As a loyal Ravens fan, I have been a long-time John Harbaugh supporter. But lately his style of handling the media has crossed the line of civility. Maybe his success over the years has gone to his head and caused him to lose the sense of humility that I formerly appreciated. His half-time condescending approach to simple questions asked by Brent Harris during the Redskins preseason game was painful to watch. The sideline reporter is tasked with trying to extract some comments in situations where sometimes tensions run high — but the coach has no right to be dismissive and downright abusive. If Coach Harbaugh does not step up to the plate with a sincere apology, one should be demanded by the Ravens owner, by the management that employs Brent Harris and by NFL officials who are concerned with the image of the shield. Harbaugh went on to compound his petulant behavior by actually denying in the postgame press conference that he had “gone off” on Coach Gruden in an angry exchange of words on the field in the first half. I don’t think anyone was buying the brush-off answer that Harbaugh could not remember the incident or what was said. Let’s get back to the John Harbaugh of faith and family values — maybe he needs to eat a Snickers bar!
Who will pay the penalty of divine wrath for your sins?
– There is no question that each of us has sinned and we are characterized as sinners before a holy God who has established the standard.
Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
You would be foolish to try to argue the point that you are fundamentally a sinner.
You need to understand the holiness of God and His just and righteous nature.
– There is no question that the penalty for sin is divine wrath.
Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Divine wrath is a painful punishment that would last for eternity with no escape apart from the provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Pattern of divine imputation – both of sin in that we all died in Adam and of righteousness in that the second Adam has established a righteousness that can be ours so that when God looks at us He sees Christ.
The only question = Who will pay the penalty of divine wrath for your sins? (more…)
Once again our nation has launched into a long season of political campaigning for the top office in the land … a competition that will extend until November of next year. Each candidate tries to put their best foot forward and avoid the gaffes that would knock them out of the race. Perhaps you watched the recent Republican debate where there were too many candidates for the prime time event. They had to divide into two groups – an afternoon and a prime time group – in order to provide some measure of exposure for all. Each candidate seeks greater name recognition and publicity for their background, track record, and capabilities. Each candidate seeks to highlight areas in which they stand out as remarkable – where they can distinguish themselves from one another. Each candidate closely monitors the polls and hopes to see their popularity numbers on the rise so that they can continue to solicit donations and remain a player in the race.
In other nations where the form of government is a monarchy instead of via election by a democratic process of voting, the heir to the throne is always presented as magnificent and royal and impressive. He has the best advantages of upbringing and education and social status. He wears the finest clothes and receives the respect and deference and almost worship of all the subjects of his kingdom.
But when God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, (Gal. 4:4) His Son looked nothing like these other impressive figures.
- He didn’t have makeup artists to prepare him to look great under the bright lights of the TV audience;
- He didn’t have a prestigious Public Relations firm to manage his image and always present him in the best light;
- He didn’t have $600 haircuts and beard trimmings and the finest clothes in the land and the most impressive chariot to carry him around in a pope type caravan
When we examine the coming of the Messiah, we do not see the profile of a successful political candidate … Instead we find one who is largely Unknown, Unremarkable, Unpopular
PEOPLE OVERLOOK THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THREE MAIN REASONS: HE IS LARGELY UNKNOWN, UNREMARKABLE, UNPOPULAR
True for the Jewish nation; true for people that we witness to today
These verses form an introduction and summary to the fourth Messiah/Servant song which is detailed in Chap. 53 – here we are entering on holy ground; one of the most remarkable passages in the OT; beautiful in its language and graphic in its representation of agony and suffering of the Lord Jesus as He died for our sins on the cross
What have we seen in the first 3 Servant Songs??
42:1-9 THE PREDICTED SUCCESSFUL MISSION OF THE IDEAL SERVANT OF THE LORD REINFORCES THE PROVEN SUPERIORITY OF THE TRUE GOD TO IDOLS
GOD WANTS HIS PEOPLE COMFORTED BY KNOWING THAT EVEN THOUGH
ISRAEL WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GOD’S SERVANT, WHO FAILED TO BRING TRUE
KNOWLEDGE AND WORSHIP OF GOD TO THIS WORLD, GOD WILL SEND HIS
MESSIAH/SAVIOR/SERVANT INTO THIS WORLD WHO WILL ACCOMPLISH
EVERYTHING GOD HAS PLANNED FOR ISRAEL AND THE WORLD.
