Paul Billings will share with us and challenge us to recognize that we are made in the image of God. Can we image God? How do we image God? How do those around us image God (believers and unbelievers)?
The beauty of this passage is found in God’s promises. If anyone else made these promises, we would scoff. Who can possibly fulfill these promises? Only God. Nothing can stand in His way. He is all-wise, all-powerful, and full of zeal to bring about His purpose and plan. “Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.” (Matthew 22:9)
The main idea in verses 4-11 of chapter 61 is that we are to produce the fruit of righteousness, praising God for His salvation in Christ. The work of Christ is to transform and restore God’s creation. He is sent to bring righteousness and praise among God’s elect. Jesus is sent to us. He intervenes in our life and establishes us as oaks of righteousness. We are to produce the fruit of righteousness as a result of Jesus being sent.
Perhaps, they see Jesus as being pompous. They see Jesus as Joseph’s son, not as the Messiah. We know just the opposite is true. Jesus is not a pompous man, but a humble God. He lays aside His privileges and divine glory, humbles Himself and becomes a man, He serves, and He obeys God to the point of death on a cross. Jesus takes on the mission, so we may be set free, comforted, and made righteous. We have a glorious Savior. Believe Jesus is the anointed Messiah sent to make us righteous, for the glory of God.
The work of the Messiah is transforming. Isaiah prophecies that God will transform deserts into lush gardens. Animals have a new nature so that the lion lays down with the lamb. And, God will transform people so that they are no longer rebellious, but righteous and holy. Isaiah 60, and Revelation 21 are passages prophesying that God will transform Jerusalem into a glorious city. She will be a sparkling gem upon the earth.
Before we finish, take a moment to notice the work of God throughout this chapter. God delivers the verdict of guilt. God expresses His displeasure with the situation. God sends His Right Arm because there is no other choice. God declares the victory over evil and wickedness. The same Right Arm of God defeats evil and is our precious Redeemer. God makes a covenant with those who Christ redeems. We bring nothing to our salvation except our confession of sin and our willingness to turn from our ways and follow God’s ways. We put our faith in Christ, the Right Arm of God, and He does the rest.
Real religion that pleases God is not easy. It requires that we die to our self. It requires humility. It requires sacrifice. Cruising along is not enough. Accumulating knowledge is not enough. We can do better. We are called to lay down our lives for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God. Believe God when He says that dying to self brings abundant life. Trust God when He says, it is better to give than to receive. Believe the words of Scripture that we can count everything as rubbish because we gain Christ. Let’s grow in maturity. Let’s excel at true Christianity for the glory of God and our eternal joy.
Pride is an obstacle to Christian maturity. God wants us to get the most out of a relationship with Him while we exist in this body. He wants us to glorify Himself in our lives. Make your life quest a quest for humility and enjoy the fullness of God’s presence.
The main idea of the message is that we need to examine our shepherds and our faith so we may be sure to stand on God’s holy mountain. We may not separate our salvation from our life. Salvation is a call to be set apart from the world. We are to put our trust in God and His ways. God gives us His word so we may grow. We need leaders to help us. We need teaching and correction. We need to be equipped. When God saves us, a work of transformation takes place. We follow people who proclaim Christ. We live holy lives, set apart for the gospel. Trust God and take refuge in Him.
At the end of the age, believers like Bonnie, will who walk the highway of holiness, rejoicing in their salvation. The trees of the field clap their hands, and the mountains and the hills break forth with joy as they walk by. They are people blessed by God. Call upon God while He is near. Ask Him to show you your heart. Ask Him to help you be sure that you are a genuine believer who gives evidence of His work of grace. Trust in God and you will not be disappointed!
Is your soul satisfied? Would you like it to be? God offers satisfaction for our soul that is free. He promises it to be complete and abundant. God promises that our soul will live. Nobody else is offering us such a rich and abundant enjoyment where our mind, body, heart, and spirit find complete enrichment. God can make good on His promise. God never lies. He is faithful.
The main idea of this passage is very simple. We are to worship the Savior for His remarkable transforming work of deliverance. To truly worship Jesus, others will see Him as being the center of our heart and affections. His name is on our lips. His salvation dominates our conversations. When we worship Jesus, the church is a sparkling jeweled city where we grow in the knowledge of Christ and learn how Jesus is to be the center of our life.
Verse five of this passage is an amazing picture of our salvation and one which helps us to think rightly about our salvation. The basis of our salvation is not on our merits but upon the character and glory of God.Shout for joy, expand your tent, and fear notfor your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.
The world’s most famous verse sums up what God desires for us to know.For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.Are you prepared to stand before the judgment seat of God? As you stand there, will you be justified by the blood of Christ, or will you stand before God as a guilty sinner? Receive Jesus and you will not perish, but have everlasting life.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)The well-being Jesus offers is to have peace with God. The healing Jesus offers is healing from our rebellion. The Palm Sunday people are disappointed.But, those who see Jesus carrying their grief, sorrow, and sin, are not disappointed. Jesus makes us righteous. He makes us right before God.For the Scripture says, “whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
The Son of Man, who we despise, willingly endures the shame and mocking. He outstretches His arms so we may nail Him to a tree. As He hangs there in shame before the public, the Man of Sorrows, offers forgiveness to those who are crucifying Him. He bleeds for our salvation. He is marred for our sin. It is our grief and sorrow He carries. There is only one who is worthy of our worship and praise. Worship Jesus for His atoning sacrifice for our salvation. His work of salvation is astonishingly complete in every way.
God expects us to respond to His work of salvation. We are to endeavor to respond to God’s saving work according to His word of truth. This passage reveals five ways we are to respond to our salvation.God expects for us to herald the good news of peace and happiness and that our God reigns.We are to break forth in joy knowing we receive all things in Christ.As we herald the good news and when people ask us about our joy, we are to point to the cross as the only way of salvation.We are the temples of the living God.
God is speaking to us. He says that we are free. Arise, and respond to God’s voice, believing He rescues His people. Arise, and put on strength. Clothe yourself with the beautiful garments of holiness. Arise, shake the dust off your feet. Remove the chains of addiction, anger, pride, depression, shame, hopelessness, oppression, sin, selfishness, and so on. Take off whatever chain is keeping you from having a full relationship with the Lord, and walk into the freedom of being alive, risen, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
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.”
Closing the gap sermon. A generous heart.
The most generous gift of God is Himself