Intro: Turn to Isaiah 9. What would it have been to be a true prophet of God? (not a guesser or speculator) God actually spoke to the true prophet, and there was no possibility that His words would not come true. He was given the privilege of revealing to others what God was doing. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
- But men such as Isaiah and others must have seen their privilege as bittersweet. Many times the words of God foretold a coming judgment against those who were to hear the message. The common response is these circumstances was to punish the messenger, and the prophets were often persecuted. On the one hand, it would have been a thrilling to speak about the good things to come. The message of good times to come is manifest in all of the books of the prophets.
- Isaiah often spoke of the coming blessings of God. He spoke of the coming a time of Christ as the Messiah more than any other prophet. God would one day bring a Savior into the world who would rescue His people from their sins. As we just sang, this was a message of joy to the world.
I. The Promise of a Savior: The composite picture of the coming redeemer runs throughout Isaiah’s prophecy. Although the people of Israel could not trust in their wicked government leaders to rescue them for the coming armies of the Assyrians, they could trust in the One who was to come.
- Isa 9:6-7 – For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
A. Isaiah tells us so much about him.
• He would come from the lineage of Jesse, the father of the great king, David – Isaiah 11:1 – 11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
• His kingdom would be a kingdom of peace – Isaiah 11:6 -6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. V. 9 – 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
• Later Isaiah would speak about the Messiah as God’s suffering servant and His atoning sacrifice as the Lamb of God (Isaiah 49-53)
• All of these words pointed forward to the time of Christ. Jesus resurrected from the dead and established His spiritual kingdom through the message of the gospel. His sacrifice rescued men from sin and its terrible consequences. Great things were coming. What a blessing it must have been for Isaiah to announce this to a distressed nation.
B. How should God’s people respond to this hopeful message of coming salvation? In the short chapter 12 Isaiah describes the appropriate reaction of the people.
II. The Celebration of Salvation: Read Isaiah 12 – In this short chapter that follows Isaiah describes how the people of God would respond to these great things God has done for them. Isaiah depicts how all of God’s people should respond the news of our salvation.
- Question: Do we take our salvation from sin for granted? Has it become such a common assumption among us that these facts no longer create praise in our hearts? Let’s take a closer look at His words and allow them to provoke us once more to celebrate our salvation.
A. Praise God for turning away His anger. Isa. 12:1 – And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. God’s anger had been the prophet’s theme in chapters 9 and 10. Isaiah declares in 9:12 – “His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”. Judgment was coming.
1. The wrath (anger) of God is not a capricious emotion, or uncontrolled selfish reaction, as with our anger. God’s anger is a product of His absolute holiness. He cannot overlook or tolerate sin. His character demands that sin be accounted for.
• Jer 10:10 – But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
• Rom 1:18 – 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
• Rom 2:3-6 – And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:
2. We need to recognize that our sin and rebellion has angered God. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. Now some might complain, “But I thought God loves us” and He certainly does. But God’s love does not argue against His wrath. In fact, His love demands that He care about sin, as the ultimate destructive behavior.
3. But as Isaiah looked forward, he reveals a wonderful turn of events. God’s wrath against sin is changed to comfort through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus would come and provide for all of us salvation from sin. As we choose to turn from sin and turn back to God, Isaiah promises that God’s anger will be turned away from us.
• Romans 5:8-10 – 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
4. We are reconciled to a new relationship that brings comfort, and not fear. 2 Tim 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Rom 8:15 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
5. Do you praise God for what He turned away?
B. Trust God and not be afraid. Isaiah 12:2 – 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'” This verse opens and closes with the same thought: God is my salvation. He has provided it. How should I respond?
1. I should have complete, unwavering trust in God. If He was there for me through this, He will never desert me or let me down.
2. Because this is true, I do not have to be afraid. Our anxiety must grieve God. We are anxious over every issue that arises, even though God has promised to care for us, just as He cared for us in Christ. Rom 8:31-32 – 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Philippians 4:6-7 – 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
3. Isaiah adds, “For the Lord God is my strength.” Our consistent failings prevent us from relying upon our own strength to overcome sin. We must rely upon God’s willingness to forgive and His word to create in us a new heart. The Savior has done great things for us. We should trust Him. We should not be afraid to tackle any challenge of life.
C. Draw water from the springs of salvation: Isaiah 12:3 – “Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.” Isaiah points the rescued person past the moment of his rescue to the responsibility to continue to go to God for water of salvation. God continues to provide what we need. We must respond to our salvation by seeking His ways and His words. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
• We must place our confidence in words of God to solve our problems and nourish us.
• We must connect with other Christians in order to be encouraged and share in the blessings of being in the family of God.
• We must seriously strive against sin so we can enjoy the peace of being right with God.
1. There are Christians who fail to enjoy the true blessings of salvation on a daily basis because they have never drawn from the springs of salvation. To be plain: they don’t study their Bible, live according to God’s instructions or connect with other Christians.
D. Make known His deeds among the peoples: Isaiah 12:4-5 – 4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.
1. The blessing of salvation was never intended to be held as a closely guarded secret. Jesus wants the message of salvation to be carried to all men (Mark 16:15). There is an evangelistic spirit that should naturally well up in the hearts of people who have been saved. If we experience a good thing we usually want to share it with others. It should be our passion to make this known throughout the earth.
2. We may fail to teach others because the blessing of salvation has grown old to us and we fail to sense the awesomeness of this great thing God has done.
Conclusion: Have you ever wondered about the manner in which Jesus’ birth was made known to the world. This was the best news the planet could possibly receive, and it was announced to a group of lowly shepherds in a remote Judean desert. Read Luke’s account:
- Luke 2:8-20 –Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
I am convinced that these men of humble occupation were chosen to receive this great message of joy because they were well fitted to joyfully receive it. What a tragedy when a message of happiness is met with apathy or rejection.
- When Paul and Barnabas came to the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, Paul delivered one of the most powerful sermons contained in scripture. The people were so impressed they invited him back… Acts 13:44-49 – On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'” 48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.
When they heard what God had done to save them, the Gentiles were glad and glorified God. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the crowd and had the messengers expelled from the region.
- Immediately after Paul and Barnabas returned from their preaching trip to Asia Minor – telling the good news to the Gentiles… Acts 15:1-3 – And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. 3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. The brethren in Samaria and Phoenicia saw it for what it was – GOOD NEWS. It was a message of great joy!
- Later Peter warned the Christians that they would suffer persecution for being a Christian, but that could not rob them of the joy of salvation. 1 Peter 1:8-9 – Although now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.
How do you feel about what we are doing here today? Do you get excited about worshipping God? Or is this just the fruit of an obligation served. People that are saved should be ready to praise God because worship is the natural impulse of people who understand what it means to be saved.
- Are you celebrating your salvation?
• If you have not responded to the gospel message through repentance, confession and baptism, the wrath of God against your sin has not been turned away through the blood of Christ. You are not saved. There is no good news for you. It’s time to turn back to God.
From a lesson by David Banning