We need to remember Jerusalem in her glory. She is a woman who was once the envy of all. She was beautiful, rich, and clothed in luxury. She was proud and stood tall as she brought the work of her hands to the market. She ate the finest food and drank the best of wines. She was virile and gave birth to strong, handsome sons. The picture Isaiah paints is that Jerusalem has become a pitiful drunk and helpless woman in the streets. She is clothed in pity and shame. She is filthy and covered in sores. If we were to see her, we might throw her some pocket change. We would not invite her to our home. As we go through these verses, picture this woman in mind.
God doesn’t want us to downplay the present afflictions and sufferings of this world. He doesn’t want us to live in an alternate reality that denies sufferings.What God wants us to do is know that this world has troubles, but remember the words He speaks to us. He wants us to embrace the sufferings and embrace the comfort we have in Christ. He speaks to us so that we may have peace. In the world, we will have affliction and sufferings. But, Christ gives us comfort. He rises from the dead, so we may take courage knowing He overcomes the world. Never forget the power, sovereignty, and promises of God during times of difficulty.
The fact that we are not righteous is the number one problem facing all people. God is righteous, and He expects righteousness in all people. God will not allow immorality in His kingdom. We, who are unrighteous, put locks on our doors to keep unrighteous people out. God, who is perfectly righteous, has a sign over the gate to the entrance to His kingdom which reads, “no unrighteousness allowed.” Because we are unrighteous, we need righteousness. It is our biggest and greatest need. Without righteousness, we may not step one foot into the kingdom of heaven.
We live in a scary world filled with terror, evil, corruption, sickness, and death. Living in this world is like living in a dark, terrifying cave. Our church is facing many difficult challenges. We have relationship challenges, health challenges, temptations, and many other challenges trying to separate us from God. Each challenge is a test of our faith. Will cancer draw us closer to God’s voice or further away? Will the death of a baby draw us closer or further from God? Will marriage troubles and relationship difficulties bring us closer or further from God’s voice? Trust God! Listen to the voice of His Servant.
Is not Israel God’s first love? Is she not an apple in God’s eye? Or, was all that wonderful talk from God just words so He may use her to bring about the Messiah, and now that the Messiah is here, she is of no value to God. As God is making much of the Gentiles, and raising up all the nations, Israel cannot help but think that their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, abandons her.
The Messiah of Israel is amazing. The descriptions of Him in Isaiah tell us that He is a great champion and ruler who reigns with perfection. The reason God reveals Him in the Scriptures is so that we get to know Him. And, in knowing Him, we welcome Him as King with worship and adoration.
God does not want us to despair. God wants us to rejoice. He knows we may never live up to His standards. He loves us as a Father and He sent a solution to our need. Jesus is the answer. He dies so we may live. Jesus bridges the gap between our failure and God’s standard of perfection. He takes our sin and gives us His righteousness. The gospel is the good news that we are made perfect in the Messiah of Israel. The picture Isaiah reveals to us is a picture of a Messiah we may fall in love with. Think about how the Messiah is a complete answer to all of our needs. He comes to bring light into our darkness. He replaces our sorrow with gladness. He rescues us from the clutches of our enemies. And, He restores creation so we may live in abundance and peace forevermore.
The main idea of the message today is this: Find joy and purpose by submitting to God’s will for your life and live for His glory. The Bible teaches that when we live in harmony with the will of God and when our purpose in life aligns with His, we obtain great joy and fulfillment. Life will have meaning and purpose. We will have the peace that passes all understanding. We will understand how to persevere through difficult times. We pray for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done. We must live our prayer.
Let’s all be like King David, a man who God says is seeking God’s heart. Let’s cry out to the Lord, and say, “Pardon my sin for it is great. Forgive me, not for my sake or because I deserve to have my sin forgiven but forgive me so that You may glorify Your mercy. Make me an object where You may show forth the glory of Your divine attributes. Let the universe see how You pour out Your love. Do it for Your glory and that Your name will be famous.”
As people with genuine faith, we need to recognize God as the source of all wealth. We know God is the source of our wealth, and we trust Him to provide for us. We serve God and not wealth. We hold wealth loosely because it belongs to God and not us. We recognize God as the source of our wealth, so we give Him thanks. If we have extra, we thank Him for His provision instead of patting ourselves on the back for our work and effort.
Let’s ask ourselves, in this season of giving, what is the best gift we may give? The proclamation of the gospel is a generous gift to share. There is no greater gift we may give than the good news of the gospel. Be a good servant of the Lord by multiplying the gifts of His salvation. In doing this, we are generous by giving to others the salvation we receive.
Be forewarned. If you are sitting here this morning and say, I know I can be generous, God will test your faith and give you an opportunity. I’ve had times when I thought I was generous before God, but God gave me the opportunity to be tested. Whenever we are seeking to build and invest in the kingdom of God, we will never fail. When we seek to build our kingdom, we will fail. As we give, we may know that God is good. We may trust Him.