49:1-13 GOD’S SERVANT-KING WILL SUCCEED IN HIS MISSION OF BLESSING ISRAEL AND BRINGING LIGHT TO A LOST WORLD
God’s Secret Weapon Unveiled:
– STRENGTH FOR HIS MISSION
– SCOPE OF HIS MISSION
– SUCCESS OF HIS MISSION
50:4-11 SERVANT SONG #3 — MARKS OF AN OBEDIENT SERVANT / DISCIPLE —
THE VICTORIOUS SERVANT/DISCIPLE HAS GOD AS HIS HELPER IN
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND PERSEVERING COMMITMENT
Everything so far has been revealed in hints and a little foretaste here and there; now we get to the real meat of God’s revelation of how this mission will be accomplished – and it is astonishing in every aspect
Wake up call #3 of 3.
REDEMPTION DEMONSTRATES THAT OUR GOD REIGNS
I. (52:1-6) THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD IN SOVEREIGNLY REDEEMING HIS PEOPLE BRINGS GLORY TO HIS NAME
A. (:1-2) The Call to Action – Directed to Zion – to Look and Act Like the Redeemed of the Lord
(:1) ClotheYourselves in Holiness
a. Holiness is Our Strength
Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;
Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city.”
Oswalt: While she has no strength to deliver herself, she does have strength to lay hold of God’s promises and must exercise that strength if deliverance is to be realized . . . So although their pride and vanity has reduced them to abandonment, destruction, and filth, that is not how God sees them. He sees them with strength and beauty. In his eyes they are the Holy City.
Figure of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ:
Gal. 3:27 “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
This is the 2nd of the 3 Wake Up calls in this section of Isaiah.
THE PROCESS OF DELIVERANCE INVOLVES EMBRACING THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD –
DIVINE DELIVERANCE FOLLOWS DIVINE DISCIPLINE
Before the new technology of alarms on our cell phones, when we would stay overnight in a motel, most of us probably took advantage of their wake up call service in the morning. You could always use the radio alarm clock in the room – but you just weren’t convinced of its reliability … so at least for myself I would put in that request for a wake up call at a certain time in the morning. If you were enjoying a good, sound sleep there was nothing more jarring than the ringing of that phone in the darkness of the motel room.
We have arrived at a section in the prophecy of Isaiah that is structured around 3 WAKE UP CALLS: 51:9; 17; 52:1
[follows directly after the 3 Calls to Pay Attention – Listen to God’s Word of Encouragement About the Past, Future and Present]
The first is addressed to the Lord Himself; the other 2 are addressed to the people of God – designated as Jerusalem and Zion. In each case the outline is the same:
- Call to Action
- Comforting Response from the Lord
Oswalt: Thus the thread of thought in the three segments is from question to affirmation: Will God, can God, really deliver us from our enemies (51:9-16); it is the enemies who will suffer now, not you (51:17-23); yes, God has delivered us from our enemies (52:1-12).
The tone is one of gentle and gracious encouragement from the Lord. We are building up to the great climax of that most famous chapter in the book of Isaiah – Chap. 53 which clearly describes the work of redemption by God’s Servant/Messiah – who came to suffer on our behalf and bear in his own body the punishment for our sins so that we could enjoy the blessings of God
God goes to great lengths to get our attention. He wants to communicate to us His plans for the future. He wants us to patiently trust Him and rely on His faithfulness to His promises despite the bleakness of our present circumstances. He does not want us to be paralyzed by fear. Here God calls on His people 3 times to pay close attention and listen to His encouragement regarding the future.
I always like the song “The Voice of Truth”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Book heading toward a major climax – lots of imperatives used in this section; some of the commands in the more intensive doubled form; references back to earlier sections in the prophecy – building to a climax
Oswalt: there is more reason to see vv. 1-8 as a unit separate from what follows than there is to see it as united with what follows (in particular, the thrice-repeated command by God to listen; the repeated emphasis on righteousness and salvation; and the identification of the hearers as those who are seeking God).
