (Cyrus) and people panic in fear.
  2. Living without fear (8-20): God choosing his servants to be with them and to help them.
  3. Fear and idols (21-29): Fear causes the making and depending on idols, which are worthless and useless.
Servant (Isaiah 42): Justice to the nations
  1. What the Servant does (1-9): Proclaims justice to the nations.
  2. How the world responds (10-12): Praise the Lord!
  3. What God does (13-17): Zealously accomplish his purpose.
  4. Who we truly are (18-25): Blind and deaf.
Assurance (Isaiah 43): I love you
  1. I have redeemed you (1-7).
  2. You are witnesses of my love (8-13).
  3. I am doing a new thing (14-21).
  4. I remember your sins no more (22-28).

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Servant Saves (Isaiah 42)

Theme: Man's hope is that the Servant proclaims justice by gently and persevearingly serving the weak, blind and deaf. God's heart is always for the weak, blind and deaf.

  1. What the servant does (1-9).
  2. How the world responds (10-12).
  3. What God does (13-17).
  4. Who we truly are (18-25).
The "servant of God" theme is one of the richest strands of Isaiah's thought, and it lies right at the heart of his message as it moves to its climax in this second half of the book. 42:1-9 is the first of four "Servant Songs" (49:1-13; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12), the first of a remarkable series in which the servant theme is developed in a quite distinctive way and brought to a resounding climax. 61:1-3 could be regarded as fifth and final Song which brings the whole series to a (another) climax.
  • Isa 40 gave a general introduction to the two great themes: God's love (1-11) and his unique power (12-31). People Who Fly (40:27-31).
  • 41:1-42:9 gave a more specific introduction to God's case against the idols and to the two servants: one fearful and the other ministering God's justice to the world (42:1-9).
  • 42:10-44:22 gives even more specificity as God declares his intention to deliver his people from their distress and to use them as his witnesses against the idols.
    • 42:10-43:7 addresses the certainty of God's deliverance.
    • 43:8-44:22 deals with how that deliverance will witness for God and against the idols.
(42:10-17) A Hymn of Praise.

42:10-12 Isaiah calls on the whole world to give praise to God.

Barry Webb:
  1. God's perfect Servant (1-9).
  2. Praise the Lord! (42:10-17).
  3. Sinful Israel, the blind and deaf servant (42:18-25).
Derek Kidner [Light for the nations (42:1-17); Inconstant servant and unchanging Lord (42:18-48:22)]
  1. The first "Servant Song" (1-9).
  2. The world acclaims its Master (10-12).
  3. The Lord declares his zeal (13-17).
  4. Blind leaders of the blind (18-25).

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quotes about Waiting on God

Isaiah 40:27-31

Theme: Wait, Trust and Hope in the Lord (Isa 40:31): "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint" (Isa 40:31, NKJV). "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength" (Isa 40:31, NLT). "...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength" (Isa 40:31, NIV).

An entire sermon could be preached on every single one of these quotes about WAITING ON THE LORD:

"Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be." John Ortberg.

"What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly." A.W. Tozer.

"Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not abandonement of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; the ability to do nothing until the command is given." G. Campbell Morgan, British evangelist, preacher, scholar, 1863-1945.

"The goal of prayer is the ear of God, a goal that can only be reached by patient, continued and continuous waiting upon Him, pouring out our heart to him and permitting Him to speak to us. Only by so doing can we expect to know Him, and as we come to know Him better we shall spend more time in His presense as we find that presence a constand and ever-increasing delight." E.M. Bounds, American author, attorney, clergy who wrote 11 books, 9 of which focused on the subject of prayer. 1835-1913.

"Never was a faithful prayer lost. Some prayers have a longer voyage than others, but then they return with a richer lading (cargo) at last, so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer." William Gurnall, English author and clergy, 1617-1679.

"If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people." Charles Spurgeon.

"Those who do not hope cannot wait; but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Charles Spurgeon.

"If any are inclined to despond, because they do not have such patience, let them be of good courage. It is in the course of our feeble and very imperfect waiting that God Himself, by His hidden power, strengthens us and works out in us the patience of the great saints, the patience of Christ Himself." Andrew Murray.

"He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition." George Macdonald.

"But how much self-reliance obtains in Christian service. More effort is exerted in planning and arranging than in waiting upon the Lord. Double is the time expended on preparing the division and conclusion of a sermon than on receiving the power from on high because there is so much trust in the flesh." Watchman Nee.

"My observation is that women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership." James Dobson.

  1. The complaint (27): What man does.
  2. The reality (28): Who God is.
  3. The empowerment (29-31): What God enables and empowers man to do.

I. The Complaint (40:27)

  • God doesn't see.
  • God doesn't know.
  • God doesn't care.

II. The Reality (28)

  • Rhetorical question: Shouldn't this be so darn obvious (Isa 40:28a)?
  • God is everlasting (Isa 40:28b). He knows everything. He knows the end at the beginning. He is omniscient and omnipresent.
  • God is the Creator (Isa 40:28c). He is all powerful and in complete control. He is omnipotent.
  • God NEVER gets tired (Isa 40:28d).

III. The Empowerment (29-31)

  • He strengthens the weary and empowers the weak (Isa 40:29).
  • Even well trained, well disciplined and strong impressi ve young studs tire, stumble and fall (Isa 40:30).
  • Renewal comes from hoping, trusting and WAITING on God (Isa 40:31).

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Freedom

1. We humans are enslaved beings.

"Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are." Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

2. We humans enslave one another (by our demands, expectations, power).

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." Abraham Lincoln.

3. Freedom involves making a choice/decision.

"Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us; to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." Abraham Lincoln.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire.

"The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion." John F. Kennedy.

{ unencumbered } "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Heb 12:1).

4. The way to freedom.

{ soaring, flying } "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles..." (Isa 40:31, NIV). ["wait for" (ESV, NASB); "trust" (HCSB, NLT)]

{ set free } "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:31-32). ["abide" (ESV), "continue" (NASB, HCSB), "remain faithful" (NLT)]

{ you must be freed } "Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free" (Jn 8:36, HCSB). "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17). "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law" (Gal 5:1, NLT).

{ greatest, most useful lesson } "If you want to learn something that will really help you, learn to see yourself as God sees you and not as you see yourself in the distorted mirror of your own self-importance. This is the greatest and most useful lesson we can learn: to know ourselves for what we truly are, to admit freely our weaknesses and failings, and to hold a humble opinion of ourselves because of them." Thomas Kempis.

{ embrace suffering as inevitable } "Plan as you like and arrange everything as best you can, yet you will always encounter some suffering whether you want to or not. Go wherever you will, you will always find the cross… God wants you to learn to endure troubles without comfort, to submit yourself totally to him, and to become more humble through adversity." Thomas Kempis.

"Great tranquility (freedom) of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame." "Grant me prudently (freedom) to avoid him that flatters me, and to endure patiently him that contradicts me." Thomas Kempis.

No one can be happy without freedom. Unhappiness comes from enslavement.