As we celebrate missions, let’ remember that the ultimate goal of missions is the accomplishment of God’s Mission. God’s mission is to freely offer the rich treasures of Jesus Christ to needy people. We live in a world filled with needy people who are looking for answers. Jesus is the answer. The gospel is good news. Jesus promises to meet our every need. He offers peace and rest. He gives our lives purpose and meaning. He protects us from our enemies and gives us safety and protection. Only Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and everlasting life. If you know Jesus, rejoice. Know that He is meeting your needs.
MAIN IDEA: Share the word of testimony that Jesus is the Messiah so that others may know and be saved. Jesus teaches the disciples that there are priorities in life. Accomplishing God’s will is a priority. He can’t eat, He is busy eating. His food is God’s will. There are few things which we value more than filling our bellies. For Jesus, doing God’s will is one of those things.
All of us are (or should be) in an unceasing, unwavering war against our idols. Our culture has just as many, if not more, idols than the people of Babylon. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The idols of today are deceptive, and in most cases, we don’t realize they are idols. Know this, the idols of today all promise power, riches, comfort, joy, and safety. Just like Bel and Nebo, we hope our idols will control our destiny.
God is saving us from living in eternity in shame. God restores us to a place of honor by sending His Son. The death of Christ on the cross paves the way for God’s objective of restoring order to be complete. God is merciful and loving. He is abounding in grace. The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross, not only did He bear our sins, but He also wore our shame (Hebrews 12:2). He was in complete shame, being mocked and ridiculed.
If someone asks us, what is God doing, what is His plan with creation? We may answer with Isaiah 45:8. God is pouring down righteousness upon the earth. In every nook and cranny, in every place where evil exists, God is pouring down His righteousness. At the end of the age, the entire earth will be dripping and soaked with His holy rain. Everything God does with His creation is right and good.
God is orchestrating all of the world’s events to bring about the redemption of His people. Every morning that our feet hit the floor when we get out of our bed in the morning, we may know that God is working all things for good for those who love Him and are called by His name. And, at the end of the age, we will stand before His throne exclaiming the glory of God’s amazing grace! For, we know, that there is nothing we have done to deserve every event of the world being orchestrated for our good. God’s grace is bigger and grander than our feeble minds may imagine!
We are God’s chosen witnesses. People who are lost in deception will only hear the truth from God’s witnesses. We need to lovingly and boldly share the truth of God with a world that is lost.
God says to His people, “You are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock?” God says, “I know of none.” God is right. We know of none. He is our Rock and our Fortress. He is our mighty deliver and Savior. We have no reason to be afraid because if God is for us, who may be against us. Go and proclaim to the world of this great God who forgives sin, not because we deserve to be forgiven, but because He is glorious!
We serve God as His witness by bringing Him glory. We are servants and the purpose of our being saved is that we will be a blessing to the nations by bringing the gospel of Jesus as well as the fruit of the gospel, which is love.
We have received mercy. We are redeemed from a dark dungeon. We are given sight and we may behold the risen Messiah who gives us life. God saves us that we may glorify His name.
“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'"
If our idea of God is that He is not the source for all we need for life, then we will look to Wall-Street financing to ensure we will live comfortably and despair when the markets crash. Or, we will put our trust in the world’s educational institutions to tell us how to live. But, if our idea of God is that He is all-wise, His word will be our primary source for education. We will trust His word to teach us and give us knowledge.
We are frail physically. None of us has any guarantee we will be alive tomorrow. We are frail in our faith. We experience doubt. We may be on the super-faith path one moment, and a train-wreck life experience comes our way, and we find we need the help of others to clear the doubts away. We are frail in our morality. Many who appear to be mighty Christians have fallen only to find themselves humbly licking their sin-inflicted wounds. Success in our Christian walk happens not because we are super-Christians, but because God’s grace keeps us in His hand.
If we want to pray like Hezekiah, let’s pray according to God’s will. “God, show Yourself to be strong in my life. Help me to be humble and servant-minded like Jesus.” “God, show us how we may have our household be in submission to the Lordship of Jesus.” “God, give me boldness to share the gospel of Jesus for the glory of Your salvation and the building of Your kingdom.” These are prayers according to God’s will.
We need to tell all people to draw near and listen. We warn people of coming tornados and hurricanes. If there were an imminent threat of terror, we would warn as many as we could. Sound the warning sirens. Put up the hurricane flags. There is a great disaster coming to the earth, and it is far worse than any disaster the world has ever seen. Tell people to get to the shelter of God’s wings.
God takes our weakness and failures, and He works all things for good. He takes us sinners and makes us glorious by conforming us into the image of His Son. He makes those who are dead and gives everlasting life. He takes away our sin and gives us His righteousness. God makes us who are weak more than conquerors. We serve an amazing, loving, gracious God.