Young: God had called Abraham with the understanding that he would bless him. This He has indeed done, in that the nation of Israel has sprung from Abraham; but the epitome of blessing and increase is yet to come. Thus, comfort and encouragement are given to those despairing ones who hear the words of the promise. The ancient promise looks forward to its most glorious fulfillment: God will bless Abraham and multiply him in bringing blessing and increase to his descendants.
Motyer: the three oracles [strophes] form a sequence. The first (1-3) makes promises to Zion, but promises which, with their Abrahamic and Edenic orientations, have implications wider than Zion. The second (4-6) reveals the true extent of the promises, they are for the world; and the third (7-8) asserts that no power can prevent the Lord’s righteous and saving purposes from being fulfilled. All three sections have in common the topic of “righteousness.”
Common 3-part Outline used by many commentators (Wiersbe, etc.):
Look Back / Look Forward / Look Within
Next sections: “Awake” (v. 51:9, 17, 52:1, 11 “Depart”)
PRESENT PRESSURES MUST NOT DISTRACT US FROM LISTENING TO GOD’S WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT REGARDING THE CONSUMMATION OF SALVATION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Our daughter Jenny worships at Capitol Hill Baptist Church – one of their key ministries is
9 Marks of a Healthy Church : might be helpful to review them – check out their website
II. Biblical Theology
III. The Gospel
Important to check up our church and see how we are doing in each of these areas
Focusing in on the area of Discipleship this morning from Isaiah 50
Motyer: The third Servant Song (4-9) is autobiographical like the second, but unlike both its predecessors it contains no reference to the Servant. It is the attached comment (10-11) that reveals who the speaker was. . . contradistinction moving from verses 1-3 to verse 4 . . . There is no single parallel or identity between the Servant and Zion; they are the many, he is the one. The distinction between them has become a gulf.
Also 42:1-9 – Successful mission of the Servant – bringing Justice on earth;
49:1-6 – God’s Secret Weapon Unveiled – strength, scope and success of His mission; 52:13-53:12)
Marks of an Obedient Servant / Disciple – what does the ideal Servant of the Lord look like? The Messiah is actually our Model for being a faithful Disciple – Do you want to know what true Christian discipleship looks like? Look at the earthly walk of the Master!
Business training: importance of mentoring – spend time with someone who has the traits you admire
FOLLOW THE LIGHTHOUSE OF GOD’S INSTRUCTION OR TORCH YOURSELVES –
THE VICTORIOUS SERVANT/DISCIPLE HAS GOD AS HIS HELPER IN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND PERSEVERING COMMITMENT
Stories of abandonment tug at our hearts. We might hear in the news of some poor newborn child that has been abandoned by its mother and found in some isolated spot. Our culture has trivialized abandonment when it comes to marriage vows – today a spouse can forsake their covenant partner and obtain a divorce whenever they please. I hate the radio commercial for the law firm Cordell & Cordell that pledges to help men in securing their assets during divorce proceedings – their slogan: “A partner men can count on!”
Illustration: During WWII six Navy pilots left their aircraft carrier on a mission. After searching the seas for enemy submarines, they tried to return to their ship shortly after dark. But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship. Over and over the frantic pilots radioed, asking for just one light so they could see to land. But the pilots were told that the blackout could not be lifted. After several appeals and denials of their request, the ship’s operator turned the switch to break radio contact–and the pilots were forced to ditch in the ocean.
Talk about a feeling of hopelessness and despair
People can have a lot of fear and anxiety regarding the possibility of spiritual abandonment.
They look at their difficult circumstances and wonder if God has forgotten them and forsaken them. The southern kingdom of Israel, the people of Jerusalem – the city of Zion, found themselves in that position on a number of occasions throughout their history. During the Babylonian Captivity they will be tempted to imagine that the Lord is finished with them. As the end times approach and God brings in His harvest from among the Gentiles, the nation may be tempted to think that God has written off His people Israel forever. This account from Isaiah provides the Lord’s response to the insecurities and fears and anxieties of His people.
THE LORD GOD IS A PARTNER BELIEVERS CAN COUNT ON TO NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US