A Sign to All God’s People

My notes from the sermon:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)

Immanuel = God with us.

To us, this is a sign of hope and salvation. To others, this is a sign of judgement & wrath.

Ahaz was a bad man and a bad king. He was seeking an alliance with Assyria – a much stronger nation, but God told him not to trust Assyria but to trust Him. God’s message was essentially be patient, follow the Lord, and be faithful and His commands. Trust the Lord.

Ahaz refused.

The prediction of the child was pointing towards Jesus, but was an immediate prophecy marking the time “these things” would happen.

Jesus is the sign to us of God’s love. Our calling is to show to all people Jesus’ love through us as we are children of God.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him… Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:1, 18 (ESV)

Who “they” are does not change who we are. We are the sign for all people.

This brings to mind a scene in “the Chosen” (episode 4) where Jesus tells Simon to catch as many people as he can, all kinds, and that Jesus will sort them out later.

Joy of Returning

You want to see and feel the joy of returning? Check out this video of military personnel returning home to their loved ones.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Isaiah 35:1-2 (ESV)

Isaiah is encouraging God’s people for Jesus’ return – the ultimate joy of returning.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV)

There are signs of what are yet to come and they are pointing to the salvation that Jesus is bringing to the world.

It is beyond our imagination or the words to describe, but Isaiah gives us a glimpse.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV)

It’s not just God returning, but also the ransomed of the Lord – us! The closest picture we have of this is the story of the prodigal son.

Joy is obtained, not inherent or natural. It’s obtained from God and reflects God’s joy over us.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

God’s joy is now. We don’t have to wait! Our duty (or calling) doesn’t steal our joy but can add to it because with God all things are possible.

MLC Sermon 12/13/2020